Elephants Of Scotland And Nox Periculum At The Monkey House August 29, 2012

Words by Tim Lewis.

When Ornan first told me he was starting a progressive rock band, I was excited. He’s a great drummer and has played with a slew of great bands. This had serious potential. I saw a couple of shows with them as a 3-piece, keys, guitar and drums, in the last year, or so. They were really cool. The music was challenging and very intense. I loved both shows. I had not heard from them for a while, then saw this show scheduled.

It was the day of the show that I looked around online and saw some video of them as a 4-piece. Their guitar player left and perennial opening act, Lefty (without the Leftouts) had entered to take his place on guitar. They added Dan MacDonald on bass to the Ornan McLean, Adam Rabin core. OK, this was going to be different.

It was a beautiful evening as I walked to the club. I got in, settled a bit, and pretty soon it was showtime. Elephants of Scotland opened with a pretty intense piece of music that I did not recognize. It meandered through a few moods before settling into a killer ending. The band were playing great. They sounded different but still really really good. It became obvious quickly that Dan and Ornan were going to be a fierce rhythm section. Both played with an intensity that oozed passion. MacDonald had Squiresque runs up and down the fret and McLean filled the songs wonderfully while driving them ever onward. The addition of a bass player let Rabin fill out the sound on keys, while playing the usual lead parts. John M Whyte (Lefty) stepped into the very large shoes, and played beautifully. His virtuosic playing was nicely augmented by his sense of where to put the notes. Oh yes, this was fun!

They followed with a double shot of songs I recognized. Both The Other Room and Home Away From Home were rearranged a bit, but very familiar. I enjoyed the new versions just as much as the old ones, even though they were fairly different. They followed with another that I did not recognize, though like the first song, it was an older one with a new arrangement. It was pretty cool, but progressive rock is pretty demanding to listen to, and takes a few experiences to grasp. Consider this my learning period. I’ll have a better grasp, once I get to know them better. About half way into the song Rich Haskell showed up. I know he’s a prog fan, so I’ve been working on him to check out the Elephants. It was cool that he did. He was as impressed as I was.

At one point in the set they pulled out the only cover. They did a killer version of Subdivisions. Dan sang it and Adam added the deep title voice. The rest of the set was re-worked versions of the old songs and a new song called Amber Waves. Everything was completely overwhelming, magnificently intense, and lots of fun. The last song of the night had a nice flow to it, and an over the top killer ending. What a great rock band!

While they tore down, I hung out with Rich. We chatted about how good Elephants were. After a bit Nox Periculum took the stage. They are a 3-piece with guitar, bass, and drums. They had their moments, but after such an intense show, it was hard to get into them. The guitar player had some nice leads, and the bass player sounded pretty sweet at times, but something about the band didn’t quite gel. All three played well, but I was still looking for magic, and it wasn’t quite there. Still, I truly admire them for getting up and playing. Who knows, maybe I would have been more receptive, if I had not just seen what I saw. I stayed for a few songs, then started the long walk home. It was nice that it was a Wednesday, so I had the next day off. All I had on the schedule was coming back to the Monkey House to see Vedora, but that’s for the next post.

This post was originally published by Tim Lewis at his personal blog, https://timstriangletribune.wordpress.com.