Sunday, January 15, 2017

Cracker at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill

David Lowery
Vocalist/guitarist David Lowery enjoyed alternative rock success with Camper Van Beethoven in the 1980s, but the group disbanded in 1990. He then connected with lead guitarist Johnny Hickman, whom he had befriended as teenagers in the music scene in Redlands, California. They relocated to Richmond, Virginia, formed Cracker in 1991. Cracker rode the wave of guitar-driven alternative rock in the early 1990s; the band's first two albums were hits and the band later had tracks on film and television soundtracks. Camper Van Beethoven re-formed in 1999, so Lowery now performs in both bands. Cracker is based currently in Athens, Georgia, and consists of Lowery, Hickman, pedal steel player Matt "Pistol" Stoessel, bassist Bryan Howard, and drummer Carlton "Coco" Owens. The band's 10th and most recent studio album is 2014's double Berkeley to Bakersfield.

Cracker followed Camper Van Beethoven's set tonight at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill. The similarities in Lowery's two bands was that the songs spun on his frequently wry, clever lyrics, and both sets hinted at alt-country-rock roots. The notable difference was that Cracker sparkled with Hickman's brash, rocking guitar leads and Stoessel's sliding pedal steel. Lowery's folk-styled vocal delivery ranged from doleful to playful, and was core to each song, but the band's brawny contributions lifted the songs with oomph and color. Jonathan Segel of Camper Van Beethoven also played fiddle on a few Cracker songs. It also helped that the whimsical lyrics of "Teen Angst" and "Euro-Trash Girl" were still amusing after 20 years. Cracker's music ranged from grunge to Americana, but all of it uniformly light-hearted and sharp-witted, making Cracker a unique band still.

Visit Cracker at www.crackersoul.com.

Setlist:
  1. Loser (Jerry Garcia cover)
  2. Almond Grove
  3. One Fine Day
  4. Gimme One More Chance
  5. California Country Boy
  6. El Comandante
  7. Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)
  8. Wedding Day
  9. Low
  10. Sweet Potato
  11. This Is Cracker Soul
  12. Euro-Trash Girl
  13. Beautiful
  14. Another Song About the Rain
  15. Encore: Mr. Wrong