Elliott Brood charm Waterloo crowd with unique stage presence

Take a banjo, acoustic guitars and a small dose of ukulele and you might expect a quiet, intimate night of folk music.

The sound that drew so many fans to pack the Starlight last Friday was an entirely different animal.

Elliott Brood, shortlisted for the Polaris Prize in 2009, make a lot of noise for a three-piece band. Band members Mark Sasso, Casey Laforet and Stephen Pitkin identify their music as “death country.”

With Sasso’s voice as dry as hot sand and acoustic instruments growling through overdrive, their sound has elements of punk, grunge, folk and pure rock ‘n’ roll.

The audience crushed into the front row dancing and drinking.

The band gave tin pans out for fans to play which were promptly battered beyond repair by beer bottles, wooden spoons or anything else the spectators could get their hands on.

Founding members Sasso and Laforet grew up in Windsor, Ontario, but started the band in 2002 after graduating high school and moving to Toronto.

For three years they performed as a duo, recording their first EP Tin Type in 2004.

In 2005, Stephen Pitkin joined the band.

Pitkin had co-produced Tin Type in Mark Sasso’s living room after two days of recording and became Elliott Brood’s drummer following their first LP Ambassador.

He was infamous for using a suitcase as a surrogate bass drum.

He eventually discarded the tradition after destroying one too many suitcases during their high energy performances.

Elliott Brood’s latest record Mountain Meadows was released in 2008.

Known for their impromptu recording techniques, they recorded in music halls across the country, as well as lodges, a kitchen and a garage.

Finally, in 2009 the record was nominated for the prestigious national Polaris Music Prize.

During their show last Friday, Sasso announced the recording of their third studio album, which is still being kept under wraps, with no title announced as of yet.

Their fans reacted to the new songs with the same unbridled energy as the familiar favourites, which the band gratefully acknowledged.

After nearly two hours of loud music, jumping feet and clapping hands, the audience left exhilarated, still sweating in the freezing street.

Empty bottles and cans were scattered around the stage, crushed following their gung ho use as percussive instruments.

The set was part of four shows the band have lined up in January, the last one taking place in Windsor on the 29th.

They will also be joining the Barenaked Ladies, Great Big Sea, Jenn Grant and Guster for dates in the U.S.

Elliott Brood then plan to take a month off the road, which has been speculated as time to be spent working on their new record.