first_imgWith warmly lit lamps all across the stage, it certainly felt like home as Elephant Revival hit the stage at the Boulder Theater for their now-annual, post-Thanksgiving celebration. Reminiscent of the Talking Heads’ 1984 documentary Stop Making Sense, the lamps reminded all in attendance of the Nederland, Colorado band’s homey roots and sense of place. Truly, few other Colorado bands manage to evoke the feelings and bliss of the Rocky Mountains quite so effortlessly. Following a recent goodbye announcement from fiddle player Bridget Law, many fans questioned whether she would play one final hometown show. What resulted was a delightful collaboration between Bridget Law, and two other spectacular fiddlers – seeming candidates for her replacement. The band was also joined by new percussionist Darren Garvey, and guests including cello player Phil Norman, as well as mandolinist Mimi Naja of the Portland, Oregon-based band Fruition.Opening the night off with “Spinning” from their 2013 album These Changing Skies, the band hit the ground running, showing off a new, slightly heavier and even more rhythmic sound. (And guitarist Daniel Rodriguez showing off a sporty new haircut, joyously noted by one fan in attendance.) The band followed up with another song from the 2013 album, “The Pasture.” The foot-stomping bluegrass-laced tune got the crowd moving and was met with raucous applause and cheer. The addition of Garvey’s colorful rhythms adds a crisp new percussive layer to the band, perfectly complementing Bonnie’s washboard playing.Taking things down a bit following “The Pasture,” siren extraordinaire Bonnie Paine whistled the band through “Sea Monster,” off of their latest release, Petals, before performing a dark, poignant, almost mystical acapella number. Multi-instrumentalist Charlie Rose went to the pedal steel on the next tune, before Bridget Law took a quick, deserved moment to thank the crowd for their many years of devotion and love. The two guest fiddle players took the stage along with Phil Norman on cello, and the band broke into the heavy, tribal beat of “Flight Patterns Weather,” their recent self-proclaimed ode to the “Butterfly Effect.” The song is reminiscent of their old collaboration with Emancipator (titled “Elephant Survival”), but brings a handful of new musical ideas and themes to the table. The energy in the theater and onstage remained high as the group welcomed out aerialist Ariana Papousek for “When I Fall,” her daring acrobatics mimicking the lyrics of the thick, bass-driven new song. The first set ended with an absolutely fiery version of Pink Floyd’s “Have A Cigar,” a relatively recent cover that the band has been working out in recent shows. The song featured Charlie on electric guitar, filling out the dynamic range and providing a remarkably true-to-original sound.The second half of the evening began with Bridget Law off the stage, in lieu of a solo sit-in from one of the potential new fiddler players for “Drop.” An impossibly tight version of the Elephant classic “Single Beds Are Made for One” soon followed, with Garvey once again adding complexity to an old favorite, steadily supported by bassist Dango Rose. Then the guests slowly spilled back onto the stage, with Mimi Naja of Fruition eventually joining for “Grace of A Woman,” along with a friend and a ridiculously cute little puppy…yes…puppies! Yet another time-tested tune, “Sing to the Mountain” followed, the audience merrily cheering and howling along in true Elephant form. Bridget returned to the stage along with Allen Eckert and Grace Rowland Park from opening, Austin, Texas act The Deer to join the band for “Rogue River.” Breaking down into a raucous percussive jam, the group quickly teased Ritchie Haven’s iconic song “Freedom,” before dipping back into “Rogue River.” With the crowd at their fingertips, the band whittled itself down to a slightly more original form, and dropped into the beautiful “Birds and Stars” and “Remembering A Beginning” pairing off of These Changing Skies. “Remembering A Beginning” featured a haunting cello intro from Norman. Flawlessly transitioning between older and newer material despite the material’s obvious differences in sound, they played another pairing, “Peace Tonight” and “Petals” off of their most recent release. They closed out the set with “Home in Your Heart,” a wonderfully fitting ending to the evening; it’s echoing refrain, “light as a feather when you’re homeward bound” sent the fans on their way in absolute awe and reverence.The encore began with a stunningly beautiful all-female acapella number, featuring Bonnie Paine, Bridget Law, Mimi Naja, and the many other female guests from throughout the evening. The rest of the band and other guest musicians joined for “Furthest Shore,” a whimsical, yet melancholy pirate song off of Petals. Soon thereafter, the night ended with a bow, and for yet another year at the Boulder Theater, Elephant Revival played a show for the ages, pleasing fans old and new with their constantly progressing sound. Unmistakably unique, their transcendent, magical music holds a timeless place in the Colorado music scene as the band continues to grow and evolve.Elephant Revival plays the Sheridan Opera House in Telluride, Colorado on December 29th and 30th before returning to the Stargazer’s Theatre in Colorado Springs, Colorado for New Year’s Eve. Load remaining imageslast_img