Sacramento, Calif.-based modern rock act Cake kicked off a short U.S. tour Friday night (Aug. 31) at the Roseland Theater in Portland, Ore. The group is out in support of its recently released fourth

Sacramento, Calif.-based modern rock act Cake kicked off a short U.S. tour Friday night (Aug. 31) at the Roseland Theater in Portland, Ore. The group is out in support of its recently released fourth album, "Comfort Eagle," its first for Columbia.

Earlier this month, the set debuted at No. 2 on Billboard's Top Internet Album Sales chart, and at No. 13 on The Billboard 200. "Comfort Eagle," which stands at No. 47 on the album chart this week, has sold 208,000 copies in the U.S., according to SoundScan.

The album's strong reception isn't something that's lost on the band. "It feels like, in a general sense, that the band is just hunkering down into the barrel of a cannon, about to be shot like a circus clown across the circus tent," Cake singer John McCrea tells Billboard.com.

Part of the success can be pinned on a quartet of video clips supporting the single, "Short Skirt/Long Jacket," that McCrea conceived and financed. In each, the band isn't seen. Instead, as the song plays in the background, a series of random people on the street comment on it as they listen to it through headphones.

"I was sick of the idea of doing another video," McCrea says of the concept. "I'm not against all videos. I would just like to have an interesting video, rather than an uninteresting video."

And viewers have found it to be very interesting. The video has been in the top-20 of MTV's most-played videos for more than a month, according to Broadcast Data Systems, which monitors airplay. And the single, which peaked at No. 7 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart, is currently at No. 12 in its 11th week on the chart.

With new drummer Pete McNeal (replacing Todd Roper, who left after recording "Comfort Eagle") in tow, the band is, more or less, ready to hit the road. "It's like being a truck driver or a carny," McCrea says, making no secret of his distaste for the touring process. "There's a sort of greasiness to it that I don't appreciate all the time... It can make you feel insincere, because there's no investment to any particular community. You just play a show and move on."

Along with theatre and club dates, Cake will play a handful of festivals, notably Seattle's Bumbershoot Festival on Labor Day, the annual San Diego Street Scene event (Sept. 7), and Chicago's Oyster Fest (Sept. 8). After a brief European tour in October, it's probable that the band will launch a more extensive North American tour sometime after that. "I'm sure we'll be strong armed into that," McCrea laments.

Here are Cake's confirmed tour dates:

Aug. 31: Portland, Ore. (Roseland Theater)
Sept. 2: Vancouver (Vogue Theatre)
Sept. 3: Seattle (Bumbershoot Festival)
Sept. 5-6: San Francisco (the Warfield)
Sept. 7: San Diego (San Diego Street Scene)
Sept. 8: Chicago (Oyster Fest)
Sept. 10: Denver (Fillmore Auditorium)
Sept. 12: Los Angeles. (Mayan Theatre)
Sept. 13: Phoenix (Celebrity Theatre)
Sept. 15: Dallas (Bronco Bowl)
Sept. 16: Austin, Texas (Stubb's BBQ)
Sept. 17: Houston (Aerial Theatre at Bayou Palace)
Sept. 21: Stockton, Calif. (Fox Theatre)
Oct. 6: Hamburg, Germany (Grosse Freiheit 36)
Oct. 7: Cologne (Live Music Hall)
Oct. 11: London (Shepherd's Bush Empire)

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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