Live Review: Elliott BROOD with The Pack A.D. @ Crocodile 2/28

photos by Brittney Bollay

This afternoon we featured a live in-studio performance with a KEXP favorite: Elliott BROOD. We first fell in love with the Ontario trio after hearing their 2008 full-length, Mountain Meadows, and they’ve since performed a few times for us in different parts of the country: at SXSW, in Toronto, on the Mural Stage at the Seattle Center. Currently, the BROOD is touring their latest album, Days Into Years, and hit Seattle last week on the actual day of its release. That night, with their dark-woods gothic sound and surrounded by banners depicting stark leafless trees, Elliott BROOD turned The Crocodile into a rollicking post-Apocalyptic after-party.

For tour support, the BROOD picked fellow Canadians The Pack A.D.. Seeing as they’re a garage-y, bluesy rock duo, singer-guitarist Becky Black and drummer Maya Miller will inevitably be compared to others, like The White Stripes, The Black Keys, and Seattle’s own My Goodness. But The Pack A.D. escape being pigeonholed as “the all female version” of any of those bands as they carve their own distinctive path. Miller plays off Black’s dark themes and punkish yowl with comic relief. Her between-song banter will either make you laugh or want to launch a beer at her, which either way makes for a fun show. On guitar and vocals, Black is captivating. She’s alluring and dangerous, like a younger Juliette Lewis... but musically more talented (sorry, JL!). Ultimately, there’s nothing new about The Pack A.D., but the same could be said about all good rock music. What matters is that Black and Miller make you want to dance, shake, slam, or just throw devil horns in the air.

If the guys in Elliott BROOD weren’t so damn cheery, you’d at first think they were cut from the same dark, twisted cloth as Denver goth cowboys 16 Horsepower. But whereas David Eugene Edwards can get lost in his own fire and brimstone mysticism, singer/guitarist Mark Sasso, guitarist/bass pedal player Casey Laforet, and drummer/keyboard player Stephen Pitkinlaugh joke about their own dark leanings and kick the dust off the floorboards with their quick tempos, quicker strumming and all around hoedown hootenany. The songs from their latest album, Days Into Years, though, finds them trading the nylons for the electrics while they build slower tempos into full-blown rockers. Maybe it’s the subject matter of the songs, which imagine what it was like to be young and at war in WWII-era Europe, but album standouts “Lines,” “If I Get Old” and “Hold You” take a bit of time to grow. Even their most accessible sing-along, “Northern Air,” needs space to breathe. Yet soon enough, you’re finding yourself clapping and singing along as ecstatically as with fan-favorites “Write It All Down for You” and “The Valley Town.”

If you get the chance to see the BROOD when they’re in your town, you don’t want to miss it, especially with The Pack A.D. backing them up. Go to their website to grab current tour dates (hint: they’re in St. Louis tonight and heading east), and check out the in-studio session they recorded while they were in town last week here.

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