The Sea And Cake / James Elkington at the Pinhook - 5/20/2018
Between the way the Cat’s Cradle has been running their performances and the schedule-based festivals I've attended lately, I’ve gotten used to everything starting on time…which makes it extra excruciating that this show started a full hour late. Apparently this was the result of miscommunication rather than intentional fuckery, but that didn’t make that hour of standing around any more palatable. Plus I was tired as shit from a long weekend of Moogfest. Complaining complainer complains!
Eventually James Elkington took the stage – he’s been in a bunch of bands (most notably Brokeback with Doug McCombs, who was playing bass with the Sea And Cake on this tour), but this was just the man and his acoustic guitar. He was a very personable fella with quality banter…clearly a man very comfortable on stage. His music was in the same vein as Nick Drake (but not on par obviously), wispy and delicate on top of some excellent finger-picked guitar work. Given that description, I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn that the crowd was way too loud and almost completely overpowered him, even at the very front of the stage. It wasn’t the most exciting performance I’ve ever seen, but the music was nice and it was pretty mesmerizing watching James play guitar.
Holy shit it was hot in the Pinhook by the time the Sea and Cake took the stage. Not just from the body heat of the crowd, which had grown much larger and more tightly packed, but the stage lights were absolutely cranked. This was great for photos – I’ve never had it so easy at this club in my life – but terrible for not being drenched in sweat. I was apparently so sweaty that even from the stage, Sam Prekop pointed at me and said “this guy is definitely hot” – and I think we all know he wasn’t referring to my physical attractiveness. Despite that, 3/4ths of the band was dressed in Canadian tuxedos...their balls must have been boiling. Doug McCombs and his giant David Letterman beard was the only person not towing the fashion line. Despite the heat, they sounded fantastic, almost as if they're a collection of highly respected musicians that have been a band for a quarter of a century. I love their new record “Any Day,” and to no surprise that album make up the bulk of the set. Of course I would have loved more classics, but they perform so rarely you take whatever you can get. They did finally hit on a couple of their early jams during the encore with “the Argument” and “Parasol”...honestly, getting to see “Parasol” performed live was worth the price of admission alone.
When it was all over, I couldn't walk fast enough to my car and crank up the AC. Thank god for modern conveniences.