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Recap: #SpringFlingRockAF 2016

Cage The Elephant, Silversun Pickups, Foals, and Bear Hands recently launched the Spring Fling Rock AF 2016. The unique 15-city U.S. arena tour packages some of the best and brightest names in alternative music today, and is reminiscent to the days when artists traveled the country together on package tours – often hitting cities and towns that otherwise wouldn’t have access to live music from so many artists at one time.

Spring Fling Rock AF 2016 kicked off in Fresno, CA on March 11, 2016 at Save Mart Center and will end on April 1st in Providence, RI at Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, RI – the tour has also been hitting markets such as Sacramento, CA, Oklahoma City, OK, Buffalo, NY, and more along the way. 
The tour is headlined by Grammy-nominated Kentucky rock band Cage the Elephant’s highly anticipated fourth studio album, Tell Me I’m Pretty, was recently released on December 18th and debuted at #3 on the Billboard Top Rock Albums and Alternative Albums charts. The album, which Rolling Stone called “their best yet,” was produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys & The Arcs (Lana Del Rey, Ray LaMontagne, The Black Keys, The Arcs), mixed by Tom Elmhirst (Amy Winehouse, Adele, Florence + the Machine) and recorded at Easy Eye Sound in Nashville, TN, near the band’s home town of Bowling Green, KY. The band recently performed their new single “Mess Around” on The Late Late Show with James Corden and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Tell Me I’m Pretty follows Cage the Elephant’s third album Melophobia, which had two Number One singles on the Alternative charts and was nominated for a Grammy, their sophomore album Thank You Happy Birthday, which debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, and their self-titled debut album. Cage The Elephant consists of singer Matt Shultz, guitarist Brad Shultz, bassist Daniel Tichenor, and drummer Jared Champion.
Silversun Pickups hails from California. Their album "Better Nature" marks the debut release from Silversun Pickups’ very own New Machine Recordings label. 
Foals current album What Went Down was released this past August on Warner Music and emerged to the best reviews of the band’s career as it debuted at #3 and commanded a Top 20 chart position for four weeks in the UK. Shortly after the album’s release, the band won ‘Best Act In The World’ at the Q Awards and received a BBC Music Award Nomination for ‘British Artist of the Year’. Foals was also nominated for four awards at the 2016 NME Awards, including ‘Best British Band’, “Best Live Band’, ‘Best Album’, and ‘Best Track’. 
Hailing from Brooklyn, NY, Bear Hands was formed in 2006 by college classmates Dylan Rau (vocals/guitar/keys) and Ted Feldman (guitar/keys) along with prominent local musicians Val Loper (bass) and TJ Orscher (drums). Following 2007’s Golden EP, the band released their full-length debut Burning Bush Supper Club in 2010, which they supported touring with artists as diverse as Passion Pit, GZA and We Were Promised Jetpacks. Bear Hands then released the free EP Songs From Utopia Vol. 1 on July 4th, 2012 as a gift to fans. After a short hiatus, the band came back together to release 2014’s Distraction, featuring the hit singles “Giants” and “Agora.” After the release of Distraction, the band hit the road headlining across North America and Europe, including appearances at at Coachella, Lollapalooza, Reading & Leeds, Made In America, Life Is Beautiful and Firefly Festival. Recently the band has been putting the finishing touches on their third full-length album, the details of which will be announced soon.
This is probably the best tour that I have been able to see in quite sometime. The best part of the concert was the raw energy that each band brought while on stage. It was clear that the fans were there to have a good time and each band gladly indulged the audience with a good mix of classic favorites along with savory new material.  Bear Hands really got the audience going with their eclectic sound. It's hard to really pin point a particular influence that the band has but it's safe to say that there are large elements or punk and surf rock in their repertoire. Their thumping beats and catchy hooks made it seem as though you were watching your old friends play.  
 After Bear Hands opened the night up, UK band Foals continued to excite the crowd with heart racing song after song. If you have never heard of the band Foals, I highly recommend that you give them a listen ! Foals live act is frenetic, unrelenting and poised. It was their first time visiting the Mid-South from The UK however the band made it clear that they will definitely return.
One personal favorite that I have been wanting to see for years is Silversun Pickups. Seeing the SSPU really brought me back to my college days of college radio and loud parties. The band did not disappoint ! It was refreshing to witness the humor of Lead Singer and Guitarist Brian Aubert meshed with the vulnerability and shyness of Bassist Nikki Monninger. They are true titans in the world of Indie Rock and it was a dream come true getting the opportunity to see them perform.
Closing out the night was Bowling Green's very own Cage The Elephant. This was my second time seeing the band and I can honestly say that they are one of the nation's best live acts. There is something about lead singer Matt Schultz that oozes sexy appeal, swagger and showmanship. On stage he is almost larger than life however off stage he is a man of the people. In fact Matt and brother Brad mingled with the crowed frequently that evening both before and during their set. A fellow fan from the crowd mentioned that CTE is "One of the last true great Rock and Roll bands' left". I feel this is a true and accurate statement.
The band of course played most of their new material from, Tell Me I'm Pretty but they also played a slew of fan favorites such as Aberdeen, Spiderhead, and Halo.The highlight of the evening came when the band performed a 3 song Encore which included the songs Shake Me Down, Telescope and Just Forever in which Lead singer Matt took off his shirt and crowed surfed. Overall it was a stellar show and good start to the tour overall. To see more pictures from the Southaven, MS tour stop please check out our instagram page here ! If you are driving to a  Spring Fling Tour stop in your city, here is a link to a Spring Fling generated playlist via Spotify for your trip:

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