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Concert Review: Cake, Paper Lions

01-Oct-2008 12:45 AM Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
Paper Lions

Sound Academy in Toronto, Ontario
Photos and Review by: Pete Nema
Cake
Paper Lions
September 25, 2008
Full Photo Set (8 photos)

For me, Paper Lions were the big surprise of Virgin Festival this year. I realize it's not even a month later, but I wanted to get out and see them again. And since they were paired with Cake, one of my favourite bands from the 90's, it just seemed right.

Paper Lions

Much like the Paper Lions set at Virgin Festival, I started out just listening and enjoying, but was then slowly taken over by the thrill of their performance just before they reached the end of the set.

The band started out the set with a song called Strawberry Man which is a little too heavy on the harmonies for me, but still a very decent song, and built up the excitement from there, with John MacPhee (vocals, guitar) sometimes explaining how the songs came to be. Apparently, the band members of Paper Lions have been studying the movie Wayne's World. I know this because midway through the last song of their set they brilliantly spliced in a segment of Bohemian Rhapsody. It's an attention grabber for sure, but it is their original music and crazy rocking out that surrounds the Queen segment that is the real reason so many people headed to the merchandise table afterwards to buy the CD.

Paper Lions are playing in Toronto again on October 15th at the considerably more intimate Supermarket, which will be a great opportunity to get up close with this East coast band.

Paper Lions  Paper Lions  Paper Lions

Paper Lions  Paper Lions 

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Cake

The main event was of the night Cake, a band that I discovered around the same time that everyone else did... in 1996 (or maybe in 1997?) after Fashion Nugget was released, and both The Distance and the tongue-in-cheek cover of I Will Survive (originally by Gloria Gaynor) started to get radio airplay. Prior to that, Cake released one other studio album, and afterwards they released four more, all of which I've become a fan. I can't remember the details (in fact, I can't even remember the year), but I do remember that I had a great time when I saw them play The Opera House many years ago.

At the Sound Academy, the show was much the same, in the sense that I had a great time. John McCrea (vocals, guitar) is sarcastic performer, both with the music and with his banter that adds an environmental and political spin to the show. With all that in mind, I wasn't surprised to hear yet another cover of War Pigs, which has to be the #1 covered song of the last 4 years. Even so, that doesn't detract from its intended meaning, and I truly enjoyed hearing the Cake-ized version. Aside from urging us to vote, McCrea also used the show to give away a tree sapling to the first person who could guess the exact type of tree it would grow into. After an seemingly endless number of wrong guesses and McCrea asking "How far removed from nature are you people?" finally someone guessed it, and received the tree.

The set consisted of fan favourites that spanned all the way back to the first album Motorcade Of Generosity (which has recently been re-issued) and one new song that we were told would be on an upcoming album to be released sometime next year. The only song that was missing for me was Nugget, a track that I thought would've been appropriate given the other political attributes of the show. But with so many great songs to choose from, it would be impossible for Cake to satisfy everyone's secret set list desires.

[Sorry, no photos]

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