Many bands might hesitate to sign up for a gig to entertain thousands of exhausted runners on a Sunday morning. But David Lowery, singer and guitarist for the band Cracker, understands what lies ahead this weekend.
As the featured act for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon’s after party in Raleigh, the band doesn’t plan on drastically changing its approach to the show, but may have to stick to more of a Greatest Hits package than hardcore fans have grown accustomed to.
“Ultimately you are just up there playing for your own enjoyment,” Lowery explains over the phone, during a stop in the band’s spring tour. “You have to be into what you are doing, otherwise you should just stop performing music. I don’t know that we do approach these types of events differently ... we might lean a little heavier on our commercial songs and singles, stuff like that.”
The doors of Red Hat Amphitheater in downtown Raleigh open at 7:30 a.m. with an 8 a.m. opening act and Cracker taking the stage at 11, marking what could be the earliest start time for a Cracker show in the Triangle in the band’s nearly three decade history – and also its largest venue. The scope of the show brings to mind a time when Cracker was arguably a household name. When the grunge movement swept the nation, the alt-rock band that had recently settled in Richmond, Va., found itself in the unfamiliar territory of having commercial hits.
The band’s success peaked during a five year stretch in the ’90s, from their 1992 self-titled debut album to 1996’s “The Golden Age.” But while they never had another hit that captured the public’s attention like the single “Low,” Lowery still puzzles over how they managed to pull it off in the first place.
“I think Cracker, when we were aligned with alternative rock radio there for about two years, was always a fluke,” he says. “We have always been an Americana, country and roots-rock hybrid. I feel like we’ve been doing this since we first formed the band, but we happened to be found during a cycle where our sound was popular on the radio.
“We’re a diverse band, but I don’t think our last album (2014’s “Berkeley to Bakersfield”) was that different from our first album. It’s just that now we play in front of this transcendent fanbase that follows us in whatever direction we choose to take our music, instead of having to worry about what some radio station’s program director may want to hear.”
What: Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Post Race Party, featuring Cracker
When: 8 a.m. Sunday (Cracker takes the stage at 11)
Where: Red Hat Amphitheater, 500 S. McDowell St., Raleigh
Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon
It’s the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon’s fourth year in Raleigh, and a portion of the proceeds go to the ALS Association.
Friday and Saturday: The free Health & Fitness Expo at the Raleigh Convention Center takes place 3-7 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Enjoy a beer garden and live music at the expo on Saturday, with Will McBride Band, Your Mama’s New Boyfriend, Down By Five and Triple Wide.
Sunday: The marathon/half marathon start at 7 a.m. on Fayetteville Street at Davie Street, and end on McDowell at Cabarrus. Local bands will be stationed approximately every mile along the race course. The headliner concert at Red Hat starts at 8 a.m. (doors open at 7:30), with Cracker taking the stage at 11 a.m. A closing act performs at 12:30.