Entering the Black Cat main stage Thursday evening, one was thrown into 1997. The fans were dressed in over-sized sweaters and ill-fitting jeans, most of which they probably bought in 1997. The Sea and Cake were dressed similarly and took the stage quietly.
The cool kids had stayed home, leaving room for everyone else to spread out, ensuring everyone quite enough personal space. This isn’t to say that the club was empty, it wasn’t, there was just an awareness about everyone as not to be too close to anyone else if they could help it. Perhaps it was a respect and regard for fellow concert goers that I’m not used to, but it felt like a room full of wallflowers at the eighth grade formal.
They opened with “Weekend,” off 2008’s Car Alarm and continued off that album with “On A Letter,” “The Staircase,” and “Window Sills.” Each transition was smooth, their precision was impressive, each note was sharp—though they’ve been at this awhile, I suppose it should be expected.
The Sea and Cake | Weekend
As they continued, we went deeper into their catalog with each whispered line from Sam Prekop taking us further back. “Middlenight” off 2007’s Everybody was followed by “Afternoon Speaker” from 2000’s Oui, before we finally got to hear a song off this year’s The Moonlight Butterfly, “Up On The North Shore.” It was “Exact to Me” that really started to resonate throughout the audience. While movement was sparse, their attention was piqued as the heavy jazz riffs picked up.
For White Denim fans, The Sea and Cake are like a grown up, more controlled version. They have maintained a heavy resemblance to both Jazz and Jam while somehow being a Rock band.
The end of their set was a smattering of their earliest work. “Jacking the Ball” from their first album was a pleasant surprise, as was “The Argument” from 1997’s The Fawn. Though I was hoping they would have played more from The Moonlight Butterfly—it only has six songs, of which they played three. Their set spanned fifteen songs, though felt shorter due to the quickness in which they played, there were few breaks, and even fewer words addressing the audience. They ended their set with an expanded version of “Leeora” from 1995’s The Biz.
The Sea and Cake | Lyric
When they arrived back on stage for an encore, they sauntered, or politely started playing, as “tore” and “broke into” seem too aggressive to describe the manner in which they play. First, “An Echo In” from their Glass EP, followed by the dreamy “Lyric”—the last song they played from this year’s Moonlight Butterfly. They closed the evening with “Parasol” from their second album, Nassau. “Parasol” leaves one with a sense of longing, there should be something more, but something is missing. Perhaps it was what Prekop had mentioned before, that they still have something greater in them.
The Sea and Cake | Parasol
On a Letter
Up On The North Shore
Exact to Me
A Fuller Moon
Jacking the Ball
An Echo In