The Elders filled Wadsworth Auditorium with their Irish American rock music during their concert on Saturday April 4, as presented by Activities Commission’s Limelight and Accents. Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri, the band returned to Geneseo for a second time as part of their northeast tour.
The Elders played a lively set of songs that fused traditional Irish influences with American folk-rock for an enthusiastic, largely non-student crowd. Lead singer and percussionist Ian Byrne—from County Wicklow, Ireland—kept the crowd entertained with his intermittent storytelling. He even encouraged audience members to dance in the aisles.
The band featured a combination of traditional and contemporary instruments including a bodhrán—pronounced bow-ron— a fiddle, an accordion and a mandolin alongside electric guitars, keyboards, drums and a bass guitar.
The bodhrán is a traditional Irish frame drum, often played at Irish music sessions. Notably absent in the band was the flute—an instrument often inherent in Irish music. The flute, however, wouldn’t have quite fit in with The Elders’ modern folk rock sound. As is typical of crossover Irish folk, the fiddle—played by Colin Farrell—was the driving force of the evening.
The band played loudly and energetically in both the slow songs and the lively jigs that encompassed much of their discography. The band’s catalogue—which covers a 14-year period from their self-titled debut in 2000 to 2014’s Story Road—demonstrates the members’ musical prowess. It includes a variety of sub-genres within Irish folk from ballads to drinking songs.
The target audience for the evening was certainly not the student population, as the overwhelming majority of audience members came from Geneseo’s non-student community.
Perhaps this was for the best, as many responded to Byrne’s prompts to dance in the aisles. Those that remained in their seats clapped along and responded well to the band’s energy.