Though Elder hasn’t really been a Boston-based band for a while now, with singer/guitarist Nick DiSalvo back living in Germany and the rest of the band is scattered around the southeast coastline, the sold out room certainly had a hometown celebration vibe to it. Fresh off what might be their best and certainly most wide-ranging record of their career, the band has added Michael Risberg as a fourth member, allowing the spacious and expansive compositions of their studio recordings to be more easily replicated on stage. That was immediately apparent on “Compendium,” where Risberg kept the repeating guitar figure going while DiSalvo launched impressive solos over the top of it. The keyboard parts in “Blind” are also a really crucial element of that song and the song would be a different beast without them.
Elder creates small universes within their songs, mini-epics that are pushed and pulled via the unstoppable rhythm section of Jack Donovan and Matt Couto, and it’s a bit bewildering how they manage to not have bloody blisters covering their hands after finishing the set. “Blind” was a thrilling cap to the set, punishing riffs raining down everywhere amid the heavy swagger that propels the song. If there’s one minor drawback to seeing the band play now (and this is really the definition of a first world problem), it’s that there is no way they can play all the songs you’d want to hear. Every band should have such problems.
Elder’s touring partner on this string of dates is King Buffalo, and given the name (and don’t confuse them with King Parrot or King Eider) I was expecting some super heavy sludge rock, lumbering like a total bad ass bison across the prairies. Nope, just a really heady mix of psych rock, served up at just the right temperature. Imagine someone who listened to equal parts early 70s Pink Floyd and Colour Haze and you’re in the right zip code; the killer slide work in “Kerosene” was a shimmering haze over the insistent riffs .
Summoner took the stage prior to King Buffalo, and it was the Boston band’s last show of the year. I’d seen them play a fantastic set earlier this year at Psycho Las Vegas and there is still plenty of zip on their fast ball. As with Elder, they also released a terrific record this year but curiously only played a couple of tracks from it. As with the other bands, calling them a metal band is way too reductive, and there’s equal parts prog and psych woven into their sound. Birnam Wood drew opening duties, and their heavy sound had flecks of well-known touchstones of the metal world; a bit of Electric Wizard here, some High On Fire there, Windhand swirling about. All in all a solid bill and something for everyone.
Photos of all bands here:
Created with flickr slideshow.
Primarily based in Boston, Massachusetts, Tim Bugbee is no stranger to traveling throughout the country or overseas to capture the best live music photos.