Of the 28,000 days that make up the average person’s life, there are few moments that can actually be considered worthwhile to remember; the moments that make peaks in our memory bank, moments that hold purpose and meaning. Moments that remind us of the most important life lesson of all, that we are alive and it feels fucking great! And you might say that I’m just talking about a “good time,” but no, what I’m talking about is beyond that. It’s beyond having a good night with your friends getting fucked up or getting laid with a person who you don’t know. What I’m talking about is something much more real. It’s a point where it feels like energy is exploding from your chest and you lose yourself on a level that does not even seem conscious, but yet you know you’re fully alive. Many things can cause this but for me on February 23rd, Cage the Elephant took me to this level with their phenomenal music and stage performance.
As soon as Cage the Elephant came on the stage I could already feel that familiar energy from the two times I’ve seen them previously. I could already feel my blood surging in my veins. I always felt like I knew what to expect when I see Cage the Elephant but as soon as they kicked in, it felt all new again. I could remember the emotional power their music brings but I felt like I forgot the intensity of the music. It brought that same overpowering “awe” to my senses. Hearing the opening song could be compared to riding a roller coaster and it was a universal high. The band and the crowd were all feeling it. It felt like peaceful madness but at this show those words were not a contradiction when put together. As usual, Matt, the lead singer was outdoing himself but not in a way that required any effort on his part, it was natural and pure. Nothing about him or the rest of the band was a gimmick; they were the very definition of an iconic punk-rock band.
Thirty minutes in I was blown away by how many great songs they were playing. I was shocked when they played “Backstabbing Betty”, it felt like it was just for me, because to my knowledge this was not one of their most popular or requested songs. Then came “Sabertooth Tiger” and if you have not heard this song before then stop reading this review and go listen to it. But even if you have the MP3 version, it does not grant justice to just how great it sounds live. Live “Sabertooth Tiger” pumps so much raw emotion in your ears that you have no choice but to scream and jump just to help filter the intensity. It’s the kind of music that makes you feel fearless and overwhelmingly happy, you want more, you want to know how far this feeling goes, how far ’til the edge and you know Cage the Elephant is trying to find out the same thing as Matt Shultz runs and spears into the crowd. You know this is what people are talking about when they say sometimes music can be more than notes. It’s magic and you can see it in the eyes of everyone who’s standing around you.
When the band left the stage for the first time, the air was calm but only for a second before Cage the Elephant was already back and playing an amazing cover. They played “Psycho Killer” by The Talking Heads and it was a perfect fit for them; it was old school punk and they did more than just give it justice. They gave it more energy than it could of ever had before. It was the best kind of tribute that showed how much the band loved and treasured great music.
Cage the Elephant’s style of punk rock is something that has changed over the years and seems to have truly shifted from the times of The Ramones and Sex Pistols. But Cage the Elephant brings punk rock back to it’s roots with their new sound. The new Cage not only honors what punk rock was, but it even carves out it’s own piece of history and they do it effortlessly. Cage the Elephant is making something that’s for them and for their fans; something very special that outsiders of their music might not understand. And seeing this band at a small venue like The Beaumont Club makes you feel lucky because you know this experience will become rarer as time goes on and they start playing only amphitheaters. You will no longer see Matt Shultz above the crowd, swinging from pipes on the ceiling. So if you can go see this band now I promise you won’t forget it and you might even learn something about yourself.
I give Cage the Elephant 5 “injuries waiting to happen” out of 5
by Josh Davis
Photos by Angela Davis