“No, man. Seriously. What’s the name of the band?” You can’t really blame people for asking that same question over and over again. The Sea And Cake, such a peculiar name for a peculiar band with such a peculiar sound and 9 studio albums in their catalog. Basing that sound in jazz and rock, but mixing it with beats from drum machines from time to time, and keeping the tone of it all as soft as possible; going to one of their shows is a real treat for the ears.
The thing is, it was actually a treat for the eyes and the stomach two. The concert took place at the Voilà Acoustique, a concert venue located inside Antara, one of México City’s top shopping malls. As I had never ever been aware of its existence in such a location, this writer didn’t know what to expect. Those worries disappeared once stepping onto the dark red carpets which lead one inside an all red and small Parisian-like theater. With a ceiling full of lights, red round tables across the venue, two floors, a wooden stage and even a red curtain it was worth asking, “am I dreaming?”
The experience you get from this place is a 180 degree turn compared to what most concerts are like in México city: no mosh pits, sweat, screams, beer rain, over-priced tickets, bad view of the band, and worst of all – crappy sound. No. This was a dinner-and-show concert, with wine, strong liquor, comfortable seats, waiters, and the band just a few feet from your eyes; it didn’t matter where you were watching from. One couldn’t help but think they would be luck attend this kind of show before their 60th birthday. It’s always nice to try new things, meet new venues and try out new concert concepts. And as soon as those red curtains opened up, the night began.
The Sea and Cake’s Jacking the Ball
Four men, without props, laser show, screens, huge stacks or any other distractions appeared on stage and began to play the first notes from Weekend. Their identities: Sam Prekop, Archer Prewitt, Eric Claridge and John McEntire. They sound like an extremely light version of the Smashing Pumpkins at times, and as if Perfume Genius was performing with a backing band in others.
The softness of the music itself, the mood it created as it began to be played, the way it filled the small Voilà Acoustique and the way it was heard by such a few lucky people: that’s when it all made sense. Venues such as this make an intimate moment with a band you love possible and memorable, something bigger venues and higher attendance concerts lack of. Sure, it is great to listen to your favorite song through a thousand speakers and sing along with another 10,000 throats. But sometimes, less is more.
Along came the Pavement-like On A Letter, the incredible Jacking The Ball, Midtown and, in the middle of their set, half of the attendants stood up of their seats and began to dance at the back of the Voilà; in order to avoid blocking the view for the rest of the public. And we all kept on dancing through the magnificent Leeora, the more technologized tunes An Echo In and Lyric, up to the icing on The Sea And Cake and final tune of the night: Parasol.
Parasol fits perfectly as the soundtrack for a closure moment; it was perfect like those final minutes before the curtains faded the place back to black once and for all, at least for that Friday night. It talks about saying goodbye to things, experiences and moments. Unexpected moments like this one: so private, so simple yet memorable. Quoting the lyrics: As a calling so amaze me, so it leaves me every day, well I’ll never be the same, but I’m yours today; real on time real on time, lay rest the sugar, lay rest the holiday, lay rest the parasol… And so, lay rest this experience, this night and the wonderful sound waves and flavor delivered by The Sea And Cake.
Jorge A. López Mendicuti | Senior Writer