The experienced Kentucky rockers took to the stage on Valentine’s Day to entertain a sold out Rescue Rooms. Fresh off the UK release of their fourth album Tell Me I’m Pretty, the crowd was anticipating a classic wild performance from Matt Schultz. They were not to be disappointed as it only took until the second song, fan favourite ‘In One Ear’, for the frontman to launch himself amongst his horde of followers.
A vintage performance from Schultz saw him split his time on stage between flaunting around like a young Mick Jagger, and basking in affection from fans in the crowd. The highlight of his performance undeniably was his famous trick of standing on the crowd. To see the frontman of such an established band pull off this feat in an intimate venue made for a special moment for fans of the band which they are unlikely to see again. The energy given to the performance by Matt Schultz was clear by the end of the main set as his green shirt had changed to a much darker shade due to the amount of sweat before he removed it for the encore. Brad Schultz also effectively hyped the crowd; the rhythm guitarist often came to the front of the stage to engage the close fans.
“A vintage performance from Schultz as he split his time on stage between flaunting around like Jagger, and basking in affection from fans in the crowd”
The songs off their latest offering were well received as the middle of the set was peppered by an unbroken trio including ‘sweetie little jean’. This was then followed by the band’s most famous hit ‘ain’t no rest for the wicked’ which was met with boisterous excitement by the whole venue as the chorus was chanted along with the band. It was near to this point of the set that the drummer, Jared Champion, had to go offstage ill. However, this momentary pause did not slow the momentum of the set at all as he was quickly replaced and the show carried on.
The crowd continued to bounce as the liveliest number off of Tell me I’m Pretty, the Black Keys styled ‘Mess Around’, came on; the searing guitar riff mixed with a high pitched vocal refrain lends this song to a live setting and was very well received by their followers. As the band blasted their way through a series of ferocious guitar driven favourites from their back catalogue the set sadly neared an end although there was still time for ‘Come a little closer’, an apt choice for the intimate setting. After a brief moment off stage the band enthusiastically returned to the stage for their three song encore including the more slow paced, emotion filled ‘Cigarette Daydreams’ and ‘Shake Me Down’, undoubtedly one of their biggest songs in the UK, before finishing on ‘Sabretooth Tiger’. This last song provided the carnage that has made Cage the Elephant one of the most exciting live acts in the last ten years in abundance as the whole venue descended into beautiful anarchy. Unfortunately this did have to come to an end and the lengthy ninety minute set almost didn’t feel long enough.
Image: Debi Del Grande via Flickr
Co-Editor of the Music Section at University of Nottingham’s IMPACT Magazine.