Elder with Seer and Hashteroid at the Astoria, 11/03/17
As Elder took the stage at Vancouver’s Astoria venue on an unusually chilly Friday night (Nov. 3), the energy in the room was palpable. The how, only their third ever in Canada, marked the end of their North American tour and the band was selling what little merch they had left. Fans who could fit into a size small walked away with a big smile, while others vowed to order them online. Elder’s evolving sound make them a band for every heavy rock lover – from sludgy doom to progressive heavy rock to psychedelic metal, Elder’s got it all.
In an interview with Vancouver Weekly, Nick DiSalvo, the band’s frontman and guitarist, attributed their stylistic evolution to “a desire to play new music, getting older, becoming more open minded, and getting exposed to other kinds of music.”
The band had a variety of local opening bands lined up with Seer, Bushwhacker and Hashteroid on the bill. “We ask our booking agent to book us with local bands at every show we play. It’s more fun to play with the local flavour and they bring people out,” said DiSalvo. “All shows should have a local band.”
Due to a family emergency, Bushwhacker had to cancel last minute but Seer and Hashteroid stepped up to put on a show that even Bushwhacker fans couldn’t complain about.
Seer started the night with heavy atmospheric sludge, the smoke machines only adding to the eeriness of Bronton Lee Norton’s vocals. The band was joined by Dave Carr of Neck of the Woods filling in on the guitar, who blended in effortlessly to give us a 45-minute sermon in riff worship. While their slow, down-tuned, sludgy sound resonated with the crowd, the band’s thrashier moments were met with much head banging from the younger fans. Instrumentally, the band sounds like a mashup between Monolord and 1984 Metallica.
They were followed by Hashteroid, a punkier metal band that splashes into doom metal in moments too few and far between. Their best received song came in the middle of their set when they broke down into a slow, heavy track reminiscent of the mighty Electric Wizard. But with raw, punchy sounds and riffs, vocals and drums that pummel into your ears, the trio exhibit a range of music that could benefit from the bassist, Mike Grossnickle, taking a more prominent role.
Elder started the night with “Sanctuary”, the opening track of their new album, Reflections of a Floating World, that served well to get the crowd’s energy up with its up-tempo progressive intro. The track serves as the perfect gateway from the band’s monumental album, Lore.
“After Lore, we had a creative spurt,” says DiSalvo.
The crowd lulled into a slow swaying rhythm as the band took us back in time with their next two songs, “Compendium” and “Dead Roots Stirring”, from their older, doomier albums. Veering back into Reflections of a Floating World, “Blind” was up next, the only song that was announced to a cheering crowd that had, at this point, convulsed into moshing.
After, we were treated to the melodic, gentle intro to “Spirit at Aphelion,” undoubtedly the jewel of Lore. The crowd barely had a chance to catch their breath after the hammering outro when the psychedelic fade-in to the “Falling Veil” began. They gave their everything for what they thought was the last song of the night. But the fans hadn’t had enough and neither had Elder. After receiving the nod from the organizer, they came back with “Gemini” to a roaring, thunderous devil-horn wielding crowd.
At the end, the crowd trudged out of Astoria to a full moon shining down on them, basking in the glory of the music of Elder.