Elliott Brood and One Hundred Dollars brought a rowdiness that recalled the Festival Express to the Commodore Ballroom on Nov. 9.
By Lliam Easterbrook
[senior features writer]
It seemed like an old steam engine rolled into town last Wednesday night as One Hundred Dollars opened with a rollicking set before Elliott Brood took the audience through their death-country at the Commodore Ballroom.
Both bands represent an alternative flavour of Toronto, harnessing country rhythms and folk flair, even if it’s under a dark and rolling sky.
One Hundred Dollars singer Simone Schmidt looked and sounded like a young Janis Joplin on stage, her flowing blonde locks often covering her face as she sang.
Drawing from their limited but consistent catalogue of smooth country numbers, One Hundred Dollars revealed how well they could play, showcasing a pepper-crack of rock and roll. You could tell that Schmidt can let her voice go like Joplin could, but unfortunately, it never happened.
Elliott Brood came on stage with singer/guitarist/banjoist Mark Sasso commenting on the historic Commodore Ballroom floor.
He said they wanted to make it shake. And they did just that, pushing though tracks from 2008’s Mountain Meadows (which was shortlisted in 2009 for the Polaris Music Prize), and more recently their brand new LP, Days Into Years, like the rowdy Festival Express across the barren planes.
It wasn’t all dark country though as the crowd walloped and hooted and jigged to up-tempo numbers such as “Fingers and Tongues” and “Garden River.”
By shows end, half the crowd was drunk as skunks — likely off whiskey and brew — or maybe that was just me and my pal.
At one point, there were two men smoking stogies in the bathroom — or maybe that was just me and my pal. At any rate, the rafters were blanketed in perpetual yellow haze of toke smoke for almost the whole show, and Elliott Brood seemed to enjoy every minute of it.
Sasso commented frequently, in his deep gravelly hombre vocal, that Vancouver was the best show of the tour.