Concert Reviews

Cage the Elephant at Kool Haus

Photographs by Sarah Rix.

Cage The Elephant hold the mantle of having a very loud and energetic show, so much so you’d think you were at a Motorhead show, not that the bands are similar in any way though. Cage The Elephant has punk, funk, blues and dance in their background that makes it so hard to decipher when one influence ends and the next one begins.

Guitarist Brad Shultz came out to a roaring cheer and starting playing the intro to Spiderhead. I could tell this show was going to be crazy when in the first song Shultz jumped into the crowd and kept his playing up while surfing around. The real insanity started during the second song In One Ear, when the moshing commenced in the all ages crowd. Singer, and brother of guitarist, Matt Schultz pointed to the crowd and then ran full speed and like a diver leapt into the unsuspecting crowd (and right over the head of our photographer Sarah Rix!). The sing along started with this song and continued for all their biggest hits.

Matt Shultz seemed to base his stage presence on some of the best in the business. He had the swagger of Mick Jagger, the femininity of David Bowie and the raw aggression of Iggy Pop. With a denim shirt half unbuttoned tucked into his white linen pants and a handkerchief tied around his neck like a dandy. He would shimmy and shake all over, pointing at audience members while engaging them directly. It was like a super psych freak out when Aberdeen came on, off of their second album Thank You Happy Birthday.

The noise level peaked for both the fans and the band when Cage The Elephant played their first single Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked. While the song already has a bit of a Loser like twang to it, it sounded even more country live. I don’t know who was screaming louder during the chorus, the boisterous crowd or the brothers Shultz. Matt proclaimed almost blushing, “I don’t even want to be on stage. I want to be down with you guys!” This is a band that feeds off energy and spits it back out at the paying customers.

They had a pretty intense light show that is not for the easily distorted. Lots of intense strobe lights bounced off the spinning disco ball in every colour of the spectrum. It was quite blinding at some points. After Shake Me Down, Matt came out shirtless and upped his Iggy Pop moves. He dove into the crowd again and managed to stand up completely while people held him up. He did a little shimmy then stood still while the band finished the end of the song. With the instruments all still ringing he just let go and fell face first into everyone. That was the end to a very spectacular set full of surprises, and what a way to finish at that.

Near the end of headliner Foals performance I ran into Brad Shultz and drummer Jared Champion enjoying the set by the bar. I got to say hi to them and they seemed much more sedated by this point, but were nonetheless grateful for the positive feedback that came from those who recognized them.

Thanks to Live Nation Ontario for media access.

About author

Music Editor at Live in Limbo and Host of Contra Zoom podcast. Dakota is a graduate of Humber College's Acting for Film and Television. He now specializes in knowing all random trivia. He writes about music, sports and film. Dakota's life goal is visit all baseball stadiums, he's at 7.