Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven

With the Hackensaw Boys. Monday, April 4, at House of Blues.

The Ballad of Jack and Rose Cedar Lee Theatre
Dig through David Lowery's body of work with Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker, and you'll hear recurring references to poppies and Cleveland, which Cracker named a live album after in 2002. The punk-folk Camper Van Beethoven helped establish college rock as a genre in the mid-'80s with the alt-novelty hit "Take the Skinheads Bowling," and in 2003, Cracker's "Low" helped modern-rock radio congeal into an institution. The blissed-out smash single referenced the opium-yielding plant, and the flower cropped up again in last year's Camper reunion album, New Roman Times, a folk-rock concept album with a conspicuously Santana-influenced solo in "The Poppies of Balmorhea."

"I'm not sure why poppies come up," Lowery explains. "Other than it's just sort of a classical, romantic-poet image. And it's in The Wizard of Oz. And 'Hello, Cleveland' is from Spinal Tap. We just needed to call a double-live record that, even though it was recorded in Chicago."

The phrase also closes the first disc of Camper Van Beethoven's bent-Americana cover of Fleetwood Mac's entire Tusk double LP, most of which the band recorded in 1987, abandoned, then later finished for a 2002 release. For this tour, Lowery is breaking out material from both groups, but leaving most of the band at home. He and Cracker/Camper guitarist-singer Johnny Hickman are playing unplugged, with opening act the Hackensaw Boys backing them for much of the Camper material. This'll be one sincere "Hello, Cleveland."

Scroll to read more Music News articles


Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.