If someone from a few hundred years ago was in this gig with us, inhaling the wood-infused air of The Barrowlands, enraptured by the epic light show and winking animations, everyone’s muscles straining to touch the ceiling with each jump, they would have thought it was witchcraft.
Flook opened, and the frenetic joy coming from every member was mesmerising. Even the songs’ origins seemed out of a spell book, telling tales of English and Irish landscape and folktale. At one point, Sarah Allen replaced her lengthy flute for an accordion, its red carapace gleaming and stretching like a millipede under moonlight.
Then, Elephant Sessions arrived, blazing, the flame never dampening despite a string break and disconnected instruments in the first song, quickly rectified.
Every mood swoop was marked by bobs of bouncy barnets, although no matter how mellow the song (though most aren’t), the lads were always grinning at each other. The stage screen displayed such an array of images and movement, like seismic paint splodges twirling and gaping swirling eyes that seemed to suck us in and hypnotise. Then, they pared it back. White lights on them and darkness everywhere else. From this song onwards, we would see backing musicians intermittently through strips of the screen, and I still don’t know how they managed such an illusion. They moved their arms outwards gracefully in sync at regular intervals, as if to enhance the spell the band was weaving, using their bows as wands.
I kept looking out onto the crowd, how they responded, how they moved, how they looked up at the stage. It is hard to imagine the bands were made up of mere mortals.
Elephant Sessions are celebrating their tenth anniversary and have a new album out now elephantsessions.com