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Elliott Brood at Westfest- Ottawa Review

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Who: Elliot BROOD

When: June 7, 2013

Where: Westfest, Westboro, Ottawa

From: Toronto, ON

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Crowd: Prior to the band’s set time, the cloudy, wet, muddy and rainy weather seemed to deter any sort of large crowd forming at the base of the main stage. Close to 9:30pm, about 10 minutes before Elliot BROOD took the stage, the crowd began to grow and with it came a new surge of energy. Just before 10pm the band took the stage and the crowd erupted. Throughout the entire set the audience never stopped cheering, dancing and singing along. Overall, considering the wet conditions, the crowd brought a vibrant energy that only grew through the set.

 Style: A splendid mix of folk, country, bluegrass and alternative rock.

 Technicalities: For a three-piece band they were loud — but in a good way. Acoustic and electric guitars, a banjo, and a killer drum kit rocked the crowd for more then an hour. Fender and Marshall amps plugged into both acoustic and electric guitars created a unique rock/folk guitar driven sound. Finally, the audio tech did a great job of making sure their powerful sound did not drown out the vocal harmonies between all three members.

 Image: Bow ties, vests, boots and jeans made for a quirky combination of an image that resembled urban “hipsters” and old time country boys. But the one thing I noticed about the band is that they were comfortable, both in what they were wearing and their stage presence. They came across as down to earth, small town Canadian boys, who like to jam and rock out on stage.

 Memorable Moment: Being an amateur guitarist myself, my favourite moment was when guitarist Casey Laforet broke a string on his acoustic guitar, early in the set. The string broke at the end of a song and for a couple of minutes, while Casey quickly changed his guitar string, the band playfully bantered with the crowd. At one point during this time Mark exclaimed, “Casey is the fastest guy I know when it comes to changing guitar strings.” Someone in the crowd shouted back, “I bet I’m faster!” Laughter ensued both on stage and amongst the crowd. In less than five minutes the band launched back into their explosive set without any other issues.

 Overall: The entire set was loud, pulsating and a ton of fun to watch and listen to. From what I can recall, there wasn’t a slow or downtrodden moment. The only disappointment was because the festival was running a little behind schedule, it felt like Elliot Brood’s set was cut a little short. Nonetheless, this was out of the band’s control and their slightly shorter set didn’t deter me from grooving, clapping and cheering the entire time.

One thing I noticed was how much more full and complete the band sounded live as opposed to listening to their albums. Mark and Casey have an incredible ability to create this loud, organic sound out of their guitars that kept me in awe for most of their set. This, put in tandem with Stephen’s awesome drumming, made for a fantastic performance of both talent and passion.

Elliott Brood blends a variety of genres to produce their own unique sound, yet also echo hints of sounds from other Canadian bands such as Blue Rodeo, Gordon Lightfoot and the Tragically Hip. Elliot Brood’s performance at Westfest was my first time seeing them and the overall performance was impressive. Ultimately, I wouldn’t hesitate to see them again, and I would absolutely recommend them to anyone looking to experience something special.


Review and Photos by: Ty Hooper

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