Returning in 2011 after a 6-year absence, Music Midtown has grown to become Atlanta’s largest musical event. Previously featuring bands like Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters and Coldplay, the festival has continued to expand it’s size and popularity, now spanning two days on 3 stages.
Cake’s appearance at the Raleigh Amphitheater didn’t include their disaffected traffic serenade “Long Line of Cars,” but it did contain a long line of songs from the band’s 20-year career. In fact, “Long Line of Cars” was about the only song they didn’t play that would be expected by the 3,000 or so people in attendance. Armed with a disdain for cameras of any kind and a relatively modest production featuring a disco ball and desert backdrop, the veteran band unfurled two separate sets full of aging college radio gems, indelible alternative hits, and new songs.
There was a time in my life when five concerts in one week wasn’t all that rare. But those days are long gone and now I’ve reached a point where one show a week can be a lot to deal with on a regular basis. But I find myself especially excited about five shows I will be attending in the next five weeks.
This list also serves as proof just how spoiled someone living in NYC really is in terms of music. There really are dozens of choices on any given night and anytime you are looking to hear some great music, you can always find something. Alright, let’s get down to it…
1. Elton John – Madison Square Garden – Wednesday, March 30
Elton John has more hits than most artists have songs and he has been a longtime member on my “bucket list” of artists I need to see before they stop touring. That list also includes David Bowie and Jeff Mangum (see you in October at Town Hall). Elton had his “number” retired at MSG back in 2007 when he performed his 60th show at the venue on his 60th birthday.
Take away the good (Almost Famous) and bad (27 Dresses) Hollywood singalongs, and Elton is still one of the most prolific and productive rockers of all time. Playing his greatest hits and selections off his album with Leon Russell, this show should be well worth the somewhat steep price of admission.
READ ON for the other four show’s Luke will be hitting…
Showroom of Compassion, Cake's newest album, is no exception to this recipe. After a nearly seven year break (Has it really been that long?), McCrea and company have returned with another great—not mind-blowing—but great album. Which is totally fine—in today's "Make A Grand Statement" age, it's nice to know that Cake are still the great little band we've always loved, even if they aren't blowing anyone's minds. This time around, the band did decide to record with 100% solar energy, which is undeniably impressive, but outside of that press release-clogging tidbit, pretty much nothing has changed.
One can’t help but wonder if this is John McCrea circa 2010, looking back on his band’s heyday and comparing the earlier glory to the difficult task ahead of starting over, attempting to acquire a new audience while at the same time inspiring a new group of fans who may have missed Cake’s previous chart-topping run of hits. Like the syndicated sitcoms, Cake may not be must-see TV, but they are good enough to get you through the evening.
Photos by Michael Weintrob of Lollapalooza 2005, held July 23 & 24, 2005 at Grant Park in Chicago, IL. Artists included Perry Farrell’s Sattelite Party, Liz Phair, Cake, Dinosaur Jr., Spoon, Kasabian, The Killers, Billy Idol, Primus, Brians Jonestown Massacre, Dandy Warhols and Weezer.
Micheal Weintrob’s status as one of America’s most talented young music photographers brought him to the attention of NPR for which he was the subject of a jazz music special, and was commissioned to photograph Benny Powell and Femi Kuti jazz workshops in New Orleans. A number of magazines and newspapers have profiled his work, the most recent of which was the New York Post. His photographs have appeared in numerous national publications including Drum and Bass Player Magazine, Bass Guitar, Mix, Downbeat, Pollstar, Stuff, Us Weekly, Remix and Rollingstone.