Live Report: Cracker - Rolling Stone
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Live Report: Cracker

9:30 Club, Washington, D.C., Aug. 25, 1998

Cracker’s David Lowery sauntered onstage Tuesday night equipped
with a peculiar shit-eatin’ grin and some extra crunch in his
Tennessee-whiskey vocals. Not that the lead singer is usually a
surly bastard, but there was obviously something special going on
inside that scruffy blond melon.

Perhaps he was jazzed to be in proximity to his makeshift home of
Richmond, Va. Or maybe the former Camper Van Beethoven cut-up was
relieved to still be performing for sold-out crowds after Cracker’s
last effort, The Golden Age, took a swan dive into the
commercial crapper.

Then again — and this is what I like to believe — maybe Lowery
was so damn pumped up because that very morning, his band’s fourth
and most inventive album, Gentleman’s Blues, was hitting
store shelves everywhere. Don’t call it a comeback, Lowery seemed
to smile, but Cracker just caught a second wind.

“Our new record came out today, so we’re a little drunk,” joked
Lowery, who always manages to sound like a weekend smoker at Sunday
brunch. “So please don’t take advantage of us.” The down-to-earth
band, however, was anything but tipsy, feverishly pumping out
jangly, earthy tunes ’til everyone in-house was properly fed.

Cracker opened the ninety-minute show with two new tunes: the Tom
Petty-esque “Been Around the World,” a slow groove highlighted by
guitarist Johnny Hickman and keyboard man Kenny Margolis battling
for the solo spotlight, and the Stonesian “Seven Days,” in which
Lowery acknowledges the band’s recent popularity fade and
subsequent screw-it-all ‘tude (“So we were standing around fading
in and out of fashion/While Amerikids dug Eurobeats … But there
ain’t nothing that you got that we don’t need/Did I say that

The band would show off several other cuts from Gentleman’s
— first single “The Good Life” and rowdy, down-South
shout-out “The World Is Mine” deserve to be hits — yet the crowd
would nevertheless respond most favorably to the well-worn anthems:
“Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now),” “Eurotrash Girl,” “Low”
and a particularly punkish “Flower Power Maximum.”

Seemingly sober (and maybe encountering the ugly edges of a
hangover), the band encored with clean, quick takes on “This Is
Cracker Soul” and forever favorite “Get Off This.” And while the
boys were probably done drinking for this evening, if
Gentleman’s Blues performs at cash registers the way
itshould, there will be much rejoicing (and bottle-opening) in the
good old days to come.


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