Beck / Cage the Elephant / Spoon @ Merriweather Post Pavilion [DC] - 8/24/2019

Who needs Woodstock when Merriweather's got the Night Running Tour, a festival-worthy lineup co-headlined by Beck and Cage the Elephant with a little help from Spoon and Sunflower Bean. Not too shabby.

Beck, who was just at The Anthem in April, was in full Odelay/Guero mode, which was brilliant because, with all due respect to Mutations and Sea Change, b-boy Beck is the best Beck. Opening strong with "Loser," Beck's shortened set wasted no time ripping through a host of hits like "Devil's Haircut" and "Where It's At" and should-have-been-hits like "Que Onda Guero" and "E-Pro" before ending with a Cage duet on the tour's namesake song. Shows like this remind me that 1) Guero probably doesn't get the respect it deserves and 2) Beck is really great live and draws a fun, diverse crowd.

Beck during the Night Running Tour’s stop at Merriweather Post Pavilion (Photo by Kyle Gustafson)

Beck during the Night Running Tour’s stop at Merriweather Post Pavilion (Photo by Kyle Gustafson)

Why was his set shortened, you ask? Well, there was a pretty severe lightning storm smack in the middle of Cage the Elephant's set that lasted 40 minutes and screwed up the night's timing. The lawn had to be evacuated, and everyone sought shelter wherever they could find it. Mind you, it didn't affect Cage's performance. Frontman Matt Shultz spent the performance wilding out on stage, gradually changing from outfit to outfit until he was just wearing a pair of gym shorts in the middle of the pavilion. 

Openers Spoon and Sunflower Bean did an admirable job of battling the daylight while getting the slow arriving crowd ready for the headliners. Britt Daniel and Spoon continues to amaze. Nine albums and over 20 years into their career Daniels and crew get better every time I see them. (I've seen then A LOT.) The shows in support of 2017's Hot Thoughts has been the best they've ever sounded and losing bassist Rob Pope earlier this year hasn't slowed them down one bit. Respect. Please come back soon.

Photos by Kyle Gustafson

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