Cage the Elephant, Cockpit, Leeds

Cockpit, Leeds

Singer Matt Shultz comes on in a dress, stands upon the speaker stacks while banging his head on the ceiling, then teeters over the crowd, to gasps. Alarmingly, beneath his skimpy, flowery creation, he does not appear to be wearing underwear. It is not surprising that Kentucky's Cage the Elephant are picking up a feverish following and a reputation as one of the wildest, most incendiary live bands on the circuit.

Led by Matt and brother Brad, they come over like a deranged fusion of Iggy and the Stooges and Chili Peppers-style rap-rock. They look genuinely odd: Brad like a Krays henchman, while the rest of the band have hairstyles that look as if they have been forced to spend hours in unsuitable headgear. Showbiz it almost certainly is, but there is the unmistakable whiff of danger, such as when Brad goes to playfully headbutt his brother and is rewarded by being pushed right across the stage. Elsewhere, Matt performs swan dives into the audience, and Brad spits phlegm into the air, catching most of it in his mouth, though some lands in the eye of someone in the front row.

With all this mayhem, it is a wonder they have time for songs like the curiously moralistic In One Ear or Free Love, which contrarily advocates group sex. Their songs are like their show - stupid yet knowing - but rock has not seen a band this untamed for an age. Shultz ends up a hero, carried aloft - standing perfectly upright - by the baying crowd.

· At Drummonds Cafe, Aberdeen, on Saturday. Box office: 01224 619931. Then touring.


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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