Rain couldn’t stop The Night Running Tour from happening in Birmingham, Alabama on Tuesday night as Cage The Elephant and Beck co-headlined the bill at Oak Mountain Amphitheater.
While rain and storms didn’t stop the show, it did make it a late night for fans. Passing storms didn’t allow the show to get underway until 8:30 p.m., two and a half hours after the original start time.
Speaking of which, due to the storms, The Night Running Tour was forced to scrap opener Sunflower Bean from the lineup. Additionally, the three acts to follow – Spoon, Cage The Elephant and Beck – all were forced to trim down their stage time, in order to make Tuesday’s show still happen.
With this being the closest The Night Running Tour would be coming to Nashville, The News was on hand to review the show. Below are three standout moments from the Birmingham showcase.
Busting Out The Hits
This one could actually qualify for two of the acts on the bill. So, let’s start from the beginning with Spoon who led off Tuesday night’s show.
It’s hard to imagine that the Austin-based band has been around since 1993, releasing its debut album three years later. But, the band has had sticking power and played a short eight-song set to get the night started once the storms cleared.
Rather than waste time, Spoon headed straight into one of its biggest hits, leading off their performance with 2007’s “The Underdog,” off the album “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga.” That start pretty much embodied Spoon’s short, but fun performance.
With a limited time spot, rather than play some newer stuff, the band pretty much hit the fan favorites. Spoon closed out its set with “I Turn My Camera On,” which was released in 2005, but became the band’s most successful single on the charts.
It’s crazy to think that Spoon is officially at the age to where it can put out a greatest hits album. That said, in late July, the band released “Everything Hits at Once: The Best of Spoon.” Despite the release, here’s hoping there’s still more left in the tank, as new music Spoon will always be welcome sound to my ears.
Best. Front man. In. Music.
It’s no secret that I’m a Cage The Elephant fan, going back to when I first saw them in 2011, as they were on the side stage at festival put on by a radio station in Houston, Texas. Nine years later, I’ve probably seen the band eight more times since then.
All that said, I may be biased when I make this statement, but there is no better lead singer in music than Matt Shultz. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes the sound isn’t so great and he may not always hit all the right notes. None of that matters.
What makes Shultz unique is his constant ability to be one big ball full of energy. Seriously, the guy cannot stay still while he on stage. On top of all the movement, he’s shedding clothes like crazy throughout the performance.
Coming on stage, Shultz came out dressed in what looked like about five layers of shits and pants. By the end of the set, all of those clothes had disappeared, minus a pair of red basketball shorts, making his way to the back of the amphitheater, walking through the crowd.
I’m sure security wasn’t thrilled, but as Cage The Elephant closed out its set with “Teeth,” during the final few notes, Shultz was making his way on top of the crowd to the back of the venue. As the band walked off stage, Queen’s “We Are the Champion,” rang through the amphitheater, as Shultz literally made his way to the seats at the back of the venue. Somehow security kept up with the singer, even though I’m sure they didn’t love having to follow him around.
While Shultz stole show for Cage, the rest of the band sounded great as well. The only disappointment was that guitarist Brad Shultz was forced to leave the tour on Aug. 21 after a herniated disc his neck.
Even with his absence, the band still delivered. As Cage The Elephant continues its rise, so does the production on each showcase, which just fuels the excitement. The added use of pyro, lasers and Co2 made for a welcome addition to the performance.
Up All Night
As mentioned earlier, storms in the area, delayed Tuesday night’s show quite a bit. Though all three bands made up for it in their performances, it still made for one late night on a weeknight, as Beck officially got off stage at 11:45 p.m.
In fact, during his set, Beck made sure to point out a few young kids in the crowd who were seated near the front – Talk about parents of the year, no sarcasm, as I’m jealous of those kiddos. But, he joked with those fans, saying that they could sleep in class tomorrow – here’s hoping they didn’t, education is important after all.
Despite the late-night performance, Beck made sure to hit all the classics. In fact, he led off the night with his biggest single. In grand style, that felt reminiscent of a spaghetti western film, Beck twanged his guitar, taking center stage on a platform, as the opening riff of “Loser,” hit and the crowd ate it up.
After Cage The Elephant ended its set, some of the crowd dispersed, exiting the venue. I’m not sure if that’s from the late night, or they just weren’t Beck fans, but the fact is, they left.
Those who did stay, got to witness, a fun, joking and energetic performance from the Los Angeles born singer. In an appropriate way to close out the show, Shultz joined Beck on stage. Shultz joined him for a rendition of “Night Running,” a track featured on Cage’s latest release “Social Cues.”
Beck closed his set with a reprise of “Where It’s At,” as confetti filled the amphitheater. Both Shultz and Beck danced off stage together – literally waltzing – leaving the majority of the Birmingham crowd in good spirits.