Who: CAKE
When: 4/18/11
Where: Keswick Thatre, Philadelphia, PA

I have to admit that this Jewboy forsook his Passover Seder to see the second night of two! sold-out shows by Cake at Glenside’s Keswick Theatre. Not to say that this concert was not a religious experience – the Cake faithful sang along as dutifully as any congregation might. And rock preacher/shaman/frontman John McRea did hid best to whip the attendees into a frenzy. Though a newbie to the church of Cake, I too found myself singing “Satan Is My Motor” at the top of my lungs. It was at that time that my guilt was relinquished. Yes! I have sinned and am going to Hell, but might as well enjoy the ride…

“Sheep Go To Heaven, Goats Go To Hell” was another campfire fun sing-a-long all backed by the incredibly tight rhythm section of Paulo Balto on drums and Gabe Nelson on bass which added to the tribal feel of the evening. Guitarist Xan McCurdy and trumpeter/keyboardist Vincent DiFiore played perfect inventive parts that sounded just right. The whole thing was as tight as the seating in the packed Keswick Theatre.

The evening started off sedately enough. The band took the stage, which was decorated with a backdrop depicting a view of a forest and mountain ridge, and under the glow of a mirror ball, CAKE opened with a cover of  Willie Nelson’s “Sad Songs and Waltzes”. It was one of many times the band would shift gears and musical styles.

The performance consisted of two sets with an intermission seperating them. John McRea kept everything moving and even orchestrated a prize giveaway to the person who could answer what parchment was made of. The lucky fellow won a Golden Delicious apple tree. That’s something you don’t see every night. Ever the excellent choral director, I particularly like the way John split the crowd in two for the chorus of “I’m So Sick Of You”, the single off their latest album Showroom Of Compassion.

Going to a Cake show, as I found out last night, is definitely a participation event and a joyous one at that. Who needs matzoh when you can have your “Cake” and eat it too.

Photos by TSI’s own David Turcotte!