Perhaps its from my days working as a merch girl that I have become sensitive to the ways in which bands will try and plug themselves. I noticed, in particular, that Elliot Brood had more than the usual assemblage of merchandise. Usually, a band will have a CD and a T shirt available, maybe a poster. This band had several shirts, screen printed posters, CDs, stickers, and pins! The whole enchilada, I guess. Is this how bands have to pay for the gas to get from place to place these days? But there was something also about the stage, with its folksy set up of red lights, triangle flags, that made me feel as though this band was offering not just music, but a package experience. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the matter either. Neutral, I suppose. But, this trend toward increasingly savvy self marketing and the presentation of an experience, rather than just music, is a trend noted from my side of the stage.
Anyway, good show came down at Sala Rossa with Elliot Brood, with openers the Deep Dark Woods. Elliot Brood (I'm always fond of bands that have names that have no connection to anyone in the band) put on a barn burner of a performance. CBC was in the house, taping away, so the band seemed to make an extra effort to increase enthusiasm. I didn't think it was necessary given their outstanding performance and high energy, body moving songs. The band sits in the realm of alt-country, I suppose, or alt-folk. Sort of Sadies--esque, Corb Lund-esque, but not quite so twangy as those two notable Canadian outfits. Ultimately, it means that Elliot Brood has its own distinct sound.
Openers, the Deep Dark Woods from Saskatoon seemed less inspired than the headliners. This band was far more C&W in its songs and mellower in general. Pleasant, but also a bit too overshadowed by Brood. Although, maybe that is the point of an opening band. It warms the audience without stealing them. I was rather more absorbed by the incredible amount of facial hair than I was by any particular song.