Cage the Elephant at Myth, 5/16/14

Cage the Elephant
with Foals and J. Roddy Walston & The Business
Myth Nightclub, Maplewood
Thursday, May 16, 2014

Even if Cage the Elephant isn't a household name just yet, you most likely have heard at least one of their songs. The band had a pretty successful 2013 that is bleeding into 2014. With the release of their latest album Melophobia late last year followed with touring, the band has managed to ride a strong wave.

See also:
Slideshow: Cage the Elephant pack the Myth

Lead singer Matthew Shultz strolled out casually and nonchalantly, almost as if he was bashful of the spotlight, yet, when he reached center stage, something changed and the lightswitch was flipped and didn't shut off for the rest of the evening. He was magnetic, dynamic,  energetic, and fascinating to say the least. A shirtless Shultz hardly stood still for a second, and when he did, it was rare and to address the rabid crowd, and by that time of the evening drunk, crowd that crammed into the Myth to catch one of their renowned live performances.
From the opening notes of "Spiderhead" to the encore, Cage the Elephant was all force driven by Shultz. Matthew has a strong enough voice to carry it over the driving guitars in all of the pieces, but it has a higher range that allows it to live by itself so it doesn't get lost in the instrumentation.

On "Aberdeen" and "Teeth," the band drew influences from Nirvana -- Shultz even looks a bit like the late singer, but he moves like Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots. "Ain't No Rest For the Wicked" was the band's breakout hit, and one of aforementioned pieces that you have heard before, and had the crowd in a frenzy. With audience members acting and dancing out the song as if they were in a music video, glasses were raised and things got a little rowdy, except one couple that made out the entire time by the women's bathroom -- they didn't pay attention to anyone else.

The night did take a few breaks for a few slower pieces in "Halo" and "Take it or Leave It," allowing the crowd surfers a breath, although not as many as anticipated. Perhaps they just wanted to enjoy the show.
Even though all eyes were on Schultz -- who went into the crowd a few times in the set -- for most of the evening, the rest of the band, which included Brad Shultz (Matt's brother), Daniel Tichenor, Jared Champion, and Nick Bockrath were completely solid, tight, and completely spot-on as they should be. They flew through songs like "Back Against the Wall" and "Black Widow" to conclude the regular set with "Come a Little Closer" in an effortless fashion and left nothing behind.
The band packed light in the set with only 14 songs, but the crowd stuck with them for the treat that came in the encore with their surprisingly poignant hit "Shake Me Down." The song hits many highs and lows and contemplates a life that at times is full of happiness and sometimes full of regret, building and pulling back in instrumentation. It's like a Cage the Elephant show contained in three and a half minutes.

Critic's bias: Even if the set was a little short, each song picked for its impact. Well done, Cage. I always thought the band leaned more towards indie-rock, so I was surprised that they had a lot more teeth in a live show.

The crowd: If you listen to 93X, you were probably at the Myth Thursday night.

Overheard in the crowd: A girl with a daisy headband telling me how some drunk guys wouldn't let her back to her spot in the crowd, so she had to spend the rest of the night in the back.

Random notebook dump: My friend was stopped during bag checks for her acid reflux medicine, yet the smell of weed was potent throughout the entire night.

In One Ear
Take It Or Leave It
Cigarette Daydreams
Ain't No Rest For the Wicked
Back Against the Wall
Black Widow
It's Just Forever
Come a Little Closer

Shake Me Down
Sabertooth Tiger

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