Dancing, crowd surfing, and just a night of good ol’ fashioned debauchery. This was the scene at the Belly Up Tavern Monday night as Bowling Green, Kentucky rockers, Cage the Elephant, rolled through for their headlining tour. It’s been 5 months since Cage the Elephant, made up of brothers Matt and Brad Shultz, Jared Champion, Daniel Tichenor and Nick Bockrath, embarked on tour for their third studio album, Melophobia. As the boys were prepping for their tour back in November, I was fortunate to speak with guitarist Brad Shultz about festivals, life on tour, and their newest album. Read it here.
The set began with a touring member alone under a spotlight, playing a tune on the guitar. He continued as the rest of the band appeared on stage. The light lone guitar suddenly changed as they began their first song, “Spiderhead”, off of Melophobia. Though the tour is for their newest album, they still played songs off their other two albums. “In One Ear” off of their self-titled debut album came next, and “Aberdeen” from Thank You, Happy Birthday came afterwards.
Never one to miss the opportunity for a little breather, Matt would express his gratitude or crack jokes between songs about the venue’s decoration or Nick’s “inability” to crowd surf. (Though he did so without missing a single note) “We’ll get you there someday,” Matt says to the newest member of the band, after Lincoln Parish left the band in December of last year.
Bringing down the tempo of the night, the band slipped into “Cigarette Daydreams” which provided a nice break for the band and audience alike. But that all changed as Cage jumped straight into one of their biggest singles, “Aint No Rest for the Wicked.” The night continued with more songs off of the new album, “Black Widow,” “Teeth,” and their chart topping, “Come a Little Closer.” Number 1 on Billboard charts and still making rounds on the radio, it was then that everyone cheered the loudest and danced the hardest.
Matt Shultz is an entity all his own on stage. Between his dancing, crowd surfing, yelling, and other crazy antics, he was covered in sweat by the third song. There was not a single patch of the stage that he hadn’t wandered to at some point. Much of the set, Matt was singing face to face to the audience members in the front row. Brad, equally as enthusiastic, would jump to the tables on the side of the stage and play to those audience members, stepping over cups to get from one end of the table to the other.
To the cheers of the audience, the band returned back on stage for the encore, which included the hit “Shake Me Down” and “Sabertooth Tiger,” both off of Thank You, Happy Birthday. The song encore erupted with energy and mayhem as Matt, Brad and Nick took their turns crowd surfing. Matt, not chained down to an instrument (nor a shirt anymore), launched himself into the middle of the crowd. He then brought himself upright and stood up way above the crowd (nearly knocking his head on the venue’s disco ball), before collapsing back on top of the crowd who was ready to catch him. As they finished the last song of the night, the band wailed on their instruments. Nick held his over audience members so they could strum to the dissonance and Brad crashed his guitar into the floor, bringing the night to an end.
With another date on week 2 of Coachella, a summer tour that spans into Lollapalooza, and some festival dates in the UK afterwards, Cage the Elephant is making huge rounds for their Melophobia tour. Such extensive touring will more than likely land them into a venue near you. Like Melophobia, (which has honestly been on repeat the past few months) this is definitely a show worth checking out.