by John Tarpley
CAGE THE ELEPHANT
9 p.m., Revolution. $20.
Take a listen to Cage the Elephant and you may agree that the band is in a peculiar squeeze. The catchy Kentucky rockers make genre-squashing sounds that are too indie to be totally embraced by the mainstream forces that be (Clear Channel) and too mainstream to be adopted by fickle indie tastemakers. But here, from the middle, it's a lot more rewarding to look at the band favorably because of what it is: a happily midfield gang of Southern swag-rockers who draw equally from late Red Hot Chili Peppers crackerfunk and early Beck folk-rap, making wiry, party-ready good tunes to be bad to. It's a shock that the sonic hole they fill hasn't been occupied before. At least not as successfully, that is.
Singles like "In One Ear" and the band's breakthrough song, "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked," set the tone for the band, spastic, reckless and gleefully decadent. And "Shake Me Down," their newest single, which debuted at the number-one spot on the iTunes store (the new golden standard for pushing units), is the uncommon example of an act that flipped its sophomore slump on its head. On the first album, frontman Matthew Schultz sings "all the critics that despise us, go ahead and criticize us" with a defiant spit. This writer's sitting out of the provocation. Heck, they're a blast.
Opening: Biffy Clyro, the Scottish three-piece that, this year, joined Muse, Franz Ferdinand and Moby as winners of NME's "Best Live Band" award. The group will return to Little Rock on May 18 as the warm-up for Foo Fighters and Motorhead at Verizon. Also, Sleeper Agent, a fellow band of manic Bowling Green, Ky., natives, tags along for the national tour. Why does that matter? These guys should still be hungry. We'll be showing up early for 'em.
Check it out: I guess it's only appropriate, considering yesterday's morbid anniversary, to share "Aberdeen" (live on Jimmy Kimmel