Words by Nico
- Hit songs reimagined with acoustic guitars and a string section
- Picturesque setting at London's Union Chapel
- Mobile phones banned
- Sold out in under ten minutes
This was Cage The Elephant like I'd never seen them before. After watching the Grammy winners at 2011's Leeds Festival, my memories were of a band exuding energy and a loud live performance. Unsure of how their sound would translate to a 'Live and Unpeeled' setting, I was full of expectation, especially considering that the show sold out in under ten minutes.
After being aggressively frisked on the way in we were told to put our phones into cases which were going to be locked until the end of the gig. What seemed like the beginning of a Military siege transpired to be something at the request of the band - this was to be a no filming, no selfie, no Instagram, bullshit-free zone. At first I thought this was pretty pretentious, but as the night prevailed I totally got behind it.
Firstly, sensational venue. Union Chapel is probably my favourite London venue so far - stained glass windows, an altar converted into a stage, and a bar serving draught pints really was a majestic combo. Praise the lord.
The band came on, followed by a string quartet, no support band and an interval breaking their set up into two parts. I can only assume this is because Shultz was sweating more than a dyslexic on Countdown.
The band played a sample of tracks from each album, including hits from their 2016 album 'Tell Me I'm Pretty' like 'Cold Cold Cold' & 'Trouble', plus classics from their self-titled debut album like 'Ain't No Rest for The Wicked' & 'Shake Me Down'. The 'no phone' thing really worked - people genuinely seemed to be enjoying themselves without the pressure of having to convince people on social media that they were having a good time. The acoustics were also next level, not overpowering at all and crystal clear.
I genuinely feel like I witnessed something special.