Cracker Acoustic Duo Saturday March 3, 2007 The Rex Theater Pittsburgh, PA

w/The Hackensaw Boys

St. Cajetan/Been Around The World/Eurotrash Girl/Something You Ain't Got/Duty Free/Dr. Bernice/I Want Everything/Might Makes Right*/O'Death*/Friends*/Teen Angst (What The World Needs Now)*/I'm So Glad She Ain't Never Coming Back*
Encore: One Fine Day/Low/Take The Skinheads Bowling

*-w/The Hackensaw Boys

The last time Cracker came to town, it was the first time in 21 years that I failed to attend a David Lowery related show! I wasn't about to do it again. Checking out  the Cracker message board on a whim a few weeks ago, I discover that Erin has a couple extra tickets for Pittsburgh. Anybody want them? Um...fuck yeah! Me and the missuss will have a night out. All we have to do is hook up with Ann before the show. Turns out Ann can't make the trip either and there is two more tickets up for grabs. I guess that means Mike and Ned are going too. We end up getting the tickets off Jackie and now my other brother and his wife wanna go. Waiting to go in The Rex someone offers up ANOTHER ticket they can't use! Damn, these Cracker fans are generous. Thanks Erin, Ann and Jackie!

The Hackensaw Boys opened with their fast-paced old-timey bluegrass love. They sounded really good in The Rex.

I mentioned on the message board that I would LOVE to hear 'St. Cajetan' acoustic. Damn, if they didn't open with it. As always they were great and I highly doubt I'll ever miss them again.

My man Steve has some video up here.

David Lowery and Johnny Hickman autographed Greenland CD cover

David Lowery and Johnny Hickman autographed flyer

David Lowery, Johnny Hickman, and The Hackensaw Boys autographed flyer test


 

Camper Van Beethoven Monday January 16, 2006 Club Cafe Pittsburgh, PA

w/ Trampled By Turtles

ZZ Top Goes To Egypt/Flowers/The Long Plastic Hallway/Circles/Balalaika Gap/Tania/Eye Of Fatima (Pt.1)>Eye Of Fatima (Pt.2)/Prelude>Sons Of The New Golden West/51-7/All Her Favorite Fruit/One Of These Days/Waka/Seven Languages/Might Makes Right/White Riot/(I Was So) Wasted/Shut Us Down/R'N'R Uzbekistan/That Gum You Like Is Back In Style/Good Guys And Bad Guys/Militia Song/Take The Skinheads Bowling/Abundance/Pictures Of Matchstick Men/ Club Med Sucks/InterstellarOverdrive

Encore: L' Aguardiente

Sixteen days into the new year and I will bet my left nad that I already saw the best show of 2006. Camper has been an absolute favorite of mine since I saw them in 1986. That was twenty years ago! Holy hell! They were soooo good tonight. They sound relaxed, tight and better than ever. 27 songs? You get lucky if a band plays a dozen or so. I hope they play another twenty years. This show was really fantastic.

Trampled By Turtles opened opened the night with some well crafted bluegrass. Never heard of them? Neither did I but check 'em out if you can.

Camper Van Beethoven autographed II + III and Camper Van Chadbourne CD covers

Camper Van Beethoven (sans Chris Pederson) autographed CVB Is Dead, Long Live CVB and New Roman Times CD covers

Victor Krummenacher hand written setlist

 

Talking to the guys in the band afterward has reinforced what I knew for a long time, Camper is my favorite band ever! Cool dudes all. Long live Camper Van Beethoven indeed!

Editor's note: Asking Greg about some requests he mentioned that we could work on them. A couple nights later they debut for the first night in their career 'Guardian Angels' (you know the Citi Bank bank commercial with the two little superhero kids) and  play a 'Interstellar Overdrive>Surprise Truck>Interstellar Overdrive' sammich. FFFFFFUUCKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Cracker (Unplugged Duo) Saturday December 3, 2005 Club Cafe Pittsburgh, PA

w/ David Berkeley

Been Around The World/Guarded By Monkeys/Dr. Bernice/Teen Angst/Mr. Wrong/Lonesome Johnny Blues/Euro Trash Girl/I Want Everything/
One Fine Day/Low/Big Dipper/Might Makes Right/All Her Favorite Fruit/Friends/Trials And Tribulations/Something You Ain't Got

Another sweet acoustic set from David Lowery and Johnny Hickman.

Singer/Songwriter David Berkeley opens the evening with a laid back set. I guess he wasn't getting much love from the audience. An excerpt from his tour blog:

Once again, the crowd at the Club Cafe was noisy and disrespectful, not what I needed after the license ordeal. But we pushed through--my head spinning trying to figure out what I was going two days later when I had to board a plane with no form of ID.

As my buddy Phil noted, "...no one cared because he sucked."

What is to be said about these guys. I love their tunes and with bare bones versions they sound great. I was kinda missing The Hackensaw Boys accompaniment but not much. David said little during the show. Someone yelled out a request for 'Movie Star' and I reiterated the plea. He simply said, "This song's better." They played 'I Want Everything' and sure enough it was better. He also mentioned Cracker is coming out with a new disc in the spring. I asked him the title and I think he said Elk?

Johnny Hickman autographed Cracker: Live @ Wavefest '98 CD

After the show I was hanging out with the buds and totally missed David leaving (uh-oh, Hughshows is slipping! Actually I was informed he was ill). I did catch Johnny on the way out and he was very nice and even remembered me (yeah, he better, I saw him three times in the last eight months.)


 

Ike Reilly/Johnny Hickman Tuesday May 31, 2005 Club Cafe Pittsburgh, PA

without L.P. (van broke down-are you kidding me?)

Ike Reilly and Johnny Hickman autographed ticket stub

Ike Reilly: Suffer For Trust/God And Money/Love And Mercy/My Wasted Friends/Waitin' For Daddy/Devil's Valentine/Don't Look Back In Anger/I Don't Want What You Got (Goin' On)/Commie Drives A Nova (aborted)/Eight More Days Till The Fourth Of July/Christ Is Heroin/Flowers On Down/Waitress At The End Of The Universe Cafe

Johnny Hickman: Friends/Costco Socks/Trials And Tribulations/Lucky/The Great Decline (Palmhenge II)/The San Bernadino Boy/Monster/Southern Cal/Little Tom/Wedding Day/Whole Lotta Trouble

So I am laying on the couch trying to take a nap after work. The Memorial Day weekend kicked my ass and I am hurting from five straight days of partying. The phone rings and my boy Mike has an extra ticket to tonights show. It's fucking Johnny Hickman. Yeah, I'm going. I make a promise to myself (and my wife) that I will enjoy the show sober. Now, in all the shows I have attended I never went to one without a little buzz goin'. EVER. To my amazement I had a great time with my $2 ginger ales. I saved the $15 I would have been slugging down Yuenglings all night and bought a shirt. This might be the start of something. Yeah right.

A decent crowd of about 45 people enjoy two guys who are normally "plugged in" perform acoustically for the first night of this mini-tour. I wasn't too familiar with Ike Reilly. I walked up to him before the show and he swears he knows me! Huh? Dude, not only have I never seen you play before, I never fucking heard of you. He insisted we met. I should've went along with him and asked him for the twenty he bummed from me. Seemed like a nice enough guy though. He played a haphazard set that was very loose and very good. The guy can write songs. The crowd was quiet and respectful while he played.

Johnny Hickman took to the stage and played a short set which consisted of most of his debut solo album Palmhenge. Now, I have said it before and I will say it again, Johnny Hickman is THE nicest guy in showbiz. There is something to say about a person's character who can be humble, gracious, and overtly pleasant to people when you are on the road constantly dealing with who knows what for long stretches at a time. Very cool dude. So Johnny's playing and the room's not so quiet anymore. Not majorly obnoxious but this is acoustic music. I turn to look at the cocksuckers yapping at the bar whooping it up, none other than Mr. Reilly and his crew. C'mon man, shut up. That's just a dick move.

He wanted to play more but the fucking club has Tommy's Mom playing at ten. Tommy's Mom? What the piss? You have a room full of people that you kick out so the three people who want to see TOMMY'S MOM are happy. I hate club owners. That name is just a bad band name. Not as bad as Booger Stew or My Bloody Anus, but bad just the same.

Here's Johnny's take on the night:

To all at the Pittsburgh show last night....my apologies for the short set. I did not know ahead of time that there was a show after us supposed to start 10:30 or I would have gone on sooner. Jeez...if poor L.P. had made it (broke down van) we would have all gotten to play like...20 minute sets. I had a great time regardless and once again sorry for the abbreviated set. I was getting the "one more song" flash light signal from the sound guy to cut it. Ahh...show biz. Best wishes all....see you soon. J

A working musician's desk.

Johnny Hickman and David Lowery autographed Kerosene Hat CD cover

Johnny Hickman autographed Palmhenge CD cover

Ike Reilly autographed Salesmen And Rascists CD back cover


David Lowery/Johnny Hickman Thursday April 7, 2005 Club Cafe Pittsburgh, PA

w/ The Hackensaw Boys

David Lowery and Johnny Hickman autographed ticket stub

Costco Socks*/Lucky*/Lonesome Johnny Blues*/Friends#/Sad Lover's Waltz#/Might Makes Right#/Teen Angst#/Dr. Bernice#/All Her Favorite Fruit/Sweethearts/Euro Trash Girl/Duty Free/51-7/That Gum You Like Is Back In Style/Low

Encore: The San Bernadino Boy#/O Death#/Take The Skinheads Bowling#

*-Johnny Hickman solo, #-w/ The Hackensaw Boys

WARNING: As a public service, HUGHSHOWS presents the following announcement,

DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH DAVID LOWERY...EVER!! BAD THINGS MIGHT HAPPEN!!

I have seen a David "Mr. Sunshine" Lowery perform a dozen times for twenty years. He is not the most personable guy to approach. While waiting outside for the doors to open, David and Johnny roll up to the venue and exit their van. I say "Hey, guys." Johnny says "Hello." "Mr. Sunshine" gives me a look like I just raped his mother and walks right by. Yikes, someone woke up on the wrong side of the Holiday Inn express cot. Now, I have been dealing with this guy a long time and know what to expect. His music is some of my favorite of all-time, so who cares if he's a cranky bastard?

The boys proceed to soundcheck 'That Gum You Like Is Back In Style', 'One Fine Day', and Neil Young's 'Out On The Weekend'. This "unplugged" shit sounds sa-fucking-weet!!

When the doors open I notice Club Cafe has taken the twenty or so tables out of the room and it's a SRO show. At first I was kinda bummed out thinking that they were going to pack us in there with no breathing room at all but it turned out to be the ideal situation. They could only sell an extra 25 tickets because there aren't enough pissers in the bathroom for 200 people. Beautiful.

The Hackensaw Boys come out and play a homespun, funky, fun set. The audience is very quiet and appreciative and they play their last song without any mics at all. A couple days before in Buffalo, the show was marred by asshole attendees who believed that babbling loudly during the music was proper form. The band were supposedly pissed and commented from the stage.

The Hackensaw Boys autographed "Kooky-Eyed Fox" handwritten setlist

Johnny Hickman takes the stage and plays a few solo numbers while "Mr. Sunshine" watches from the end of the stage.

Hold on...does he look, dare I say it, somewhat happy?

David and The Hackensaw Boys join Johnny and play a few tunes as an eight piece.

Now I am a pretty stable guy. I rarely weep openly. Only three things make me cry:

1. The words "Last Call."

2. "Brady Bunch" Episode # 82 - Goodbye, Alice, Hello When the kids go to get Alice waitressing at the end and bring her home after they were dicks to her...wait there's something in my eye, sniff.

3. The version of 'Sad Lover's Waltz' played this night. Probably the most sublime musical moment in my concert going experience. Thank you, fellas.

What the hell? Is that...naw. Yes, a smile! A SMILE! David Lowery is SMILING! This is the best night EVER!

The rest of the set me and my ten other friends enjoy what has to be one of the most enjoyable shows in my life. Dancing, singing, really having a blast. I swear it was too much fun. The guys seem to be having a swell time and treat us to spectacular versions of songs I've loved for years.

Could this night get any better. Hold on to your genitalia people, David and Johnny come out after the show and willingly and generously autograph stuff for the couple people who stick around. Now, Johnny Hickman has been the coolest dude ever since I met him during the first Cracker tour in 1992. But David? He couldn't have been more gracious and pleasant. I was surprisingly stunned. I am officially retiring the moniker "Mr. Sunshine" when referring to him. Thanks, David!

David Lowery, Johnny Hickman, and The Hackensaw Boys autographed show flyer (exclusively produced by who else?)

David Lowery autographed Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart CD cover

David Lowery and Johnny Hickman autographed Cracker CD cover

My buddy sent the shots below from the night:

Could this be the start of something beautiful? Wedding ring? That's not a wedding ring, baby.

This show was taped for the Club Cafe show on Pittsburgh cable television.


Victor Krummenacher and Jonathan Segal autographed poster (David Lowery and Greg Lisher have since signed it)

Camper Van Beethoven Thursday January 23, 2003 Rosebud Pittsburgh, PA 


Set 1: Waka/Eye of Fatima Pt. I/Eye of Fatima Pt. II/
Mao Reminisces About His Days in Southern China/Wasted/White Riot/
Down And Out/Skinhead Stomp/All Her Favorite Fruit/Oh, Death/
Tania/Good Guys And Bad Guys/Circles/Life Is Grand/Abundance/Pictures Of Matchstickmen/Tusk


Set 2: Flowers/The History Of Utah/Joe Stalin's Cadillac/We're A Bad Trip/
Cowboys From Hollywood/The Day Lassie Went To The Moon/Club Med Sucks/
9 Of Disks/Paid Vacation: Greece/One Of These Days/She Divines Water/Turquoise Jewelry/
Tina/Sweethearts/When I Win The Lottery/Duty Free


Encore: Take The Skinheads Bowling/By The Wayside

I saw Camper Van Beethoven open up for R.E.M. in 1986. I saw them again in 1990 during their Key Lime Pie tour. They soon broke up and David Lowery formed Cracker who I saw several times during the 90's. When they announced a Camper reunion I was very excited. When they announced a Pittsburgh show I was THRILLED!! The show was perfect. The band sounded tight. The venue wasn't overly crowded (there was a horrible snow storm that night). The set list was a Camper lover's dream (first 'Circles' in 14 years!!). The only thing was not getting Lowery's and Greg Lisher's "Handcocks".

Blurb in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Top Concerts of 2003

Honorable Mentions:

Camper Van Beethoven (Jan. 23, Rosebud): What could have been a nostalgia trip turned into a show that seemed as offbeat and relevant as it was back in 1988. Camper thrilled its faithful with everything from beguiling Turkish stomps to straight-up punk-rock thrash. (Scott Mervis)

Paste Magazine Review:

By Matt Fink

PITTSBURGH, PA. January 23, 2003

As with any band whose legend has had a decade to grow to nearly unapproachable heights by disbanding before they hit a creative snag, Camper Van Beethoven has to contend with the unenviable task of competing with a version of themselves from an era when they were nearly 15 years younger and indie rock was a different beast altogether. No doubt, reunions of this sort have often been the unfortunate impetus for sending large numbers of aging hipsters to their homes feeling considerably older than they were when the walked through the venue’s doors. As such, it was somewhat frightening to imagine what might take the stage for the Pittsburgh club packed with patrons who risked their necks and insurance premiums skating through snow drifts to get there. And it says a lot that for a band that gained their reputation by mixing punk rock, country, and Eastern European folk music, that did a track-by-track reinvention of Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk, and that had their only hit on a song called "Take the Skinhead’s Bowling," that reuniting was probably the one thing they were considered least likely to do.

Announcing their presence was a crudely refurbished kick drum left over from David Lowery’s Cracker days, here sporting a crudely fashioned piece of paper with an oversized "AMP" taped over the "RACK" underneath. Hanging from a mic stand was Jonathan Segel’s fiddle, covered in stickers like a punk rock kid’s first guitar. And taking the stage, it wasn’t hard to notice that the band’s gray hairs mirrored those in the crowds, as if few who weren’t around during the band’s first reign decided to show up. Still, all such cosmetic concerns were forgotten as the band launched into the first of many instrumentals, showing that their passion for the grab-bag of sounds spanning genres and eras, as well as the unique interplay of their band dynamic, had dimmed little over the years. Bassist Victor Krummenacher peered out in the crowd, a look of glassy-eyed concentration on his face, wrapping rubbery bass lines around lead guitarist Greg Lisher’s crisp hooks. Lowery and Segel, too, seemed entirely in their element, effortlessly slipping into the old songs with a freshness that comes from not having played them for over a decade. Standards such as "Border Ska" and "Balalakia Gap" crackled with a perfection somehow surpassing the originals, kicking off waves of embarrassingly un-possessed dancing and high-fiving in the crowd. Drawing heavily on their early releases, the hooks of selections such as the anthemic "Mao Reminisces About His Days in Southern China" and "Lassie Goes to the Moon" drew the crowd in before they left amidst a squall of feedback and computer noise for a 20-minute intermission. Joking that Spin had once nominated them as the band "most likely to have a serial killer in the audience," Lowery kicked off the second half of their set, continuing to build on the informal rapport that the band had with the crowd. Probably sounding even more ironic than it did when the band remade it as a driving folk stomp, Black Flag’s "Wasted" was followed by the Clash’s "White Riot," showing Lowery’s surfer dude growl to be the perfect foil for so many different backdrops.

Incredibly chatty with the crowd, the band would read notes thrown on stage, playfully harass those who had trailed the band wearing shirts that made a message when they stood together, and badger those who would dare talk on cell phones during the show. And while the band seemed to take few liberties in their renditions, the presence of Lowery and Segel’s dueling laptops (set up on opposite ends of the stage) was felt all night, with each occasionally turning to intently peer into their illuminated screen as if they were reading e-mails, only to resolve to unleash a few moments of screeching sample collage mayhem as pre-programmed noise tracks were tacked on the end of their more experimental jams and had more than a few plugging their ears.

By the time they left the stage for the last time, it was two and half hours later and they’d left 34 songs hanging in the Pittsburgh atmosphere. Although clearly over-the-top statements such as, "I feel a piece of my adolescence that had been missing has been restored" (which I actually heard) filled the air as the crowd filed out into the frigid night, it was hard to deny that the band had provided more than could have reasonably been expected, not only living up to their recorded legacy, but reinvigorating it with an intensity beyond that captured on their releases. And even if two nights later, David Lowery reportedly would be maced by a few drunken boneheads in Philadelphia, cutting their set short, on this night at least everyone went home content, with their feelings of adoration intact, wishing they could feel that young every night.


Terry, David, Veronica, and Johnny (date/location unknown)

I met Terry and Veronica after a Cracker show in Pittsburgh on Thursday March 30, 2000 at "Metrosucks". They were admiring my SafeCracker shirt that I just got signed. It is fun to run into them at different shows. 

Johnny Hickman and David Lowery of Cracker. Photo courtesy Steve Kalinsky

Cracker Thursday March 30, 2000 Metropol Pittsburgh, PA

Been Around The World/Seven Days/I See The Light/Euro-Trash Girl/Wedding Day 
I Ride My Bike/Take Me Down To The Infirmary/("Radio Hits" Jam)/Teen Angst 
Pictures Of Matchstick Men/Big Dipper/Lonesome Johnny Blues/Dr. Bernice/Mr. Wrong 
St. Cajetan/Low/Trials And Tribulations 

Having seen Cracker numerous times in all their various incarnations, this show was a blast. The reason (besides as always putting on a great show) was that the venue wasn't overcrowded. Personal space goes a long way when trying to enjoy a show.

Check out Steve's pics from that night.

 

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