Saturday, December 29, 2007


“This is cracker soul, it comes so easily.” – David Lowery, Cracker

My nostalgia reared its head again Friday when I noticed the Independent’s marquee advertising a second night of Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker, two bands fronted by David Lowery. How could I resist? I was attending UC Santa Cruz at the height of the Camper craze, the phenom aided as much by the fact that the indie band called Santa Cruz home at the time, as by their smart, wry lyrics about taking skinheads bowling and revolutionary sweethearts. It was common to see members in line for late morning breakfasts at Zach’s and at the occasional house party. The band played at campus events and in the parking lot of Cymbaline Records. Like a good percentage of the student body at the time, I harbored a crush on the lead singer... but hormones aside, the band did Santa Cruz proud with its smarts and musicianship.
As a frontman for Cracker post CVB, I really fell for Lowery, the band, and notably lead guitarist Johnny Hickman, giving him more room to dig deeper into both his quirky confused emotionalism and rock and roll.
I haven’t been listening to either band of late, but my reaction to The Independent show was consistent with my previous responses. Everyone’s 20 years older [“No moshing,” Lowery admonished the audience from the stage after an overzealous 40-something started crashing into people up in front. “Someone might break a hip.”], Lowery remains skinny, hot and nerdy all the same, (he changed his argyle sweater between sets), and CVB are still the too-cool-for school hip commentators with a penchant for jamming, while Cracker are the guys who might not know how to make sense of it all, but have no problem expressing their alternately pissed off/disenchanted/curious/confounded/lust-filled feelings about the world. Per usual, the punked up waltzes of CVB made me smile, but Cracker’s “Low”, “Cracker Soul” and “Big Dipper” (lines such as "...cigarettes and carrot juice/get yourself a new tattoo..." taking me back to Santa Cruz in an instant) got me, respectively, laughing, dancing and tearing up. The nostalgia of it all was boosted when I ran into one person from college and another from high school. Yee-ahh

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