Enthusiastic concert-goers turned out en-mass to see iconic alt rock band Cracker, the headline act of the Whittle the Wood Rendezvous free concert series. They quickly filled the area in front of the stage at Loudy-Simpson Park on Saturday as the band began it's set, and the energy level swelled with the crowd as the band launched into their hit song "Eurotrash Girl," off of their platinum album "Kerosene Hat."

Photo by Andie Tessler

Enthusiastic concert-goers turned out en-mass to see iconic alt rock band Cracker, the headline act of the Whittle the Wood Rendezvous free concert series. They quickly filled the area in front of the stage at Loudy-Simpson Park on Saturday as the band began it's set, and the energy level swelled with the crowd as the band launched into their hit song "Eurotrash Girl," off of their platinum album "Kerosene Hat."

Cracker rocks the park during Whittle the Wood festivities in Craig

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Cracker founding members Johnny Hickman, left, and David Lowery perform for the massive crowd that gathered to see the much-anticipated headliner of the Whittle the Wood free concert series Saturday evening at Loudy-Simpson Park. At the foot of the stage, enthusiastic fans belted out song lyrics and moved to the music.

Anticipation, along with lawn chairs and picnic blankets, filled the small field in front of the stage at Craig's Loudy-Simpson Park on Saturday evening as the growing crowd waited for Cracker to take the stage.

As the band launched into it’s set, dancing and cheering fans filled in the gaps at the front of the audience.

“Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God,” Samantha Cozic gushed, bouncing on the balls of her feet, as she watched lead singer David Lowery stroll across the stage. “I’ve been totally in love with (him) since I was, like, 16, but I never got to see a show or anything until now.”

Cracker headlined the free concert lineup for the Whittle the Wood Rendezvous, marking the last of the band’s four shows in Colorado but only about halfway through their 2013 Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven tour.

“We’ve always had great audiences" in Colorado, lead guitarist and Colorado resident Johnny Hickman said. “We’re happy to play anywhere here.”

Touring since 1991, the group has hit the stage and captivated fans, the self-avowed “Crumbs," in countries across the world and played in venues that range from full stadium productions to casual gigs at small clubs.

Their eponymous debut album, sometimes and for reasons that escape the band referred to as “Brand,” garnered a few moderate hits when it debuted in February 1992. Just one year later, “Kerosene Hat” dropped, and the group’s popular recognition exploded.

The album went platinum within a year as sales steadily rose with help from radio hits like “Low” and “Eurotrash Girl.”

Usually generalized as part of the alternative rock scene of the 1990s, Cracker stood apart as a diverse musical presence with a distinctive sound and style that combines classic rock, early punk, southern rock and the grittier incarnations of country.

Founding members Johnny Hickman and lead vocalist David Lowery are the nucleus of the band, as they have been since Cracker’s inception, and have seen more than a dozen musicians come and go throughout the years.

“When you’re together 22 years like we’ve been, things absolutely change and it would be really unusual, I think, if they didn’t,” Hickman said. “People work their way in and out for one reason or another, but Dave and I decided since we started that we would be the core of the band.”

“We don’t really stick to a sub genre,” Hickman explained. “We just play what we feel. Every record we sort of get on a new kick but there’s always that Cracker. There’s a sort of dark sense of humor to our stuff like some of our song titles — names that pull you in before even a single note is played.”

The crowd at Loudy-Simpson proved Hickman’s point. Throughout the crowd, fans could be heard singing phrases of Cracker’s hits to friends and family.

“They’re one of those bands where everyone’s heard their stuff and likes their stuff but don’t know their name,” explained longtime fan Zakk Morieh. “I’ll sing one or two lines and people say ‘Oh yeah, I love that song!’ and I’m like, 'Duh, they’re totally awesome.'”

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