Last night Deer Lake Park was shaken to the roots by what I would say was the best concert of 2011. The Black Keys and Cage The Elephant played to a sold out crowd, and delivered a more than memorable dual bill. I will be forever in awe of this show, it was amazing to say the least.
To start the show off, the quintet from Bowling Green, Kentucky, known as Cage The Elephant, took the stage to a revved up audience. Before the first note even rung from a single instrument, the swaying and chanting of the horde was ferverous. Matthew Shultz, lead singer, then erupted into character. His larger than life persona swallowing up the stage and fueling the panting pack before him into a full on frenzy. The band as a whole was on fire, their sound was solid. It was a perfect storm to start the night
As usual, with this five piece grunge loving bunch, things got intense. Matt lept into the crowd partway through Tiny Little Robots, and then writhed around atop the outstretched finger tips of those below. This sparked mayhem in the field, as passionate fans were further ignited into a rhythmic hysteria. The energy of that moment, carried on through the rest of the set until the members said their fair well’s and vacated the stage, dripping in sweat and each sporting a humble grin. They were a sublime opening act, setting the energy of the night, and getting the flock of fans in that let’s-fucking-do-this mood . It was an epic display to say the least.
After a brief interlude, it was time for the main act. The twosome from Akron, Ohio, sauntered on the platform and took position. Patrick Carney, climbed his lanky bones behind the drum kit, as Dan Auerbach, slung his majestic guitar over his shoulder. The mob were a bit relaxed from the hiatus between the two acts, and sat back ready to absorb the essence of the band, but the musicians had something to say about that. The first song screamed from the speakers and slapped everyone in the face. Within moments of the music starting up again, it was clear the night was going to carry on with the intensity initiated by the openers. Dan and Patrick played with an unbridled passion that is rare nowadays. It was beautiful. As this was my first time seeing the band live, I was thoroughly impressed. The level at which they maintain through the entire set is impressive.
The set list was jammed full of all the delicious tracks you would want:
Girl Is On My Mind
Stack Shot Billy
Act Nice and Gentle (The Kinks cover)
Chop and Change
Howlin’ For You
She’s Long Gone
Ten Cent Pistol
I’ll Be Your Man
I Got Mine
My personal favorite being The Breaks, which caught me like a tractor beam. The groups presentation was further elevated by the devious weather; as the heavens had threatened with rain for most of the day. The instance those two blues rockers started their set, the clouds dispersed and revealed that glowing orb we so love to basque in. Now we had a back drop, and an epic band to revel in. This was one of those sweet moments, one you cherish. It was clear from the thousands around me, who were also taking it all in, this was a thing of beauty.
All in all the performances of the night were tight and powerful. It was one of those shows that people will talk about years from now. At the moment most were just absorbed, and awestruck. But in a few months, once it all sinks in, it will be that concert. A marker in someones life where they say, I was there. Seeing Cage The Elephant in their infancy is a treat, the industry is in need of a band like this. On the other hand seeing The Black Keys, in an outdoor venue, with the sun setting in the background, while the group is blazing hot, now that is an epic moment in life itself. To both sets of performers; hats off to you all.
If you don’t believe me, here are some videos of the concert from Youtube. Check em out and enjoy.
Cage The Elephant – Tiny Little Robots
Cage The Elephant – Back Against The Wall
The Black Keys – Next Girl
The Black Keys – Howlin’ For You