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The elephant in the room will get attention
by Cortney Maddock
Aug 19, 2009 | 617 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Courtesy photo -
Cage the Elephant has made some noise in the music world and will bring that noise to Vixen in Sparks on Wednesday night.
Courtesy photo - Cage the Elephant has made some noise in the music world and will bring that noise to Vixen in Sparks on Wednesday night.
Creating quite the buzz after a small South-by-Southwest performance at the annual music festival in Austin, Texas, Tennessee band Cage the Elephant rocketed onto the rock scene with rave reviews.

The band, which is currently receiving heavy radio rotation with the chart-topping single “Aint’ No Rest For The Wicked,” will be performing at Vixen in Sparks on Wednesday night.

After Cage the Elephant stunned crowds in March during the band’s South-by-Southwest performance, it seemed as if every music outlet sang the band’s praise and held the band to high standards for its follow-up performance in April at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif.

Making sure to capture fans, the band has already cultivated a widespread base of rowdy followers who have been able to propel the band’s only radio single to a peak position at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, as well as a peak position at No. 6 on Billboard’s top rock songs chart.

Last week’s Billboard charts saw a surprise entry from the band, its new song “Back Against The Wall,” debuted at No. 34 on the Alternative Rock chart. Not bad for a band that released its debut CD on March 24.

Hitting the road to promote the band’s self-titled debut, singer Matt Shultz, guitarists Brad Shultz and Lincoln Parish, bassist Daniel Tichenor and drummer Jared Champion have only been playing together since 2005.

According to the band’s Web site,, the guys recorded the self-titled album in 10 days with Grammy award-winning producer Jay Joyce. Joyce won a Grammy in 2005 for Best Rock Gospel Album titled, “Until My Heart Caves In” recorded by Audio Adrenaline.

The Shultz brothers might have purposefully chosen to deviate from any sort of gospel sound, since, according to Rolling Stone, their dad was a very religious man who disliked secular music. Leaving religion behind, Cage the Elephant has created a unique sound that seems to combine the outer limits of acceptable punk with alternative rock choruses and smooth guitar melodies combined with edgy bass beats.

Singer Matt Shultz has a voice that is choppy and gruff but simultaneously smooth and able to accentuate the right lyrics at the right time.

“The music comes from a pure place,” Matt said on the band’s Web site. “We really like the energy of music that feels passionate, raw, unplanned emotion. That’s what we were really trying to capture in the studio.”

Part of the band’s ability to find success comes from the interesting storytelling technique that band members have been able to weave into their songs.

Matt, who is credited with writing many of the songs on the album, said storytelling is important, which is why he is able to weave such an interesting story in “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked,” in which he illustrates being robbed by a drug dealer and picking up a less-than-honest female hitch-hiker who later reveals she is a prostitute.

“That song is about realizing that everyone’s got a back-story and that essentially we’re all the same,” Matt explained on “It doesn’t matter if you’re a priest, a coke dealer or a prostitute; we all struggle with the same things, so how can we sit in judgment of others when each of us has something in our closet that we’d never tell anyone?”

Although Matt might be asking people to leave negative judgment behind, Rolling Stone gave the band three stars for its self-titled effort. The only stab that the review might have tried to get in was that lead singer Matt sounds like “a vocal dead ringer for the Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner.”

If that was meant to hurt, it shouldn’t. The English band has found success in its home country and the United States, including Top 100 Billboard hits, and much like Cage the Elephant, Arctic Monkeys paved the road to riches by hitting it big on the festival circuit.

Cage the Elephant will share the Vixen stage with Black Year and Jared Mort. The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $15 at the door or $13 in advance and can be purchased at Recycled Records or

For more information about the band, visit Vixen is located at 906 Victorian Ave. in Sparks.
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