Grand Theft Bus / Elliott Brood The Casbah, Hamilton ON - October 7, 2005

It was the night of stylistic convergence as Elliott Brood, the alt-country meets indie band for jam fans, and Grand Theft Bus, the jam band for indie fans, split the evening at the Casbah. Unfortunately, many hipsters left directly after Elliott Brood's opening set, while most jam-minded folk arrived late and missed it entirely. Celebrating the recent release of their debut full-length, Ambassador, Elliott Brood ran through an hour of murder ballads wrapped in twanged-out death country. Armed with a suitcase in lieu of a bass drum, acoustic guitars, banjos and mandolins, the Kitchener trio crafted a concise tribute to the infallible muses of death, alcoholism and itinerancy that influence country music. With the showmanship of indie and the tenacity of rock in tow, Elliott Brood's blend of country was ferocious, adding yet more ammo to the arsenal of recent countrified successes permeating Canadian indie. It is truly unfortunate that Grand Theft Bus's independent rock has yet to be discovered by scenester enthusiasts, because their two-hour set at the Casbah should have introduced a new favourite band to those salivating over the slew of fantastic '80s revivalist, new wave rock acts. There were plenty of guitar-drenched indie, snappy pop and new wave synth looping during the set, as the New Brunswick quartet abandoned not only their older material but also their penchant for improvisation, alternating between tunes off 2005's fantastic Flies in the No Fly and enough new material to release another record. Album standouts "Room in Your Brain" and "Silence" were performed sans experimentation, leaving the blurry, extended solos at home while poppy, new wave-laced neophytes "I Guess Not I Guess" and "Halfway" followed suit. Thankfully, their stylistic change is still in its infancy, so there is time for the hipsters to tune in.