Concert Review: Elliott Brood / The Pack AD / Leah Lou & The 2 Left Shoes – Beachland Tavern – Cleveland, OH – 03/09/2012

I completely forgot that Toronto’s Elliott Brood was coming to town last week and if it wasn’t for a a good friend of mine, I would have surely missed out on an awesome show.  Luckily for me, my pal Kyle was quick to remind me last Friday, hours before the show, that Elliott Brood was playing the Beachland Tavern.  (Thanks Kyle, you are always looking out for me…)

It was a last minute decision to hit up the show, and I can not tell how how glad that I was able to.  The Ontario country / rock act was just about to finish up a stretch of their tour last week in support of their new release Days Into Years, and made sure that Cleveland was one of their destinations.  Touring with their pals The Pack AD, the band turned what could have been a boring Friday evening into something much more entertaining.

Locals Leah Lou & The 2 Left Shoes opened the night with their cute yet harsh indie pop sounds.  At times, I thought that Ms. Leah Lou was going to smash her acoustic guitar into the ground as it would not tune right for her causing the duo to skip over more than one song from their set.  Instead, she hid away her frustrations and used the free time to get to know the crowd as well as introduce her family to them.  When she was able to play some of her songs, the crowd was just eating it up.  I did notice while Leah Lou played her set that Casey Laforet from Elliott Brood was checking her out and was loving what he heard.  How couldn’t he though?  I love this local act.  Lea Lou reminds me of Regina Spektor mixed with Joanna Newsome, but far sassier.  If you have not seen this local act live yet, you really should.

Up next was Vancouver’s The Pack AD and I will admit, I did not know what to expect from this female duo at all.  The young looking lead signer had a punk rock look to her while the drummer appeared to have been well versed in the days of rock n roll.  I was expecting more of a Runaways / Joan Jett sound but was blown away by what I heard.  Their sound was more or less the White Stripes mixed up with some Black Keys with a span of singing stiles that sometimes reminded me of Justin Hawkins (not the high pitched crap) making for some great tunes.  Guitar, drums, and singing was all these ladies delivered and it was awesome.  I loved “Haunt You” as well as when Becky Black just tore up her guitar during “Lights” and also during “Deer” (at least that is what I think the song title was).  A couple gents from Fort Worth, Indiana, actually traveled 3 hours to see these ladies rock out.  At first I questioned why they would do such a thing, but by the set’s end, I fully understood.  I’m shocked that The Pack AD has not already grabbed some major attention already.  I will be checking these girls out more in the near future.

I’ve missed Elliot Brood in the past when they played Cleveland, so I made sure I found a close standing spot to watch the band.  I actually wound up leaning against the small wall by the stage.  As the band played, I could not help but stare at Laforet’s feet as he played what looked like a drum machine hooked up to some organ pedals while playing guitar.  It was a very makeshift instrument, but it was perfect.  He barely even glanced at his feet while playing songs.  It was kind of impressive.

Throughout their set, Marc Sasso joked with the crowd.  At one time he even paid tribute to the SS&W Boardwalk Bar just down on Waterloo and mentioned how he liked to grab drinks there before shows in the past.  He then went on to inform everyone that is where his parents met and eventually conceived him.  Laforet added that he was conceived on the pool table in the corner pocket.  All jokes aside, the band did let the crowd know that they appreciated everyone for coming out.

The band played a lot of tracks off their recent release Days Into Years including “Lindsey” and “If I Get Old”, but was also quick to jam out to some older tunes like “Oh, Alberta” and  my favorite,”Write It All Down For You” (can I tell you all how much better that song sounds when they play it to you in a tavern?).  It was the highlight of my evening.  I would have liked to have seen Stephen Pitkin beat on a suitcase over a drum set like I heard he used to years ago, but I guess you can’t have everything.  Speaking of percussion, Pitkin actually passed out pie tins and wooden spoons towards the end of the set so that the crowd could help Elliott Brood play songs.

Elliot Brood finished up their set and exited the stage.  They had more important things to do, like hang out with the crowd.  It was a great show to start off my weekend and I am sure that all who were there would agree on that.

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