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Cracker at Ivywild show preview

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Cracker, Sunday, Aug. 12, 8 p.m., 1604 S. Cascade Ave., ivywildschool.com. - BRADFORD JONES
  • Bradford Jones
  • Cracker, Sunday, Aug. 12, 8 p.m., 1604 S. Cascade Ave., ivywildschool.com.
The two things that stayed with me after seeing a Camper Van Beethoven show were the wryly surreal lyrics of songs like “Take the Skinheads Bowling” and “The Day That Lassie Went to the Moon” and bassist Victor Krummenacher setting his shoe on fire. Frontman David Lowery, who eventually grew dissatisfied with his bandmates’ affinity for collective decision-making, subsequently teamed up with guitarist and co-writer Johnny Hickman to form Cracker. Together, they moved away from Camper Van Beethoven’s Eastern European folk-influenced punk (and lo-fi pyrotechnics) in favor of more riff-heavy songs — “Low,” “Euro-Trash Girl,” “Get Off This” — that significantly raised the IQ of ‘90s rock radio. Over the past decade, Lowery has also emerged as an outspoken and eloquent critic of the digital music industry, claiming in an essay titled “Meet the New Boss, Worse Than the Old Boss” to have been paid just $17 by Pandora Radio for a million streams of “Low.” Lowery also joined forces with his old Camper Van Beethoven bandmates in a 2015 lawsuit against Spotify. And while the title of Camper’s major label debut Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart may have been tongue-in-cheek, there’s nothing coy about recent Cracker songs like “Torches and Pitchforks,” which promises that “We will fight your goons and lawyers / And we will fight your Pinkertons / And we will fight your bought-off Congressmen / You cannot take what isn’t yours.” With hushed and deceptively sweet harmonies straight out of the Simon & Garfunkel songbook, the song is perfectly suited for this tour’s acoustic duo format.

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