By the enthusiastic queuing outside, it was clear from the outset that this was to be a gig for genuine fans; this only became clearer inside, when the majority of conversations seemed to be a competition of who’s seen Cage The Elephant more times.
Support came from New York rockers, Drowners. There are no airs and graces with Drowners, no falsities and no unnecessary show; there’s little chitchat with the crowd aside from the standard ‘thank you’s. The attitude appears to be very ‘just play’, however this is no bad thing. Clad in black t-shirts and jeans, front man Matt in a leather jacket, they look like a rock band, and they sound like one too. While the crowd wasn’t necessarily consisted of Drowners fans, they were undoubtedly enjoying themselves. Everyone gradually drifted from the bar to watch the young rockers, giving them the attention they deserved.
The venue became increasingly packed, toilet and bar goers hopelessly searching for lost friends. At about 9 o’clock, with drinks in hand and one last surge forward in the hope to get a better view, the crowd settled.
Then Cage the Elephant took to the stage. The set was a huge pleaser, there was not a moment went the atmosphere dropped. They seamlessly covered all albums from self-titled Cage the Elephant to most recent Melophobia, keeping the energy up beat. Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked was played surprisingly early on, but had the desired affect, instantly getting the crowd’s attention, and keeping it for the rest of the night. Again, the relentless singing along proved the dedication and genuineness of the crowed. From the older songs like In One Ear, which had the crowd shouting at the top of their lungs, to slower new songs like Cigarette Daydreams, the crowd was consistent with their lyrical knowledge – very heartwarming to see. Contrasting Drowners, Cage the Elephant seemed adamant to interact with the crowd. It was playful and gracious, with Matt Shultz referring to the audience as ‘wondrous mammals’ and at one point suggesting we set up a commune in the middle of the mosh pit. It was a typical small venue gig, intimate and rowdy. Crowd surfers and shoulder riders eventually took over, much to the band’s delight, and, of course, Matt couldn’t possibly miss out on this, although initially worried he would be ‘sucked down and not let back up’.
After leaving the stage for a good few means, toying with our patience, Cage the Elephant returned. After a heartfelt thank you speech, they settled the crowed down with Shake Me Down, before going out with a bang to Sabertooth Tiger. One impressive crowd surfer from Matt (and an almost lost shoe on his behalf) they left the stage, leaving the audience astounded.