Guitarist and keyboardist Feurd Moore is the sole member of the Elwins with ties to Edmonton. He was born here, actually, and attended Avalon junior high school until he was 14, at which point he and his family moved to Newmarket, Ontario.
That’s where the ideas for the pop-fever inducing quartet began to germinate. It’s also, presumably, where Feurd first began to tend the curls of his now well-manicured bandito mustache which was singled out at least once during the Elwins’ Friday night show at the Nest.
The impeccable stache was just a supporting player, though, to a group clearly experienced in putting on a show. Feurd, vocalist and guitarist Matt Sweeney and drummer Travis Stokl met while attending high school in Newmarket almost ten years ago, and were joined by bassist Frankie Figliomeni about four years ago. Their latest record Play For Keeps was released last February and since then the band has toured through college crowds in the United States, Europe, Japan and Canada and have honed their performance accordingly.
Their energy rang out louder than Feurd and Frankie’s vividly flower-printed shirts as the band lubricated the joints of around 100 fans and had almost all of them dancing by the end of the night. The audience was at its most flexible during tracks like “Bubble” which had the band spending most of the song in mid-jump as Sweeney’s catchy metaphors of infatuation (“you get me high like a bubble!”) slid easily beneath echoing synth and guitar chords. The band finished with their single “So Down Low”. (If you listen to Sonic or have seen a Fido ad in the last few months, you’ve probably heard it.) Feurd and Sweeney both made their way to the concert floor at points in search of high-fives and vocal assistance, and involved the crowd in an anthem friendly encore cover of Beyonce’s “Countdown”. (Their second cover of the night. They also recreated Adele’s “Hello” to eager approval.)
The Elwins will play in Edmonton again on March 31 at the sparkling-new Needle Vinyl Tavern with Willa and will likely appear in Calgary a few days later for the Junos where they’ve been nominated for Breakthrough Group of the Year.
The slightly spacier, more brooding sound of Saskatoon trio Close Talker opened for the Elwins. A smaller crowd stood farther back and was a bit more reserved during Close Talker’s set, but the poppier crescendos of some of their tunes drew one happy spectator onto the dance floor early, and sev-eral others soon followed suit.
The show was the year’s second event of NAITSA’s concert series. Toronto rock band July Talk played a sold-out Nest in October.
Connor O’Donovan, Assistant Entertainment Editor