Sunday evening’s well deserved Grammy winner for best rock album, Cage The Elephant, have just been on a tour across Europe, and AMBY were there to cover it. The show at Copenhagen venue VEGA seemed to be a special intimate treat for the fans over here, and we were pleased to cover a colorful concert with the stage right at the hands of the audience and a band that played with a fresh up-in-your-face attitude before going for one of their fun traditional surfs with the crowd.
Cage The Elephant entered the smaller stage in Copenhagen to a dark lit venue soaked in red nuanced colors, and there where a certain ”La Vie en Rose” feeling about the night where it was possible to let go of all other thoughts by the entrance and simply experience how good life can be in that company right there and then.
The lady on my left and the guys to my right in the front row where definitely no trouble, but some quite friendly music-lovers for company. Just a bunch of excited and loyal fans seeing one of their favorite bands once again. One fella had watched them perform twice, while it had build up to be the impressive amount of twenty-eight times for another.
The stage was placed right at their hands this time, and they all let me know what amazing feeling this was. Their enthusiasm can only be described like being able to touch some otherwise forbidden fruit that a stage area can be, and so this was a sort of holy illumination for dedicated gig-goers that they sure clinged to as they got the chance. I too can agree that this significant intimate setting was the perfect way to create a special get together feel between band and audience, compared with the more common use of barriers that we also met when the band played at the same venue in February last year.
Guitarist Brad Shultz was quick to make use of this, as he jumped down to the floor and played some cords with the crowd within two songs. Brother and vocalist Matt Shultz danced energetically around the stage and showed off a bit of his signature moves, but it didn’t toke him long either to get down on his knees to sing with full blast by the hands and right up the happy faces of the front rows.
Just like the colors of the stage lights easily transformed from blooming red to compact blue tones, so did the tempo and mood of the band’s songs change smoothly between dancey rock’n’roll, such as the track In One Ear from their debut album, to more calm rests where ballad tunes from their later albums got some solid singalong treatments, like Trouble from latest album Tell Me I’m Pretty.
When the band left the stage at the end of the concert it was, of course, with major applause and cheers. Matt then returned to the stage alone for the encore with a guitar over his shoulders, and he started to play a breathtaking acoustic version of the song Right Before My Eyes from 2011 album Thank you, Happy Birthday. The sold out venue got suddenly very quiet, and the audience swayed calmly to the beautiful rhythm from the stage. I personally felt the song hit me like a soft punch to the stomach.
The rest of the band joined in on stage for two more songs from 2013 record Melophobia, of which Cigarette Daydream got some passionate singing from the audience echoing heavy through the room, and Teeth literally led the show at VEGA to peak heights as Matt crowd surfed towards a balcony, and made one of his traditional mad looking, but also victorious fun splash jumps back to the ecstatic fans on the floor.
For those who somehow haven’t been sure or gotten the change yet to watch this band perform, then I can’t express enough how you just have to get out there and watch Cage The Elephant play live whenever possible…
For all interviews and features with Cage the Elephant, click here.
Review by Jules Faurschou | @rockonpoets