Cage the Elephant / Manchester Orchestra / Sleeper Agent @ Palladium Ballroom

Photos by Bryan Grohman, words by Scott
It was somewhat of a crapshoot when we rolled up to Palladium Ballroom to catch the co-headlining show featuring Cage the Elephant and Manchester Orchestra.  To this point, I had only seen Cage the Elephant live once, as an early main stage feature at All Points West and had never seen Manchester Orchestra perform live yet; I had the chance to see Manchester at a free show at the University of Oklahoma but it just didn't happen.  So only knowing how one out of three sets would potentially go, the show was unpredictable and definitely worth the price of admission.

At first, I wasn't too eager to hear Sleeper Agent, a band who I had no familiarity with and had not heard before.  But that quickly changed once they jumped into their set.  For everything they lacked in name recognition, they made up for in enthusiasm and energy.  I was instantly sucked into their set and watched it intently until the very end.  Their sound was uptempo and fan friendly but not to a fault that you would be embarrassed if found on your iPod.  The vocal duo of Alex Kandel and Tony Smith brought an amateur version of the Kills, where Kandel really brought out an adolescent Alison Mosshart in her stage presence.  They were quite good.

By time Manchester Orchestra took stage, Palladium was nearing its capacity and the anticipation was near fever pitch.  But what the band delivered wasn't an over the top spectacle but a methodic performance that engulfed its audience in sonic splendor and overall satisfaction.  Manchester was definitely the heavier of the headliners, with their driving riffs and dramatic sound transitions.  But even with their guitar-heavy sound, vocalist Andy Hull brought it down a few notches to end their set by singing a solo version of "I Can Feel Your Pain" to a special person seated in a wheelchair stage left.  It was an excellent moment in which everybody appreciated the sentiment and made for a great ending to a solid set.  Manchester's fans were definitely in full force, which was apparent as the swelling crowd soon grew smaller before Cage the Elephant took stage.

Now don't let my last statement from the previous paragraph fool you, Palladium was still pretty packed by time Cage the Elephant took stage and those who stayed to the very end were in for a treat.  As I stated earlier, I caught Cage the Elephant at All Points West in New Jersey, where they played a pretty fantastic set as a relative unknown and won over a growing crowd at Liberty State Park.  So when awaiting their performance at Palladium, I knew it was going to be fun and all over the place.  From the opening notes, vocalist Matt Shultz was strutting from left to right and everywhere in between, encompassing the personification of being a frontman.  The energy of their set was mirrored by the crowd's response, jumping in unison to the guitar licks and drum beats being driven into their ears.  Songs such as "Aberdeen", "Ain't No Rest For the Wicked", and "Shake Me Down" were obvious favorites but I honestly love "Back Stabbin' Betty" and was stoked to see it on their playlist.  And like Manchester Orchestra, Cage the Elephant pulled an Ace from their sleeve to end their set by covering Pavement's "False Skorpion".  But as they say, all good things must come to an end.  And just like that, the night was over.  It was one of the better co-headlining shows I've seen and it was only made better by an eager crowd and good opening band.  Photos of the show are below:

Sleeper Agent
Manchester Orchestra

Cage the Elephant

I'd like to thank Bryan Grohman for the photos.  You'll hopefully see more of his work here in the future.

Cage the Elephant / Manchester Orchestra / Sleeper Agent @ Palladium Ballroom Cage the Elephant / Manchester Orchestra / Sleeper Agent @ Palladium Ballroom Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on June 05, 2011 Rating: 5
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