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Anticipation builds for The Show 2005

Bob Costa | Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Deciding which performers to bring to The Show, Notre Dame’s largest on-campus concert, can be a daunting task. This year, numerous acts were considered as possible performers, from jam-bands to rap impresarios. After much deliberation, The Show 2005 committee, which consists of 17 members of the student body, settled on a bill coupling Sacramento rock quartet Cake with the politically conscious crossover R&B artist Akon. Notre Dame student and freestyle artist Da Natural also will open and perform briefly between sets. The Show 2005, which is in its fourth year, is expected to draw about 4,000 students, event advisor Aaron Perri said.”[The Show 2005 committee] was looking to find a really diverse artist along with an old favorite with mass appeal, so we could entice both freshmen and the upperclassmen who in the past haven’t always come to the event,” said Anja Smitz, the student chairperson of The Show 2005 committee.Cake, which recently played at Lollapalooza 2005 and at a sold-out concert in Brazil, has been around the music world since the band debuted on college radio with its infectious single “Rock N’ Roll Lifestyle” in 1995 off their album “Motorcade of Generosity.”Cake went multi-platinum a few years later when its singles “Never There” and “The Distance,” which is often played at major sporting events, hit the Top 40.”In terms of where American music, and especially radio is at the moment, music seems to only be popular if it is a bulbous, oversized, muscular, striving rock and roll,” John McCrea, Cake’s lead singer and guitarist, said. “For Cake, we are more about turning the volume down a bit, and not being entirely overt about emotion. Every song shouldn’t be a soap opera, straight drama, or sadness, or humor,” McCrea said. “Doing that is simplistic, and the songs become distillates of real life. Our music has humor and sadness existing side by side, sitting on a couch, drinking a beer with one another.”McCrea and his bandmates released their most recent album “Pressure Chief” in September 2004, an amorous play of subtle melodies and multi-layered songwriting that contrasted nicely with the previously wide-held perception of Cake as a deadpan rock band that consistently delivered three-minute indie rock riffs on life and loathing. “Our paradigm is contradiction,” McCrea said, “That is true rebellion. It is more rock and roll to not wear a leather jacket than to wear one.”Akon, who hails from Senegal, is respected by both critics and fans as a serious lyricist and raucous performer. Akon’s current radio hit with Baby Bash, “Baby, I’m Back” is being played often on rap radio, and Notre Dame students may remember him from his hilarious appearance on MTV’s “Punk’d” – or could have seen him on MTV2, where he has become popular through heavy promotion of his hits “Bananza (Belly Dancer)” and “Lonely.”Akon was recently nominated for an MTV2 Music Video Award at the 2005 VMAs – which will incidentally be held two days after The Show – and has become known for a signature style that combines his unique West African vocals with hip-hop rhythms that ponder the ways of the street instead of indulging in male rap fantasies. For Da Natural, whose real name is Jeff Stephens, The Show 2005 will be a huge watermark in his burgeoning career. As emcee and performer, Da Natural, a junior, will deliver his already popular original tracks like “Dedication” and “I Have A Dream” in an arena setting for the first time. Past performers at The Show, which started as Flipstock in 2001, have included Jason Mraz, Guster, Black Eyed Peas, Better Than Ezra, George Clinton, and They Might Be Giants.The Joyce Center Fieldhouse doors open at 7 p.m. Friday and the concert begins at 8. The Show, which is open only to Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross students, is selling tickets for $10 at the LaFortune Box Office.