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Live Review: Cage The Elephant @ The Forum

Live Review: Cage The Elephant @ The Forum

I last saw Cage The Elephant stampede through a London venue in 2011. That time it was at The Garage. My lingering memory of this monstrously energetic show is that of singer Matt Shultz’s frenetic, wild abandon in crowd-surfing, at one point returning to the stage missing one shoe. A small sacrifice to the gods of stage-diving, perhaps, but the symbolism of merging with a crowd, and leaving changed in some way, has stuck with me.

Cage The Elephant at The Forum in London on 11 February 2016. (Imelda Michalczyk)

Cage The Elephant at The Forum in London on 11 February 2016. (Imelda Michalczyk)

Five years later and the Kentucky-originating, genre-defying, rock-garage-punk-alt-pop band are playing a packed out show at The Forum. Originally planned for west London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire, the show was moved to north London at fairly late notice, due to SBE’s continuing emergency repair work on its roof. Tonight, The Forum is in severe danger of having its own roof raised.

Cage The Elephant at The Forum in London on 11 February 2016. (Imelda Michalczyk)

Cage The Elephant at The Forum in London on 11 February 2016. (Imelda Michalczyk)

The show kicks off with Cry Baby, the opening track from their latest album, Tell Me I’m Pretty. Clearly keen on opening with openers, it’s followed by In One Ear (the first track from 2008‘s self-titled debut album) and then Spiderhead (the first track on 2013’s Melophobia).

Cage The Elephant at The Forum in London on 11 February 2016. (Imelda Michalczyk)

Cage The Elephant at The Forum in London on 11 February 2016. (Imelda Michalczyk)

It would be hard for a novice to pick out the new songs from the setlist, as they receive as much gloriously enthusiastic response as Cage The Elephant’s earlier, well-loved favourites.

Cage The Elephant at The Forum in London on 11 February 2016. (Imelda Michalczyk)

Cage The Elephant at The Forum in London on 11 February 2016. (Imelda Michalczyk)

Who could say that the irresistible Mess Around was less familiar than the hotly anticipated Back Against The Wall, or that the haunting grandeur of Too Late To Say Goodbye was any less relished than the sweeping and delicious Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked?

Cage The Elephant at The Forum in London on 11 February 2016. (Imelda Michalczyk)

Cage The Elephant at The Forum in London on 11 February 2016. (Imelda Michalczyk)

Cage The Elephant more than simply recreate their distinctive yet curiously varied sound, sending the crowd into a frenzy. The band’s secret weapon live is Matt’s explosively captivating performance. Channeling Iggy Pop, Mick Jagger and a host of dynamic band leaders, Matt’s constant jumping, dancing, crowd-surfing and encouragement of the crowd is electrifying.

Cage The Elephant at The Forum in London on 11 February 2016. (Imelda Michalczyk)

Cage The Elephant at The Forum in London on 11 February 2016. (Imelda Michalczyk)

The show ends with Come A Little Closer before they return for a three song encore of Cigarette Day Dreams, Shake Me Down and the final blow of Sabertooth Tiger. For the last track, Matt throws himself into the audience. The song descends into feedback and the rest of the band leave the stage, while Matt floats across the top of the crowd, standing up several times, ending up at the stairs at the side of the venue, before climbing up and diving back into the sea of welcoming hands.

Cage The Elephant at The Forum in London on 11 February 2016. (Imelda Michalczyk)

Cage The Elephant at The Forum in London on 11 February 2016. (Imelda Michalczyk)

A fittingly wild end to a strangely joyful live show. The elephant may be caged but these musicians are wonderfully free and will continue to surf over your head.

Cage The Elephant @ The Forum.

Interview with Cage The Elephant will be coming soon.

Live Review and Photography By Imelda Michalczyk. February 11, 2016.

Imelda has her own great personal website here: www.rebeladelica.com

Cage The Elephant here:https://www.cagetheelephant.com

About The Author

Imelda

I'm a photographer and writer with a passion for live music. I've been dancing wildly at gigs for as long as I can remember and since the beginning of 2008 I've been taking photographs and writing about gigs, too. My photographs have been featured in a diverse range of places – I started out shooting for punk fanzines and local newspapers and then had my work featured in CD/promotional artwork for bands and in music magazines and national newspapers. I also shoot for top London music agency Retna/Photoshot. Outside of music photography/writing, I'm learning to perform tribal fusion belly dance and to speak French. Not usually at the same time. I'm also still looking for the meaning of life (but I hear that's a slow burn). I've lived in London for quite a few years, mainly because of the wonderful range of live music here and because there are lots of artists I still wish to see through my camera lens...

1 Comment

  1. RockyRockShot

    Great photos and live review of Cage The Elephant at The Forum..

    Reply

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