Although Cage the Elephant had just played Chicago's UIC Pavilion back in June, that didn't stop them from easily selling out the Aragon Ballroom on Friday, Dec. 2. The one-of-a-kind holiday party, which represented night two of WKQX's The Nights We Stole Christmas, found Matt Shultz and the boys giving fans the best gift of all – face-melting, body-moving, life-changing rock and roll.
Brad Shultz, Jared Champion and Daniel Tichenor – along with touring musicians Nick Brockrath and Matthan Minster – took the stage with a cool confidence that sent the packed venue into near hysterics. As they initiated the opening riffs of “Cry Baby,” Matt swaggered on stage with a leaping gallop and fans erupted into a passionate pandemonium. It seemed everyone in attendance was prepared to sing along with every lyric as songs like “In One Ear” with its unbridled ferocity and “Spiderhead” – punched up by underlying shadows of Stooges-era punk and during which Matt defied gravity at every turn – got the party started early in the set.
“Take It or Leave It,” “Trouble,” and “Ain't No Rest for the Wicked” continued to elevate the outstanding performance and tracks like “Mess Around,” “Cigarette Daydreams” and “Shake Me Down” highlighted the group's versatility while further proving that rock and roll is far from over. A balloon-filled “Come a Little Closer” and “Teeth” left no room to doubt the fact that Cage the Elephant is the best live band of 2016 – and will be, undoubtably, for years to come.
While Cage the Elephant successfully stole day two of The Nights We Stole Christmas, they had some stiff competition. Weathers opened the show with an energy-filled performance, the stand-out moments from which included a Clash cover and the group's massive hit “Happy Pills.” Catfish and the Bottlemen's thunderous set also swept fans away, especially when an extended jam accentuated their closer, “Tyrants.” The on-air talent from WKQX, as well as a grumpy snowman and a photo-ready Santa, were also on hand to make the night a memorable holiday festivity.
WKQX's The Nights We Stole Christmas also included performances from Weezer, Phantogram, Fitz and the Tantrums and many more. Check out photos from Cage the Elephant's Friday night show – featuring Weathers and Catfish and the Bottlemen – above and click here to pick-up tickets to see them perform live in a city near you. Keep reading AXS for more music news, reviews and exclusive photo galleries.