Elder played Middle East Downstairs – 9/10

Formerly Bostonian stoner-prog quartet Elder made a thunderous return to town with support from Poland’s Belzebong.

We were, once upon a time, spoiled by the ability to see a lot of Elder shows around here. But such is the peril of a local band suddenly becoming not so local – you’ve gotta wait around for a tour like everybody else. Five years on from their last local date at the dearly-departed ONCE, Elder landed at the Middle East earlier this month for a sold-out Saturday night gig that was worth the wait.

“Epic” isn’t really a word you can use in earnest about much of anything anymore, but Elder are nonetheless that. Their lengthy songs unfurl like high fantasy, traversing the low-end realms of doom metal and stoner rock, the compositional ambition of prog and the swirling edges of psychedelia. This set did it all, sounding appropriately huge as the band delivered a career-spanning array of songs to a warmly appreciative crowd. You can spin the records all you like, but Elder make music that’s at its best when you can really feel it in your chest. It was great to have them back in town to deliver that experience once more.

I got to Cambridge a bit too late to catch first openers Dreadnought (who are great, listen to Dreadnought), but did make it in time for instrumental Polish foursome Belzebong, whose relentless rhythm ‘n’ riffage almost reminded me of a heavier, way more stoned Earthless.

Check out photos from both of those sets below.