The Maple Leaf Bar
Elastic Karma Kings
June 16, 2004
The Elastic Karma Kings have it together. They've been together less than a year, and they already have a demo, t-shirts and a mini-tour scheduled for Chicago. The local Roots/Groove band was drummer Kevin O'Day, bassist Dave Anderson, pedal steel guitarist Dave Easley, pianist Tom Worrell, and percussionist Andy Ambrose.
O'Day said before their performance at The Maple Leaf Bar Wednesday night that the ELK was the most organized band he's been in. He's been in a lot.
I don't think their hard work will be for naught. They've got just enough raw talent, catchy songs and lengthy solos to make a run at the mainstream jam band circuit. The band improvised, but they also had some set songs.
Ambrose sang lead on "Fat Shrimp," a rare Funky fast song. Easley added to the silliness of the song by producing a bugle sound on his pedal steel guitar. Up next was "Giving Up," with Easley showing off his high-pitched Paul Simon-like vocals over a Reggae sound and beat. The song was upbeat and encapsulated the sound of being lost at sea but having hope.
Next, the band invited Radiators guitarist Dave Malone on stage until the set was done about an hour later. Malone improvised with the band, and he added much color to the music with ripping solos. Malone and Easley matched each other note for note. Malone's face was lit up, and I've never seen Easley with such a huge smile on his face.
After a few songs, Radiators bassist Reggie Scanlan was invited on stage. Things just got more groovin', crazier and fun from there on out. Two basses and two guitarists. Next was a thirty minute two-song sonic assault that ended with the musicians congratulating each other.
Anderson's speed on the bass was mind-boggling. Easley was his usual genius self, and the other guys played their parts well as they went along for the ride. Only about thirty audience members endured the set, but they applauded and whooped in appreciation.