"They say that we ain't got the style, we ain't got the class,
We ain't got the tunes that's goin' to put us on the map,
And I'm a phony in disguise, tryin' to make the radio,
I'm an anti-social anarchist who sounds like so and so.
They say I'm just a stupid kid, just a crazy radical,
Rock and roll is dead, I probably should've stayed in school,
Another generation X who somehow slipped up through the crack,
Oh, they'd love to see me fall but I'm already on my back."
The first verse to the first song Cage the Elephant played Friday night at Amos’ Southend 21st anniversary party in Charlotte, North Carolina encapsulates their defiant style of alternative rock n’ roll. In One Ear, the first track from their debut album, is the perfect song to for Cage the Elephant to use as an opener, because it is as pure of a rock song as you can find in the 2000s.
Cage the Elephant is as pure of a rock band as you can find in the 2000s. They are formed in Bowling Green, Kentucky in 2006, but they sound a little like they formed in Seattle in 1990. There feels like there is a lot of Seattle grunge influence in their music and specifically their live show. Front-man Matthew Schultz may remind Pearl Jam fans of a young Eddie Vedder. The two singers have different voices, but both see the stage as a playground. Schultz will head bang, rarely stay in the same spot for more than five seconds, and launch himself into the willing crowd.
Energy is the one word to describe a Cage the Elephant show. Led by Matthew Schultz’s disregard for his own life, the band delivers loud, guitar driven rock music. Matthew’s brother, Brad Schultz, throws as music energy at playing guitar as his brother does on the microphone. Lead guitarist Lincoln Parish provides the needed guitar licks to energize a rock crowd. Daniel Tichenor, on bass and backing vocals, appears to be the musical ringleader of the group, or at least the one with an iPhone app that helps you tune your instruments. Drummer Jared Champion had the most famous appendix in music.
The band’s two albums have produced several hit songs, but many of the band’s more devoted followers were as excited to hear the deep cuts. Cage the Elephant, again following in the footsteps of the guys from Seattle, takes an experimental, sometimes psychedelic, approach to song creation. While their radio hits have a mass appeal sound, their deeper stuff may confound the casual listener. But, the combination of mass appeal hits and blues and punk infused deep tracks makes for an in your face, hard driving, we do not care what you think rock show.