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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Concert review: Storm was no match for Cage the Elephant’s energy

Singer Matt Shultz of Cage the Elephant performs onstage Sept. 26, 2021, during the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival in Franklin, Tenn.  (Lindsey Treffry / The Spokesman-Review)
By Jordan Tolley-Turner The Spokesman-Review

After what appeared to be a near cancellation due to an extreme downpour and a sky full of lightning, Cage the Elephant took the stage at 10:30 p.m. with an onset of energy from lead singer Matt Shultz and enough pyro to light up Northern Quest Resort and Casino’s BECU Live outdoor venue.

Perhaps it was the combination of an antsy crowd finally drying off and the presumed anticipation of the band going on a few hours late, but the instant energy was truly felt. By the second song, band members were standing on the railing and finding a level of fan interaction that usually takes a full set, if that. Later on, a guitar with a broken string or two was even given to a fan in the front row.

Sporting a sequin button-up, an LA Dodgers hat and moves that would make any concert goer smile, Shultz was the highlight. With his emphatic voice, light falsetto he’s become known for and impressive breath control (especially given his sheer amount of movement), it’s difficult to not be impressed and feel the force he creates as an entertainer. Anybody that can hit their notes while jumping in the air, halfway across the stage, was born to do this. Shultz’s sheer hype made his vocals a little “shouty” at times, but I’d absolutely prefer (perhaps) a little over-emotion in place of a lead singer standing in place with perfect pitch.

The alt-rock powerhouse covered their tracks with a range of songs from each album – from the hits like “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” and “Cigarette Daydreams” to tracks from their latest record, “Neon Pill.” Some of the more recently released songs received a little less excitement than their classics like the concert closer “Come A Little Closer,” but I’d wager the packed crowd left with a few more listeners of their latest singles.

Props should also be given to the production crew, which had impeccable lighting on time with musical cues during each song and also had to deal with the sheer onslaught of rain earlier in the evening. I have yet to hear sub-par mixing at Quest so far this year, and this show was no different.

The band’s mild hiatus and lack of new music over the past six years concerned some fans (including myself), but Cage the Elephant has returned with a vengeance, and it looks like they’re here to stay.