Depending on demographic, one might say last Friday's Cage the Elephant concert was wicked, rad, lit, or on fleek.
Target Center wasn’t at capacity, but the generation-spanning crowd in attendance to see the massive Kentucky alt-rock band got an education in passion and rock ‘n' roll.
There were people in their 30s and 40s dancing and singing along to every song. There were young twentysomethings talking about how they’d only been to a few shows — most notably a Pink Floyd cover band and WE Fest. My 16-year-old niece noted that there were a bevy of “basics” around us. She also informed me that I’m basic. Whatever.
On the floor, a sweaty swath of humanity sang along to every song, freaking out like they were in an Uptown basement circa 1992. It was both refreshing and tiring watching hundreds of people physically and emotionally engaged during the whole ride, and Cage the Elephant frontman Matt Shultz was the one driving.
It was exhausting watching Shultz party-rock on stage for an hour and a half. He danced, sang, leapt, and ran until he hit empty, even collapsing on stage for a few minutes after their final song. His performance prompted this relevant question in at least one reporter's notebook: If one were to bike the tour with Cage the Elephant, from city to city, would that person burn as many calories as this guy? Unlikely. Shultz was incredible.
Guitarist Nick Bockrath nailed every solo on his Gibson SG and his hollow-bodied guitar. The other guitarist, their riffster Brad Shultz, engaged with crowd throughout, singing along with every song as if they were his all-time favorites. An assortment of other musicians filled in the gaps, including on tambourine and bongos.
The show also offered lessons we should apply to non-rock 'n' roll life.
Opening band Portugal. the Man had a hype guy and he was big. The guy could play left tackle for the Vikings and he was like, “Give it up for my boyzzz!!!” and “Are you ready for another song?” and “I can’t heeeeaaarrrr yoouuouououououo!!!” And really, couldn't we all use a good hype man? As in, “Are you reading my boy’z review??? Make some noize if ya feel himmmm!!!”
Also, start a clap once in a while. The crowd always loses their shit when someone starts clapping on stage. There has to be a way to incorporate that into our daily lives. On the bus in the a.m.? Start a clap. At work, during a meeting? Start a clap. Just got done doing the dishes at home? Start a clap. Put two hands together and just watch what happens around you. Chances are it’ll be magical.
Cage the Elephant have four albums — the most recent is 2015's Tell Me I’m Pretty, produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys — and they played a great set that included highlights “Trouble,” “Aberdeen,” “Take It Or Leave It,” "Cigarette Daydreams,” “Cry Baby,” “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,” “Spiderhead,” “Mess Around,” “Shake Me Down,” and “Come a Little Closer.”
In the song “Trouble,” Matt Shultz sings, “Got so much to lose / Got so much to prove / God don’t let me lose my mind.” CTE proved themselves all night. Here's hoping they don’t lose their minds, because the band has a lot to offer. Give it up for my boyzzzz!!! Start a hand clap, and go see ‘em next time they’re in town.
Random notebook dump No. 1: For one guy in khaki pants and a tan Hawaiian shirt, the experience had a lot to do with hundreds of strangers hoisting him up above their heads for roughly an hour. The crowd-surfing game at the show was pretty strong, and for this one guy, his ass got more attention than Kim Kardashian’s for one night and one night only.
Random notebook dump No. 2: Cage the Elephant bassist Daniel Tichenor smoked a few heaters during the show. He didn’t puff like Guided By Voices guitarist Tobin Sprout — nobody smokes as many darts as that guy — but it was a fun throwback to rock shows of yesteryear. Smoking indoors? Bad man. I think I saw a bracelet on his wrist with the letters WWLD? — What Would Lemmy Do?
Overheard in the crowd: “You like Pink Floyd?" asked one young man to another. “Yeah, I do,” said young man No 2. To which young man No. 1 said, “I went to see a Pink Floyd cover band once but I didn’t smoke pot.” End scene.