I guess it doesn't come as a surprise when I tell you that the band Elephants Of Scotland actually doesn't come from Scotland. The truth is that all musicians live in the United States. The origin of the band goes back to the eighties when Ornan McLean (drums, percussion) and Adam Rabin (vocals, keyboards) both played in a cover band. At the time they wanted to play progressive rock music and therefore formed this band. Dan MacDonald (bass, vocals) and John Whyte (guitar, vocals) soon joined them. With this lineup they released two studio albums; Home Away From Home (2013) and Execute And Breathe (2014). In 2014 they were invited to the renowned RoSFest. The show that was captured at this progressive rock event was released on CD and DVD in 2015. They named it Good Morning, Gettysburg - Live At RoSFest 2014.
It must have been an early wakeup call for the band and audience, because the band already had to make their appearances at 11 in the morning at the Rites Of Spring Festival in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on the 3th of May 2014. But I guess it didn't matter to the band to rise and shine at this strange hour of the day and to do a performance as well. They most certainly did shine because I can only be positive about this excellent concert featured on the audio CD. A concert that proved that the band is much more energetic on stage then on their two released studio albums. The studio version sound more sterile with probably less energy. The four musicians play their strong songs as if they always do this at this time of the day. With three lead singers in the band and musicians that master their instruments completely they had my attention all the way through their entire concert. Strangely enough I heard their influences by Canadian band Rush even more then on their earlier released two studio albums. Just listen to the tracks Starboard, The Other Room, Boxless and Errol McSquisitor and you know what I am talking about. The same kind of high pitched voices which reminded me of Geddy Lee. His same kind of bass playing comes to mind as well. Moreover the guitar parts also move to the guitar style Alex Lifeson presents on many albums he made with Rush. Only the drums are not very much related to the playing of Neil Peart. However it is not always Rush that you hear in their influences. Other times names as IQ and early Marillion come to mind as well. Most of all during the compositions Endless and Amber Waves. Hearing those influences certainly doesn't mean the music is less enjoyable. No way! All of the thirteen tracks that are included made me move along with the music all the way through! This is just top notch progressive rock music this quartet presented during their set at the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg.
After listening to the excellent audio section first I was of course very curious how the band presented themselves and how everything was filmed. Watching the video footage of the same show on the DVD gave me a rather positive answer to this question. The team from Zeitgeist Media filmed the band very well during their performance. The close ups of the musicians are very well done with one exception unfortunately. You can't watch keyboard player Adam Rabin from a very close range. You can hardly see him touch his keys. Most of the time he is filmed with a camera in front of him. Although the musicians don't jump around that much while playing their music it didn't mean the show was boring to watch! Rabin, who did most of the spoken introduction, did this from time to time with a lot of humour. Humour was also the keyword when they performed Mousetrap. All of the musicians put a Viking helmet on their heads. The braids to wriggle out there made it even funnier. I already mentioned IQ as a possible influence to the band. While watching Adam Rabin behind his keyboards made me even more aware of this, because just like former IQ keyboard maestro Martin Orford he was wearing a cap on his head. Besides the complete concert of the band at Rosfest 2014 you will find a bonus track. This is a studio recording of Geographer, however it only features drummer McLean. Why it was included on this release puzzled me, because it just doesn't add anything extra.
Even though I did not really like the extra footage and the keyboard department wasn't filmed in the best possible way I can be very positive about Good Morning, Gettysburg - Live At RoSFest 2014. Over all, this is the all-inclusive package for the fan of melodic progressive rock. With a fantastic show available on CD and DVD you can hardly wish for more. For fans of Rush and neo progressive rock in particular this is just a must have!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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