Friday Night: Cage The Elephant & Manchester Orchestra At Verizon

Cage the Elephant, Manchester Orchestra Verizon Wireless Theater May 27, 2011

Cage the Elephant are nuts.

Like their music or not, you're guaranteed to have a good time at any of their live performances. The band's energy level is unparalleled by almost any other mainstream group and, put simply, they are a force to be reckoned with onstage.

From the onset of Friday night's show, vocalist Matt Shultz had fans screaming at the top of their lungs. He kept the enthusiasm level high for the entire evening, running from the back of the stage to its edge every few verses, as fans held their arms high in the air, ready to catch him if he chose to jump into the crowd.

Unfortunately, he never made the leap, but it didn't break anyone's heart, and it didn't take away from Cage's hard-hitting stage presence, led by Shultz's onstage persona.

As far as we can tell, it's a combination of the Drunken Monkey fighting style and perhaps a few sips of bourbon, the kind his home state of Kentucky is so well known for.

So what kind of music do Cage the Elephant make? It's a good question, but you'll be hard pressed to find a simple answer. It's most definitely rock, but getting any more specific than that would only put boundaries around it, and if you didn't already know, their musical style is limitless.

That's how it seems, at least, judging from the two albums they have released so far.

Their self-titled debut album was so refreshing, it was almost unreal. No Autotune or contrived vocal effects were layered on Shultz's voice to make up for a lack of talent. And even if someone had suggested as much, his style isn't exactly Autotune-friendly.

Schultz's lyricism, vocal style and stage presence are far from orthodox, at least compared to most modern-day music. Instead of focusing on hitting all the notes and making sure his words are intelligible, his voice - and Cage's music as a whole - is all about how it feels.

Does it need to feel raw? Then it does. Does it need to feel soft? Then it does. Does it just need to rock? Oh, it always does.

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Matt is a regular contributor to the Houston Press’ music section. He graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in print journalism and global business. Matt first began writing for the Press as an intern, having accidentally sent his resume to the publication's music editor instead of the news chief. After half a decade of attending concerts and interviewing musicians, he has credited this fortuitous mistake to divine intervention.
Contact: Matthew Keever