Stupid Tooth Fairy.

It’s that twinkly bitch’s fault that I don’t have any decent photos or video from last night’s Cage The Elephant concert at the Showbox at the Market. If not for me having to pretend to be HER, I would not have been up at 2:30AM desperately rummaging around for money to leave MissSeven for her lost front tooth, having sat bolt upright in bed remembering that I had forgotten to take care of it earlier. No money, no money, no money anywhere other than a few pennies and a quarter, which doesn’t fly with the kiddies these days. By 3:15AM, I had located an acceptable substitute: some damn Polly Pocket set that I was saving to give to some other plastic-loving child. I scrawled a note of explanation in appropriately-fancy Tooth Fairy cursive, and went back to sleep around 4AM.

I got up at 7AM.

As I grabbed my leetle camera to leave for the show around 6PM, my fatigue was such that I didn’t remember to TAKE THE BATTERY.

“AH FU*#&%*(%((#&!!!K!!”

No one at the Showbox noticed my frustration. They were ready to rock.

Last year, I had been sorry to miss the band when they came to Seattle, so I made sure to get my tickets quickly when they went on sale. Good thing, because it was a sold-out show. The line to get in was at least two blocks long. My Showbox Green Room/Cheeseburger/Early Entry routine was invoked yet again, the perks of being 21+ (OK, +++++). I had a feeling, without having read one single thing about the band or their performances, that it would maybe be in my best interest to NOT be up front this time. This feeling was reconfirmed when I saw a fence/barrier set up in front of the stage, many, many pumped up dudes in baseball hats, and security constantly cruising the venue like hungry sharks. Hmm, I said, hmm. So for the first time I watched from the back of the room at the Showbox sitting on a CHAIR at a luxurious metal table with a great sightline. STARING AT MY CAMERA WITHOUT A BATTERY.

Ah, well.

Nashville’s Autovaughn started out the evening with a alt/southern sound and look that reminded me bit of Kings Of Leon. Pros: good energy, good triple vocals, good busy but precise drummer. Cons: Lead singer Darren Edwards merch table hawking every time he addressed the crowd, and dropping the word “shit” like it was a dude-bonding thing. Not a bad band at all; not distinctive enough for me to dig. Here's a recent live performance from them.

Second on the bill were the 22-20s, all the way from Limeyville, UK. Despite them never addressing the crowd once during their set, which I find sort of unfriendly, I did really like their set, a nicely varied bunch of songs with smart construction and lots of cool hooks. I will investigate to see what their recorded sound is like. Interestingly, the crowd seemed to noticeably prefer Autovaughn to the 22-20s. Maybe they were just impatient for Cage The Elephant to come on. Maaaaaybe not. USA USA USA! Here's "Devil In Me" live from YouTubeLand.

Finally, a little after 11PM, CTE took the stage. My finely-honed concert instincts were correct. If I had been anywhere on the Showbox floor during their set, the Tooth Fairy would be bringing me a hundred bucks for my missing teeth and a Get Out Of Jail Free card for what I would have done about it. Mosh Central! The entire floor at times looked like a fleshy sea, rolling in a testosterone hurricane. It would have been a nightmare to be in (I’m a girl, short, with glasses, and likely to break a hip or some shit at this age) but it was a blast to watch. Cage is GREAT. The “it” factor is right there. Super-high-energy performance from all, especially lead singer Matt Schultz who dove straight into the man-ocean at least five times with absolutely no heads up, just LEAP! The other crowd surfers seemed so…non-pro in comparison. I tried taking a photo with my iPhone. It's so sad.

I tried taking a video too with the phone, but we don't need another concert clip with audio that sounds like cutlery rolling around in a metal garbage can put through a stack of blown-out Marshalls. This is better.

There were a couple of things that hooked me into CTE when I first heard them on the radio about 18 months ago. They have a very curious mix of influences in their sound; you are not exactly sure what box to put them in, and that to me is nothing but good. If you were viewing the show last night with no sound, you’d think this was some cross between classic Cali-punk and Rage Against the Machine. Listening to their album, you hear that and more: a very solid blues foundation, a touch of indie, and just about everything else that has been good since rock’s beginnings – the clever wordplay of Chuck Berry, the tidy song arrangements of the Who and the Beatles, the hammer-heavy beat and thunder of Zeppelin and AC/DC with a little southern rock thrown in to further confuse or delight. The production of the album is flawless, and a major factor for their success. It’s a BIG CLEAN sound, with enough little surprises and fresh touches to appeal to a lot of people. So that’s why at the Showbox there’s the mosh dudes and the tat girls and the old guy with the gray beard in a ponytail, the newly-drunk tech nerd dancing all spazzy, and me.

Their set was short – under an hour with an encore – but I don’t know that more was needed. It was fun and sweaty and powerful and the audience loved it. Schultz thanked the crowd often and mentioned that when they played Seattle last they only drew about 300 people, and were grateful for the fans who sold out the Showbox this time around. Next time, they need to be booked in a bigger place. And I need for no one to lose any teeth the night before.