by Philip Costache
On Saturday, May 7, Detroit’s Masonic Temple Theater welcomes Cage the Elephant with special guests Broncho and Portugal. The Man. Both Cage’s and Broncho’s sets will most likely pivot around fresh material from their newly expanded repertoires.
With “Tell Me I’m Pretty”, CTE significantly delved into the ideas behind “Melophobia” and effectively broadened their scope. We witness a band who have toned down their rambunctiousness, opting for a cleaner, mellower sound, albeit still retaining the essential musicality that initially captivated our attention: foot-tapping melodies and stirring lyrics. Perhaps Cage the Elephant’s most appealing aspect is their proven ability to perpetuate ideas of yore by stylizing and rendering them musically relevant now. But CTE aren’t merely mouthpieces for inspirational bands of yesterday. When you delve into their discography, even though traces of their influences are more or less readily noticeable, you feel appreciation for an ambitious band who endeavor to revive rock’s ever-fading flame.
Broncho’s forthcoming album, “Double Vanity”, showcases the band’s ability to set themselves apart from their prior outings and is a testament to an astonishing feat on their path to keep changing shape and transcend established boundaries.
Broncho’s first LPs (“Can’t Get Past the Lips” and “Just Enough Hip to be a Woman”) are controlled explosions: buoyant pop-punk affected by proto-punks infinitely long reach. Shimmering light seen through the interstices of a crumbling edifice. Being inside a crashing building is seldom satisfying, if ever. Screeching, wailing guitars accentuate the emotional content and envelop our inner most feelings in a fuzzy, distorted sheen. It’s rather uplifting, in spite of everything. With punk music, it’s all about the attitudes that empower and strengthen your resilience.
“Double Vanity” is a viscous musical outing, pleading, yearning, and all the while creating a dense dreamlike atmosphere. Like slowly approaching a heightened sense of reality that feels endlessly unreachable. A never-ending dream of pancakes being smothered in maple syrup. I’ll stay… behind…you… guys…go on…ahead. An observer capturing mirth perceived in slow-motion. Soaring guitars ascend to that giant pancake in the sky before unhurriedly falling back into the mix.
Three incredibly talented bands with three different yet complementary styles should, sure enough, provide us with one hell of a memorable night in The Rock City.