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Winterruption 2017: Elliott Brood and Begonia at Louis’
January 20, 2017 @ 9:00 pm - January 21, 2017 @ 12:00 am
Co-Presented with Ness Creek
Formed in 2002, Elliott Brood united teenage pals Sasso and Laforet over their grown-up love for Neil Young, the Band and the Flying Burrito Brothers. Pitkin was an accidental miracle: he fell into the group after working sound at one of their earliest concerts, offering to record their first EP. Tin Type was a college radio hit and soon this compact trio was making some big noise. Across five subsequent albums, sharing vocals and trading instruments – each of the band members seems to play everything – Elliott Brood have become one of the premier acts in Canadian roots music.
These songs are loud and quiet but mostly loud, and always reaching toward something. First loves, lost loves, fuck-ups and young men’s just desserts. Laforet has called Work and Love a “lament for youth”, but it’s also a eulogy for the moments that came just after, on the doorstep of manhood. It’s music of remembered abandon, new burdens, and those nights, years ago, when the moonlit fields seemed to go on forever. It’s Elliott Brood at their sheerest, facing forward and backward at the same time.
On one end of the spectrum there are varieties of the Begonia which can be a dark, grievous, rough around the edges. And on the other end, a petite, elegant flower. In between, the plant attempts to harmonize its two poles, forming an array of varieties that each borrow from the delicate and the unseemly. It is in this same vein that Begonia (Alexa Dirks) finds herself, trying to find a balance.
Known for her voice in the Juno Award winning harmony driven group Chic Gamine, Dirks has a timbre that recalls the golden age of soul, proud and courageous. And yet it still returns to the ground, finding a quietness, a hesitant intimacy. Joined in studio by producers Matt Schellenberg (Royal Canoe) and Matt Peters (Royal Canoe, Close Talker), the collection of songs that forms Begonia’s Lady In Mind lets the extremes of Dirks’ past and present coalesce into a sound that is both battle hymn and breakbeat body mover, incorporating themes which are confident in and of themselves, and yet sometimes caught in the middle.