Perth’s Best Kept Secret: Elora Danan Remind Us All How Strong the Local Scene Is

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I admit, while writing my pre-show announcement, I found it a little difficult to describe Elora Danan’s sound. At the very least, one can guess – for example, the unique balance they have in their sound. The often neglected guitar riff – I mean a good solid guitar riff – married with a sea of ambiance, aerobic leads, driving percussion and shimmering chordal refrains. Or I could have described how vocalist George Green’s lyrics are usually inspired by the narratives of popular films and TV shows, often reiterating the motivations and desires of the show’s major characters. By echoing the feelings of the characters, Green inspires a sense of solace – the feeling of identification with whatever the character happens to be going through. Even the dynamic structure of the songs is worth a mention – pieces that valley and drive, build and resolve, bubble and condense in the space of five or six minutes – is something perhaps lends more to cinema’s narrative than to audio. These are all successful components of Elora Danan’s sound, but then again, I think there is another dimension often forgotten in this discussion.

In the Room Up There was like a buried gem almost secret to those who discovered it. Like a message in a bottle, the album floats in that corner of time, the period of post-adolescence for many of the crowd’s participants. Its stark isolation, largely for the fact the band broke up shortly after, makes it somewhat special. It makes it more a definitive work of art, not simply just another tenant to an artist’s canon, but rather an entity in and of itself, its only real companion piece being a previous EP entitled We All Have Secrets. Both these records are pure nostalgia. I believe that component is what gives Elora Danan’s music just a little more brightness. It’s also something we all share and identify with – a touchstone for coming together and celebrating local music. This is a band that this city produced. A band that this community produced.

So when mid-set Green declares the show is all about family – it seems irrevocably apt.

I arrived on the night just in time to catch the show’s opening act – a debut show from a band called Little Room. Their set was dynamic in scope and extremely impressive for a first time (although it appears obvious most of its members are no stranger to the stage). After an ambient intro the band swung into gear with their fresh brand of post-hardcore/alt-rock, showcasing some serious pipes on the vocalist. The rest of their set was varied, with some songs being particularly heavy and others having more of a ballad-like feel.  The band is obviously inspired by Elora Danan themselves, often replicating them with their oscillating riffs and dexterous rhythm.

Next on were Old Devil, a relatively new hardcore act with a seriously ballsy sound. Their music suited the Amplifier’s penchant for smashing the low end, and their heavier tendencies worked well with some of their more melodic parts. It was a particularly tight set and you could tell Old Devil had come well prepared for such a big show. Featuring multiple members adept in front of the mic, the band appeared to thrive off of the large audience and community before them. 

If there was an award for the highest energy on the night, then that would go to the main support in Finders. The post-hardcore stalwarts look particularly comfortable on stage, with their vocalist really owning every centimetre of the stage, throwing fourth some of the heaviest songs on the night. They had a decent interplay between singing and screaming, using a more melodic approach in comparison to the last time I saw them play live.

After a sneaky performance from Shontay Snow around the side of Amps (I believe she included some acoustic renditions of Saviour’s new album, which was great to hear), Elora Danan were finally ready to take the stage.

Their set drew songs from both the EP We All Have Secrets and their album In the Room Up There, and also surprisingly throwing in a really old tune in ‘I feel like Saying More’. From the get go Elora Danan had brought their A-game, with a fresh energy and sound that sounded incredibly faithful to the original recordings. None of the members had really missed a beat as it were like a fervent continuation of where the band left off.

Regrettably, Green suggested that the show itself was more likely a one-off than a full blown reunion, with him declaring “it’s the last time you’ll be able to hear these songs.” However, it worked a treat as the last collection of songs packed more of a punch than the whole set combined. There were stage dives, guest vocals, and many sing-alongs with a crowd keen to celebrate everything the band had meant to them. The set finished on ‘Check Your Smile’, with its contagious chorus keeping the crowd’s spirit up right till the last waning wail of feedback.

It’s important to acknowledge how heavy an influence this band has had a lot of aspiring Perth musos, but also how they’ve continued to encourage us to keep the local music scene growing. That means keep going to see your mate’s band. Keep checking out new acts that seem to arrive almost daily. Keep discussing the bands online, and keep listening and identifying with their music. Because another band just like Elora Danan may just come along. And an album like In the Room Up There may just arrive again, and it’s important to keep the audience together. It’s important to keep the family together.