Elliott Brood at The Phoenix Concert Theatre

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Toronto ON

It’s said that back when they first started U2’s mastery of their craft was such they could turn a club into a stadium. Elliott Brood pulled off that neat trick in reverse, managing to change the cavernous Phoenix Concert Theatre into a jammy campus pub, replete with low hanging fog of weed smoke.

Exactly the accessories needed to frame the enthusiasm for the transplanted Toronto road warriors’ homecoming.

The sharp-dressed alt-country trio returned from a Western Canada tour in a triumphant mood, coming on at once both relaxed, sharp and more on the case than ever. This was demonstrated early on when Casey Laforet’s guitar rig went sideways and couldn’t be righted. A less experienced crew would have hesitated but after taking it around one more time, banjo picking Mark Sasso smoothly assumed lead duties and drummer Steve Pitkin dropped it down a couple of notches for a downright tasty semi-acoustic workout.

Once Laforet’s probs were ironed out, it was pedal to the neo-hoedown metal as the full house of Brood fanciers grooved out on everything thrown their way, even the still newish material from current album Days Into Years.

As the set progressed, it emerged that the Brood have got themselves a vehicle that’ll take them a long way, namely a very likeable countrified sock hop boogie. They’ve dubbed it ‘death country’ in the past but the many bodies jumping’n’stomping to such as Write It All Down For You and Miss You Now were clearly there mostly for the groove not the grit.

The 90 minute set came and went in waves of good feeling, going over so well it seemed shorter than that and Elliott Brood left the stage having nailed the old showbiz adage, always leave them wanting more. Overall, EB appear so ready for the big time if they were in the US, they’d be Kings Of Leon.

Lenny Stoute