CONCERT REVIEW: Sea & Cake @ Johnny Brendas


BY JOE PAONE MATH-ROCK CORRESPONDENT Back in the mid-90s, when I first saw The Sea and Cake at Silk City, the Chicago quartet’s performance was an anomaly in my twenty-something post-hardcore world. Firstly, the band wore shirts with buttons! Secondly, the audience wore a lot of leather and seemed to be into “fashion.” Thirdly, the music was a mite too smoooooth for me, although I enjoyed their records very much and found them perfect for mellowing out awkward twenty-something sexual encounters.


Anyway, the band appeared last night at Johnny Brenda’s, nearly 20 years older and having lost absolutely none of its panache. Downstairs, some of the sleaziest 70s soft-rock tunes were spinning and got me in the perfect mood for the show. What struck me, what I didn’t really expect, was that The Sea and Cake in the world of 2012 actually rocked. It was a headbobbing, butt-moving, spine-tingling experience. Perhaps it’s because I’m older and their intensity and nuance finally grabbed a solid hold of the rock-craving slice of my brain. Perhaps it’s because so much indie rock these days sounds like it was made by happy, chill kidz on Xanax. Get off my lawn!

The show was moved to JBs from Union Transfer because of low ticket sales, which must have been a bummer for the band. Ironic, too, because it seems like the world is finally ready for the jazz-rock of The Sea and Cake, but no one really knows what they’re missing. Communication breakdown! So there’s a rave review to help spread the word. Also, Johnny Brenda’s makes terrific food and I don’t think they get nearly enough credit for it.