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Elliott Brood, Wilderness of Manitoba at Republik

Monday 23rd, February 2015 / 18:54
By Sebastian Buzzalino
Elliott Brood at the Republik. Photo: Sebastian Buzzalino

Elliott Brood at the Republik.
Photo: Sebastian Buzzalino

February 19, 2015

CALGARY — In front of a packed room at the Republik, a Toronto-centric bill charmed Calgary with different approaches to folk and roots. Openers Wilderness of Manitoba got things going with their pop-ready folk, a gentle first course for the evening. Their set hovered around the middle of the road, never straying too far in any one direction and as a result, Wilderness of Manitoba tended to sound a bit homogenous throughout. That said, their danceable pop-folk was pleasant enough to get people in the mood for the dancing and singing that would come.

It was clear that the majority of the crowd was there to see the headliners, Elliott Brood. On tour in support of their latest album, Work and Love, the long-running Toronto trio was visibly excited to perform for their first sold out show of the tour. Mark Sasso, Casey Laforet and Stephen Pitkin took the stage to a roar of approval and wasted no time in running through a long set that consisted of new classics and fan favourites. Despite the fact that Elliott Brood have been playing together for more than a decade now and have four full-lengths and a handful of EPs under their belts, they still play with a raw charisma and looseness that belies their age — you could be forgiven for thinking that this is a fresh band, ecstatic for their first headlining tour across Canada. Laforet, in particular, seemed to be having the time of his life, hammering on his guitars until he broke a string and improvising several sections, seemingly on a whim. The band suffered through a couple of miscues, but they took these in stride with aplomb, readily laughing and playing along with their misfortunes, clearly enjoying their time in front of an adoring crowd. The addition of Aaron Goldstein on the slide guitar added a fluid dimension to the tracks, allowing Laforet and Sasso to focus on developing the groove while he added solos overtop.

By the end of the set, Elliott Brood had the capacity crowd at the Republik in the palms of their hands. Their encore, which featured a particularly rousing rendition of “Write It All Down For You,” had the entire room dancing and shouting in unison, grinning from ear to ear. It was a triumphant return to Calgary for Elliott Brood, one that cannot be repeated too quickly.

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