Cracker comes to Tampa

By Julie Garisto, Times staff writer
Published June 28, 2007

Fans of both of David Lowery's alt bands - Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker - can see how his sarcastic and sage sides collide in feisty musical abandon when Cracker performs Friday night at Skipper's Smokehouse.

The lineup includes co-founder and lead guitarist Johnny Hickman, drummer Frank Funaro, bassist Sal Maida and Kenny Margolis on accordion. They kick off a four-month tour in Tampa and will play songs from both Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven.

"The way we tour is that we play songs of all of our records because we're this sort of legacy band now, " Lowery, pictured below, said in a phone interview.

Expect a Lowery who will still poke fun at what ticks him off but won't shy away from personal anecdotes. He reveals hard-won wisdom with a good dose of sardonic humor on Cracker's 2006 CD, Greenland, his most direct and poignant work.

"On previous records, I would make up characters and speak through them, " Lowery said. "On Greenland, there's less of that. It's more autobiographical. I take a look at my own mortality. But I'm trying to make sure people understand that this isn't a particularly dark record or anything like that."

The singer-lyricist-musician-producer still sings in that familiar talky way and crafts luminous textures. But he hasn't outgrown the whimsy of Camper's gypsy-psychedelic Pictures of Matchstick Men or the wry social commentary of Cracker's Euro-Trash Girl and Get Off This.

Cracker plays at 8 p.m. Friday at Skipper's Smokehouse, 901 Skipper Road, Tampa. $15 advance, $20 day of show. (813) 971-0666