During my sophomore biology class in high school, a bubbly classmate pleaded for help getting Peachcake to play an upcoming dance. That feels like an eternity ago, but eight years later, the band is still going strong. I have no idea if they ended up playing since
I didn't have a date school dances are totally lame, but I'm certain that Peachcake would have been a lot more fun than hearing a DJ play Fall Out Boy over and over again at senior prom.
Last night was my very first Peachcake show. Yes, I know, I've been living under a rock since 2003. Word of mouth has hyped the band's live performances to be quite the spectacle, so needless to say, I was looking forward to this show.
Peachcake held the August residency at The Rogue, playing four Saturdays in a row with an array of local talent. Last night was the final residency, featuring Genre, Boys and Frogs, and Dry River Yacht Club.
Boys and Frogs have garnered comparisons to The Arcade Fire, and it's easy to see why after listening to recent EP, Rain Dance Snowed In. Michael Alexander may not sing like Win Butler, but the band employs similar grand, baroque instrumentation. Appearing as a trio last night, the band's sound was not quite as complex as the record, instead favoring a surf rock aesthetic and funk bass riffs. Their set embraced a lighthearted summertime feel, right down to the random aquatic documentary playing in the background.
Alexander was in high spirits and did not hesitate to announce his birthday. "I just want your sympathy...and beer," he said, emphasizing that he cannot drink birthday wishes. The amusing banter continued as he introduced "A Child Cries," a song written a couple days ago in New York. "That's why Steve Jobs retired. He's heard everything he needed to hear. That, and he has cancer."
The crowd relaxed during Boys and Frog's set, saving energy for Peachcake. Feather boas and confetti cannons were ideal accessories for Peachcake's upbeat mix of electronica, disco, and indie pop. Singer/percussionist Stefan Pruett had a few costume changes, including a suit jacket with tails, a shirt that reads "I Don't Care," animal hats, and goggles. The entire band wore colorful clothing to match their incessant high energy.
The core trio made full use of the venue, constantly jumping around on stage. Pruett and guitarist/synth player Mike McHale frequently waded into the crowd to dance and clap. Harry Farrar used a laptop to keep the beat going while synth players grabbed string instruments and Pruett played an electronic drum kit, complete with a cowbell.
The band often encouraged the audience to dance, "I don't know why this dance floor is empty. It's making us uncomfortable, which makes you uncomfortable," Pruett said. The amount of people dancing varied from song to song, but always included 10 or so people dancing like crazy.
The majority of Peachcake's set was comprised of songs from This Wasn't Our Plan and upcoming full-length album Unbelievable Souls. The new material was as well received as old songs like "Welcome To The Party To Save The World!", one of the first Peachcake songs ever written.
"You Matter" was one of the most memorable moments of the night, featuring the largest dancing crowd. Pruett introduced it as a new single and "the number one song of the year." Of course, that's a subjective judgment, but it could be on par with LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem." Most of the non-dancing fans looked entertained or puzzled throughout the evening.
After 2008's "Stop Acting Like You Know More About The Internet Café Than Me," Pruett said, "If that didn't get you riled up, I don't know what will, except something inappropriate, this song might do it," as he explained that "Were We Ever Really Right?" an unreleased song, is a cultural mashup -- part Sesame Street, part James Murphy, and part The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints.
Audience participation is a fickle art, but Peachcake did their best to make sure everyone had a good time.
Setlist: 1. Don't Panic, It's Organic (unreleased) 2. Speaking Of Handouts, I Got You Something 3. Step Away From My Destiny! (unreleased) 4. Hundreds And Hundreds of Thousands 5. Unbelievable Souls (unreleased) 6. Welcome To The Party To Save The World! 7. You Matter 8. Stop Acting Like You Know More About The Internet Café Than Me 9. Were We Ever Really Right? (unreleased) 10. Who Are These People And Why Does This Music Suck?
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Dry River Yacht Club closed out this diverse line up with some danceable gypsy rock/folk jams. Leading lady Garnet took the stage, wishing the crowd a happy Saturday and announcing that the band had been drinking all day. DRYC now has a second violinist who serves as the band's eighth permanent member.
Garnet introduced a song "about her mom" and ended up playing The Doors' "Alabama." I'm not sure if she intended to play "Dead Mother Dearest," but it was pretty hilarious to hear her sing about whiskey bars. Their set was cut short due to a guitar malfunction. Garnet apologized and said, "We are done now, but we can get drunk for the next 30 minutes."
Critic's Notebook: Last Night: Peachcake's Fourth and Final Residency at The Rogue Bar. Personal Bias: I've wanted to see Peachcake live for awhile now. The Crowd: Quite diverse, young and old, casual and dressed up. Overheard: "Are those their moms?" Random Notebook Dump: It would have been fun to see Peachcake play a school dance.