Elephant in the room: Cage the Elephant performs at Rocky’s Bar

Nick Bockrath (left), Matthew Shultz (center) and Brad Shultz (right) perform with their band Cage the Elephant at Rocky’s on Thursday, Jan. 30. (Mike Clark/HERALD)

Allyson Beasecker

An array of colored, flashing lights illuminated Rocky’s. Blue, then green; purple, then red. Energy engulfed the bar. Five shadowed figures electrifyingly took the stage.

“This is our first show at Rocky’s. This is monumental,” Matt Shultz, lead singer of Cage the Elephant, said into the microphone. “We’re all ready for a rock ‘n’ roll show.”

The crowd erupted with fervor. People’s bodies crammed together, but they bounced with the music as the first chords floated through the building.

Rocky’s Bar presold 150 tickets to the Jan. 31 show and sold out before it opened on Jan. 30. In addition to the 150 pre-sold tickets, the first 200 people to arrive at the show would be allowed entrance. It was Cage the Elephant’s last show before leaving for a European tour with stops in nine cities.

The cold January air did not deter Cage the Elephant’s fans. They began lining up outside the bar at 7:30 p.m. — an hour before doors opened — and 4.5 hours before the band began its set.

Greensburg senior Jeff Campbell waited in line with a group of friends. He had seen Cage the Elephant perform before and described what to expect.

“Matt is going to have a really energetic show,” he said. “Be prepared to see him hanging from the rafters.”

Harrisburg senior Clay Long worked a straight month and took off the 31st just to see Cage the Elephant.

“I’m so happy,” he said. “This is like their backyard.”

Fellow Bowling Green musicians Stephen Gordon, Plastic Visions, Chrome Pony and Morning Teleportation opened for Cage. The five bands revealed the talent produced by the local music scene and the supportive community that surrounds it.

New Cage the Elephant guitarist Nick Bockrath said Bowling Green was special because of the support and friendship between the local bands and the dedicated fans.

“People here revere the bands,” he said. “We might as well be Van Halen by the way they treat us. I’ve never played a not fun show in Bowling Green.”

Bockrath said playing for Bowling Green fans was great.

“It is easy to feed off their energy,” he said.

Every boom of the speakers roused the crowd. Every flashing light illuminated the perspiration gathering on the foreheads of the active fans. Silhouettes of hands reached into the air to hold bodies that crowd surfed through the mass of people.

“We are going to be gone for awhile,” Schultz said, the brown fringe on his jacket bouncing as he moved about the stage. “But we will miss you guys so badly.”