After a musical career spanning nearly 20 years, the indie-rock band The Sea and Cake is still fresh. In an energetic and engaging concert at the Brighton Music Hall on November 7 the band presented a distinct sound melding late 1960s Brazilian music, African-influenced guitar lines, and pop from selections of their ninth album, “The Moonlight Butterfly.”
The opening acts, Yellow Birds and Brokeback, provided a balanced introduction to the evening. Their music was distinct from each other and The Sea and Cake in terms of rhythmic style. Yellow Birds presented a classic indie-rock performance that included numbers spanning from punk rock to soft rock. The musicians ended their set with their debut performance of “All the Good Days are Gone,” a slow dreamy ballad reminiscent of 1960s pop music mixed with modern synthesizers.
Brokeback exhibited a much weightier musical style than Yellow Birds. The band presented a heavy guitar anthem that lasted more than 15 minutes into their set. Although the band used a menagerie of vibrant guitar riffs and solos, their sounds were often overwhelmed by excessive vibrato. Halfway through their performance, lead guitarist Douglas McCombs’s guitar broke—producing an awkward pause as he ran off the stage to find another one. Nonetheless, the opening acts provided striking musical contrasts before the night’s main attraction.
The Sea and Cake opened their evening’s work with “Covers.” From their first chords, the band created an intriguing musical texture that blended a mix of 1960s pop with a tribal back beat. Though lead singer Sam Prekop’s soft, lilting voice did not project well in the venue, the band capitalized on drummer John McEntire’s intricate, catchy rhythms. “On the North Shore” highlighted guitarist Archer Prewitt’s musical prowess. Throughout the evening, The Sea and Cake thrilled with a fluid interplay between lyrical guitar and percussion. The band’s selections flowed from one to the next with long guitar riffs and electric guitar and synthesizer solos.
Though the band focused its set on selections from “Moonlight Butterfly,” they also peppered their set with the catchy rhythms of favorites from their past eight albums—including “Coconut” from their album “Everybody” and “On a Letter” and “Aerial” from their album “Car Alarm.” By the end of the evening, The Sea and Cake had provided a glimpse of their versatile sound. Though the musicians were a serene presence on the Brighton stage, swaying slowly to their beats, their music was anything but nonchalant. Their set contained an energy that revealed a bold and innovative artistry.