Cage the Elephant Combines Garage Rock and Avante Garde at Float Fest

Cage the Elephant’s Sunday night performance uplifted the Float Fest crowd with non-stop movement, vibrant songs, and sincere connection. Mostly mirroring the setlist of their 2019 tour, the group included songs from each of their five albums, capturing their classic garage-rock sound as well as the eclectic, avante-garde perspective of their latest release, Social Cues.


Further diverging from the sounds of past records, Social Cues forages into psychedelic grounds, incorporating moody beats, subversive album artwork, and horror-inspired melodies. Accompanying this release, singer Matt Shultz donned an eerie stage persona throughout the Night Running Tour, complete with elaborate layered costumes and discomforting, twitchy movements. While known for his energetic stage theatrics, this character seemed newly crafted to visualize the delicate and uneasy nature of Social Cues.


During their Float Fest performance, however, Shultz appeared genuinely exuberant, vigorously dancing throughout the show and imparting his personal musings between songs. Opening with “Broken Boy,” the frontman continually ran across the stage, springing from speaker to speaker and leaping above the mic stand. Continuing into “Crybaby,” Shultz sang, “Open up your eyes / Or life will pass you by / Without love / Without love / Nothing else will ever be enough,” reflecting the group’s long-held goal to spread love and acceptance.


After each song, the frontman further ensured his connection to the audience, communicating his thoughts and personal beliefs. In title track “Social Cues,” he spoke to the audience about their choice not to drink. “Choose your favorite vice / I don’t have the strength to think twice,” he sang, producing several drink cans and emptying them onto the ground. Prior to “Shake Me Down,” Shultz addressed the crowd, “You were made in love. You are meant to be loved, and that’s what I want you to do, for me.”


During breakthrough hit, “Ain't No Rest For The Wicked,” Brad Shultz dropped into the crowd with his guitar, playing at the center of a swarm of fans and prepping the crowd for an unexpected performance of “Halo,” a Melophobia track left absent from live performances since 2015.


To finish the night, Cage performed the rowdy Melophobia closer, “Teeth.” While Brad Shultz destroyed his guitar on stage, his brother climbed into the audience, crowd surfing from one side to the other before personally meeting fans along the front barriers. In this Social Cues album cycle, Cage The Elephant continues to hone their live performance, building upon long-held traditions and incorporating new forms of creative expression and personal connection. The group’s visit to Gonzales surely left an impression on new and old fans alike, fascinating festival-goers with their talent and charisma.

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