Cage the Elephant – A Sweaty Success
If you have ever questioned whether or not Cage the Elephant would disappoint live, this review should quell those worries. Cage the Elephant sound as good live as they do recorded; and give more. When we first arrived, just after the doors had opened, there was an initial lull as people stood around sipping on overpriced beers. Half an hour later and the room was overcrowded to the extent of claustrophobia, the body heat emanating and filling the previously cold room.
The opening act then started,an eclectic bunch who seemed to cross all genres stylistically, ranging from 90’s fluoro to a quintessential long haired 70’s band-type. As the support band called it a wrap, a plethora of guitars lay on stage and the roadie took his time to test each one in the spotlight, before Cage the Elephant strolled on. As they finished playing their first two songs Spiderhead came on; the crowd erupted into instantaneous moshing. Indeed, what was surprising was that even when some of their songs from their new album came on, such as Cry Baby and Cold Cold Cold, the audience continued to mosh. These new favourites – along with the rest of the album ‘Tell Me I’m Pretty’ – seem to represent a greater maturity and sophistication in comparison to their first album, encompassing more psychedelic bluesy elements than before.
The O2 in Liverpool was an aptly small venue for Cage the Elephant, as it really allowed for a greater performer-audience interaction, in as much as we felt the glistening sweat from vocalist Matt Schultz splatter us from four rows back. Moreover, his willingness to kneel down and physically reach out to the audience whilst being hand groped by various fans, brought us as viewers much closer to the band, levelling us more as spectators as well as escaping the potential detachment from the stage and the viewer.
As well as playing songs from their latest album, Cage the Elephant also performed songs from Melophobia, ending the night with Come a Little Closer (or at least until the audience demanded an encore). On the whole the night was a hotpot of frenetic alternative rock, both from the physical energy of the band and the intensity of the crowd, which was occasionally contrasted by songs temporarily arresting the tempo of the arena, such as Too Late to Say Goodbye. On a more comedic note, there was an attempted crowd surf which died pretty much as soon as it picked up. Other than that, Cage the Elephant gave as good as it promised.