Live Review: Cage The Elephant – Liverpool

Cage The Elephant

cage the elephanto2 Academy Liverpool, February 18th 2016

Words: Gary Lambert

Photos: Gaz Jones

There was a distinct buzz about the Cage The Elephant tour coming to Liverpool. The band had not been in these parts for around seven years and their fans were hungry for them. When the gig was announced it soon sold out and had to be moved upstairs to allow more people to purchase tickets. Even in the hours before social media was awash with people talking about what was coming.

 

Opening up the night was Nashville, Tennessee’s latest hope, Chrome Pony. Coming from the home of country music and with a look that did not scream rock n roll, I was not expecting a this four piece to be anything other than traditional Americana, but my prejudice was blasted away with a set leaning heavily on recent album release, Past Lives. So many gigs see the support band play to a sparsely filled room and judging glares as the unknowns give it their best shot. That would be no pressure compared with the size of the crowd which Chrome Pony. At least 70% of the audience were already in there and waiting to be entertained. Which Chrome Pony did in style bringing their global sounding rock music to the party and getting it started in a whirlwind of hair and noise.

 

The fans who were there to watch Cage The Elephant had been given a bonus treat and responded to the great offering by getting involved in it themselves. There were no whispers, no wanderers searching for friends and definitely nobody moodily waiting for their favourites to take to the stage. The cheers and support deservedly given to Chrome Pony could easily be compared with regular headliners rather than a support band on their first visit to these shores.

 

cage the elephant gaz jonesBy the time Cage The Elephant took to the stage the excitement and heat had reached fever pitch. Starting with out with their newest psychedelia inspired album Tell Me I’m Pretty, the band put themselves to the test. And it was brilliant. Loud, tuneful and demanding of attention it was a good thing this gig had been upgraded to the big room as Academy 2 would have crumbled from this gigantic rock onslaught. The event stepped up a grade with the playing of a few old favourites. From an intensely excited audience one moment, the red hot rhythms melted the crowd into a seething frenzy which had even those seeking shelter at the bank of the venue moving and swaying, shaking and jumping. Frontman Matthew Schultz looking all rock star cool was a fine example of a man in love with his role. Perpetually in motion he made sure there was no let up for their fans who needed no encouragement to throw themselves around and was so exciting and limber that those who were not inclined to mosh were unable to take their eyes off him. This was no one-man show however as with only drummer, Jared Champion, positioned a safe distance away from the stage edge it felt like the Cage The Elephant were attempting to shred the faces off Liverpool’s music fans and take them home as trophies. Even standing at the back I felt breathless and battered. And had to move further back as the moaning there was getting too much for a man straight out of the office.

 

To make sure that the newer songs kept up the momentum, the band hit the bass hard like they were intent on keeping Small Faces and The Kinks back in the sixties and in their record collections only. It smacked of a band knowing what their audience wants and generally being a hotter than the sun live act. As if the laws of physics and bouncers were there to be destroyed by Cage The Elephant and their music, the size of the sell out crowd seemed to grow somehow with the music made for festivals encouraging people to appear from other fields. By the end of the night, Schultz was topless, hundreds of people were sweaty, tens of people were on each other’s shoulders and everybody was happy and counting down the days until Cage The Elephant come back. It had better not take as long as seven years next time.

 

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