Shouting into the Storm Rantings, ramblings, observations and musings from the insipid to the sublime

Sunday, August 04, 2002 :::
Review - Cracker at DCSessions, 8/3/02, Washington DC

DC had a fantastic idea this summer. Have a weekly free outdoor concert, put it in a quirky location with tons of local businesses in the surrounding area. and let people have fun. The only problem for me is that I just wasn't that interested in seeing the bands on the bills to date. So I have spent the past few months anxiously awaiting the Cracker show. Would it be worth the patience?

I arrived around 7:30 to find the area sparsely populated. A few hundred people, mostly teen-agers, were rocking out to whatever nu-metal band was on stage. I don't even know if they were nu-metal, but they had guitars, and a turntable, so to me they were nu-metal. To be polite, they weren't my thing. Thankfully, they were just wrapping things up, giving me time to wander around and see if there were any beautiful babies that needed company(alas, no, not a one. Damnit).

Random things I saw - Lots of port-a-potties, although probably not enough if the place was packed. Decent selection of food, although if you don't like grilled meat products, it could be slim pickings. The obligatory hippie product tent, selling tie-dyed wall hangings and hemp necklaces. It was while perusing their wares(the necklaces, not the women running the tent), I noticed a kid about 16 lying on his back, eyes closed, looking like he wanted to die. His idiot friends were standing around laughing, pointing and yelling "Dude, he's soooo wasted." Fearing a John Bonham-esque end to this kid's existence, I went over and kicked him onto his side. This, for some reason, pissed his friends off. Before I could explain the hazards of vomit-induced fatality, our beloved hero proceeded to produce a wonderful technicolor yawn, expunging his stomach of everything he had eaten in, I'd guess, about a week.

It should be noted I've been at the venue for 20 minutes at this point. Gotta love all ages shows.

Up next was a punk foursome from Baltimore, I believe called the Pushoffs or something. According to the DCSessions site, they weren't even on the original bill. They played with alot of guts and alot of energy. Not much talent, but they worked their asses off, so I'll tip my cap to them. This made for a perfect time to grab a cold one. Draft Coors Light, that wasn't that cold. While I sipped it, making the traditional Bud Selig Bad Beer Face, I got to thinking: Why do feel an obligation to sell beer at these events? Sure, Coors was a co-sponsor, but couldn't they find a non-alcoholic sponsor to fill the gap? As the night wore on, more people were getting drunk. I can only imagine what it would have been like if it was packed and 95 degrees in the shade.

Interesting side note - One of the band member's guitar amp died during setup, so the next band up lent them one of theirs. Very cool.

Ah, the main warm-up act, Trucker from Nashville, Tennessee. This band was a fantastic blend of country, blues, folk and rock, mixed up with some tasty showmanship. It took them roughly 19 seconds to get my inner groove-thang shaking. Those who know me know that, while my groove thang may be slow to awaken, once it is going, look out. They were Capitol F F-U-N. The lead singer was captivating, energetic, humble but without self-deprecation. Instead of looking like a bunch of guys playing, they came across as a Band. If ripping things up on stage weren't enough, they also went to the merch tent to sign CDs. For $5, I couldn't resist. Nice guys to chat with, too. The CD is good, but this is definitely a Live Band. My ultimate endorsement - I'll probably make the 2 hr trip down to Richmond to see them sometime.

Finally, time for Cracker. This was not a groundbreaking show. They didn't pull out old hidden gems from earlier albums and put a new shine and gloss on them. It was a steak-and-potato show. Highlights included "Euro-trash Girl", "Pictures of Matchstick Men", and "Wedding Day". In short, lots of up-tempo rockers and familiar songs. Very little off of the new album, "Forever". This show would have benefited at least one epic song. "Another Song about the Rain", or "Big Dipper", one of those long, slow Cracker songs that let's them stretch out a bit. Alas, this isn't the best setting for that.

A few things about the crowd - since when did Cracker become a crowd surfing band? Lots of crowd surfers, all of them in the latest Gap/Abercrombie fashion. Two of them came within grabbing distance of me, and one of them is now missing a shoe(see post about concerts below for details). And, ladies, if you are going to crowd surf with a mini-skirt on, amongst a throng of drunken asshole frat boys...well, let's just say you are asking for trouble. Don't be shocked when you find it. There were several fights near the end of Cracker's set. Again, this is CRACKER, not Korn. Yet another reason why these type of things don't mix well with alcohol. And since I'm feeling judgmental, I was a bit taken aback by the high level of attire for many of the people there. Look, this is a sweaty outdoor show, not a trendy nightclub serving $10 martinis. A gaggle of these people arrived shortly before Cracker's set, congregating just behind me. I made the quick calculation that they would indeed be the type of self-indulgent screwups to talk through the entire set, so I moved. And sure enough, they spent the ENTIRE show standing in a circle talking to each other, occasionally getting on their cell phones. I swear, it's enough to make you want to bash their heads in with a spade.

::: posted by Chris at 11:04 PM

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