Cage the Elephant

I took Lisa to her first rock concert last weekend, a fact I did not know until we were in attendance of the Cage the Elephant show here in Philadelphia.

As the second phase of the greatest date ever, the first being an afternoon in the shopping district of Manayunk, Lisa and I went to the Electric Factory for the aforementioned Cage the Elephant concert.

If you are ever going to see a big venue show, the Electric Factory is the place to go. The only other place comparable is maybe First Avenue in Minneapolis.

Even still, the Electric Factory was much larger and much more accommodating.

It was easy to get to, as well as easy to get into. There was no line, even though there were 10s of 1,000s of people inside. The guards and ticket agents were friendly and got us right through.

The Electric Factory is just that, a former factory building with an enormous general admittance area on the first floor. The first floor was teeming with too cool teenagers.

Downstairs was admittedly a little claustrophobic. But then we discovered how to get to the balcony. To get upstairs, they were checking tickets and IDs. Assuming you needed a special ticket to get up there, we stood in line anyway. Once we reached the ticket agent, I asked if we needed a pass to get up.

Nope, she said. All we needed was an ID showing we were over 21. Yeppers!

The balcony just as crowded as the first floor, but the crowd was much more subdued. And everyone looked just like me. Trim haircuts, 5 o’clock shadows and faded blue jeans and T-shirts and/or flannel. Lisa finally understood my fashion.

The south wall was one long bar with superb service. We got two beers right away and easily wound our way through the aisled stairs. We made our way to the back of the stadium. We found a nice spacious spot to stand, surrounded by folks older than us, but just as ready to rock.

We had a full-on view of the stage and could see everything clearly. We had elbow room, nobody bumped us and nobody stood in our line of sight. A perfect spot.

One of my favorite aspects of going to a concert in Philly is they always start on time.

The opening band, The Shackletons, began promptly at 9. They were God awful.

The singer preened on stage, over-dramatic and fucking annoying. His actual singing voice was okay, but for the most part he just screamed like a bratty 12-year-old girl who stained her dress in a game of kickball.

The packed crowd was completely silent for their set. This being a Philly crowd, I hoped somebody would start booing so I could join along.

Cage the Elephant, on the other hand, was worth the price of admission ($25).

The band was tight. They had great dynamics and commanded the stage. The lead singer, Matthew Scultz, played the part. He provided the perfect amount of angst, whimsy and distracted passion.

My only problem with Schultz was you could tell the agents and marketers were trying to sell him as the next Kurt Cobain. He’s not. Quit trying. They tried it with Puddle of Mudd, etc. It’s like trying to force some young ingenue to wear the crown as the next Michael Jordan.

Schultz was talented enough in his own right, and it isn’t fair to him to make such a comparison.

I said as much to Lisa during the concert. She turned and in wide-eyed naivete, asked if Nirvana was ever going to play in Philadelphia. Incredulous, I asked her to repeat her query, to which she did. I had to tell her Nirvana was dead.

Anywho, Cage performed all of their popular songs, the most famous being “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked.”

My favorite song was their latest single, “Shake Me Down.” It has been stuck in my head for two weeks.

In the end, I would recommend Cage to anyone else, but mostly, I would highly recommend seeing a show at the Electric Factory.

When Lisa and I got home, I made her watch Nirvana videos and Kurt Cobain interviews on YouTube for at least an hour.

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