We did it kiddos! Well, I did… well, it’s just a nice round number not well connected to the original goal BUT STILL!!! 100 shows this year! Number 52 (the original goal) was the start of the Bakers Dozen this summer. A worthy followup goal could be 104 (easy) or 156 (very tough). I know 104 will be doable within 9 days of this show so that’s easy. Stay tuned for more. Only six more weeks in the year from post date!
Anyhoo! Electric Love Machine was set to play in Baltimore and as I’ve said (and again, and once again) I really want to see them in their hood with their fans. This event was oddly billed as Dead Zeppelin Featuring Steal Your Peach and Electic Love Machine and served as a fundraiser for the Foundation Fighting Blindness. I misread the event at least three times and had it on my calendar as Dread Zeppelin who you may remember as the reggae Zeppelin cover band featuring an Elvis impersonator. I was wrong but still sure that ELM was playing so it was worth the drive down.
Steal Your Peach was on when I arrived with Cait and Will. The venue has a bar in front and a small main stage in the back. The high ceiling made room for fans on the balcony but the space was rather boxy. It felt as though it could serve well as a cage fight ring in some Mad Max outtake. Remember the Nine Inch Nails video for Wish? Yeah, like that. Steal Your Peach flowed smoothly between Dead and Allman tracks including some surprise transitions. They were rather tight and featured two drummers, two guitars, a bassist, and great keys player. The keys were the highlight for me and two drummers seemed unnecessary at least in the set I heard.
It was quickly becoming apparent that there would be little room to dance. I was also warned to avoid a certain intoxicated woman who was expected to attend. This show was becoming a lot of work. There seemed to be room on the sides of the stage but I suspected, and rightly so, that the sound would suffer there. After a few songs, it was clear that was the best destination to avoid being spilled on by drink-toting fans moving through the tight club.
Cait and I moved to the stage right wing directly behind the keys and waited for ELM. Will was off visiting friends and probably polishing the band’s guitars. He has been a huge champion for the band promoting them on social media, in town, and to anyone who will listen. Later that night he would be with them while Cait and I tried to stay warm. He emerged from the club with a CD and sticker for me. “He gets so friendly after a few drinks,” Cait says as a warning/ explanation. We were sure to start walking in hopes he’d recognize we were his ride.
The band came on and dove into the Zeppelin portion of the evening. A wave of concern came over me. Did I drive down to finally see them with their fans only to listen to Zeppelin? I’m all for Tolkien and Norse mythology songs but I was excited to hear ELM play. My concerns were alleviated quickly as they began to take the songs into deep jams, ambient interludes, and beat-heavy grooves that proved an escape and an extension of the original material. They managed to work in some of their own tracks as well including some that will be on their upcoming album.
Throughout the set, I was pulled into comparisons of Umphrey’s McGee, The Disco Biscuits, and even Steely Dan. The latter has come up each time I see ELM and the other two are close connections as well. I have probably added Dopapod in there somewhere at one point too. The persistent element is that post-Moroder disco vibe. Acoustic beat-heavy tracks with electronic accents. Imagine that plus Steely Dan’s jazz/ fusion chord changes and you’ve got ELM. I hate to tear down their status as a cohesive brand but for sake of introduction to new fans, I feel this is a safe description. Plus, that’s damn fine company to be in.