Cage the Elephant

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About Cage the Elephant

The early-2000s garage-rock explosion may have found its epicenters in big cities like New York and London, but its aftershocks could be felt deep into middle America. And right around the time The White Stripes dropped their final album and The Strokes entered a half-decade hiatus, five young men emerged from the heartland to carry the torch for brash and gritty (but undeniably radio-friendly) rock ‘n’ roll. Formed in 2006 in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Cage the Elephant swaggered onto the national stage as if they were Jack White’s little Southern cousins, rolling up sleazy blues riffs, subtly psychedelic production, and singer Matt Shultz’s cocksure charisma into the breakout single “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked.” But with 2011’s Thank You, Happy Birthday (which reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200) and 2015’s Tell Me I’m Pretty (which took home the Grammy for Best Rock Album), they shed their blues-rock training wheels for a more melodically focused, festival-ready approach that harkened back to ‘90s alterna-heroes like the Pixies and Oasis. Not only are Cage the Elephant among the few contemporary rock bands who consistently breach the upper reaches of the charts, their modernist, mercurial spin on classic sounds has earned the blessing of legendary iconoclasts like Beck, who drops some freaky dub mojo on “Night Running” from 2019’s Grammy-winning Social Cues, and Iggy Pop, whose berserker cameo on the 2020 robo-rocker “Broken Boy” is perfectly emblematic of a band that refuses to be caged.

Bowling Green, KY, United States
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