Is it really farewell My Friend … the Chocolate Cake?
Helen Mountfort, cellist and co-founder of the group with David Bridie, is trying her best to confirm – definitively – that it is indeed the Cake’s final tour. It’s understandable. The group has taken some long breaks (really, really long breaks) over their astounding 29-year collaboration.
“Every time we make a Cake record it was always a case of thinking it’s our last. Make a record, tour it for a few years, then put it to bed two three or four years,” Mountfort says.
“Probably some of us would have preferred to carry on like that, but David really wanted to put a full stop to it and do the ‘Grand Farewell Tour’, so that’s OK, that’s his choice. So a Grand Farewell Tour we are doing.”
The Cake are bringing their Winter Revival Tour to Lizotte’s on July 20. Curiously, it is described also as “The final tour before an indefinite hiatus”. Mountfort and Bridie, along with Hope Csutoros (violin), Greg Patten (drums), Dean Addison (double bass) and Andrew Richardson (guitar), will be playing songs from latest work The Revival Meeting and loads of old favourites.
“I guess we will be quitting while we are ahead,” Mountfort laughs.
A lot would argue that the band has been well ‘ahead’ since forming for a few shows in Melbourne at the now defunct venue Madigan's in the early 1990s. So how do those first “gigs for a few friends” compare with a 2018 Cake show?
“Back then we had no expectations. We had only booked for three nights and that was going to be it,” she says. “We were probably terribly under-rehearsed looking back … but it was a lot of fun. It was very quiet, very mellow. Dave had a nice grand piano at this venue and I don’t think we amplified very much, just a few overhead mics.
“Now it is a little bit bigger production . . . and definitely amplified, although hopefully not loud, still fairly intimate.”
What hasn’t changed is the band’s intent to perform songs with the distinct Cake sound, she says.
“In some ways it has changed hugely, then in other ways it really hasn’t changed at all,” she says of the shows. “The balance we do of quiet instrumentals and songs, and happy and sad, that hasn’t really changed. We’ve pretty much stuck to that because we like it and there’s a range of songs and styles.
Like the band, the audience members are older, and a lot of them bring their kids.
“At last year’s show at Lizotte’s there were four generations of the one family in the audience. There was a baby and its mum, her mum and then that mum’s mum … which was pretty cool,” she says.
Mountfort’s not sure how she will feel at the last show (in Perth mid-August) and she is low-key about the band’s legacy.
“I don’t like to get grandiose about it. I’m just happy if people have enjoyed the music,” she says.
“The audiences haven’t been massive but they have always been incredibly loyal. Music means what it means to someone in that moment. So hopefully we have made people happy.”
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