Photos by Randall Vasquez
Last night was the perfect night to take in three modern rock giants at the Budweiser Stage. With Beck and Cage the Elephant co-headlining a North American tour, it was guaranteed to be a lively affair. Throw in Spoon as an opener and you’ve got a triple bill where everyone needs to deliver their A-game or be overshadowed. If the amphitheatre was not full, it was sure almost there as there and everyone came to get their summer party on.
Beck is the godfather on the bill, relative to the others, but he comes out swinging right from the get-go when he opens his 70-minute set with his first big hit, “Loser” a song older than a lot of people gathered for the evening.
Beck as such a vast and diverse discography that he could really take any crowd anywhere, but for last night he really just sook to the up-tempo hits that would and did keep everyone up on their feet. The man worked the stage like he was half his age, didn’t care how he looked and ensured a good time was had by all. Highlights included recent singles “Up All Night”, a dazzling “Wow” and “Dreams” along with older classics including a molten “Devil’s Haircut”, “The New Pollution” and “E-Pro”.
My only drawbacks on Beck’s set were the sound which was turned too high and made the sound muddled at times and towards the end of the set felt a bit rushed as Beck tried to maximize his stage time before curfew. He did squeeze in “Where It’s At” and “Night Running” featuring Cage the Elephant before the exhausted crowd filed out.
I’ve never heard a Cage the Elephant song but this would be at least my fourth time seeing them, and I still don’t understand how I haven’t done any further discovery. They are clearly the headliners for the younger portions of the audience – and for good reason. Along with a very energetic frontman, some driving rock songs and armed with pyro-a-plenty, Cage easily take command of the crowd right from the beginning and don’t let go of the crowd’s throats until they are done 75 minutes later.
I did make it to the park in time to catch most of Spoon’s set. It’s been years since I’ve seen the Austin band. They are hitting heavy putting on a blistering set to soundtrack the setting sun. They play the hits including set highlights “Hot Thoughts”, “Inside Out”, “I Turn My Camera On”, “Don’t You Evah” and “Do You” before closing with “Jonathon Fisk”. It’s such a spirited display that it’s a shame there weren’t more seats filled to catch it.