Thursday 25 September 2014

Floating Away With Elephant Stone

I absolutely love Canadian band Elephant Stone and their psychedelic oriental rock songs. Their music is both warm and uplifting. They just released a new album Three Poisons and are doing a club tour in support of it.

Elephant Stone at Paradiso Amsterdam, September 23 2014

The small hall of Paradiso isn't really full when the band is walking on stage. They want to start their set, but drummer Miles Dupire forgot his drum sticks. Singer Rishi Dhir is trying to kill some time, but since the small stage is all the way upstairs on the second level and the dressing rooms are in the basement, it takes a while. They decide to just walk off and walk on again, with the intro music playing once again. This sounds a bit as a tough start, but it actually sets the mood right for a relaxed performance.

The four piece is playing some songs of the new record that sound more full and have more depth. The tracks have more groove which adds body. This is obvious tonight when you hear the new and old songs side by side. I love the older songs too, but I like the direction the new record is moving in. The band members look relaxed on stage, putting down a convincing performance with their psychedelic music. Dhir's light voice combined with the fuzzy guitars and grooving drums make you float away into the clouds. The band is using loops and sequences in a smart way, adding more layers to music, mostly with sitar parts.

Of course Dhir brought his sitar with him and is playing it a few times. It sounds so much better live than the recorded loops, more natural and warm. Slowly the hall is filling up with more people, that are probably here for the second band of the night White Hills. Elephant Stone are winning everyone over tonight and in the end get a well deserved round of applause and cheers.

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White Hills
We decide to stay for White Hills, which is a totally different kind of ball game. Described by the New Yorkers themselves as fuzzed out motoric spacerock, they are building guitar drones on top of repeating drum grooves. Together with a fog machine, sparse lighting and freaky visuals it creates a dark atmosphere. Guitarist and singer Dave W., who looks almost like a copy of Alice Cooper, and bass player Ego Sensation are both dressed in black leather and their drummer is wearing a mask. Their music isn't really subtle with the loud and pounding drums and explosions of noise, but it does work. The repetition in the hypnotic songs put you in a trance and we let ourselves float away once more.

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