Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Live Shows: Elephant Stone and Evolfo, The Rockwell, Somerville, MA 3/24/24

Sometimes there are just bands you think you'll never get to see live. I felt that way about Elephant Stone. Some Canadian bands never quite make it down to the States, and when they do, a lot skip by Boston and head straight to New York. Once Elephant Stone announced a tour that was actually hitting Boston, and playing the underutilized Rockwell, I knew I had to check it out.

Elephant Stone started out their set with singer Rishi Dhir taking the stage solo and playing a song on the sitar. Despite all the shows I've been to over the decades I've been regularly going to shows, I don't think I've ever actually seen someone play the sitar live. It was completely mesmerizing. Dhir's playing started off as almost calming, but it grew in intensity and was nearly hypnotizing by the end of the song. Once the opening song was finished, the rest of Elephant Stone joined him on stage and Dhir switched over to the guitar.

Live, Elephant Stone's music is more akin to 60's pop that pure psychedelia. That's always been one of my favorite musical periods, so it worked quite well for me. It wasn't pure 60's pop, though, as it was still heavily psychedelic, and combined a lot of traditional Indian music (especially when the sitar was reintroduced). Their set on Sunday night reminded me even more of the weirder side of The Monkees, just much more earnest. There's also something about the black box theater that is The Rockwell that makes every performance feel even more intimate, and despite of how professional and well done the evening was, it still felt like more of an informal gathering of friends.

Brooklyn's Evolfo played before Elephant Stone and just added to the psychedelic sound of the evening. They brought in some absolute diehard fans, to the point that I assumed they were local at first. They sounded a bit like a harder edged jam band, and had some killer Dana Colley style saxophone to add to their music. When vocalist Matt Gibbs was singing, Evolfo had a lighter, more soul based sound. During instrumental parts they sounded more like a garage rock band freak out. The dichotomy of their sound kept things interesting and the audience glued throughout their set.

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