Radio sponsored shows have been steadily growing in popularity not only across the state of Pennsylvania but nationwide as more and more alternative bands see widespread success. These shows become a great chance for fans of genres and music in general to come out to a summer show, for example this past week’s FuzzFest hosted by 92.1. The festival is in it’s second year now and they certainly raised the bar from last year by pulling in the veterans, Cage The Elephant, and the newcomers, Kongos, amongst other great acts for a very great alternative line up. The support included a local opener as well as performances from Skaters and Brick & Mortar as well. The venue Montage Mountain was uniquely set up for this event will all tickets being “general admission” which left fans free to roam around and left even more room for them to dance throughout the day.
With performances starting at 4PM and lasting nearly nonstop until Cage The Elephant it was surprising to see the energy just keep rising as the day went on, normally with outdoor festivals you see some fans fold or tire from the heat but a cool breeze kept the energy going in the shaded pavilion all day until it was time for the headlining performance. Hitting the stage to a roar of screams just past 9PM, Cage The Elephant brought an energy the likes of which I have never seen to that stage and got the crowd even more amped up than they were for the entire day. The first song started with a guitar riff, nothing more. A few notes, echoing out across the venue out into the grass and across the nearby mountains. It was the opening chords of “Spiderhead” of course and the crowd knew what to expect next because one by one the rest of the band began marching out until only one person was missing. Like a flash of lightning or maybe even quicker Matt Shultz came running from the side of the stage and stopped just short of hurling himself into the front row to smile at the screaming crowd before running back to his mic-stand to start singing.
The first 30 seconds of the show were the stillest moments of the entire night and by that I mean that pure chaos broke out after that. Don’t let the idea of chaos scare you though because this chaos was filled with so many “buzzwords” that I don’t really know how to describe it. The word passionate is probably my favorite one for this instance because Cage The Elephant commit themselves to their performances in way that can’t really be described without visual representation. Matt Shultz is the crazy frontman who pours his soul into every lyric as he thrashes across the stage and feeds off the crowds vibe, his brother Brad Shultz makes that guitar basically become an extension of his body when he plays giving every note a special treatment, Nick Bockrath delivers his guitar parts the same way but certainly isn’t afraid to thrash about while doing so, Daniel Tichenor pumps out bass lines like no other on the far side of the stage and behind them all Jared Champion keeps things in tempo with a steady drumbeat. The band is a very collective unit that allows every member to let their own personalities shine on stage and co-exist in a live performance.
The setlist was mixed bag of songs because of the nature of the radio show and the condensed set but fans were still treated to plenty of new stuff like “Come A Little Closer,” the popular mainstays like “Ain’t No Rest For the Wicked” and even some less popular tracks like “Back Against the Wall.” As a whole, the performance was technically perfect. There can’t be any fan of the band out there in attendance who had a complaint about the show, but that is to be expected when talented musician put on a show. It would have been nice for it to go maybe 6 or 7 songs longer but after a long day I’m not sure if anyone minded the small set besides a few dedicated older fans. Cage The Elephant also had a fantastic stage set up for this show, unlike anything I have seen before. Large orbs of color floated behind the band as they played and lights were cast from all angles on the side of the stage to further enhance their already dramatic performance.
Be sure to check out Sight of Sound Magazine’s exclusive gallery of Cage The Elephant from Matt Christine Photography below and be sure to check back for more photos from FuzzFest including galleries of Kongos, Skaters, and more :