A history of Cage the Elephant

Lead singer Matthew Shultz performs with his band Cage the Elephant at Rocky’s Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, in Bowling Green, Ky. (Mike Clark/HERALD)

Julie Sisler

Western Kentucky University welcomes back Bowling Green locals Cage the Elephant for a concert Saturday, Sept. 8.

Cage the Elephant got its start as a band of high school students named Perfect Confusion, which in 2005 released a self titled EP.

In a 2010 interview with SPIN, Matthew Schultz said the rebranding occurred after a man approached him after a show in Tennessee, hugging him and repeating “you have to cage the elephant.”

Cage the Elephant got their start in Bowling Green by playing local gigs, most notably at downtown bar, Tidball’s.

The group was originally discovered at the 2007 South by Southwest music festival. It was after this performance that they signed with Relentless Records and got their first tour gig on Queens of the Stone Age’s Canadian tour as a supporting act, according to allmusic.com.

Cage’s big break hit once they moved to London, England. There, they found success playing local shows until they released their self titled album in June of 2008 in England and April of 2009 in America, Japan, Canada and Australia. 

Perhaps their most notable single, “Ain’t No Rest For the Wicked,” gained favorable reviews and was featured in a video game and movie, also securing the number 32 slot on the UK’s Singles Chart, according to Top40Charts.com.

The group then toured with a variety of bands, including The Pigeon Detectives and Silversun Pickups.

With rising popularity in the U.S., Cage played numerous festivals including Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, and and Outside Lands Music and Art Festival.

In January of 2011, the band released their second album, “Thank You, Happy Birthday.” The album reached number two on Billboard 200.

As the group grew in popularity, the band began touring with larger names such as the Foo Fighters. They also gained nationwide recognition by playing several late night shows and performing at more large music festivals such as Coachella throughout 2011.

It was also in 2011 that Cage the Elephant and another Bowling Green local band, Sleeper Agent, took first and second place in Rolling Stone’s reader poll of best new artists of 2011, according to the publication’s website. The same publication hailed “Thank You, Happy Birthday” as the fifteenth best album of the year.

Cage released their third album, “Melophobia,” in 2013 and received great praise. This album contains their lead single, “Come A Little Closer,” which served as the album’s teaser track.

The band continued releasing singles, such as “Cigarette Daydreams,” throughout the next couple years. During this time, they toured with Muse, The Black Keys and Foals, all while making stops at music festivals. 

In 2015, the band released their fourth album, “Tell Me I’m Pretty.” They also took home a Grammy for the album in 2016 for Best Rock Album, according to AllMusic.

Cage the Elephant continued their performances, mostly in more intimate concert settings, which were chronicled and recorded in their 2017 live release, “Unpeeled,” the group’s most recent album.

The band’s website has no upcoming tour dates listed.

Features reporter Julie Sisler can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]. Follow Julie on social media at @julie_sisler.