Daily Archives: September 25th, 2010

Reviving those elephants

Elephant Revival. Credit: Anne Stavely

I recently had the good fortune to get a late invite to a live concert. A couple hours before and I had no clue I was even going out. Then the wife called and said a musical group known as “Elephant Revival” was going to be playing at a local small venue. I’d never heard of them. I found their web page and it said they are in the “transcendental folk”  genre.

As a death metal guy, this is a little outside my norm, but I do happen to appreciate and enjoy all sorts of music, so bear with me on this.

Being a fuddy-duddy I decidedly did not want to go. But I love the Mrs. so I do what I must.

We found ourselves in a small country inn. It was a beautiful locale situated right on the banks of a river. There were about 24 folding chairs on the floor about 15 feet from where the band would be playing. We grabbed a couple and began a long wait. Meanwhile the place was buzzing with activity as people grabbed drinks and food. The people were quite an eclectic group. But mostly there was a beatnik or “hippie” feel that permeated the room. I feel a little out of place.

Finally it was time, more than half an hour from when we had been told the performance would start. A band member materialized right out of the crowd, and then another. Soon five people had drifted from the crowd and onto the stage. They had been mingling the whole time. It definitely felt like the kind of scene where a lot of the people there knew each other.

From the band’s web site:

Young in age and conception, Elephant Revival carries a fresh sense of creativity and inspiration that is felt by people of every generation. The neo-acoustic quintet is on the cutting edge of an emerging new genre that is known as ‘Transcendental Folk. The band consists of Bonnie Paine (vocals, washboard, djembe, musical saw), Sage Cook (electric banjo/guitar, acoustic guitar, mandolin, viola, vocals), Dango Rose (double-bass, mandolin, banjo, vocals), Daniel Rodriguez (acoustic guitar, electric banjo/guitar vocals) and Bridget Law (fiddle and vocals).

All I can say is, “wow.” Seeing them perform live is one of the highlights of my life.

I immediately sensed that Bonnie, who sang the set’s opening song, was the superstar of the group. Her voice is incredible and she is absolutely mesmerizing. It is literally impossible to tear your eyes away from her. She was wearing a washboard that hung down from her neck and with hypnotic movements of her arms and hands coaxed the most amazing sounds from that musical instrument.

Each of the other four members were equally compelling and it was fun watching as they each took their turn being the featured performer on various songs. All of them can beautifully sing!

Their live performance was incredible. Feeling that music pound into your body was quite the experience. I’m assuming they performed all original material, as I had never heard a single song before, but they were the kinds of song that you instantly fall in love with and can easily remember later. We also picked up their CD (which I highly recommend) and know it by heart now.

Thanks to the YouTube you can see them in action. The videos are awesome but don’t even remotely do justice to what it is like to experience them live. Also check out their web site where you can listen to some of their songs for free. If you like what you hear go to their web site and BUY THE CD!


She plays the washboard in this one!