Elliott Brood and Ana Egge, presented by Sings Like Hell. At
the Lobero Theatre, Saturday, January 20.
Reviewed by Sarah Hammill
Combining traditionally male and female elements, Saturday
night’s Sings Like Hell lineup was the perfect equivalent to any
good date movie, though mostly for the 29-and-under demographic.
The show co-billed longtime Hell favorite Ana Egge — a perfect fit
for the ladies in the house with her smoky vocals and pared-down
presentation — with Elliott Brood, a self-professed “death country”
trio perfectly suited to a woodchip-floored, smoky bar, that rocked
the Lobero nonetheless.
Egge kicked off the evening, strolling barefoot onto the stage
to perform a couple of beautifully rendered solo songs before her
bandmates joined in on drums and bass. Dressed all in black, she
was a portrait of understated elegance. Egge rarely strayed from
her stance at the microphone, wisely preferring to wow the crowd
not with stage theatrics, but with her astounding vocals on songs
like “Apple Tree,” “Straight to My Head,” and “Motorcycle.”
After a moving encore presentation of Elvis Presley’s “In the
Ghetto,” Egge departed, replaced by Canadian rockers Elliott Brood.
The partnership between Brood and Hell is admittedly a strange one:
the boys recorded their recent album, Ambassador, in an old
slaughterhouse, while the Hell crowd tends toward the mellow and
middle-aged. But that didn’t stop the band from giving it their
all, singing hard-hitting song after song of loss and grief. And
while lead vocalist Mark Sasso occasionally strayed too far into
his death-and-doom persona, pushing his raspy vocals so hard they
ceased to be believable, songs like “The Bridge” and “President 35”
more than redeemed the trio.
Doom and gloom aside, the most troubling aspect of the show was
the incomprehensibly rude behavior of the audience. One song into
the Brood set, people began filtering out of their seats, and the
departures held steady throughout the entire show. By the closing
song, nearly half the crowd had dispersed. Call it the exiters’
loss. After all, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Bob Dylan were booed off the
stage in their early careers, too. And with Brood’s growing
reputation and killer sound, the band will hopefully return to
Santa Barbara, next time for a more deserving crowd.