Elliott BROOD @ Commodore -- 11/09/11

Last night proved that something is going very right with live music in Vancouver. Not only did Elliott BROOD sell out the Commodore on a Wednesday night, but they did it the same night that Dan Mangan was right next door, at a sold out Orpheum.
It was a tough decision between the two, but I had seen Dan four times this year, and the BROOD only once, at the Folk Fest. Plus, I have an unofficial rule of "see that band that travelled furthest to be here" and I was also interested in checking out the opening band; those factors all made the decision a little bit easier.

That opening band was One Hundred Dollars, and from their first song, "Black Gold", I was immediately in awe of Simone Schmidt's voice; incredibly strong and perfectly suited their alt-country sound, a little reminiscent of Neko Case or Carolyn Mark. I've always been a sucker for strong female vocals with a bit of a country bent, and they were no exception.
A couple of the highlights were "Everybody Wins" (which was less upbeat than the title suggested, with the next line being "except for the losers") and another song I didn't catch the name of, but including one just Simone's voice with little to no accompaniment, aside from the stomping of the crowd. Even though they had a country twang, they still rocked out from time to time, with a couple great guitar solos, and songs that got everyone moving. They were an excellent choice for opening band, I will definitely have to catch them again next time they are through town.

And then it was time for Elliott BROOD who, right off the bat, were visibly humbled by the turnout and the support of their fans. They thanked us for coming a few times, as well as being in awe of the venue. And also right off the bat they began the process of tearing the roof off, with the intense, barn burning instrumental "Chuckwagon" early on in the set. Other highlights of the set included  a couple form their new album, Days Into Years, the softer and kind of melancholy "If I Get Old" and the more rockin' "Will They Bury Us?".
All three members, Mark, Casey and Stephen, were all on the top of their game, both musically and in their stage presence, joking with the crowd a little and a few times making a near-thousand person venue seem much more intimate.
After a sing-along to "Northern Air", Casey said that everything else was just the appetizer, and now it was time for the meat; the Alberta beef, getting a huge cheer going into "Oh Alberta" with the sold out room singing and clapping along. They kept the energy going with "The Valley Town" and my favourite, "Write It All Down For You"; and even though they didn't hand out the tin pans and wooden spoons for it, the crowd was still stomping, clapping and HEYHEYHEY-ing along, proving that they didn't need props for everyone to be into it.
They brought the main set to an end with "Fingers & Tongues" before coming back out with a cover of a Dylan (by way of The Band) song, "When I Paint My Masterpiece" and wrapped it up with the most perfect ending song, "Miss You Now", again getting the entire crowd -- except the folks in the balcony, despite Mark's scolding -- to jump along (it was their "goal" to break through the floor).

They definitely lived up to their reputation as a stellar live band, with he band's fantastic energy, and made for one memorable night.