Elder at the Electric Ballroom in London

Elder on stage

Last year I was in Berlin watching some incredible stoner music with some friends at Desert Fest – including that of Elder and Slomosa. I fell in love with many bands that day but those two certainly stood out above the rest, so I knew that the opportunity to catch them both live on the same bill once again, with additional support from Steak, was not an evening to be missed.

Steak were perfectly matched in energy levels and style with the other bands on the bill that I already knew. Formed in 2010 in London, they have 3 studio albums under their belt which they got to share with a packed-out audience at the Electric Ballroom.

I particularly enjoyed the bass player having just three strings, which you don’t see every day. With grungy grooves, they were the perfect opener for this evening of face-melting riffs – which feels cliche to say, but apt for this evening. I know that I’ll be checking these guys out again next time they come back to their home city.

After this, Slomosa were up. I’d have to put them somewhere between Rage Against The Machine and Gojira if I had to compare their music to other artists, although that seems unfair given the unique style that they’ve carved out for themselves. The vocals were a little shouty, but that just added to the grungy punky energy of their compositions, and that level of flow and energy radiated into the audience.

Early in the set, bass problems arose with the amp but it was swiftly fixed by the tour manager as the band kept on grooving until it was fixed. Now that’s professionalism!

I also enjoyed the comradery between bands on this night, with Slomosa giving a shoutout to Steak, and also with lead singer Benjamin Berdous at one point wearing an Elder t-shirt citing great influence in their compositions admitting to “definitely not” stealing a riff from Elder‘s discography. Clearly everyone was very connected on this tour.

And speaking of Elder, it was finally time to see them perform their incredibly short set. Not short in length mind you, just in the number of songs chosen with just 7 being played tonight many of which hit the 10-minute and above mark. Prog by definition, maybe not – but they certainly know how to make longer fleshed-out compositions that take you on a musical journey. Opening with Catastasis, these guys don’t fuck around, not one bit. They just get right on with blasting out riffs into the venue, relentlessly.

On this tour too, they were touring with keyboards for the first time ever in the band’s history featuring Fabien De Menou which allowed them the opportunity to play numbers that they’ve not been able to in the past. That certainly felt special too when the organ patches cut through the mix giving the songs that extra bit of grit which added a lot to the sound of their performance.

The sound in the venue was outstanding for all bands on that night, but especially so for Elder with crystal clear definition between all the instruments, even with the synth at the right levels for my own tastes which is a rare sight. Tracks likeย Embers and Blind were a real treat to hear live.

Guitars screeched through Gemini lathered in delay and fuzz during what was to be the 6th, and yet penultimate song. Constantly hitting riff time on the head, one of the best stoner bands out there on the scene right now.

The drop of the opening riff in the final track Sanctuary hit the audience like a sack of heavy nuts and bolts. Pure filth emanating from the speakers in the venue, most pit angry and sweaty, you can be sure that fans ofย Elder went home with massive smiles on their faces.

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