Cage The Elephant

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  • Chrome Pony
EVOL @ 02 Academy 22/2/16

When a band walk on stage and the first thing they say is “this is gonna be one crazy fucking night!”, you know you’re in for a treat. Following the December release of their fourth studio album Tell Me I’m Pretty, CAGE THE ELEPHANT are in the midst of a sold-out UK and European tour, joined by Nashville rockers CHROME PONY, who have just released their new EP Past Lives on Seagreen Records.

With the Liverpool crowd packing the venue out from early on, Chrome Pony set the scene for the already packed out room. Lead singer and guitarist Tyler Davis warms up the crowd with his garage rock-tinged hooks. However, it’s bass player Jota Ese who steals the show with his luminous yellow hat and gold chains that are more blinding than the lighting effects. Despite the occasional tempo slip, the band do a solid job of preparing the crowd for what is going to be “one crazy fucking night”.

The second Cage The Elephant launch into their set the crowd go wild, with lead singer Matt Schultz stage diving during second tune In One Ear, from their self-titled debut album. With an eclectic mix of songs from all four studio albums, Too Late To Say Goodbye and Mess Around from their latest album really stand out, with Shultz really channeling his inner Jim Morrison and the crowd screaming back the lyrics. After the release of third album Melophobia in 2013 which was nominated for a Grammy, the expectations for Tell Me I’m Pretty were sky high for Cage fans. Melophobia is an album where every single song is exceptional and there is no weak link in the track listing, thus leaving no room for faults in the following album.

When the album finally dropped in mid-December 2015, the long wait proved to be more than worth it. Tell Me I’m Pretty is a fresh mix of retro rock, psychedelic undertones and gut-wrenching lyrics. Cage The Elephant have demonstrated that whilst sticking to their alt. rock roots, they have not merely replicated the moody undertones of Melophobia, but advanced them to produce a more mature sound that unleashes a whole new dimension for their listeners.

This maturity is somewhat reflected in Cage The Elephant’s performance. Despite the fact the guys are throwing signed Frisbees into the crowd and stage diving, which highlights their immaculate stage presence and enforces their energy, their musical performance is faultless. Halfway through their set, well-known track Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked drives the worshiping crowd wild – but It’s Just Forever that steals the show. Originally the track was a duet with The Kills’ Alison Mosshart: tonight her part is sung by touring keyboardist Mattan Minster who manages to perfectly capture Mosshart’s vocal tone.

The set comes to a close with a succession of tracks from Melophobia: Come A Little Closer, Cigarette Daydream and Shake Me Down. But it’s Sabertooth Tiger from second album Thank You, Happy Birthday that gets the last lashings of adoration from the crowd. Shultz throws himself at his fans who proceed to physically hold him up until he is standing upright on a pool of eager hands, singing to the packed out room of screaming fans.

Rosa Jane

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