While most music fans were enjoying the rain and mud that waited for them at Lollapalooza, I waited in line outside the Vic Saturday night for a sold out Cage the Elephant show. I already saw them in May, but when this show was announced I knew I had to go. They’re such an amazing live band I never want to miss them when they come to their favorite city. And as I expected, they delivered even harder this time around.
The first time Cage the Elephant came to Chicago this year, The Foals opened for them. I did enjoy them quite a bit, but I liked Bear Hands even more. Their songs were fun, energetic, and entertaining. I was really impressed by how each member could play every instrument on stage. It was great to see the drummer banging away on his kit to then play keyboard on the next track. Also, their songs were pretty short, which was my biggest issue with The Foals. I liked their songs a lot, but I was so eager to see Cage the Elephant I just wanted them off the stage. It also didn’t help that their songs felt ten minutes long.
Because I had such a great spot I could see the band in all their glory. They all came out one by one with guitarist Nick Bockrath showing off his Bulls jersey, number 23 of course. Brad Shultz stepped up to the mic and said “Two years ago we stood on this stage and had the best show of our lives.” When Matt Shultz sauntered out, the place exploded and hearts were broken. Looking suave in a black button up shirt and white pants, he wiggled and clapped along to “Spiderhead.” Even though they put on a great show at the Aragon it was even better at the Vic. They sounded amazing and Matt gave his all when it came to signing. Plus, it’s hard not to be infected by his Elaine-like writhing dance moves.
I was a little disappointed with the setlist because it was exactly what they played earlier in the year. Since this was a 17 and older show and an aftershow for Lollapalooza, I thought they would either have a longer setlist or toss in some different songs. Though this didn’t happen, I still enjoyed their performance. They put so much energy, passion, and insanity into their show I didn’t mind hearing the songs again. It also helps that the setlist is pretty good in the first place. Also, it’s impossible to not fall in love with Matt. Every time I see him hop, bounce, and shake on stage I only like him more. He even brought up some new moves like sitting on his brother’s back while he plays guitar. It was really cool to see and made the crowd go nuts.
Some of the biggest highlights included a massive sing along during “Come a Little Closer,” “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,” and “Shake Me Down,” which found the singer stopping several times to let the audience take over. A funny moment happened when a bra was tossed on stage. Matt picked it up and said “Thanks. Is this some sort of chin strap?” As you would expect there was a lot of stage diving. This time Brad and Nick joined Matt on the action. As Matt waded through the crowd, he was handed a Sox hat, which he put on. He then motioned to someone else and was handed a Cubs hat. Rather than choosing favorites, he rocked them both and made sure to return the hats to their rightful owners. There was also a bit where cigarettes were tossed on stage. Matt picked it up and started ranting about how much he hated menthol cigarettes. It was random, weird, and slightly adorable.
All throughout, each member made sure the crowd knew how much they loved them and the city. Some blew kisses, some waved, but Brad said it best with “We fucking love you! Everyone in this room!” It’s an unwritten rule that every band on tour has to “love”every place they visit, but what makes Cage the Elephant so genuine is the amount of times they performed in the city in one year. They’ve already played four different shows here and will come back with the Black Keys this fall. That’s gotta be love. I know I already said it many times, but I’m gonna say it again: Cage the Elephant kick ass live. No matter how many of their shows you attend, they’re all memorable and epic.
In One Ear
Take It or Leave It
Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked
Back Against the Wall
It’s Just Forever
Come a Little Closer
Shake Me Down