Portugal. The Man outshines Cage the Elephant at the Bill Graham Civic

Matt Shultz of Cage The Elephant (photo by Carly Robinson)

By Stephanie Sockel | @poams

Cage The Elephant has the CD you want, but save your concert money for the festivals.  No doubt, this Kentucky band rocks the radio and the headphones.  However, the performance at the Bill Graham Civic Center ended up falling a bit short.  The acrobatic show from the lead singer, Matthew Schutz, was not enough to carry the lack of depth of sound performed on Thursday night.  The show’s energy brought about a bit of 1997 Lollapalooza with all the crowd surfing and their pop punk influences, but the audible aspect of the concert was left flat.    

If the sound was the problem, it would have resonated true for the previous band, Portugal. The Man, who gave the audience a full progressive rock experience.  Portugal’s psychedelic sound was enough to pull you back a few decades and leave you wanting more without feeling a lack for the current state of music.  Portugal's sound was drenched in Pink Floyd undertones, yet the performance held on to current sounds beautifully.  It was easy to feel as if one was swimming in the sea of conceptual guitar riffs and dreamy keyboards without being stale or trite.  So sonic was the mood that closing the eyes transported you into a world of colors competing closely with the light show. 

Cage the Elephant belongs in your iTunes Playlist.  However, this was definitely a show for the early arrivers.  Bill Graham is a massive venue with a capacity of 5k+ and is no easy feat for sound.  If you go to a show, don’t bother with the seats, but rather wear comfy shoes and stand on the floor for the better experience. 

Do It: Playlist Cage the Elephant and Portugal. The Man. 

Wait for It: Cage The Elephant at a festival. Get the bang for your buck or try them in a smaller venue.

Don’t do It: Miss Portugal. The Man. when they come to town next. 

The boys of Portugal. The Man (photo by Shealin Ritter