All Things Music: Vol. 2: Cage the Elephant Review

Cage the Elephant may be different, but that is exactly their appeal. Photo courtesy last.fm

If you have visited my concert page, you have undoubtedly noticed that I like to attend shows every once in a while. And now that I have this blog, I’ve been thinking I’d like to write reviews of every concert I attend in the future. So without further ado:

Cage the Elephant performed to a nearly sold-out crowd at the Beaumont Club in Kansas City last night, the 23rd of February. If you didn’t get there early, you were likely left standing on the sidelines, which, as it turned out, was the best thing that could have happened; unless of course you enjoy sweating like you just ran a marathon or avoiding being kicked in the face by crowd-surfers. At one point during the show, I saw a man escape from the throws of the pit with blood on his face due to a cut above his eye. Yes, the energy was high from the crowd, fueled by lead singer Matt Schultz’s screaming vocals and seemingly limitless enthusiasm. After two sold-out shows in Boulder, CO this was Cage’s third show in as many days, but you would have never guessed it, and that’s the way it should be.

“In One Ear,” a single from their debut self-titled album opened the night, and with the lyrics, “to the critics who despise us, go ahead and criticize us, it’s your tyranny that drives us,” the night was off and running. Most of the set ran heavy on their second album, “Thank You, Happy Birthday,” and even though the album was only released six weeks ago, many fans knew all the words already. As an “outsider” who did not know many lyrics, it was still clear the group had successfully developed a cult-like following, and that following will likely only increase in numbers.

“Back Against the Wall,” another hit from their debut album got the highest crowd reaction of the night, with most of the house singing along and the Cage-heads at the front jumping in unison to the beat. Schultz certainly knows how to entertain, as he crowd-surfed himself on three separate occasions, and on the third time stood on the crowd’s shoulders and hung from a beam that ran across the ceiling. The show did not go off without a hitch, however; Donald Schultz broke a string on his guitar during the intro to their most well-known hit, “Ain’t No Rest For the Wicked,” which forced them to start the song over. Lead singer Schultz stepped up to the mic and said, “That’s how you know you’re not listening to a CD.” In a world currently dominated by hip-hop and flavor-of-month artists, it was refreshing to see such honesty and dedication to performing a real, and – for lack of a better term – kick-ass show.

The encore consisted of a superb cover of Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer,” as well as a solo-acoustic performance of “Right Before My Eyes,” which ended the night, and was a surprising change of pace to a hectic show. Clocking in at 75 minutes, they made every song worthwhile, and wasted little time in between. If Cage the Elephant is coming to a city near you, they are definitely worth the price of admission.

In other news…

Dave Matthews Band released some of their plans for this summer, stating they will be in the Northeast June 24-26, and the Midwest July 8-10, with plans for August and September stops to be announced soon. According to this article, it is all but confirmed by the band’s official site that they will play Bader Field in Atlantic City on June 24-26. The multi-stage, multi-artist events are sure to draw 70,000+ to each day of their stops, so if you are interested in going to these shows, grab tickets and book flights and hotel rooms as soon as it is announced.

More music news to come…

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