Beck, Cage The Elephant & Spoon
Ak-Chin Pavilion, Phoenix, AZ
Cage The Elephant:
Music lovers that haven't heard of Cage the Elephant have probably heard their hit single "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" on the radio or TV. Those same lovers are probably also missing out on Cage the Elephant's amazing concert dates. This Kentucky band is a group up-and-coming stars who are bringing a much needed kick to mainstream music through their folksy yet rocking beats and frenzied tour dates. Their style is a unique blend of bluegrass, punk, and rock that has been garnering attention from both fans and critics. For those people who have heard and enjoyed "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked", there's good news in the form of tour dates for 2011.
Cage the Elephant was formed by brothers Matthew and Brad Schultz in 2006. Their sound was almost immediately a hit and gained the band a concert date at the 2007 Lollapalooza, immediately following Lady Gaga's breakout performance at the festival. It wasn't until they played at the South By Southwest Festival that Cage the Elephant were signed to UK record label Relentless Records, eventually relocating there. Their debut eponymous album was released in June of 2008 in the UK and almost a year later in the US to positive reviews. Shortly after, the single "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" began to circulate as a hit single and the band began to play concert dates with a number of UK and US bands, including The Pigeon Detectives and Manchester Orchestra. Cage the Elephant returned to play a tour date at Lollapalooza in 2009 as well as playing the Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco and Bonnaroo in Tennessee.
Cage the Elephant's new album, Thank You Happy Birthday, was released in January of 2011 and has prompted the current 2011 tour dates with superstars The Black Keys. The two bands share a similar bluegrass sound, as well as the energy they both expend on stage. The concert dates will kick off in Cage the Elephant's home away from home of London on March 23, with tour dates in 2011 extending into July. Part of Cage the Elephant's meteoric rise to fame is due to their energetic tour dates, where the band's members visibly play like it's their last night on Earth. While Cage the Elephant won't be opening for The Black Keys on every tour date in 2011, the shows with The Black Keys are selling out fast, so buy tickets soon.
Beck Hansen (born Bek David Campbell, July 8, 1970) is an American musician, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, known by his simple stage name of Beck.
Beck's music—with its pop-junk culture collage of musical styles, oblique, ironic lyrics, and post-modern arrangements incorporating samples, drum machines, live instrumentation and heady sound effects—was hailed by critics and the public as among the most idiosyncratic of 1990s alternative rock: critic Steve Huey describes him as "One of the most inventive and eclectic figures to emerge from the '90s alternative revolution." Although Beck's work defies easy categorization, his eclecticism and genre experiments sparked comparisons with Prince, though Beck was undoubtedly a less prolific artist and drew on an absurdist, free-flowing lyrical style that was totally original when first exposed to mainstream audiences. Indeed, some critics labeled him and his breakthrough single "Loser" as novelties.
Despite this individualism, Beck's music is very much a product of the 1990s and the media age in general, with hip hop, indie/underground rock, electronic music and genre-benders like the Beastie Boys as notable touchstones; in addition, some critics liken his head-spinning lyrical aesthetic to a post-modern Bob Dylan sensibility.
With a history of stellar, no-filler records, Spoon has somehow topped themselves with Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, a consistently thrilling album recorded throughout 2006 in Austin by the band and Mike McCarthy (except "The Underdog," recorded in Los Angeles with Jon Brion). Spoon have been together over a decade, with one of the most unusual trajectories of any band in recent memory-and one of the best and most unique songwriters in the world. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga starts with "Don't Make Me a Target," a song that builds on Spoon's familiar minimal rhythmic piano/guitar vamp popularized on earlier Spoon hits like "Small Stakes" or "The Way We Get By." The album quickly moves into uncharted territory with the atmospheric "The Ghost of You Lingers" and moves through serveral different stylistic changes from the explosive (no pun intended) "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb" to the wall-of-sound horns of "The Underdog." The Britt Daniel originals on Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga comprise possibly his most heartfelt batch of songs since 2001's Girls Can Tell.
It's worth pointing out that Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is comprised of ten songs (see Loaded, Fulfillingness' First Finale, Back in Black, The Queen Is Dead, The Charm of the Highway Strip, Nebraska, Nashville Skyline, Heroes, Unknown Pleasures, The Violent Femmes, The Woods, Sticky Fingers, etc.). We've also got it on good authority that 36 minutes is the ideal album length.