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Cage the Elephant unleashed at Aragon

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With EDM taking over every song on the radio, reality competition shows churning out generic pop stars and artists trying to find the latest gimmick, authenticity is missing in music. Cage the Elephant make sure to keep their authenticity alive. There is nothing shallow, false or pretentious about this band, and they proved that during their sold-out show at the Aragon Ballroom May 14. They may not be the biggest name in music, but it’s clear they’ve come a long way since they first formed in 2006. Thanks to their sets at festivals such

Bowling Green, Kentucky rockers Cage the Elephant at a show in the UK in April. Cage the Elephant played to a sold-out crowd at the Aragon Ballroom May 14. Photo  courtesy of CAGE THE ELEPHANT/POONEH GHANA

Bowling Green, Kentucky rockers Cage the Elephant at a show in the UK in April. Cage the Elephant played to a sold-out crowd at the Aragon Ballroom May 14. Photo courtesy of CAGE THE ELEPHANT/POONEH GHANA

as Coachella and Lollapalooza, their stage antics are quickly becoming well-known, mostly due to charming and enigmatic singer Matt Shultz. Just one Google search will show photographic evidence of his wild dancing, jumping and crowd surfing, which he provided in full during their Chicago show.

After waiting an excruciating 45 minutes for the stage to be set, the crowd exploded as soon as the band walked on. Everyone jumped on their feet when the riff for “Spiderhead,” a track from their latest album “Melophobia,” rang throughout the theater. Things grew chaotic when the band launched into fan favorite “In One Ear,” which prompted Shultz to peel off his shirt, causing everyone to hoot in delight. Afterward, the singer didn’t waste any time praising Chicago and even calling it the band’s second home. Cage plays in Chicago quite often, so the audience didn’t have to be reminded how welcoming they were.

While the other members of the band, including Brad Shultz, Jared Champion, Nick Bockrath and Daniel Tichenor, rocked out on stage, Schultz hopped off stage and waded through the crowd, all while pulling off his unhinged vocals. He was fearless as he let a sea of people glide him over the awe-struck crowd. It was clear the fans hung on to the band’s every sound and movement. When they began their popular single “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,” the entire theater broke out in song, drowning out the band in the process. The soft and mellow “Telescope” made everyone stand and sway as Matt crooned, “Time is like a leaf in the wind/Either it’s time well spent or time I’ve wasted/Don’t waste it.” Some even pulled out their lighters, yes actual lighters not cellphones, to complete the soothing mood.

After leading a sing-along to “Come a Little Closer,” the band left the stage following their 13-song set, prompting the crowd to chant, “One more song! One more song!” Of course, they came back to close the night with “Shake Me Down” and “Sabertooth Tiger.” It was during this point that Schultz leaped into the crowd once again. He seemed to be having some trouble as he commented, “I’m 120 pounds and you can’t hold me up? I need those big guys over there.” The song finished with the singer still swimming in the crowd. Once he made it back on stage, it was clear he didn’t want the party to end: “Here’s the deal, I’ll come back out there and hang with you guys, but only if you put the phones away. Instagram will be there when you get home. It’s not going anywhere,” he said before diving into the audience. He topped himself as he performed a handstand in the middle of the crowd while others held him up, then made his way back to the stage and bid the city good night. As the crowd slowly filed out of the theater, their excitement was easily overheard as many commented on their favorite moments and compared it to their previous shows. No one left disappointed.

Cage the Elephant will be back in Chicago for Lollapalooza this August. They’ll also be at the United Center this September opening for The Black Keys. Hopefully, Schultz keeps fit for even bigger stage dives.

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Cage the Elephant unleashed at Aragon