Raging with Cage and the Bottlemen

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It’s almost been a week, and my mind is still drifting back to Aragon Ballroom where last Friday Chicagoans were graced by up-and-comers Catfish and the Bottlemen and heavy-hitters Cage the Elephant whose album Tell Me I’m Pretty was just nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Album of the year!

img_5748Going into the show, I was only familiar with one or two songs by Catfish and the Bottlemen, but their setlist was unstoppable!  Even if I didn’t know all the songs, everyone else sure did, and it was easy to get lost in their music.  While in the pit, it felt as if the entire venue was pressing against me, and I could feel the ground shaking as fans jumped around to the music.  If the barrier hadn’t been there, I would have been a goner.  The band, who barely took a moment to catch their breath, played with explosive energy that had fans hanging on their every word.  Singer and guitarist Van McCann proved to be a dynamic front man, and I’m sure the ladies near the front were absolutely swooning with the intense eye contact he was dealing out.  Although their set seemed to go by quickly, I think these guys are here to stay!  I look forward to seeing what’s next in store for them.

Cage the Elephant, where do I even start?  Cage is one of those rare bands who you can see 100 times and never get bored.  Not only is their music perfect for letting loose, but you never know what to expect from the band members–especially the Shultz brothers.  img_6104-2The two are known for their uncanny ability to make effortless connections with fans and for getting up close and personal with concert-goers.  Friday night was no exception.  While I was originally concerned about how they would pull this off on Aragon’s uniquely high stage, my mind was quickly put at ease when I saw that there was a ladder near the front of the stage.  The band has played Aragon a fair few times and knew what was needed to get the job done.  The guys came on to “Cry Baby,” after which singer Matt Shultz commented that there was a special feeling in the air and quickly predicted it would be a wild night.  I could feel it too–the air in the venue had an almost a frantic feeling to it.  As it turns out, the show at Aragon was Cage’s last show of 2016.  The band gave it their all, and fans returned the favor by singing along in perfect unison and dancing without inhibition throughout the entire show.  Cage just announced that they will be one of the headliners at Forecastle Music Festival in Louisville this summer, and that they are taking Chicago band Twink Peaks with them to Europe in January/February.  Those Europeans are in for quite a show!

Review and photos by Abby Walter

Cage the Elephant

 

Catfish and the Bottlemen

 

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