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Published on Sep 26, 2006
Cracker was, of course, part of the wave of alternative rock bands that arrived in 1993 following the success of Nirvana and Pearl Jam. They, along with the Breeders, Belly, Soul Asylum, the Lemonheads and various others seemed to be getting their due for being such important parts of the college rock scene of the 80s -- in the case of Cracker, it was via their genesis in the demise of Camper Van Beethoven. I didn't know that at the time though, all I knew was "Low" and that video with Sandra Bernhard boxing. This was my freshman year at college and I was a commuter. One morning, on the 15-minute drive to school, I heard "Euro-trash Girl" on the student radio station and it blew me away. It was like what I'd felt hearing "Lithium" and "Sweetness Follows" for the first time -- a new dimension in Cracker's sound was revealed to me, which helped me better understand a wide swath of the rock landscape. It also made me desperately want a copy of Kerosene Hat.
Last Thursday night, it was one of a number of highlights from a two-hour set. They played Camper Van's "Take the Skinheads Bowling," which was amazing and preceded by "Ain't Gonna Suck Itself," the fuck-you to Virgin Records they included on their covers album, Countrysides -- their cover of "Duty Free," also from that album, was incredible. In the middle of the encore they finally did "Sweet Thistle Pie," and everybody somehow still had the energy for it. The stunning thing was really what they didn't play. They've got probably at least two hours worth of great material in their catalog, and something is always going to get left out. If they come back touring a different set list, I'll be there in a heartbeat.