Wednesday 13 March 2013

Quick Review: The Sea & Cake

Earlier this year, Chicago postrockers Tortoise played a free show at Berlin's Stadtbad Oderberger Straße. Maybe it's good that I missed this Vans-sponsored concert because I didn't like the concept of concerts supported by big life-style companies. Or I'm still jealous that I saw the posters way too late. Anyway, The Sea & Cake, the other Chicago band were on a regular tour and I had the chance to see them two weeks ago at HAU 2.

Entering the foyer makes me realize how old I am and the band is. Named after a missheard Gastr Del Sol song, The Sea & Cake was formed in 1993 in Chicago, Illinois and was, next to Tortoise, one of the formative acts of the mid 90s Chicago postrock scene. The waiting audience was a funny looking bunch of 30++ and I guess most of them have seen the band before, maybe on their last Berlin performance 2007 at Lido.

Without an opening act, they started a, what I later call, perfect evening. Maybe a bit too adult, but totally balanced, professional and intoxicating. On this tour, their bass player was replaced by another Chicago postrock posterboy, Douglas McCombs of Tortoise, Brokeback, and For Carnation fame. But the nicest part was that none of them stole the show, even though everyone could. They are a band and not a leader with some back-up musicians. The symbiosis of all 4 musicians together was an unlikely adventure to watch.

The sold-out HAU was given down-to-earth looseness and a well-adapted set, with mostly songs of their just recently released new album Runner, mixed up by a couple of tracks of the band's older albums. The fact that their whole live sound is more indie rock than I expected is not a bad thing at all, because it pushed everyone in the audience to a more dancy participation, also their playfulness and energetic appearance. Although I've missed some of their jazzy or world music influences from time to time. Ah nonsense, it was just great.

We left HAU's concert venue after 2 encores by the 3 main members and took our bikes back home, freakishly smiling like everyone else.   


  1. Hey, am i right that you never saw a Sea & Cake show before ?
    To cut a long story short: the Berlin-concert at the "Hau" was a dull "rock-event". Uninspired, lame and with a terrible sound.
    You mentioned the "Lido"-gig in Berlin from 2007. This was heaven. The "Hau" was hell...

    1. Isn't it good to see how different tastes could be? I wouldn't say it was "dull" and I guess I understand what you mean, but it worked for me quite well this evening.