The ever-touring machine that is Cracker will be making another stop in Eastern Iowa at the end of this month at The Mill in Iowa City. Cracker is touring behind their new rocking release and debut on 429 Records Sunrise in the Land of Mint and Honey. Their stop at the Mississippi Moon bar in Dubuque in February was great– they played a handful of the new songs, but I’m hoping to hear more of the new album in a live setting.
The show will be at 9PM on Sunday, 8/30 with doors at 8PM. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here. The opening act is garage rock band The High Strung.
Being the music junkie that I am, I always love to find out about amazing music I didn’t know about! Such is the case with The BellRays— a hard-rocking and soulful group that has at its core Bob Vennum and Lisa Kekaula who– as a couple have been performing for over 20 years! I found out about the BellRays and their upcoming show at the Picador from Tom “Morst” Scharff who is among other things the archivist for Cracker and its associated bands.
The BellRays are related to Cracker through guitarist Johnny Hickman. One of Hickman’s early bands was The Dangers and Bob Vennum was a member of that band. The BellRays provide a high-energy almost garage-band rock with the vocals of Lisa. At times it kind of reminds me of how Lenny Kravitz approaches his music.
Bob & Lisa are currently in a tour in Europe in support of their first album of “AM Radio-Inspired” music titled Rosethorns. When they get back they will be kicking off a US tour running in April and May. As part of these shows the BellRays will be hitting Iowa City at the Picador on 5/4/09 and at the High Noon Saloon on 5/6/09.
According to the Press Release the first single will be “Turn On, Tune In Drop Out With Me” which will be added to whatever radio plays Cracker on April 7th. “Turn On” has been getting a workout on the road lately, and it is a pretty spirited rocker like the other tracks seem to be on the record, which was produced by one-time Sugar member David Barbe, which seems like a copasetic partnership. Other noted musicians joined the fold for Sunrise. In addition to Barbe’s production, Patterson Hood from Drive-By Truckers (who was also produced by Barbe) lends a hand on long-time live favorite “Friends” as well as Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows on “Darling One” and John Doe from X on “We All Shine A Light.”
Here is the tracklisting with links to archive.org when a song has been played:
I apologize for the headline on this. It gets tricky to come up with better headlines than “New album.” Cracker announced today via their website and Facebook that their new album to be called Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey will be released in May of this year, which likely means that the building list of tour dates are gearing up for an album tour! It will be cool to hear new songs from Cracker.
Additionally, Cracker has posted a video for a new track from Sunrise called “Hand Me My Inhaler” which is a short and punky affair, and showcases the fancy guitarwork of Mr. Johnny Hickman.
Click Here to see if Cracker is coming to a stage near you!
Friday was a day of surprises for me– I found out a new venue just opened in Dubuque called Mississippi Moon Bar that is part of the new Diamond Jo Casino. Last week was their grand opening complete with a VIP show with Cheap Trick. The wife of a guy I work with works at the casino so he filled me in on the details. It looks like there will be a pretty good selection of upcoming acts (for Dubuque, anyway– Darius Rucker? The Doobie Brothers?). I was really surprised to see a Cracker show listed on the calendar in February. I jumped in and got first row seats. Apparently every seat in the house is less than 80 feet from the stage according to my brother, Steve.
Anyway, any reason to see either Cracker or Camper Van Beethoven is a good reason, and Dubuque is a pretty short drive and it’s on a weekend. Tickets are on sale now and at least as of today there are still fantastic seats available on the floor by the stage. Tickets are $25 for regular reserved seats (or standing) and $35 for fancy table seats or boxed seats. I’ve never seen the venue, so I don’t know what those are like (or if they are really worth more than front row?).