Cage the Elephant, Scala, London
Monday 08 December 2008
Whether it's the odd brother/sister relationship of The White Stripes, or the Kings of Leon being sons of a preacher man, we British are fascinated by American bands with a story to tell.
So Cage the Elephant should be heading for success. Three of the five-piece grew up in a hippie commune in Kentucky, and when brothers Matt and Brad Schultz's parents turned from drugs to God, any music deemed non-Christian was banned. Despite this, they found rock'n'roll through a smuggled Hendrix tape, and last summer released their eponymous debut album, a riot of fast-paced rock'n'funk songs.
Welcomed by a crammed venue, although Cage the Elephant don't like being labelled simply as a party band it doesn't take long for beer cans to start flying during the second song, "Tiny Little Robots".
Recently making an appearance on Never Mind the Buzzcocks frontman Matt Schultz has already gained a reputation for his on-stage antics. His semi-rapped delivery is shown to best effect on the Beck-inspired single "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked", as well as the anthemic "In One Ear". He gains more energy as the gig goes on, climbing into the audience via a speaker-stack during "James Brown". However, he saves his best for last. As they finish with The Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog", Schultz crowd surfs to the back of the room, an impressive feat considering the ground floor is tiered. He then climbs onto the cage containing the sound desk. There, 12 feet above the audience, he swan-dives back into the crowd. It's not a new trick, but the audience love it. Similarly, Cage the Elephant may not win awards for innovation, but what the hell. They're young, having fun, and want to make sure you do too.
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