Monday, September 25, 2023

Cage the Elephant, Rise Against Rock the River at the Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis


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The final day of the 2015 Beale Street Music Festival featured performances from the weekend’s biggest acts, including Ed Sheeran, Hozier, Wilco and St. Vincent. However, sets from Cage the Elephant and Rise Against on the Rockstar Energy Drink Stage brought the the three-day riverfront festival to a roaring close.

Cage the Elephant

Since releasing their third album Melophobia in October 2013, Cage the Elephant have been touring almost constantly, with stops at other Tennessee music events like Bonnaroo and Nashville’s Live on the Green concert series. The band shows no signs of stopping, with performances scheduled for Louisville, Kentucky’s Forecastle Festival and the Sloss Music & Arts Festival in Birmingham, Alabama. Their Sunday night set on the banks of the Mississippi River showed that their impressive live show has only improved over the last year.

Cage’s setlist featured a balanced mix of material from their three albums, with Melophobia deep cuts like “Halo” and “Take It or Leave It” standing out as some of the strongest moments of the performance. The crowd responded to these songs just as strongly as singles like “Ain’t No Rest For the Wicked” and “Cigarette Daydreams,” partly due to frontman Matt Shultz’s near constant movement and energy. The rest of the band weren’t slouches either, as they constantly played off of each other, giving the set a dose of raw, punk energy.

Rise Against

Chicago hardcore group Rise Against ripped through a nine-song set Sunday evening, with what was one of the heaviest sets of the weekend. Sometimes, a bit too heavy. It was difficult to hear frontman Tim McIlrath’s vocals on tracks like”Chamber the Cartridge” due to him being drowned out by the rest of the band. Regardless, the group soundtracked a seemingly endless wave of crowd-surfers with their singles “Re-Education (Through Labor),” “Give It All” and “Prayer of the Refugee.”

The band also touched on political topics between songs, with McIlrath bringing up the recent political unrest in Baltimore. He also urged the crowd to look into Rockstar Energy Drink before supporting their product, possibly alluding to the brand’s connections with anti-LGBT radio host Michael Savage.

For our full archive of Beale Street Music Festival coverage, click here.

Follow John Connor Coulston on Twitter at @JCCoulston.

For more updates from the Beale Street Music Festival, follow us at, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter/Instagram at @Sidelines_Life.

To contact Lifestyles editor John Connor Coulston, email

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