Matt and/or Soledad
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Heaven Knows I'm Lonely
Happy Birthday To Me (birthday boy Frank on lead vocals)
Sweet Thistle Pie
I Ride My Bike
Take Me Down to the Infirmary (false start, never continued playing)
The Golden Age
Been Around the World
You Bring Us Down
Get Off This (D'Angelo-style this time)
This Is Cracker Soul
Lonesome Johnny Blues
Ain't That Strange
One Fine Day
Otto's has a pretty small floor, with a cozy balcony in the back. They disgrace the fine beers they have on tap by serving them in very large, hard plastic cups, and sell them to patrons who are there just looking to start fights. Thank god they had Spotted Cow in bottles.
Billhouse, the opener, were a pretty tight band--definitely better than most of the crap I hear on the radio. When Cracker took the stage, David seemed slightly bewildered, and said that they'd never been to DeKalb before, and definitely not to Otto's. But the first highlight of the night was Frank being told he had to sing Happy Birthday to Me, in honor of his 39th birthday. The band and crowd helped him along with the lyrics, though he never seemed like forgetting them, and even managed to sing it without exactly duplicating David's style. Unfortunately, after this time the rowdies started shoving into me and everyone else nearby. Chief among them was this guy in a SPAM t-shirt, who was so determined to make a spectacle of himself that he's not worth devoting any more time here describing his antics. Maybe he was just mad that my friend Jeremy and I didn't flirt back with him in the beer line earlier--how could he not notice my wedding band?
Highlight #2 was I Ride My Bike. Not only had I never heard it live before, but Johnny did a bunch of things with the guitar I had never heard before. Sorry, if I was more of a gearhead I could describe it better, but that'll have to do. I think they were so winded after this one that they did false-started on Infirmary and never came back to it.
Highlight number three was the three new songs, including You Bring Us Down this time.
If I could have seen this show in a bubble and just experienced the music, and not the rowdy contingent of the audience, it would have been spectacular. Unfortunately, by the end, with people like SPAM guy, and this large man yelling for Useless Stuff all night, trying to agitate others by knocking around into everyone else, some people near me (just to the right of David) who came there for the music just left early. Then, when just before and during Low, about 3 or 4 different scuffles broke out, as the locals rushed the front of the stage for the one song they knew. Maybe one bouncer came out to break it up. When they finished Low, David said they had the wrong guy, and helped identify the major instigator. Only after all this did a group of about eight bouncers come through. I was surprised they even came back for an encore, but I'd be more surprised if they ever play Otto's again.
Still, it was worth the Cracker experience.
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