Sometimes you go to a show and everything is perfect. The crowd is into it, the band is into it and the music just falls right into place. Such was the case on Wednesday, Nov. 15, when Chicago’s The Sea and Cake played the TLA. Sam Prekop’s jazzy chord voicings and soft falsetto vocals were right on. Archer Prewitt’s guitar tinkerings, Eric Claridge’s inventive bass lines and John McEntire doing things on the drums that I didn’t even know were possible, all combined to make the show absolutely sublime.
They played most of the material from their excellent recent release Oui, a very consistent well thought-out album full of lush synth sweeps and Prekop and Claridge’s guitars working together to create an almost tropical atmosphere.
The show’s highlights included “Parasol,” “Sporting Life,” and “Jacking the Ball” off their self-titled 1993 album. You can tell everyone in the band really cared about their playing, although almost a little too much. Every time one of them made a mistake, their face cringed with disgust.
They were interesting to watch play. When you listen to their albums, you have to wonder how they can pull if off live. Everything is so tight with so many layers of sound. Well, they did it live, and with apparent ease.
Unfortunately (although understandably), they were not granting requests from the audience (the two most persistent requests being “The Cantina” and “Showboat Angel,” neither of which they played). After two encores, they ended with an extended “Do Now Fairly Well.” Absolutely beautiful.
Now if only The Sea and Cake would tour more often.