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Concert Review: CD102.5FM Holiday Show with Alt-J and Cage the Elephant

Cassandra Zahran Cassandra Zahran Concert Review: CD102.5FM Holiday Show with Alt-J and Cage the ElephantPhoto by Cassandra Zahran.
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“Twas the night of December 1st, when all through the town, Columbus folks piled into the LC, only minutes past sundown.

The 102.5 banners hung on the railing with care, while Scene Teamers and DJs had high-fives to share.

The Holiday Show welcomed the last month of the year, with four (inter)national acts, Mikey’s pizza and beer!

A show that sold-out within hours of the line-up’s release, listeners could not believe their ears, this line-up is a beast!

Hailing from Oxford, England — a land far from the LC, Glass Animals seduced the crowd with hit single, “Gooey.”

Electricity pulsed through our veins, Dave Bayley’s vocals metallic like lead, he spread those “peanut butter vibes” amongst the crowd, the audience serving as his bread.

“Right my little Pooh Bear,” Glass Animals left the stage, Future Islands four-piece was ready, to bring the full-on alternative rage.

Dancing across the space like Jennifer Beals in Flashdance, lead vocals Samuel T. Herrig tempted the audience with hip thrusts and tight pants.

Smiles slapped on our faces, stuck on like glue, Herrig growled and belted out “I’ve been waiting on you.”

With beers all now empty, and no choice but to face the line, but no one could resist shakin’ it to “Hunger of the Pine.”

And that’s exactly what happened, Alt-J played the crowd’s fave, and we all sang in unison to tracks from This is All Yours and An Awesome Wave.

A forty-five minute set that was flawless from start-to-finish, we held our triangles high, displaying our love for the English.

Lesley James took the mic, sharing thanks to the staff and bands, and the excitement transformed the crowd into an indistinguishable sea of hands.

An ear-splitting applause welcomed the last band of the night, Cage the Elephant ultimately bringing the city of Columbus to new heights.

It’s eleven o’clock, and another Holiday Show has come to an end, but it provided an experience so wonderful, it’s difficult to comprehend.”

The CD102.5 Holiday Show presents itself at the start of December each year, with thousands of Columbus residents eagerly awaiting for the line-up announcement during the fall months. The 2014 line-up consisted of four astonishingly talented artists: Glass Animals, Future Islands, Alt-J and Cage the Elephant.

Alt-J, who visited during CD102.5 Day in March 2013, was back again, and have certainly reached grander heights since their last visit. Released September 22, 2014, This Is All Yours reached #4 on The Billboard Top 200, tracked as one of the top highest-selling albums in the United States. CD102.5 pleased the masses, and snagged the beloved band twice in under nine months.

Alt-J tastefully executed their set with a balanced mixture between All Yours and their 2012 record, An Awesome Wave. Kicking off their set with an upbeat, globally recognized track might’ve been the wisest decision the four-piece could’ve made. “Hunger of the Pine” elegantly crept from their instruments, and an eery groove set within the densely packed crowd.

Miley Cyrus’s sampled “I’m a female rebel,” prompted the women in the crowd to toss up their arms and contribute to the twangy, pop vocals. “Fitzpleasure,” “Something Good” and “Left Hand Free” followed suit after the first track, the band pulling from electro-pop textures, creating a disturbingly complex, authentic richness to their live performance.

With flood lights flashing a myriad of colors against the dense smoke, the audience thrived off of the stage presentation, and the energy from one another. The track-listing further included “MS,” “Matilda,” “Dissolve Me” and “Every Other Freckle,” the air tasting of the color orange, as Joe Newman cooed “turn you inside out and lick you like a crisp packet.”

The excitement pulsed through the crowd, bodies overwhelmed with the exquisite precision and flawless nature of the musicians. Finishing their set with tracks from both records, Alt-J closed out their Holiday Show set with “Nara” and “Breezeblocks.” The opening lyrics initiated an epidemic of animated dancing and finger-triangles, a sense of familiarity that brought unity within the thousands of attendees. The presence of the English band in that moment of time brought reminiscent thoughts to when Alt-J first swept-away the globe in 2012. Alt-J made history, and Columbus was privileged to host the group for a second time.

While Alt-J brought the refined splendor, Cage the Elephant brought the inordinate hootenanny — the perfect combination since Thelma & Louise. The headlining performers are four rock gods who call Bowling Green, Kentucky their hometown, and who happen to make Andrew W.K. look like a sissy. Disguised as an angel from head-to-toe, lead vocalist Matt Shultz was dressed in his signature white t-shirt and tight pants. Within seconds of Cage the Elephant taking the stage, The CD102.5 Holiday Show turned into a WWE Wrestling match, as “Spiderhead” encouraged the crowds rambunctious nature.

Bodies were flinging as if they were ejected from a catapult, and crowd surfers took the challenge, hardly intimidated by the unruly crowd of mosh-ers. I myself couldn’t bare to resist the big, blurry crowd of hooligans, throwing myself into the Bermuda Triangle of elbows and chests slamming against my body.

Why subject yourself to this brutal experience? Because it’s “the Cage way,” and Columbus wouldn’t dare to to disappoint Matt Schultz.

“In One Ear,” followed as the second track, proceeded by classic “Aberdeen,” and Melophobia tracks, “Take It Or Leave It,” and “Cigarette Daydreams.” Song-after-song generated this youthful sense of rage within the attendees, the crowd playfully interacting with their peers as roaring guitar solos fueled the audience.

Current anthem “Cigarette Daydreams” called for shoulder-to-shoulder hugs and audience-to-band camaraderie, as the thousands of individuals joined Schultz in his “do-do-doo’s.” A moment saturated with heavy alternative-rock was subtly laced with deep-rooted emotions, happiness swelling in the chests of the attendees.

The latter half of the set included “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” and “Come A Little Closer,” the crowd suckling at Schultz’s power teat as he so skillfully taunted the audience with his anticipated crowd dive. The energy had bursted through the LC’s roof, and was halfway to China at that point.

The four-piece was so infatuated with Columbus’ energy, that the encore couldn’t have come soon enough. Cage the Elephant returned to the stage for the encore, and nailed immediately into their three-and-a-half minute track “Shake Me Down.” The slamming, pulsing drum-kit bellowed from the stage, and travelled beneath the crowds skin, like a thousand tiny electrocutions per second. Without fail, Schultz took a heroic leap into the awry crowd, and the pit fell to their knees, toppling over like a Jenga board. With encouragement and howling, Schultz coached the crowd to pick him up, and in due time, it was an outright success. Schultz stood in an abyss of Columbus hands, while we gripped his ankles, finishing the last track “Sabertooth Tiger.”

The crowd surfed Schultz back to the stage, he saluted the sold-out Pavilion, and we all stored those last moments into long-term memory. The smell of sweat stuck in the air, and the smiles stuck even harder, as Columbus came to terms with the incredible evening they just had.

To view upcoming live music shows in Columbus, CLICK HERE to visit our Calendar.

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