February 12th – The Bierkeller
Appropriately late to the stage, following repeated taunts of dimmed lights and guitar chords which antagonised the abundantly impatient audience, Cage the Elephant walked out with a shout of “Hello Boys and Girls”, which ignited a mass spillage of warm beer from plastic pint glasses. They kicked off the evening with ‘Cry Baby’, the lead track from their most recent offering, 2015’s Tell Me I’m Pretty, and were instantly lapped up by the audience.
After a faultless opener they paused to ask the room their thoughts on Chrome Pony. A subsequent resounding wail from the crowd suggests they were pleasantly received as a warm up to the main act. Cage the Elephant offered up a short explanation that Chrome Pony is in fact their “best friends from Kentucky”, and implored the crowd with a dedicated plea to “Support real music and buy the Chrome Pony merch- not ours”.
This statement alongside the choice of a cosy grungy venue like Beirkeller; despite the many years of awards and critical success that could warrant Cage the Elephant playing in a larger commercial venue such as the O2, reinforces their point, that for them; it is about playing their music for the people that want it, enjoy it and devour it, they are all about the Real Music.
Cage the Elephant retain an unassuming southern charm that emanates from the blue embroidery on their white cotton shirts, and this likeability has led to many years success across the US and UK, since the release of ‘Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked’ back in 2008; a slow burner that became a nostalgic rock favourite. This song specifically is reminiscent of the mid-to-late noughties influx of accessible rock music, and the song was wisely played early on in the set.
After hyping up the audience and reassuring them with their long familiar fan favourite, they then followed up with ‘Trouble’, their most recent release from Tell Me I’m Pretty. Much has been made of the fact that their recent album was produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, an influence that is evident across the record. However, hearing the tracks blended in amongst their music created over the course of the past decade, their sound is still intrinsically Cage the Elephant.
They have of course evolved and changed with every release, but in hearing the music old and new spun together; the set list for the night was a gratifying and evocative trip for the audience, a large majority of which were avid fans; screaming the lyrics a step ahead of the lead vocals, and savouring the tidbits of chatter from the stage.
The show was a strong advertisement (if it’s possible that any of the audience weren’t already avid consumers) for their latest record, they’ve created a new sound that plays amazingly well live, it is genuine and revitalised but still compliments their previous work. It’s great to watch a band that have grown and evolved whilst acknowledging the importance of their active fan base that hold close every previous record, but absorb and indulge with each new direction they move in. A fan base that filled Beirkeller with an admiration for their music that any musician would strive for.
Check out ‘Mess Around (The Box)’ right here: