And oh, how the music speaks when it’s being played by Elephant Revival! At their most recent Ogden appearance, I was swept up and blown away by the magnificence of the band’s performance. From the opening song of the evening (“Will Carry On”), I was cast into a sea of tranquility. “I wanna be like a bird/Or just a feather” warbled Bonnie Paine (vocals, washboard, djembe, musical-saw, stomp-box) --and I was light, floating with the band. And, boy, is it a joy to be in their presence. The room was filled with Elephant Revival’s unique brand of Colorado joy and warmth. And, the washboard percussion! How it makes one want to shuffle and slide around to its beat.
The set continued and focus shifted to each band member as they took turns playing one of the group’s songs. Their sound is rich and diverse. Maybe this is because all five members contribute fully; everyone has a unique and meaningful voice to add:
Daniel Rodriguez (vocals, guitar, banjo, bass) singing “Season Song” led me to pastures of nostalgia, loss, and hope with the earnestness of the voice of someone who knows “all the love in a budding rose/how flowers come/and flowers go.”
Bridget Law (fiddle, vocals, octave violin) conjured many beautiful, swelling, and awe-inspiring melodies, which added to the tight dynamic intensity and harmonic depths of the songs. “Ancient Sea,” an instrumental Celtic-like fiddle tune, showcased the incredible musical talent of the whole group.
Dango Rose (upright bass, vocals, mandolin, claw-hammer banjo) held it down tight, and made me bump and thump to every movement in every song.
And Charlie Rose (banjo, pedal steel, guitar, horns, cello, double bass), newest to the group, got the audience hooting and hollering after each solo with his shoe-gaze banjo and atmospheric pedal steel. What a low-down, hoedown frenzy we all reached!
Perhaps this is where the magic sits with this group-- there seems to be an awareness, a want, to tie us all together, to enjoy the space of the room and the music together, to share the feeling. The themes of their lyrics speak to an ideal, a feeling of oneness: “once I was a big drop of water/I spread out and became part of many living in the land.” That’s enough to make anyone enjoy the over-crowded-sardine room at the Ogden and buzz for days thereafter.
With Elephant Revival, it’s not just about the music, it’s about the show, and oh my, what a show! They had people hanging from the rafters! With grace and strength, The Fractal Tribe dancers spun high above the audience, while everyone chanted along, “Oh oh oh, oh the grace of a woman!”
What a night, what a night! Wish I could have made it to both of their shows that weekend, but I won't fret too long! Elephant Revival just announced they’re headlining Red Rocks in May. Can’t miss this one!
So yes, everyone, readers, listeners, concert-goers-- be sure to support this wonderful group. Help them continue what they do. Go to this website and look at their things. They have plenty of merchandise and music for sale. Support how you can. Their CDs are great, t-shirts too. Thank you.
Watch a live-performance Elephant Revival video from their “Gondola Sessions” series here:
All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.
DJ_WhetWilly is a music listener and music player. Good music is like good soup, it should be shared and served warm.