And the winner is... Joshua Cross!
Congratulations on the great review. It was close but you came out on top! I love getting reviews from fellow fans for this site and I hope I keep getting reviews like these so that the spirit of live Cracker can come across for everyone who couldn't be there.
All the submitted reviews are listed below and have been included in the main reviews index under their respective dates.
Inside story here-- Apelife, the band I'm in, got an opening slot for Cracker
at the most recent asheville NC show at the asheville music zone.
We showed up at the club early and decided to go do what bands do that show up early. Have beer. And eat. And that we did.
When we got to the club Cracker had already loaded in and was doing soundcheck. And hell, it sounded great. I could have left after that and had my money's worth. Be My Love and two others. Sorry, I wasn't taking notes.
We did our show, went over pretty good and got the hell off and started drinking so we could enjoy ourselves and relax.
The band came on right on time, looking relaxed. They were in good spirits and the sound and mix were spot on. They opened with a new tune (sorry, I wasn't taking notes, just sips) and launched in to some favorite such as Eurotrash Girl- which totally sounded like a wall of sound when the chorus kicked in. Brandy seemed happier than usual and was giving it the good uh-huh vibe. Johnny and Dave were linked in like Mik and Keef might have been locked in years ago-- and the rest of the group keep the music alive and pumping, yet not overbearing.
I didn't keep a setlist, I never do. I can't. I won't. It's distracting me. But I remember very well the vibe. Cracker, as it were, proved once again they are a great american rock band. The songs have a great combo of Randy-Newman like observatory power with the absolute power of great rock music. Johnny (as he proved on Lonesome Johnny Blues) is the knobs of the band, the cajones & David is the mind. It's the perfect balance, the yin and yang, the sacco and vanzetti, the don and phil, the peas and cornbreads. Their amps and words equally blaze off each other.
The songs are put together like they were all intended to be singles. And when they do the singles (Low, Teen Angst) the crowd jumps for joy. Like Ellington and Hodges up there bringing out the jive in an audience that migth never get this kinda of thrill on a Sunday night anywhere else in North Carolina. But the band doesn't loose a beat doing more obscure cuts (Dr. Bernice, Happy Birthday to Me) and anything off Gentlemen's Blues reminds that I've waited for years for a album that has the same UMPH and repeat play of NRBQ's best.
By the end of the set the band is sweating, the audience is dancing and sweating, everybody who can (and some who can't) sing along. Encores are sweet and Brandy puts a ciggarette smoker in his place for blowing smoke up her bass. The music takes you away. You forget you are covered in Smoke and Sweat. You're having fun like the fun you had playing at the beach as a kid. Everybody forgives everybody for whatever.
The band finishes off and hangs around for chats and such. The cracker fans from around the east coast (Philly, Virginia, etc.) are some of the nicest folks ever. Fans but not obsessive types. Intelligent types who can still have a decent conversation at two in the morning. We laugh and joke some more with everybody. Johnny actually can name some songs we played and we talk about those. We finally pile into our van, them into our bus, the fans into their cars for long drives up 81. But everybody has the exact same smile on their face, irregardless of who's driving and where they are going, happy to have gone where they just have been.
I've seen Cracker about five times in North Carolina. All good solid shows.
But, the show in downtown Charlotte, NC at the Speed Street festival was certainly
one of the best. This was on May 26, 2001.
Naturally, it was shorter than a nightclub show. But, the set list was excellent. The sound was great too, though just one notch above too loud. Many folks in the crowd were covering their ears and glaring at the sound guy. However, the quality of the sound was excellent.
I moved from the soundborad area towards the front. Thoroughly enjoyed the great view. Johnny was so hot. His harp playing was on fire too.
David seemed to be in a great mood. Joking and talking a little more than usual between songs.
This was the second time that I've seen Brandi. Glad to see her more annimated and playing hard. How she does that deep back bend, I'll never know.
Anyway, the show ended. No encore, which dissappointed most everyone. Overall, one of the best Cracker shows I've seen.
This review by: Evan Jones
123 Pleasant Street - Morgantown, WV
June 30, 2000I'm still waking up from the show on Friday night in Morgantown. I
still can't believe Cracker came here, and I was 6 feet from David
and Johnny! We talked to them after the show, they signed our CD
liners. These guys were on their best behavior. No sign of a
cigarette, and mostly drinking bottled water. They were extra kind,
polite, and seemed happy to talk to the fans that hung around.
Cracker took the stage at around 11:25pm and played over 2 hours. The
band seemed happy and content. Everyone seemed to be enjoying
themselves, except for Jeff the guitar tech. He seemed a little
distant and unfriendly, but I guess he has a shitty job. He was
having to battle the crowd to get guitars back and forth to the guys
through a small opening near the stage. He did loosen up after the
show and managed a smile or two.
David had on grey pants, short sleeved shirt and cool sandles. Johnny
had on plain blue pajamas. Kenny had on shades and was really great
working the accordian, even came out front and played it a couple of
times. Frank wore a cool black hat and looked dapper. Brandy was a
good addition to the band. She had a black shirt with big red lips
across the front of it, and tight black jeans that looked like they
were sprayed on her. She adds the female backup vocals that are
needed on a few of the songs. She and Johnny played dual acoustic
guitars and sang on Wedding Day and Trials and Tribulations. David
played bass on Wedding Day. David has really short hair. He looks
close to the picture on the 1st album, only even shorter hair, and a
few tours older.
For you instrument techies:
Johnny played the black Les Paul the whole night except 2 song he
played the Ibanez acoustic. He was shooting bullets at me with a
Hughes & Kettner head through a Marshall cabinet, and the normal
David mostly played the green Charvel Surfcaster, occasionally going
to a black Jackson surfy looking guitar. His acoustic was a black
Ibanez. He had a smaller Matchless combo amp on top of a 4x12
Marshall like cabinet.
Kenny had 2 Roland keyboards, and of course the great accordian.
Brandy had a natural bass (not sure of the brand), SWR cabinet and I
think a Gallien Krueger Amp. Her bass was too modern for my
Frank had a 4 piece Pearl set in Red stain. It appeared to be a 20"
bass, deep 12" or 13" tom and a 14" or so floor tom.
There you have it.
Caught the recent Cracker show in Indy at a the very intimate club Birdy's.
Pretty cool place, closed circuit TV's showing the concert throughout the club,
great sound although most present were talking through the whole gig. In any
event, set list as follows (in no particular order) : Euro Trash, Cracker Soul,
Teen Angst, Wedding Day, I Want Everything, Loser, St. Cajetan, Dr. Bernice,
Low, Get Off This, Been Around the World, One Fine Day + encores of 7 Days,
Sweet Potato and Big Dipper. I did miss the first 3-4 songs due to transportation
problem, so I'm not sure what those were.
Also, had the chance to meet and chat with David and Johnny for about 40 minutes after the show. They hung out, signed pretty much anything folks wanted signed and were very gratious with their time. New album in Sept / Oct(David told me the probable title, but I'm now drawing a blank) fall tour, plus various comments on drawing up set lists, solo recordings and why they do this thing called Cracker. Having seen them numberous times over the last 8 years, this was a nice treat.
Otto's In Dekalb IL June 23, 2001 Review
Otto's was a great show!
Frank singing "Happy Birthday To Me" for his own birthday was hysterical.
Johnny's solos absolutely blew us away. The guy is just oozing with personality.
Brandy looked like she was wasted, pissed-off, or both. But she still sounded good.
David sang and played incredibly as expected. I didn't notice any broken strings, but the view was partially obstructed by the 4 1/2 foot barricade wall that was constructed in front of the stage. (The stage was a little low for the enormous barrier that looked like it could stop a freight train cold).
The only disappointment was no St. Cajetan, and I don't remember Sweet Potato being played either.
I couldn't believe there were at least 2 fights that night-- one in the men's room and the other right in front of the stage. The men's room was as nasty as I remember it ten years ago, except for what looked like a fresh coat of paint over the urinals and a few new layers of messages on the condom machine. I was impressed when David shared his disappointment with the fight in front of the stage and told security that they were taking away the wrong guy. (The other guy started the whole thing) (Maybe that was why they built the great wall in front of the stage).
This was my first opportunity to see Cracker live-- it was everything I had hoped it would be, and more (with the exception of St. Cajetan--I thought for sure it would make it into the encore.
Great show, Great time.
6-6-01 starrhill c'ville,VA
from what i remember of the setlist last night they played:
One Fine Day
Been Around the World
Lonesome Johnny Blues
Heaven Knows I'm Lonely
Ain't It Strange
I Want Everything
Sweet Thistle Pie
Get Off This
there may be a song or two i left out, but i don't think so. also, i'm
almost positive that's not in the right order.
highlights for me were the new songs (which i think one fine day is one of
the best songs they've written), heaven know i'm lonely (which i've never
heard live), and i want everything (which i had also never heard live).
wedding day, dr. bernice and eurotrash girl were awesome as usual. sweet
thistle pie was incredible w/ shannon coming up on stage and singing with
them. she has an amazing voice! and i loved the virtual sex thing david and
brandy did during the song... i've got three questions about that: 1) how
the hell does she bend over like that in the first place? 2) how does she do
it in those shoes? 3) how does she play her bass while doing it? she amazes
when they started to do i want everything, david's acoustic started getting
feedback, and i was really afraid they weren't going to do the song. but
luckily they did it w/ david playing the trusty charvel instead. that was
really amazing. i love that song! kenny had a really cool, trippy little
keyboard solo in loser, and after it david sang the chorus part for a third
time. i was also happy to hear that song. during get off this, david started
the "fuck the slice we want the pie" thing. johnny and brandy were still
doing the na-na-nas, and then all of a sudden brandy started belting out
these amazing powerful notes w/ her voice. completely caught me off guard. i
looked up, and she had sort of a surprised look on her face too, almost if
she wasn't expecting it either. then david announced that he was losing his
voice, thanked us for coming, and they walked off. everyone was still
clapping, and frank ran back onstage and yelled "ah, shut the fuck up" or
something along those lines. then they came back and did sweet potato, then
david said his voice was really not feeling too well, and that he couldn't
do anymore, and they left for good.
the band that opened for them, gift horse, was alright. sort of reminded me
of weezer for some reason. they weren't anything especially excellent, but
better than some of the opening acts cracker's had in the past. before the
show, amber and i were going to a ben & jerry's there in charlottesville,
and when we were about to go inside this family of 40 people came
out--definitely an extended family, as there were about 6 sets of adults,
and dozens of small children. most of the children were carrying buckets
(literally, these huge plastic buckets that had cows on them) full of ice
cream. all of a sudden one of the women starts rattlying off this long
string of names, and the last three she said were "peter paul and mary" and
she said it in that order. we couldn't believe it, and laughed about that
for the rest of the night.
i thought the venue for the show was pretty cool. had a nice atmosphere, and
was basically just a big open room. there were a lot of people there last
night! it was so hot in the midst of all those people! surprisingly, i can't
remember anyone yelling for low, and they didn't play it. amber and i were
in front of brandy, almost at the front of the stage. we were standing
behind brandy's family--they came out for the show!--until a bunch of really
drunk people pushed their way up there and pushed us back. made me mad, cos
i was so much shorter than them! that, and i had been in the club since 8!
i know i'm rambling, and not really talking about things in any sort of
order. i'm tired and excited. i thought it was one of the best cracker shows
i've seen yet. i really hope that someone out there recorded it! after the
show, amber and i hung around for a bit. we went up to frank, and i told him
i thought it was the best show they'd done. he thanked me and asked where
i'd seen them before. i rattled off the list, and he told me that they all
had a lot of fun up there last night. you could tell they were enjoying
themselves. i chatted w/ frank for a few more minutes, and he thanked me for
supporting them, and i thanked him for giving me such wonderful music to
support, and then we made our way to johnny. johnny talked to us for a good
10 minutes. we talked about david's voice for a long time (johnny was not
very happy that david was over near the bar talking to people with his voice
not feeling well). he said that, naturally, if david didn't feel better
there would not be a show at ziggy's. i told johnny he could sing all his
songs. he laughed and said that would take about half an hour. then we
talked about him trying to sing david's songs, and joked about them doing an
instrumental set. i asked him about the new album. he said september,
hopefully. he said they're still trying to narrow the 25-27 songs they have
recorded down to enough to put on one cd. as he put it, it's time to start
killing their babies, and talked about how attached he and david are to the
songs, many of which will have to be cut, and how attached they are to one
another's songs. i told him they should release what they can't fit on this
album on another album or on the website. he said he would really like to
release an ep of what gets cut, but eps don't sell too well anymore. and we
talked about a bunch of other stuff, but i won't get into all that.
thanks for reading this, if you have! i felt like rambling, and where better
to do it? i'm bummed that the show tonight at ziggy's is cancelled since i
was going to drive the three hours again to see them, but i can completely
understand why. david's voice really did sound scratchy and soar. luckily
last night was awesome!