I knew Elliott Brood was coming to town, and after getting their album 10 days or so ago, I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t go see them live. I love live music, especially GOOD live music! J. wasn’t interested in going so I went to the bar by myself.

I had read they were going on around 10pm, at the Downbeat Lounge, so I drove down there for 9:50. Including the bartender, I was the 5th person there! Ahh well, nothing wrong with going to a bar with no friends I told myself, so I walked up to the bar and had a seat. I really really wanted a beer, but I was driving, and I know if I have one beer, then I’ll want the second beer even more, so I spent the night sipping on a couple of diet cokes.

Sidebar here, I had given up pop all together for a couple of years. Over the last few months it creeped back in. I thought I could control it. I can’t. By our vacation I was sucking back colas a few a day. So I quit yesterday. Caffeine withdrawal headache is enough to never want another one. Unfortunately I did have those two diet sodas last night – but I think it’s just the caffeine I get totally addicted to. I just can’t have it or I NEED it. So no more regular pops. I’ll allow myself a diet once in awhile, even though it’s gross, I hate consuming the poisonous aspartame, and it isn’t at all refreshing, but at least I wasn’t drinking and driving.

Okay back to the bar. I chatted a bit with the other few people sitting at the bar. They all knew each other. In fact I think everyone in that bar last night knew everyone else. I kinda miss having that. Oh well.

The bartender’s boyfriend kept calling with updates from the hockey game. Then I overhear that the band was watching the hockey game too. Agh… Overtime. Finally they dragged them away from the game to play. It was 11:30!!

So let’s get to the meat of this concert review… Elliott Brood was awesome. It’s a 3-man band. They were very entertaining. They talked to the audience between songs. Now when I say audience, don’t be picturing a big bar. It’s just an old store on the main strip. It’s dark, there are lots of candles, and lamps and couches. The band plays in the old storefront window. A little cramped for the band I suspect, but there was just 3 of them this time.

The band started off with “Twill” – the first song from their Ambassador album. It sounded much like the album, only better, because it was loud and you could feel the music inside of you. The guitarist – wow – I’ve never seen anyone strum a guitar so fast. He was sitting down on a chair and he would practically wrap his body around his guitar and strum so fast that all you could see was a big blurr where his hand should be. It was incredible that he kept that up for so many songs. He must have one hell of a forearm muscle!

Elliott Brood played many songs from their new Ambassador album, some from their old album that I haven’t found a copy of yet, and a few new ones. They played “President” and “Second Son” much like the album, but “Johnny Rooke” was a much faster version that was quite catchy. I was unfortunately sitting up on a high bar stool so I couldn’t tap my feet on the floor, and every time I tried to tap the air with my toe my loose sandals slipped off.

I don’t suspect there were many people there who had ever heard of Elliott Brood, let alone owned their CD’s. But everyone seemed to have a good time. There were lots of head’s nodding to the beat, and some whoops and hollers between the songs. Some girls even got up to dance.

I was really waiting to hear “The Bridge” which is probably my favourite song from the Ambassador album. They didn’t disappoint!

I’m a huge banjo fan. The electric banjo the lead singer played for many songs was so cool to listen to. He switched it up with a couple of other stringed instruments during the night. He has a very unique singing voice that fits with their music well. It isn’t a clear tone, but a high yet gravelly in a way. I can’t describe it. He let out a few loud screams that would rip out the tonsils of the average person.

I really knew I shouldn’t stay until the end because I had to come to work this morning and I haven’t been getting enough sleep. The band said they just had a couple more songs to play, so I sat and enjoyed a couple more. Then they said they had a couple more, so I sat and loved them, and then they said they had a couple more yet, so I knew I should go. It was about 12:45 when I finally pulled myself away. Elliott Brood was deep into their cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire“. I love that song too.

So overall, great entertainment. I’m really glad I went and enjoyed it. Even if I am half asleep still. I haven’t been to that bar for a couple years – or really any bar. Everything non-smoking now and it is SOOOOOOO NICEEEEEEEE. Sitting there breathing in fresh air. The sidewalk and street was packed with people because they have to go outside to smoke now. I think some people just never bothered to pay their $6 and come in – they just watched and listened to them from the sidewalk.

I still have the link to their album in the sidebar. Buy it and give it a try.