Forgive me if ‘groovy’ is too outdated if a word to use to describe surf-rockers Dante Elephante, but frankly, it’s the most relevant and correct. The four-piece performed at Velvet Jones this past Sunday the 3rd, and their presence onstage is both steady and driving.
Lead singer and guitarist Ruben Zarate is equal parts substance and style, orchestrating the musical direction while also throwing in comical quips whenever there is a break in the music.
“I just need like a small man on the side of the stage to hand me guitars,” said Zarate, while switching in between songs to a 12-string that he had recently purchased.
Although the band only played a short 30-minute set, the length was a non-factor as they made efficient use of the half hour they were afforded. For the audience, it was a blitz of material with quick cuts that exit your ears just as soon as they enter – but in a good way, clearing your eardrums for more.
The Velvet Jones performance gave the band a chance to perform some of their newest tracks off Anglo-Saxon Summer, a second full-length record that dropped this past October 2015. Probably the highlight of the new songs was “Never Trust A Junkie,” a seemingly typical track that included some surprising light screaming.
Whatever way you put it, Dante Elephante and their fans seemed dead-set on starting the summer two months early with their cool vibes and spacey, psychedelic tone. The first song of the set, “Duly Noted” includes the line “I was looking for a lover,” establishing immediate connectivity with the spring feverish audience.
When the band finally announced their last song, “All The Time,” it came as a shock to see how fast their set had flown by, and it left this particular listener wanting more from Dante Elephante. Nevertheless, their high-energy set was a perfect contrast to the yet-to-come Mothers – another terrific band whose excellence lies alternatively in their expanded, slowed-down sonic atmosphere.
In summation, it was an excellent night of music, but it would have been nice to have heard more from Dante Elephante.