Bowling Green-natives Cage the Elephant  returned to Kentucky last night in support of their new album Thank You Happy Birthday. They played a sold-out show, however, a limited number of lucky fans were able to catch them at Ear-x-Tacy  earlier that day for a meet ‘n greet and acoustic set. Deana Walters, a fan who already caught the band in Indianapolis, trekked from Indiana to take footage of the set that afternoon.
Cage the Elephant packed a full house, but it wasn't surprising for a gig in their homestate. Many of the fans who stopped by Ear-x-Tacy made way to Headliners shortly after. Several college kids from the band's home town of Bowling Green also made it out to Louisville to show support of their local gem (while gems like these  are overlooked.)
Joining them on the bill that night were fellow BG-natives Sleeper Agent  and the notoriously shirtless trio of Biffy Clyro  who have both travelled with Cage the Elephant on this tour. As plainly shown on one eager fan's setlist, Sleeper Agent pounded a solid set. Soon after the sweat started really flowing with Biffy taking the stage, providing nearly enough humanly fluids to run a faucet.
Thunderous clamors greeted singer Matthew Shultz as he appeared on stage looking like a reincarnated, but more refined, Kurt Cobain.They immidiately kicked off the show with tunes from their debut. After an energetic rendition of "In One Ear," the band changed it up to the 90s-alternative style of their latest release. "Aberdeen," named after Cobain's hometown, surfaces a pretty distinct influence from the Pixies, although, some of Shultz's best Blank Francis impressions come during live takes of "Around my Head." Along down the setlist: "2024," "Right Before my Eyes," "Indy Kidz," "Sell Yourself," "Always Something," "Red Rubber Ball," "Shake me Down" and "Sabortooth Tiger." It was essentially Thank You Happy Birthday in its entirety with the crowd pleaser of their self-titled: "Ain't no Rest for the Wicked." Though they already performed "Back Against the Wall" at Ear-x-Tacy, it didn't stop the band from running that back either.
I read that Shultz is known for his crazy punk rock antics, but during the show I was waiting for that part to emerge. A couple stage dives brought some excitement and the most punk rock thing he did was crowd-stand like Jesus on water. I guess when I'm expecting punk rock antics, I want to see a guy light a fistful of cigarettes, chew, and then spit them out. Maybe Foxy Shazam left too much of an impression on me.
Months of touring still await and it appears that there will be no rest for Cage the Elephant. However, there's comfort for fans in knowing that Kentucky can always expect to have them return home again.
Photos: Lara Kinne and Emilee Starr / Video: Deana Walters