Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cake @ Marquee Theatre

"Hello Phoenix, we are CAKE, and we are here to serve YOU!" The old play on words never gets old... I thought it was a fun, lighthearted way to open the show.

I was actually moderately excited to shoot CAKE in concert. I can't call myself a "big" fan, but do become infatuated with their sound pretty heavily from time to time. In fact, it was in the latest such CAKE craze that I found out they were coming to town. I instantly emailed my editor at the New Times and said I had to shoot it.

A couple days before the show I got the call that I was confirmed to shoot... and was told there would be no opening band, and that CAKE would actually play two separate sets, with a break in between. This sounded pretty awesome! Not that I'd get to shoot the whole ordeal, but from a fan's point of view, what more can you ask for? And in fact, I had to leave after I'd shot anyways... prior engagement that evening.

The Marquee has yet to let me down. In that, every time I shoot there, I can count on the lights being terrible. I always feel bad for the bands that play there... the photos inevitably end up portraying an unexciting concert stop. As if they played in a bar along the way to the real venue. Dim light, from the back of the house is "moody" when you are there in person... but cameras need actual light to capture anything interesting. Shooting in this kind of situation becomes almost a chore. Cameras and lenses are pushed to their limits... and even "fast" lenses (or low-light lenses) generally struggle and need the assistance of a monopod, or a solid speak cabinet to lean on.

All negativity aside, it was fun. Another band I wish I could have stayed and watched, even from the back of the house. But I did get to hear them open with one of my favorites... "Comfort Eagle". It's a fun jam, and I think it is very categorically CAKE-ish. The twangy, dirty guitar riff... the near-monotone vocals... the word accentuating group yell... and the synchronous hand clap... it's all there. It's all great. It's all CAKE.

One odd note: in the moments before a band takes the stage... there is always music playing, generally chosen by the band... when I walked in that night I heard Laurie Anderson's "O, Superman!". I thought only my wife and I listened to Laurie Anderson...

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