By Chuck Cox
When my two shows on consecutive nights last weekend at the Granada Theater were finally in the books, the results were not at all what I expected. Sometimes that’s just the way it works out.
On Saturday, I went to see Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven. On Sunday, Adam Ant. Although I was excited about the first show, I was kind of bummed to have to miss Living Colour over at the Kessler that night. Generally, when there are two shows I want to see on the same night, I stick with the one I heard about or got tickets for first. And I was super pumped to see one of my favorite 1980s artists, Adam Ant.
Let’s start with Saturday’s show. I’m always fascinated by the idea of two bands being fronted by the same lead singer. And to actually see those two bands play a show together is even more interesting. Such was the case with David Lowery and his two bands. Adding to the intrigue of the show was the fact I am really not terribly familiar with the catalogue of either band.
Still, it was really a great, fun concert in front of a crowd that was very into it. I even talked to a girl who drove all the way from Columbia, Mo., just for the show. Camper Van Beethoven, which has been around since I was in high school, is definitely a band that was ahead of its time. Although I wasn’t following CVB way back in the 1980s, it was churning out the kind of diverse stuff you couldn’t hear very many places in that day and age. I think that’s the band’s biggest strength — its ability to play several different types of songs. And getting to hear CVB perform its debut single, “Take the Skinheads Bowling,” was pretty awesome.
Then, it was time for Cracker. The one tune by the band pretty much everybody is familiar with is its hit, “Low.” The band got that out of the way just three songs into its set. Cracker has been cranking out albums and touring ever since that song came out a decade ago on the superb Kerosene Hat album. I would have loved it if they band had played “Take Me Down to the Infirmary” from that same album, but Cracker still delivered a strong set full of very good material. There was a palpable alt-country feel to a lot of the songs, which I dug.
And then there was Adam Ant. Oh, boy.
I was really anticipating this show for quite some time. And while I’m really glad I (finally) got to see him live, I must say the show was pretty disappointing in the sense of Ant’s vibe that night. He did not seem like he was terribly interested in being there at all. In fact, he rolled through a good half-hour of the show before he even addressed the crowd. Maybe it was just me, but he just seemed like he was going through the motions a bit. It still sounded good, but there was just no enthusiasm from his at all. Ant’s band, the Good, the Mad, and the Lovely Posse seemed pretty into it, though.
Ant did, however, oblige the sizable audience with all of the hits — “Dog Eat Dog,” “Antmusic,” “Stand and Deliver,” “Prince Charming,” “Room at the Top,” and, of course, “Goody Two-Shoes.” Oddly, all of those songs came before the encore, which was an interesting choice. And I’ll also give him credit for being a trooper after he fell down during “Goody Two-Shoes.” He didn’t miss a beat, getting back up and continuing to sing the song. The show was also a solid two hours. I just wish he would have been a little more into it.
However, openers Prima Donna were fantastic. Looking more like a band that you would see opening for Whitesnake, Prima Donna was a tight group that had a really enjoyable sound. The band members also did a nice job playing to the crowd and getting the fans into the show. The saxophone on a couple of songs was a really nice touch. And that, my friends, is why you should do your best to catch the opening act.