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Davis, California

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Turn the lights down and music up: it’s time for CAKE

Editor’s Note: On Thursday and Friday night (Oct. 6 and 7), American alternative rock-band, Cake, performed at Freeborn Hall. The concert was presented by Entertainment Council. MUSE sent two reporters to review the show on Thursday night. Here’s their account of the night:

Elizabeth Orpina, Aggie Arts Writer:

With a slight stench of marijuana in the air, cliques of adults in their 40s and a single disco ball hanging above the stage, Freeborn Hall seemed to have taken on the role of a Thursday night entertainment venue for those who enroll their children at our school.

Standing in the back of the crowd, notebook in hand and waiting for the band to appear on stage, thoughts such as “I don’t know what’s going on” and “Are they going to pop out of the floor? I don’t remember Freeborn having trap doors” appeared in my head. When the cheesy five-minute intro music ended, the band ended up walking to their places on stage – apparently my fellow Aggie writer and I were the only ones not knowing what to expect. The crowd burst into cheers; women starting screeching and even some small children started clapping.

John McCrea, donning a moustache hat, greeted the crowd and began the show. The sound of a trumpet pierced the air, but in a good way, and I was immediately hooked. A couple of well-known songs later, he switched to the band’s newest CD, garnering bobbing heads of approval from the crowd. His chill attitude and the band’s laidback appearance created a different show than I expected. Needless to say, my notebook went straight into my purse 15 minutes into the set.

The lyrics were smart, the sound was addicting and for lack of better words, the entire night was pretty cool. The fact that a full 10 minutes were spent giving away a tree was surprisingly entertaining. When McCrea pulled up two bearded men to have a dance-off on stage for the tree, I had a genuine smile on my face.

The band spent the night playing songs from their various albums and it served as the perfect sampling of music for a brand-new listener such as myself. I enjoyed watching the adults around me sway to the sounds and range of ages bond over their shared love for the music.

Cake had this air of confidence, intelligence and credibility that demanded the attention of the crowd. They went from unknown to kind of awesome in my book in a matter of hours, and I’m downloading their newest album as I type this.

Paayal Zaveri, Aggie Arts Writer:

Freeborn Hall was full of eager fans waiting for Cake to perform. However, most of them weren’t familiar faces on the UC Davis campus. The majority of the crowd were older folk from Davis, Sacramento and surrounding areas. It was definitely hard to find many UC Davis students there. But the people who came were avid fans; for one it was her 26th time seeing a C.A.K.E. concert.

The band just dove into their performance, there was no opening act. And they played two sets of music instead of just one. Toward the beginning they played a few songs from their upcoming self-released album, Showroom of Compassion. Some audience favorites were “Long Time” and “Federal Funding”. However, the older songs were more of a crowd pleaser. They liked reminiscing with the old favorites.

Cake’s use of instruments makes their music very unique. They have trumpeter Vince DiFiore to add a lot of dynamics to their sound. Many of their songs featured trumpet solos.

When the band performed older songs, the fans really got into the music. There was one fan who danced throughout the entire concert and, of course, plenty of others who sang along.

At one point the band split the audience in half and had each half singing a different part to the song. This gave the audience some real interaction with the band. Additionally, Singer John McCrea’s sarcastic humor really made the show more enjoyable.

Toward the end of the concert, they gave out an orange tree to one fan. But he had to earn it. They gave it to the person who was able to guess what type of tree it was. In the end it came down to two guys, one from Stockton and one from Davis. They had a dancing contest to decide the winner. The Davis guy clearly earned the tree fair and square. The tree is apparently a tradition at their concerts; they always give out one.

Overall, the concert exceeded people’s expectations with the band’s catchy and unique sound and the band members’ charisma.

ELIZABETH ORPINA and PAAYAL ZAVERI can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.


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