If you wanted to escape from the dreary late winter slush in New York City and get transported to a different time and place, then this was the night for you at Baby’s All Right. Sixties-era psychedlia was front and center as Montreal based Elephant Stone reached into lead singer Rishi Dhir’s Indian roots and turned indie rock into something they like to call “Hindi-rock.”
And it’s not just the sitar that puts you in that mood, but also the sense of spirituality brought through the bands sounds which evokes everything from the later-era Beatles to the nineties purveyors of the layered psychedelic sounds, the Stone Roses.
The band let it all out for the last show of their tour. When Dhir would sit down and break out the sitar, making sure not to knock over the Negra Modelo lying next to it, the mood didn’t slow down at all. In fact, you could feel the audience anticipating more, almost hoping he could lift the instrument up and strut back and forth across the stage.
That night, while playing fan favorites like ‘Heavy Moon’ Dhir’s vocals evoke a sense of desperation, as drummer Miles Dupire’s pulsing beats built and built, forcing the audience to look deep inside their insecurities and push past them.
It was a night that made me thankful for the influence Indian culture has had on rock and roll and for bands like Elephant Stone that can take those roots and make them something new and fresh.
Before Elephant Stone took the stage, Brooklyn based Las Rosas were already tapping into the past and rocking the crowd during their set. Psychedlic guitars and heavy bass lines took me back to bands like the Sonics and the Thirteenth Floor Elevators. There’s a lo-fi jangly quality to their sound. And they don’t let something like the tiny stage at Baby’s All Right keep them from moving around.
Almost as if in stark contrast to each other, lead singer and guitarist Jose Boyer repeatedly bent over while bassist Jose Aybar keeps his instrument pointed up high. The two made sure never to cover up drummer Christopher Lauderdale, who wails away, occasionally using maracas to wrap on the cymbals. After hearing these three work their retro-infused sounds you’ll feel happy. That’s for damn sure.
And kicking off the night was another local Brooklyn band, Dinowalrus. And guess what you could hear? More psychedelic infused garage rock. It was so dark when they took the stage that guitarist and lead singer Pete Feigenbaum implored the venue to bring the lights up a bit. And with that the band was off and rocking. Bassist Meghan Omega had a thumping beat going while synth player Dan Peskin helped bring a new wave sound that mixed elements of 80s stalwarts like the Psychedlic Furs into their sounds. The band combines drone, distortion and rhythm to make you wonder if they’re coming up with a new sound of their own, perhaps one undiscovered. After all, with a name like Dinowalrus, you know that you’re going to get genres mashed up to create something new, just like the imaginary animal they go by.
Elephant Stone Set List:
Child of Nature
Where I’m Going
Sally Go Round the Sun
Don’t You Know
Article: Omar Kasrawi