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Five thoughts: Cage the Elephant & Grouplove, January 9, Boulevard Pool

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Cage the Elephant, performing at the Chelsea on January 9.
Photo: Erik Kabik
Jason Harris

1. All three Cage the Elephant discs were represented in the set’s ferocious opening song trio: “Spiderhead” (Melophobia), “In One Ear” (self-titled) and “Aberdeen” (Thank You, Happy Birthday).

2. This was a more mature Cage than when the band opened for The Black Keys at the Cosmo in 2011, when frontman Matthew Shultz crowd-surfed the length of the venue and back to the stage. This less-frenetic set was more crisp and impressive, establishing the band as a genuine rock headliner.

3. Still, the music was often overshadowed by a distracting lighting scheme, as if the tech team had never used a fog machine or light board before.

4. The new Chelsea feels like a legit concert venue, but the floor shakes so much sometimes, if you’re sitting in the stands it can feel like you are on a Disney ride.

5. Cage closed the show, but Grouplove could have headlined, too, with a sound that blends pop (“Tongue Tied”) with hip-hop (“Bitin’ the Bullet”) and utilizes male-female vocal interplay more effectively than most other bands out there.

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  • Two decades after EDC's debut, there's still nothing comparable.

  • Just like on their albums, the set was peppered with brief interludes of classic breaks and pocket-sized bits of flavor.

  • Was it worth it? Absolutely, for space-eating post-rock, noisy shoegaze and bouncy cuts reminiscent of late-’70s British post-punk.

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