BOWLING GREEN, Ky. _ 2011 was an incredible, exciting year for both Bowling Green based indie rock bands, Cage The Elephant and Sleeper Agent as they zoomed into the stratosphere making headlines across the nation playing shows while on tour all across North America. Cage The Elephant made several trips to Europe as Sleeper Agent made their way up to the "Great White North," Canada, for the first time requiring some of the band members to get passports for the first time in their young lives. Cage The Elephant even traveled to Melbourne and Sydney, Australia for two shows in November.
Both Cage The Elephant and Sleeper Agent were published several times in such publications as Rolling Stone, Spin, Guitar World and Alternative Press magazines and other magazines and newspapers throughout the year with nicely written positive articles and full color photos. They were also written about in hundreds of Internet blogs and their songs were heard on hundreds of radio stations across the country as well as Alternative Nation Sirus satellite radio. Both bands had albums to come out in 2011 with Cage The Elephant's second release "Thank You, Happy Birthday" on Jan. 11 and Sleeper Agent's debut album "Celabrasion" on Sept. 27. Cage The Elephant's "Thank You, Happy Birthday," ranked No. 15 on Rolling Stone's 50 Best Albums of 2011 and Sleeper Agent's first single, "Get It Daddy," ranked No. 14 on Rolling Stone's 50 Best Songs of 2011. Sleeper Agent also ranked No. 2 on Rolling Stone's Rookies of 2011. On its first day of release, "Thank You, Happy Birthday," charted as No. 1 on the top 10 albums downloads on iTunes. The album sold 39,000 copies during its first week in the U.S. debuting at Number 2 on the Billboard 200.
The two Bowling Green bands also released several videos in 2011 with Cage The Elephant's "Shake Me Down"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v27TRan1SBI&ob=av2e which was nominated for "Best Rock Video" on MTV, "Around My Head," and "Aberdeen," and Sleeper Agent's "Get It Daddy,"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUF2RDHDtzM&ob=av2e All four of these 2011 videos has received tons of airplay on cable television and elsewhere. In December of 2011, Sleeper Agent's next single, "Get Burned" off their album was made into a video and the video was filmed in downtown Bowling Green above Labold & Sons Salvage Co. in an old, dark and dusty apartment above the store and then outside the city limits in the countryside in some woods at night. And believe it or not, the video was directed by none other than Matt Shultz himself of Cage The Elephant! This was Matt's debut video directorial effort. The video is scheduled to be released sometime in January 2012. Sleeper Agent also wrote and recorded a song for Nike sportswear's video series "Always On" featuring Lindsey Harding, a WNBA Atlanta Dreams women's basketball star. Also, on Sleeper Agent's web-site there is a video series that was recently filmed at the old Tennessee State Prison in Nashville which includes some acoustic sets and interviews where the band mates interview each other.http://theaudioperv.com/2011/12/08/sleeper-agent-debut-new-song-not-never-kick-off-acoustic-sessions-series-from-a-prison/ And finally but not least, Sleeper Agent's hit song, "Get It Daddy," is going to be featured in a new movie due in May of 2012 called, "What To Expect When You're Expecting," starring Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wuIltIHQXY
Cage The Elephant and Sleeper Agent even toured together on many dates at big and small venues across North America in the mid-west and the west coast throughout 2011. On New Years Eve of 2011, Cage The Elephant, Sleeper Agent, Chicago's Company of Thieves and Bowling Green's own Morning Teleportation, played before a crowd of 6,000 celebrating indie rock music lovers in the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. Here is what one person wrote on a recent blog about Cage The Elephant's and Sleeper Agent's performance in Chicago New Years Eve.
"Mind blowing really. Excellent. Knew of Company of Thieves and thought they would go on second, so I missed them which sucked. Sleeper Agent just blew me away, Cage too. Amazing f-ing rock, energy, all of it. Happy New Year!"
This past summer, Cage The Elephant and Sleeper Agent and a new and upcoming Bowling Green indie rock band who just recently also recorded an album with the famous music producer from Nashville, Jay Joyce, (who produced both albums for Cage The Elephant and Sleeper Agent's debut album) "Schools" played a secret surprise show at Tidballs.http://vimeo.com/28209254 It was said that so many people showed up from Bowling Green and the surrounding area and out of town as well as out of state, that people could not get inside and the parking lot was so packed that fans hung around just listening to the show from outside the small downtown bar and venue. Cage The Elephant played another hometown surprise show at Western Kentucky in Bowling Green in September that was quickly organized less than a month by the Starry Nights Musical Festival team. That night another much larger than expected crowd over 3,000 showed up on Western's campus South Lawn to see Cage The Elephant, Manchester Orchestra and local favorite bands, Japanese School Girls and Canago perform.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBSGwLCqbro&feature=related At one point, the campus police threatened to stop the show out of fear that people might getting seriously injured if fans didn't back off the guard rails near the stage. Also, Cage The Elephant went on tour with Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters in the Fall of 2011. When Cage's drummer, Jared Champion became ill, Grohl sat in as drummer for several performances until Jared was able to get back in the saddle.
Cage is set to release their debut live DVD/CD Jan 3, 2012, called "Live from the Vic in Chicago" and online as iTunes DVD download and digital audio download. Best Buy is also getting in on the action, as the store will offer an exclusive Blu-Ray disc in stores beginning Jan. 3. The Blu-Ray will be available via other retailers starting Jan. 17. Directed by Wayne Isham, Live from the Vic in Chicago was taped during Cage The Elephant's Spring 2011 tour, during which the band played a two-night, sold-out show at The Vic Theatre in Chicago. The DVD packs 75 minutes of alternative rock action, including the band playing their biggest hits to date, "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked," "Shake Me Down" and "Aberdeen." Fans got an early taste of the DVD via a 30-minute version of Live from the Vic in Chicago, which premiered on MTV, MTV2, MTVU, MTV Hits and MTV.com this past fall.
http://www.theweezercruise.com/ Some of the other bands that will be on the cruise besides Weezer and Sleeper Agent will dinosaur jr., the Wavves and The Knocks among several others bands. Cage The Elephant will be breaking new ground in their extensive travels in which they will heading down to Brazil in 2012.
Apparently, the sky is the limit for these already successful two young Bowling Green indie rock bands in 2012 who are making headlines all over the world in magazines, newspapers, the Internet, videos and blogs. They are bringing tons of attention to our fair city of Bowling Green with a population of 58,000 and all eyes are us in the indie rock world because of them. 2012 should be another amazing, incredible year as these two bands as they continue to skyrocket to the top even further!
Galen A. Smith Sr. is a native of Memphis, Tenn., and has lived with his wife, Patty, and son, Tony "Tutone" Smith who is a member of Sleeper Agent, in Bowling Green since 1988. He writes a blog, www.acriticfromthesouth.blogspot.com Join the Cage The Elephant and Sleeper Agent fan pages on Facebook at "Cage The Elephant's Facebook Fan Page" and "Sleeper Agent's Facebook Fan Page."