Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cage The Elephant Electric Ballroom, London

On the back of their second album Thank You, Happy Birthday the profile of Kentucky’s Cage The Elephant is rising with every gig and deservedly so. Known early on for their riotous shows the band have lost none of the hunger or desire that made them so talked about in the UK back in 2008. The US are fully behind them now too.

Opening with In One Ear, perhaps their most recognisable song to date, the 5-piece set off at a frenetic pace that rarely drops throughout. New tracks 2024 and Aberdeen follow, in fact much of the new record gets an airing, with the former diving from the sinister to the delightful and Matt Schultz's voice roaring with a hunger that matches their energy. The alt-rocknroll grunge like sounds they pursue are addictive and enthralling. With more than a nod to the poppier train of the Lemonheads or The Little Ones the mad soundings of The Cramps meets Nirvana meets Screaming Tea Party are impressively honed. It's infectious stuff.

Tiny Little Robots and Lotus are played with as much intensity and heat as when we first heard them, Around My Head is an anthem for desillusioment introducing a welcome change of pace and Japanese Buffalo is a totally crazed affair that goes on to embrace a wonderful sing-along verse.

Writhing around like a modern Mick Jagger cum Iggy Pop figure, Matt Schultz is fast becoming an icon in himself, stage diving on a handful of occasions to the captivated audiences delight. At times incredibly heavy, at times bizarre but with melodies and hooks that are more addictive than candy, Cage are quite essential right now.

Indy Kidz is whacky and frantic with Shultz stalking in a frenzy. Seemingly picking up mixed reviews on record this track is a highlight tonight. Aint No Rest For The Wicked ignites another sing-along, current single Shake Me Down is hugely popular amongst a knowledgeable crowd and Sabertooth Tiger offers a chaotic, ferocious conclusion with the whole band crashing about the stage. Returning for an outrageous cover of Pavement's False Skorpion, the track is a smash and grab 'we love this' kind of affair. The intensity heightened by Shultz diving into the crowd once again, standing on some lucky punters shoulder before screaming his heart out to the end. It's emphatic.

Now back in the States and with an almighty touring schedule ahead, which will see them travel the globe for most of the year, these fine chaps are becoming more important and loved with every show. Go see 'em when you can.

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