The Canadian trio Elliott Brood calls its music “goth country,” which is a fairly apt description. The group played Tuesday night at Schubas, combining banjo, guitar, ukulele and drums with gritty and sometimes growled singing. Despite the dark side of Elliott Brood’s music, the music came across as upbeat in the live performance. The band played with its own lights, including strings of twinkly little bulbs and some spinning red ambulance lights. A big banner with the band’s name hung from a frame in front of the drum kit, making the stage look like an old-fashioned carnival show. The highlight of the set came at the end, when drummer Stephen Pitkin passed out pie tins and wooden spoons to the crowd for some audience participation. And then, during the encore, opening act the Wooden Sky (who had put on a pretty good set of alt-country) joined Elliott Brood onstage for some dancing and singing along. Suddenly, the goth country tunes seemed like party music.
The evening got off to a nice start with the moody songs of Chicago’s Speck Mountain — another band that might qualify as goth country, but with a slower, more drawn-out beat.