Sorry it’s been a few days since my last post, but life gets in the way sometimes. I figured I would take this moment to brag and review the show at Summer Stage this past Tuesday. First off, I don’t know who decided that Monday and Tuesday were good days to host a concert in Central Park, but a surprising amount of fans turned out and the weather held out all night. There was a slight breeze and sunshine fr Broncho’s set and by nightfall, Cage the Elephant took the stage and the weather was cool and close to perfect- but I digress. Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
Back in January or so, when I first lain my eyes upon this holiest of line-ups, there was only a Monday night show, which my best friend, Sara, and I were planning to attend. The Monday show, however, sold out within minutes, so it was decided that the same bands would play a second night for the fans (such as myself) whom weren’t fast enough on the keyboard (and thank you to whomever suggested making the second night!). When I discovered there would be a second night after sulking about missing the first show, I immediately sent the info to Sara, who would be working all day and could not attend. After some internal debate, I decided to embrace “the year of the savage” (as my friend Carli and I are calling 2016) and go solo to the show in NYC. Fortunately, I had a few friends from back home who I knew would be in attendance, so I quickly made plans to meet up with them at the venue.
I have never been to SummerStage, but as the name suggests, it is an outdoor venue smack dab in the middle of Central Park. When I first arrived, the bouncer told me I had beautiful eyes, and with spirits lifted I entered the venue. Surprisingly, the venue security barely even glanced in my bag and did not even pat anyone down, which I have never experienced such lax security at any event before. After stepping inside the gates, I received a 21 and older wristband to drink. Although the drink selection was minimal, there were free samples from one company and the staff seemed friendly. I managed to follow a few girls pushing there way to the front of the crowd and had a great view for Broncho, whom I had never heard before arriving.
Broncho is a four-piece band with their lead singer on guitar, a female back up vocalist on bass, drummer and rhythm guitarist. The members all wore trench coats. Bassist Penny Pitchlynn wore a pink overcoat, which I appreciated. Power to the female rockers! Anyway, Broncho had some great indie rock songs, but I could not understand a single word that escaped from singer Ryan Lindsey’s mouth. Apparently I was not the only person having this problem, because I heard a group of guys in front of me mimicking his mumbling jargon. Next was Portugal. The Man, my personal favorite of the three bands.
Portugal. The Man played a longer set that consisted almost entirely of songs off their album, Evil Friends from 2013. Portugal played two songs from other albums, which were “All Your Light” and “The Sun” from prior albums. Many of the audience members I spoke to had seen Portugal and Cage the Elephant multiple times. One young man even said it was his fourth Cage the Elephant show this season and when Portugal. The Man’s lead singer, John Gourley asked how many audience members had come the night before, about a third of the crowd erupted into applause and shouts. During one song, pianist, Kyle O’Quin played two keyboards at once at an impressive speed. The band members jumped and spun and interacted with the crowd during and between many of their songs. The crowd sung along and swayed, a few lighters were waved during a slower track and the light show picked up towards the end of their set. The headliners, Cage the Elephant were next.
There was about an hour before Cage the Elephant graced the stage, during which time audience members shuffled in place, most of the of age members having to relieve themselves, but not wanting to lose their places in the crowd. One young man next to me had left his friends to get them all drinks and had taken almost forty minutes to return. When he finally managed to slide through to the front again with three beers balanced precariously in his hands, he claimed that there were people in the back of the crowd actively attempting to prevent him from getting back to the front. Any hopes I had of using the bathroom disappeared, but shortly after it got dark outside, Cage the Elephant took their places and the crowd went crazy before they said a word.
Almost everyone in the audience sang along to every word of Cage the Elephant’s entire set. One particularly intoxicated guy behind me screamed the wrong lyrics during the chorus of their single “Shake Me Down,” which was one of the last songs Cage the Elephant played. After the first forty minutes of Cage the Elephant’s set, the lights shut off after a song and the crowd assumed the band was done playing. Plot twist: Cage the Elephant came back again and again, song after song, during which the light show was so rapid and intense that I suddenly felt sorry for people with epilepsy that can’t go to shows like this. Cage the Elephant played all their biggest hits including: “Cigarette Daydreams,” “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,” “Come a Little Closer,” “Mess Around,” and “In One Ear.” All in all,every band played well (even if I couldn’t understand the singer of Broncho) and I would certainly recommend seeing Portugal. The Man and/or Cage the Elephant this summer. If you’re still reading this, thanks for sticking with me. Until next time.