There’s an unfunny irony in the fact that David Lowery, the brains behind Camper Van Beethoven, now cites class differences between himself, a central California working-class boy gone to the state university, and the arty collegians in the rest of the group as the reason for the band’s demise. The breakup two years ago was a tragedy; largely fueld by Lowery’s striking songwriting growth, the band had left behind its noveltyesque beginnings (“Take the Skinheads Bowling”) to become one of the great American bands of the 80s. But now Lowery has his own group, the assertively proletariat but somewhat problematic Cracker, whose self-described “cracker soul” throws over Camper’s postmodern olio for a lean, almost Creedency simplicity. That much is fine, but Lowery has also jettisoned a difficult but yearning lyricism for what are, on one level or another, merely dumb jokes (“What the world needs now is another folk singer / Like I need a hole in the head” or “I see the light at the end of the tunnel / Someone please tell me that it’s not a train”). Cracker’s not a drag at all: the rhythm section is tight as a drum, and certain songs are a hoot. But if there’s one thing worse than artsy college boys, it’s one trying to go back to his roots. You want to shake Lowery and tell him this: That’s what the Camper olio was about. You’re from an arid California suburb; you don’t have any roots. Miracle Legion and the Willies open; note the early show time. Tonight, 6:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Greg Allen.