Elevator with Prom Night Suicide Pact and Off The International Radar at the El Mocambo, October 24. Tickets: $12. Attendance: 120. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
if you haven't been paying atten tion, I can see why you missed this show. Advertising snafus and a band that changes its name on any red-eyed whim meant that only diehards and tourists were in attendance. Given the response Elevator received, I'd wager the audience was more the former than the latter. When I strolled into the El Mocambo and spotted the overhead and old-school Bell & Howell movie projectors in the middle of the room, I quickly flashed on vivid, nightmarish educational memories. Fortunately, these were quelled when each was powered up to reveal a Pink Floyd-type visual show. Add the occasional laser and strobe light and all that was missing was the smoke machine.
Elevator are ex-Eric's Trip mainman Rick White and friends, who've previously been known as Elevator Through and Elevator to Hell. The first Canadian band signed to the hip Sub Pop label, this Moncton outfit have had the latitude to take liberties with their sound, something they've been doing to great effect since the early 90s.
Their music is framed by White's subtle vocal delivery against drummer Mark Gaudet 's explosive, otherworldly rhythmic assault. Songs may meander in a sonic wasteland of spacey guitar but are held in check by the excellent rhythm section, which manages to keep Elevator somewhere in our atmosphere.
Elevator's formula appears seriously flawed and by all logic should sound like shit, yet every song registered in spite of itself, conveying a beauty and emotion that almost seemed lost on the band. The ability to lose yourself in dreamy, trippy guitars and lyrics yet still bob your head is a skill White mastered years ago, and still works to move a crowd.
Opening act Off the International Radar , a three-piece instrumental band, play tripped-out soundscapes with a drummer so methodical as to appear more cyborg than human. These guys could induce a trance in the most ardent conservative.
Prom Night Suicide Pact picked up the pace with an energetic Pavement-cum-Weezer set of not-so-original originals that still managed to come off well.
By the time Elevator plucked their final note, all in attendance seemed satisfied that they'd witnessed the best thing since Sonic Youth.