Elevant - Raw, Relentless & Riotous
Elevant are a three piece from Liverpool, consisting of lead guitarist and vocalist Michael Edward, bassist Hannah Lodge and drummer Tom Shand. Their Twitter page describes their music as 'post punk psychedelia', and they have just released their third album 'There Is A Tide'.
Take a listen and you figure that the songs will sound particularly good played in front of an audience. And what we got in their gig at the Sebright Arms in Bethnal Green is a storming blend of incredible verve and enthusiasm, and what maybe sounds a little unpolished on record becomes raw, and relentless, and riotous live.
Edward is a terrific front man - disarming and irreverent, driving the Elevant sound with powerful guitar work. Lodge and Shand are a potent rhythm section. There's a real tightness about the band's work, but on top of that there's a massive sense of three mates having a brilliant time playing together.
Edward strikes poses before grinning conspiratorially at the audience and charging around the small stage. Lodge becomes so discombobulated at one point that she falls over, much to the amusement of her bandmates. "It's the first time I've done that" she protests. "She's always fucking falling over" announces Edward gleefully to huge whoops and cheers.
There is an audience of maybe 30 or 40 people - but they are all completely hooked up with the energy and sheer enjoyment radiating from the band.
Edward has a word and joke for almost everyone. Your reviewer even got a namecheck - I’d tweeted the band the night before to tell them how much I enjoyed 'Dead Skin', the closing track on 'There Is A Tide'. "We had a tweet from a bloke called Dave who told us this is his favourite song" says Edward as 'Dead Skin' comes up on the set list. Handshakes all round - then he and Lodge are playing at dueling guitars again as Shand blasts away at his drums.
I've come away from gigs before feeling moved, or irritated, or choked up, or angry - but I don't think I've ever spent so long before laughing at the antics of the band. You wonder how great this would all be in front of a few hundred people.
The punk aspect of their music comes across very strongly - but there's lots of other stuff in there too. There's elements of goth (with song titles such as 'We Eat Our Young' and 'Home Is Dead') and prog even came to mind when I was listening to the album.
Elevant write long songs with extended instrumental breaks, but there is always something happening and you are never bored. 'Dead Skin' is a classic example - a doomy start, with ominous lyrics ("can you feel my heart beat - can you feel death closing in") culminating in a prolonged guitar thrashout. Great sense of humour too - recent single 'Again' is followed on the album by another track called 'Again'.
Elevant are a band with terrific ideas, and they are superb, engaging, enthusiastic performers. They seriously deserve a wider audience for their music. Get out there and see them live, people - you'll be glad you did!