It seems that Elliott BROOD is establishing a pattern of playing bigger venues, followed by some of the ones they hit while up and coming; one time they'll play the Commodore, then the Media Club, back to the Commodore, and now the historic Railway Club.
I believe they mentioned the venue was the first one they had sold out in Vancouver, and of course this night was the same, as it was shoulder-to-shoulder packed with 150 of the most rabid Elliott BROOD fans in the city (some even making it a second night in a row, after their show in Whistler the night before).
Opening the show was a quick set by standup comedian Dustin Hollings, whose material I definitely should not be repeating here. He's also an old friend of Mark so was glad to be opening the show for the Brood.
Very shortly after Hollings, the trio of Mark Sasso, Casey Laforet, and Steve Pitkin took the stage, launching into fan favourite "The Valley Town", which got everyone stomping and clapping right off the bat. It was just a warm up for much claps and stomps throughout the night.
The self-styled 'death-country' band hit songs from their entire oeuvre, from some of the first tunes they ever wrote, like "Bowling Green", to an incendiary brand new song, "The Coast".
They also pulled some deep cuts; they admitted they probably wouldn't have played "Rusty Nail" in the bigger venues, but were glad to play at shows like this. Casey joked about the "house party" vibe, and that it was like a songwriter workshop with how much backstory they were giving each song. In fact, they were really loose on stage, joking and bantering with the crowd between songs.
They spanned from the "disco dance number about World Was I" (as Mark jokingly introduced it) "Their Will"; to slower, more sombre tunes like "If I Get Old"; to the absolutely facemelting "Chuckwagon", an instrumental off of Mountain Meadows that is one of my favourites, especially to see played live. The packed room sang along to favourites "Oh, Alberta" & "Northern Air", and they even slipped in a cover of CCR's "Bad Moon Rising".
As the set wound down, over an hour after they started, they finished off with another one of my favourites, "Miss You Now", a melancholy slow burner, before standing awkwardly on stage for a minute, confessing they had nowhere to go, and then playing the final song of the night.
It was, of course, their big finale "Write It All Down For You", which had the crowd yelling "HEY HEY HEY!" at the top of their lungs and stomping so hard that I'm surprised we didn't collapse through to the store below.
Elliott BROOD is such a solid and amazing live band, whether it's in front of a thousand people, or a hundred fifty. And I really like the idea of alternating between the bigger venues and the tiny clubs. I hope they keep doing it, and while I am eagerly anticipating the next blowout at the Commodore, I can't wait to see which small club they choose after that.
The Valley Town;
Bad Moon Rising [Creedence Clearwater Revival cover];
If I Get Old;
The Banjo Song;
Fingers and Tongues;
Miss You Now.
Write It All Down.