Cage the Elephant


Before heading to see Cage the Elephant at the Victoria Warehouse, I was told: “if they aren’t in your top five live bands after tonight, I’ll be shocked”. I took this with a pinch of salt, but boy, have I been proven wrong – and I couldn’t be happier for it.

Off the back of the release of CTE’s most recent album, Social Cues, the Kentucky natives have arrived in the North for the UK leg of a global tour.

“I was born on the wrong side of the train tracks,” blares opener ‘Broken Boy’, a ‘70s-esque trip from Social Cues. Frontman Matt Schultz enters, and he is electric. Bringing a touch of American glam rock to Manchester is not always an mean feat, but he does it with just enough easy flamboyance and showmanship to have the warehouse on a solid buzz all night.

‘Spiderhead’ follows, naturally providing the night’s first bona fide bop. It is personal highlight for me, although I reckon it would’ve been much better suited later on in the set, once the crowd had fully warmed up.

‘Cold Cold Cold’ – sounding just as effortlessly cool as it did when it was released – adds a little bit of an old-school psychedelic feel to the night, which is always welcome.

We’re sent back to the late noughties with a healthy rendition of ‘Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked’ – nostalgic, no matter your age or what you were doing in 2008. As the track that cemented the six-piece’s status, it’s clear to see how they’ve received unanimous critical acclaim from here on out.

As expected – everyone and their nan loves this song – ‘Cigarette Daydreams’ is evidently the crowdpleaser of the night. CTE’s most well-known tune, it could be so easy to turn your nose up at how much it gets people going, but there’s a reason it’s so famous.

As the final song before the encore, ‘Teeth’ provides some well-needed rowdiness – even the stiffest people in the crowd are moving!

In comparison, the encore is reasonably melancholic. New album songs ‘Goodbye’ and ‘Love’s the Only Way’ provide the send off – an odd choice, mood-wise. CTE don’t go out with a bang, more of a whisper, but enjoyable nonetheless.

The set strikes the right balance by featuring music from every single album – ranging from some lesser known tracks all the way up to modern classics. It becomes evident how experimental CTE have been in their career, bouncing from track to track, album to album.

The tonal shift is stark, but just enough so to keep things interesting.

Cage the Elephant: Official | Facebook | Twitter

Sasha Mossman

I'm a first year Multimedia Journalism student at MMU who is terrible at bios.