Written by Bill Whiting
Like a wild animal about to rage, Bowling Green, KY’s favorite sons, Cage the Elephant, took the stage at Cincinnati’s Bogarts as a band on a mission. Quickly converting the uninitiated into a sprawling mass of energized bodies on the Bogarts floor, Elephant’s lead singer Matthew Shultz bounced from one end of the stage to the other. Singing the catchy choruses that dominate their album, Thank You Happy Birthday, Shultz’s body surfed with the floors denizens, creating an unshakable bond that lasted throughout the night. The power inherent inside of Cage the Elephant’s sound rests with the rhythm section of bassist Daniel Tichenor and gonzo drummer Jared Champion. Lead guitarist Lincoln Parish’s stinging lines colored the booming midsection of “Always Something.” And, Matthew’s brother, Brad Shultz, provided the jagged edge on rhythm guitar with a bludgeoning consistency on the riveting masterwork, “Shake Me Down.” Matthew Shultz kept the audience’s attention focused on his open ended, tightrope walking stage demeanor, but make no mistake, Cage the Elephant is one seriously kick ass band. Whether they were ripping into “In One Ear” from 2009’s self titled debut, or piercing the frayed ends of the working anthem, “Ain’t No Rest For the Wicked,” the brothers Shultz, Tichenor, Champion and Parish kept a tightly rocking ship onstage that projected to the back end of the building with a sonic fury of feedback fever. The title of their disc may be Thank You Happy Birthday, but it was Cage the Elephant that came bearing gifts for a grateful, sweat filled Cincinnati audience on a chilly end of March evening.