Cracker | 07.31.08

live_cracker_sm.jpgFor the diehard fans, this was a welcome return, and three days of pent-up work stress were unleashed that night in the form of dancing, beer bottle salutes, cheers and applause.

 

 

Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room, St. Louis

With a "Hi, we’re Cracker" introduction and a thank you to the opening band, Cracker launched into One Fine Day in front of a packed house at the Duck Room. The crowd was a spectrum of head-bobbing college kids to dancing, leather-clad 50-somethings, all singing along (sometimes not so silently) to the music. There was That Guy, the one who dared to wear the Cracker t-shirt to the Cracker concert…actually, there were probably more than ten That Guys. For the diehard fans, this was a welcome return, and three days of pent-up work stress were unleashed that night in the form of dancing, beer bottle salutes, cheers and applause.

Cracker followed their opener with three solid songs from their newest album, Greenland, a mix of roots rock and hard blues. Tight, crunchy guitars and mean, chest-thumping bass lines were the order for the first half of the set, until they settled into their numerous hits (including a couple from the Camper Van Beethoven days), including "Teen Angst," "Eurotrash Girl," "Happy Birthday to Me," "Get Off This," "Take the Skinheads Bowling" and "Low."

Sporting an off-white polo, puka necklace and fedora, lead singer/guitarist Dave Lowery often seemed to take himself a bit too seriously, despite the contrary nature of his lyrics. Lowery let his guard down about a third of the way through the set, pulling out his Gibson guitar painted in stars and stripes, saying, "I borrowed this from Toby Keith." The guitar later "inconveniently" broke a string. After finishing the song, he exited the stage with his guitar and duffle bag, leaving the rest of the group to take over for awhile. Lead guitarist John Hickman was more than happy to oblige, assuming singing duties for a couple of songs before Lowery’s return. Hickman was way over the top, flashing smiles and snarling smirks equally to the crowd, bearing down on lengthy guitar solos in almost every song. You couldn’t help but love him though, because he was that damn good – and if you don’t like guitar rock, you shouldn’t be at a Cracker show.

Upon making his return, Lowery irritably shrugged off a fan who was trying to talk to him. Karma came back to haunt him when he botched the beginning of his first song back; he stopped playing and said, "Let’s do this again." The crowd loved the brief show of humanity and roared its support. Cracker went on to finish its lengthy, energized set, returning for two encores until both fans and band were satisfied. When Cracker left the stage for the final time, fans still stomped and cheered, and this time it was the fans saying, "Let’s do this again." | Kory Kunze

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