Live Review... Cage the Elephant
It's been two years since Cage the Elephant last played in the UK with third album Melophobia, and now they return to play Kentish Town's O2 Forum. Their most recent album Tell Me I'm Pretty was released back in December and with a string of UK tour dates, they're showing off just how good it is live. Opening with the first track from their fourth album, Cry Baby, which listening to on the record I didn't expect would create such a huge response but this band really know how to prove me wrong. Swiftly moving into old favourite In One Ear, the crowd really started to show how the rest of this night was going to go. With beaming smiles, heaps of passion and red faces, there wasn't a bad feeling in the room.
After ploughing through hits from Melophobia as well as a personal highlight of Aberdeen and Back Against the Wall. The band then slow it all down with Trouble and Telescope followed by a mesmerising Too Late To Say Goodbye which has lighters and mobile phone lights swaying in perfect time with lead singer Matt Shultz' perfect raspy vocals. Ain't No Rest for the Wicked, argueably the Kentucky band's most famous song is up next. Even though they've been performing this song live since at least 2008, you see no difference in the energy and excitement the band have in performing that and performing their new songs for the first time. Matt Shultz grooves about the stage microphone in hand and the other five musicians on the stage just seem to be enjoying his and the crowd's passion for their music.
The set proceeds with more songs from their previous album and Tell Me I'm Pretty including Punchin' Bag, Teeth and Mess Around, all which have the room jumping and groups swinging hand-in-hand. The band start up Come a Little Closer as their set closes and genuine cries of “open up this fucking pit!” do their job. Everyone looks truly brought together as the song has it's final build into the last chorus.
They thank the crowd and leave the stage, it doesn't take very long before chants start up, cheers and foot-stamping grow louder and louder, and parts of the crowd are getting pushed out to create a mosh pit with no music. Waves of people crouch down on the floor and when the band return Matt asks, “are we at festival right now? Because this shit is just crazy.” The first song of the encore is Cigarette Daydreams which is a song very close to my heart and is even closer now. Everyone starts being brought up onto shoulders by friends and kind strangers (in my case). It was the first complete view I had of all the band members and as the song reached the most quiet point, it's not just the lead singer who is reciting the lyrics but several band members without microphones, just showing their heartfelt appreciation for everyone in the room that's there for them. It was a very special moment I won't forget anytime soon.
Shake Me Down leads to ending their twenty song set with Sabertooth Tiger which completely blows the crowd away. Feedback and cheers carry on for a while as Matt has some fun for himself, crowdsurfing without shoes or shirt to an upstairs railing before gathering a sufficient amount of supportive fans for him to leap in to.
They've come back with just as much energy as when they left in 2014, refreshed and with a whole album of fabulous new live material. Do not miss Cage the Elephant.