Cage The Elephant

support Hammonds Harrington & Destroy
author TL date 18/06/11 venue Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

Rewind time. It's about 8:30 PM and I'm in Lille Vega, Copenhagen, having a pint while waiting for tonight's show to start. I'm here to see Cage The Elephant, and I'm here alone, due partly to most of Rockfreaks.net and friends being at Copenhell tonight, and partly to PP toasting his computer and hence failing to hook us up with a photopass. As I arrived, less than fifty people were here, but as I'm enjoying my beer, more are steadily trickling in. Still no familiar faces though, so I just fiddle with the settings on my phone, preparing to shoot a million photos hoping to have just a few that will be decent enough to use for an article.

Hammonds, Harrington & Destroy

First and only support band tonight is Hammonds, Harrington & Destroy, a band that most have likely not heard before, but behind the bandname one actually finds members of quite prominent Danish bands. The four members are one each from The Fashion, Black City, Hatesphere and The 20 Belows. Apart from the vocalist being The Fashion's Jakob Printzlau, I admit I'm not sure, but based on appearances, I'm guessing the guitarist is from Black City, the drummer from Hatesphere and the bassist from 20 Belows. Not that it is as important as the music these guys make together, it being a marriage of Printzlau's vocals to the other's raw indie/punk/pop-ish music, that makes me want to liken it to an imaginary marriage of Wolf Parade and Against Me. The band shows its experience, visible enjoying to be playing one of their first shows together, and despite the fact that the audience is only slowly starting to fill the room, after the first couple of songs Printzlau cockily proclaims; "We're called Hammonds, Harrington & Destroy. Look it up!". The music struggles a little against the usual, blurry support-band mix, but it quickly improves a little, and after a while, I'm actually starting to think that I like the rawness here, better than I like the production I heard on the band's myspace songs before coming to the show. Meanwhile, Printzlau looks to be enjoying himself, dancing with the mic stand, and smashing a tambourine on the floor towards the end of the show. The band plays only six songs, but they do so while obviously having fun, and while performing with good movement and energy, even rousing the front crowd to a little sing-along on fine set-closer "Let's Get Together & Fall Apart". A cool performance, and surely a band I will now make note to see again when they play at Roskilde Festival. Hopefully there they'll have what they need to earn some better grades; namely a more responsive audience.

Setlist:

  • (Songs in "" are unreleased by the band, and full titles are hence unknown)
  • 1. Only This Ocean
  • 2. "Bow"
  • 3. "White Flags"
  • 4. Always Other Necks, Always Other Gallows
  • 5. "Death"
  • 6. Let's Get Together & Fall Apart

Cage The Elephant

After a break of some twenty five minutes, it then becomes Cage The Elephant's turn to take the stage, and as soon as they do, they prove to be an audience's dream and a photographer's nightmare. As they launch into "2024", lights flash red and blue, the four instrumentalists stagger back and forth, rocking out, and vocalist Matthew Shultz initiates a manic performance that he's going to keep up almost unrelentingly for the entire show. "Aberdeen" and "Tiny Little Robots" follow, with guitars wailing very loudly from the speakers, and the vocalist singing, and screaming, while alternatively either using the mic stand to support himself, or dragging it from one end of the stage to the other. So far, the show is one of the wildest I've seen in a while, and admittedly, Matthew pays for it with his breath - Not that it matters if he takes a small breather on occasion though, with the music being the wonderfully distorted ruckus that it is.

Unfortunately for Cage The Elephant, the audience, although stronger in numbers now, filling out the venue nicely, all seem to have come to check out what the band is like, rather than because they have any appreciation for them in advance. Beyond the first three to five lines, some mild head-bopping and polite clapping is all the response there is. Not ones for idle between-song banter, the band only scarcely address us, trying instead to evoke some more energy in us by valiantly and wildly rocking out themselves. The guitarists and bassist brandish their instruments as much as they can, hugging the back and sides of the stage, as Matthew windmills his arms, while staggering around the centre, making it a hazard for anyone to be there. Only twice during the show is the intensity lessened, and each time, it's only briefly, and only to have the band go into spasms again in a noisy climax to otherwise silent songs. In all honesty, it is a good God damn spectacle, but towards the end the band does indeed show signs of being a bit tired. Seemingly unwilling to prolong the struggle with a lazy crowd, they opt to skip the break their setlist otherwise has planned before their encore, and hence follow their hit "Ain't No Rest For The Wicked" directly with "Shake Me Down" and "Sabertooth Tiger". They then quickly thank the crowd for showing up and proceed to leave without further ado, after a relatively short set. Hence my overall impression is actually very similar to that of their support. Cage The Elephant as well, fill out their given role as best as they probably can, without the crowd response a band needs to be able to have a really good show. But just as with Hammonds, Harrington & Destroy, the Americans also proved their mettle, and hence I for one am definitely seeing them again if I get the chance, and I highly recommend you do the same!

Setlist:

  • 1. 2024
  • 2. In One Ear
  • 3. Aberdeen
  • 4. Tiny Little Robots
  • 5. Around My Head
  • 6. Japanese Buffalo
  • 7. Back Against The Wall
  • 8. Flow
  • 9. Indy Kiz
  • 10. Runner Ball
  • 11. Ain't No Rest For The Wicked
  • --Break should've been here but wasn't--
  • 12. Shake Me Down
  • 13. Sabertooth Tiger

To see the best photos one can possibly get using a smartphone under poor lighting conditions, head to this gallery

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