What happens when the best band of the night wasn’t even on the bill? What if it’s not a band? Last Thursday’s Beck, Cage the Elephant, Spoon show at Merriweather Post Pavilion had an enviable lineup, but the memorable event of the night actually occurred quite unexpectedly right in the middle of the show. We’ll get to that part later.
The night began with a memorable performance by Spoon. Spoon has an interesting dynamic, throwing back to the repetitive grooves of Germany in the 1970s. Lead singer and guitarist Britt Daniel came out with a Can shirt, which is interesting because the singer seems to be the one deviation from Spoon’s throwback to Can: he has a kind of Damien Albarn vibe, which gives Spoon a distinctly Britrock sound.
Next came Cage the Elephant, the youngest group on the line up and the only one I was least familiar. At least I thought so. I’m pretty sure I’ve waited anxiously for the skip ad button to appear on a YouTube add to the sounds of “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked.” I found myself often asking, “Where have I heard that song before?” Cage puts on a highly energetic show, which seemed to provide the biggest draw of the night. They almost took away the award for best band of the night, but then something altogether unexpected happened.
A sudden thunderous appearance of an unplanned fourth act stole the show. It was literally a thunderous act, which rolled in from the east and surrounded the premises of the venue. As soft rumbles sounded in the distance and small drops of rain slowly fell from the sky, the band stopped their set and ran off the stage. The crowd immediately erupted in massive boos, while one of the stage coordinators came to the mic. “We’re sorry, everyone, we have a massive storm coming through. If you are out on the grass please go back to your cars, everyone under the roof please stay where you are. We’ll be back with the rest of the show as soon as thew storm passes.” More boos exploded from the audience but quieted down once it became apparent what kind of massive storm was on its way.
The sky boomed and rain poured all around us with a steady sideways gust that sent a thick mist of rain spray into the venue. Soon the roof couldn’t hold back the water came pouring in. People on the sides got the worst of it and soon began shuffling toward the center of the venue. One rather large man embraced it as a waterfall of rain poured over him. He removed his shirt and started swinging it around, riling up the crowd. He was definitely my favorite band on the night.
When the storm finally passed, Cage came back to finish their set to a much relieved audience. Unfortunately, the rain had much cooled down the air and the soaked audience, myself included, started to feel rather uncomfortable.
It took Beck’s people almost a half hour to construct his elaborate stage set, which with the hard 11:30 p.m. cut off, put the performer on course to play for about a half hour. He opened strong with “Loser,” the first massive Beck track, and kept the audience going with his flamboyant, Scott Walker-y vibe. Unfortunately, he decided to mention the show’s upcoming curfew, which inspired a mass exodus in the middle of his set, as dripping fans took their cue to beat the outgoing concert traffic.
All around, it was a wicked line up, but the show itself ended up being a bit of wash.