August 29,2019(Tampa, FL)
Churning somewhere off the coast of Florida hurricane Dorian was gaining strength. Just like what any good Floridian would do in a situation like this, they turned the MIDFLORIA Credit Union Amphitheatre into a giant hurricane party. Perfectly suited for the task tonight, Beck and Cage The Elephant brought their Night Running Tour to Tampa to kick the party into high gear. These two great performers weren’t the only invitees to the party, along side them Spoon and Sunflower Bean would complete the show.
Kicking off the nights party was New York’s Sunflower Bean. Perfectly fitting in with the indie alt-rock theme of the night, this relatively new band was a great choice to start the show. Lead singer/bassist Julia Cumming channeled her inner Debbie Harry with their opening song “King Of The Dudes”. This band definitely wears their influences on their sleeve. From Blondie and T-Rex up to new bands like the Foo Fighters their music reflects it, and their six song set was entertaining.
Following them up was Spoon. Making their first appearance back in the Tampa area since 2016. Britt Daniels and the guys were at their best. Hitting the stage Telecaster in hand, they kicked off their set with “Do I Have To Talk You Into It”. If this was any other show, their sizzling performance would be the highlight of the evening. At one point he was talking to the crowd about his last visit to Florida and praised some local eateries. Saying “We know a thing or two about margaritas, we had some straight-up classic margarita at Urban Taco’s”. Of course, they played some of their hits like “The Way We Get By”, “Don’t You Evah”, and “Do You” among their eleven song setlist.
When it comes to live performances, one of the most electric ones these days is Kentucky born and bred Cage The Elephant; and the fans that were packed in tonight couldn’t wait to get a taste of this. As soon as the lights dimmed and the band took the stage with the exception of lead singer Matt Shultz, the energy in the crowd shot up like a rocket. Seconds later he arrived and at that moment flames shot out of two sections of the stage, what a great way to start the show! He was wearing what could best be described as a beekeepers hat along with a flowing black jacket and baggy velour pants. Definitely a bold choice considering Florida’s notorious humidity. They launched into a highly energized performance of “Broken Boy” with the crowd cheering wildly. If there is one thing that Matt Shultz is, it’s a natural born entertainer. His nonstop dancing and gyrating were a sight to behold. While Matt is a show unto himself, enough can’t be said about how good the band really sounds. It’s easy to see why this group has won a Grammy Award. Throughout their performance, Shultz casually stripped down. Starting by carefully draping his jacket over his mic stand to eventually winding up in just some short tights, that definitely entertained the crowd. If that wasn’t enough, he would make forays into the audience to the delight of everyone there. It wouldn’t be a Cage The Elephant show without them playing their mega hit “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked”. From the second the crowd heard the slide guitar intro, the energy level in the venue managed to find an even higher gear to kick into. One of the most impressive parts of their performance is the sheer energy level they can keep up throughout a full nineteen song setlist, and sound great for their whole performance.
Finally, it was time for Beck to bring it on home. Having come to the forefront in nineteen ninety four with his breakout hit “Loser”, his pioneering style has been infused with everything from electronica to hip-hop, to even folk. Nothing has ever been off limits to him. So, when this Grammy Award winning artist comes to town, it instantly becomes a must see event, and judging by the fans packed into the Amphitheatre this was indeed a show that they needed to see. When the show started Beck came out to the top center of the stage resplendent in a Blue Suit along and a fedora. With an acoustic guitar slung over his shoulder and a camera aimed down showing a cool image of him on the giant video screen., and with that he kicked things off with his signature hit song “Loser”. Twenty four years later it still packs the same punch and of course the crowd loved every second of it. While Cage The Elephant can hold a crowd with their frenetic energy, Beck can also grab an audience too, but his power is in his sly ironic cool. Between his dancing and whipping his microphone around he was the picture of ironic super cool. The giant video screen dead center of the stage was a show unto itself. Constantly displaying all sorts of psychedelic images that matched the song, even including two waffles spinning when Beck sang the lyrics “two turntables and a microphone”. Performing songs like “Devils Haircut”, “The New Pollution”, and “E-Pro” he could do no wrong. When it came time for his encore, he started it off with “Where It’s At” and segued into a cover of the Rolling Stones “Miss You”, then into Chic’s hit song “Good Times”, and just as quickly into Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up”. As the audience was catching their breath after those rapid fire songs, Beck brought out Matt Shultz to perform their collaborative effort “Night Running”. Just like every party has a beginning, this one had to end too, and he ended it with a reprise of “Where It’s At” complete with confetti, the bands dancing and snapping photos of each other. It was the perfect way to end the night’s festivities and send everyone home.
Cage The Elephant: