Elliott BROOD: Live at Warehouse Concert Hall

Elliott BROOD

Remember the good old days, leading up to early spring in 2020 – you know, before the world came crashing down around us and altered the course of our normal lives for some considerable time?  We sure do, and one of our last memorable moments prior to the arrival of the pandemic happened to take place on Canadian soil and involved a concert featuring Elliott BROOD.  Yes – you know how highly we regard this trio, and never in our wildest dreams would we have guessed that four long years would pass before the opportunity arose to see them once more. 

Following the release of their latest album, “Town,” last November (the first of a two-part album concept – the second half, “Country,” shall follow this April), this popular trio announced some southern ON tour dates throughout the winter months. A glance at the schedule directed our attention to a performance taking place in St. Catharines – the closest geographic option for us – and while the winter weather could thwart plans at any time, we were undeterred, buying our tickets late last year, and keeping our fingers and thumbs crossed for easy travels come late February. 

Arriving at Warehouse Concert Hall – a great intimate venue on Geneva Street – we enjoyed a stellar opening set of music from Toronto troubadour Jerry Leger, before taking a short break and then welcoming the headliners to the stage. With a solid 90-minute set at their disposal, the trio of Casey Laforet (vocals/guitars/bass pedals), Mark Sasso (vocals/guitar/banjo/harmonica/ukulele), and Stephen Pitkin (vocals/percussion/keys) came out swinging with their signature intensity, refusing to relent (okay, the inclusion of “Need To Know” slowed the tempo down briefly) until the closing rings of “Write It All Down For You” faded to signal the night’s end.   

Elliott BROOD

With an extensive back catalogue of music behind them, Elliott BROOD craftily dug into each of their eight full-length studio albums – and whether intentional or not, kicking off the evening with “Out Walkin’” from their 2020 “Keeper” album demonstrated their connection to this part of the province. “I called to the house and the door swung open / Prettiest girl that I ever had seen / Up from behind her came her momma and her poppa / Her three older brothers didn’t like the looks of me.”  “This is a true story that happened down here in Ridgeway, outside of Fort Erie,” Casey announced. “Thank you for coming out on a school night everybody – for those who have school, or jobs, or children, or anything to do with tomorrow morning.” “Oh my god I can see them runnin’ / I can see them runnin’ over that hill / Oh my god I can hear ‘em comin’ / Cursin’ and a runnin’ and they’re lookin’ for the kill.”  

Recalling that last encounter with Elliott BROOD back in February 2020, they were road-testing a few tunes from “Keeper” – released that following September – and hearing a selection of tracks from this album in the here and now, suddenly they have a vintage, ‘classic BROOD’ ring to them. Of course, with lockdowns and cancellations, the band had little opportunity to tour this album, and would make up for lost time on the Warehouse Stage – with Casey adding “Stay Out” and Mark sharing “Bird Dog.” While Mark tuned his banjo, Casey took time to thank the crowd for being here on the band’s twentieth anniversary tour. “Twenty years of driving around in different vans, and some other people’s cars we’ve borrowed over the years, but twenty years is a long time,” he announced. “We’ve been married, the three of us, and in that time, we only ever wrote one chase song,” Mark added, and with a perfectly timed ‘siren wail’ from Stephen, stepped up to deliver “Bird Dog,” the capering tale of a hot pursuit across the Great Smoky Mountains. 

Elliott BROOD

The trio curated a great set list as they continued to dip deeper into their older material, going back almost twenty years to deliver “Wolfgang” from their debut album, before following with a perfectly executed one-two punch of “Northern Air” and “Oh Alberta.” Casey would also weave “Without Again” into the set, taking time to share a thread about this tune. “Guys, thanks for spending your money on live rock and roll music, we appreciate it,” he commenced. “There’s a lot of new shit on Netflix, has anyone seen the We Are The World documentary yet?” Silence, before Mark hollered, “I saw it.” “I know you saw it,” Casey retorted. “After this show, go watch that documentary. This song is dedicated to Bob Dylan’s day before he got to the We Are The World recording.” 

Mixing in fresh cuts from both “Town” and “Country,” the appreciative room reveled in tunes about Casey’s favorite place (“Rose City”), a future crowd-favorite BROOD anthem (“Dried Up”), and even a cracking cover of a Rodney Crowell hit set to appear on the upcoming album (“Bluebird Wine”).  Naturally, the inclusion of “Wind And Snow” was a guarantee, given the recent release as a single and teaser of “Country” album material – the band then doing a full 180 and returning to their roots for an encore performance of “The Bridge” and the ukulele-driven rocker “Write It All Down For You.”  Say what you wish, this band are seldom predictable with their set lists on any given night.  

Elliott BROOD

Personally, I was overjoyed to hear “Paper Money” from “Town” – a tune that Casey was eager to discuss. “This song is about the fact that you cannot buy a lot of things without a credit card anymore and that’s no fun at all,” he shared. “Even Canadian Tire switched to fucking credit cards. Don’t give me a points card, that’s bullshit. I want the old money with the Scotsman on it. I want to see that thick roll of Canadian Tire Money [referencing a retailer’s rewards program].” “Now there was a time / I’d save all my nickels and dimes for them hard times / In an old mason jar / But now you need a credit card / Some kind of debit card / Just to get drunk in an old shitty bar.” “And now it’s just a little card, I don’t know how much is on my Canadian Tire card,” Casey continued. “I have no idea what I can buy. Franks Chips, is that all I can get?”  

Skimming some of my musings about Elliott BROOD over the years, I find many statements I have made about their live performances, and all remain true to this very day: “Trust me when I state that this band has to be experienced live (February 2018).” … “Words alone are inadequate for describing their live show (November 2019).” … “This trio have a well-deserved reputation of being one of those bands you just have to see live (November 2017).”  Following this much needed live music fix at Warehouse Concert Hall, I’m prepared to make a bold statement once more – “I do not believe that there is a better live band out there on the alt-country circuit right now than Elliott BROOD.” Hey (hey hey), this is my soapbox, my hill, and I’ll fight to defend this statement – if you don’t believe me, go check out their touring schedule, find a show in your town, buy tickets, be there, and let the world of Elliott BROOD consume you… Thank me later – you’re welcome!  

Set List:  

  1. Out Walkin’ 
  2. Dig A Little Hole 
  3. Nothing Left 
  4. Bird Dog 
  5. Only At Home 
  6. Without Again 
  7. Need To Know 
  8. Paper Money 
  9. Bluebird Wine (Rodney Crowell cover) 
  10.  Rose City 
  11.  C’mon Let’s Go (Unreleased) 
  12.  Stars Align 
  13.  Wolfgang 
  14.  Northern Air 
  15.  Oh Alberta 
  16.  Stay Out 
  17.  Dark End Of The Road 
  18.  Out Of Time (The Rolling Stones cover) 
  19.  Dried Up 
  20.  Wind And Snow 


  1. The Bridge 
  2. Write It All Down For You 

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

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