Cage the Elephant’s ‘amazing’ show rocks thousands at WKU

Cage the Elephant singer Matt Shultz performs Wednesday alongside his band at a free concert on the South Lawn. The show was sponsored by WKU Student Government Association, Starry Nights Festival and WKU Campus Activities Board.

Chris Rutledge

South Lawn erupted Wednesday night when the house music cut and Cage the Elephant took the stage.

Guitarist Brad Shultz looked out onto the crowd and a huge grin crossed his face.

“Can I just say, I love this [expletive] town,” he said.

And with that, Cage launched into the first song of its hour-long show that kept students and locals crowd surfing and head bobbing. 
The crowd was so excited, in fact, that the concert was nearly canceled halfway through.

Lead singer Matt Shultz was asked to relay to the crowd that if it didn’t back off the front guard rail, the show was going to be shut down.

“People’s legs are being snapped in half,” he said. “It sucks, but let’s be cool. If you back up, I’ll come to you.”

And he kept his word. Matt Shultz spent a good portion of the show surfing deep into the thousands who washed across South Lawn.

Meanwhile Starry Nights Music Festival Founder Bryan Graves was down in front of the stage holding the gate up and fishing out crowd surfers himself.

Graves had a lot riding on this concert. It was the launch party for Starry Nights, which was canceled this year to prepare for the next year.

Any doubts about Starry Nights 2012 seem to have been erased.

“I don’t know how many people were here, but it was definitely several thousand,” Graves said. “We’re going to bring it next year. You see how many fans were here, and we just promoted this thing for a week and a half. We’ve got a year to promote this festival. Starry Nights is something special, and I can’t wait to continue it. I just hope we didn’t freak CAB out too bad.”

Matt Shultz called this show a promise for a great Starry Nights in 2012.

“It will be better than it’s ever been,” he said.

WKU’s Student Government Association and Campus Activities Board partnered to sponsor Wednesday’s show along with Starry Nights.

Louisville Junior Robert Gividen was at the show with his twin brother Russell, who had never seen Cage before.

“I actually came here to see Manchester Orchestra,” Gividen confessed. “But I’ve seen Cage The Elephant three times already.”

Gividen said he was surprised by the big turnout.

“Pretty much all of Bowling Green came,” he said. “I didn’t even know there were this many people in Bowling Green.”

Brad Shultz said the event was extra special to him because it was so well attended.

“We’d played several shows on campus coming up before we got outside of Bowling Green,” he said. “Some of those shows you could throw a Frisbee 100 yards without hitting a person. This was amazing.”

Cage dedicated the show to friend Casey Norris, who died earlier this month.

Afterward, Brad Shultz said that he and the band were going to Tidball’s and would “try to stay out of trouble,” which he emphasized to the police officers surrounding Cage’s tour bus.

Manchester Orchestra guitarist Robert McDowell was also very pleased with the event.

“We’ve done a lot of college shows and most of them have been awkward and terrible,” McDowell said. “It was nice to finally do one that was done properly.”