Encores at shows are like tips at restaurants - even when they're not deserved, everyone obliges.
So it was with some satisfaction that Cake let the crowd really work for it at Massey Hall last Tuesday, waiting a good two minutes before finally stepping back onstage to close out their 90-minute set.
The din also proved that this unassuming quintet have become cult stars to their throngs of devotees.
Speaking of which, how the hell can a band fronted by a guy who looks like a little league coach pack a couple of thousand warm bodies into a soft-seat theatre on a cold Tuesday night?
Short answer: demographics.
Cake is the band that fans of the Dave Matthews Band listen to when they're feeling adventurous, the kind of stuff that's blasted on road trips and jammed on at campuses across North America.
In other words, Cake write music about being white, middle class and boring for an audience that's also white, middle class and boring.
Songs like Shut The Fuck Up, Stick Shifts And Safety Belts and Comfort Eagle all play on the same mildly sardonic theme of being pissed off but too comfortable and polite to actually do anything about it.
While singer John McCrea 's deadpan delivery didn't exactly fill up Massey Hall's massive spaces, his geeky charisma and droll stand-up-like banter are undeniably charming live. Also impressive was multi-instrumentalist Vince Di Fiore , whose keyboard and trumpet work provided a much-needed counterpoint to the band's often limp tuneage.
Indeed, for all their apparent grooves on record, the band was incredibly un-funky onstage. This lack of riddim was felt by the audience, a few of whom still felt the need to get up off their asses and dance self-consciously in front of their seats.
Thankfully, most decided to keep sitting.
Surprisingly, Short Skirt/Long Jacket and Going The Distance - two of the band's biggest tunes - were absent from the set list. But it didn't really matter, because Cake rewarded fans by closing with their version of I Will Survive.
Openers for the show were Long Island hiphop crew Northern State , who made their Canadian debut with an ace set of Beasties-influenced cuts. Backed by a dextrous four-piece band, these three girls were a riot and gave constant shoutouts to the five boroughs, ATMs and house parties.
No college students were harmed.
Cake and Northern State at Massey Hall, October 19. Tickets: $35.50-$39.50. Attendance: 2,100. Rating: NNN