Cracker & Camper Van Beethoven
Saturday, Jan 14, 2012 7:00 PM EST
(6:00 PM Doors)
Highline Ballroom, New York, NY
Full dinner menu available
General Admission Standing Room
Limited seating available
First come, first seated
In the mid-'80s in Santa Cruz, California, singer-songwriter David Lowry formed Camper Van Beethoven, and the band's track “Take the Skinheads Bowling” became an instant college radio staple. When CVB disbanded on tour in Sweden following its second major label release, Lowery formed Cracker with his longtime friend, guitarist Johnny Hickman. Cracker’s emergent sound had less in common with Camper’s exotic excursions and was more in synch with the Kinks and Southern roots music.
Cracker released its self-titled debut on Virgin, and following the No. 1 modern rock hit “Teen Angst (What The World Needs Now),” the band became a minor commercial sensation. The platinum-selling Kerosene Hat (1993) contained the enormous, era-defining hit single “Low,” as well as “Get Off This” and “Eurotrash Girl.” When the dust settled, Cracker found itself with an ever-growing, devoted following both in the US (where fans refer to themselves as Crumbs) and throughout Europe. Today, the band stays well-connected to yet another generation of fans via internet, many of whom were kids when these alt-rock godfathers were first ruling rock radio. The group's latest release, Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey (2009), weaves decades of influences into an eerie yet strangely soothing story of escapism, apocalypse, and renewal that is still relevant as ever today.
CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN
At the time of its 1985 debut, Camper Van Beethoven's merging of punk, folk, ska, and world music was truly a revelation. Self-described as a "surrealist absurdist folk" outfit, the band formed in Santa Cruz, CA, and the 1985 re-release of its debut, Telephone Free Landslide Victory, made the Top 10 in the 1986 Village Voice Pazz and Jop poll. The group's next albums, II & III (1986) and Camper Van Beethoven (1986), followed suit. After two major releases on the Virgin label - Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart (1988) and Key Lime Pie (1989), CVP had taken the music as far as it could go and disbanded.
In 2002, CVP reunited for a nationwide tour on what seemed like a whim. The tour must have gone really well, because unexpectedly, the full band trooped into the studio to record a new album, titled New Roman Times - a release that, surprisingly enough, stands with the group's finest work. A loosely connected semi-rock opera telling the story of a Texas teenager who joins the military after a 9/11-like event, becomes disillusioned, and joins an anti-government militia, the disc is the most explicitly political record of Camper Van Beethoven's career, resurrecting and amplifying the themes that colored the band's previous two albums. The album is proof that CVP pulled off an exceptional trick. It not only reunited - it picked up exactly where it left off.