Last Night: Elliott Brood at Cafe Du Nord

Categories: Last Night
Brood_1.jpg
Joseph Schell
Elliott Brood
Cafe Du Nord
October 12, 2009
Better Than:
playing the pots and pans at age five.

Most crowd members looked a tad perplexed as Elliott Brood's drummer stepped out from behind his drum set mid-set, grabbed a laundry bag from the side of the stage, and proceeded to empty its contents -- wooden spoons, drum sticks, and tin plates -- onto the dance floor. But it only took one crowd member diving for the flatware for everyone else to catch on. Soon the front row area around the stage, which had previously been vacant besides a few brave dancers, had filled in with smiling crowd members wielding makeshift instruments. As Brood launched into their most foot stompin beat of them all, "Write It All Down For You," the crowd hopped, skipped, and happily banged their wooden sticks on their tin plates to create what we're sure was the best kind of ruckus Cafe Du Nord has seen in a while.

Brood_2.jpg
Joseph Schell
Had the group handed out instruments to the crowd any earlier, the noise might have driven everyone out of the venue by encore time -- luckily, the timing was perfect. Instead it got anyone who had been sitting to stand, anyone who had been standing to dance, and anyone who had been dancing to go completely bananas. From start to finish, the whole set incorporated similar creative theatrics, from the homemade light show (Christmas lights, red rotating siren lights, and red lamps that were apparently hot enough to cook a hamburger, according to one band member), to the group's circus music introduction. The show was fun and makeshift enough to avoid being too gimmicky, and the music good enough to prove that, theatrics or no, Elliott Brood knows how to get a crowd off its laurels.

Brood_3.jpg
Joseph Schell
Although the Canadian-based act is currently touring on its sophomore album, Mountain Meadows, the group played nearly all the songs in their repertoire last night. The gravelly vocals of Mark Sasso are as chilling live as they are in studio -- but, of course, the studio sound couldn't capture Sasso's two-stepping on stage, or guitarist Casey Laforet's intense rocking back and forth in his chair as he simultaneously pounded on the bass pedals with sock-clad feet. The set ended with the front man from the show's first openers, Wooden Sky, hopping on stage with a pair of wooden spoons and tapping out the last tune on the venue's ceiling (front man Gavin Gardner is, by the way, roughly seven feet tall).  




Wooden_Sky.jpg
Joseph Schell
Wooden Sky
Wooden Sky, also a Canadian band, have been touring with Brood for the past three weeks now. Multi-talented band members picked up nearly every instrument known to alt-country during their opening set, from melodica (bassist Andrew Wyatt actually managed to play bass and melodica simultaneously -- and still make it sound good), to slide guitar, to glockenspiel. This band definitely deserved more crowd members than had showed up by the start of their set, but luckily they didn't need much energy from the audience to rock out.

The second opening act, Rosi Golan, offered a sweet acoustic interlude to an otherwise raucous evening. The Israeli-born singer songwriter, who now resides in Brooklyn, had couples inching closer to one another with her folky, romantic tunes.

Critic's Notebook:
Members of Elliott Brood thanked the audience multiple times for showing up on a Monday night to hear them play (they even offered to sign doctor's notes for showing up late to work the following day). Considering the energy the band managed to evoke from the Monday night crowd, anyone who shows for a Friday or Saturday night show should be ready to have their socks knocked right off their dancin feet.

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