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An evening with Good Morning Bedlam

December 21, 2018

Indie folk band Good Morning Bedlam’s holiday show Saturday at Olde Pine Theatre is also a homecoming.

The group, with its roots in Rochester and Minneapolis, has made the leap from gigging around their regular jobs to gigging around as their jobs. After shifting their full-time focus to music in May, the band hit the road on a national tour in September. That tour took them to both coasts, across the northeast and the southwest — twice. That’s after performing at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas for two consecutive years.

The show at Olde Pine Theatre kicks off a month-long break from touring.

“It’s great being on the road, but it’ll be nice to be home,” said bandleader and Rochester native Isaak Elker.

Fiddle player Sophia Beyer lives in Oronoco, and bassist Tori Elker and banjo player Benji Flaming live in Minneapolis.

The historic Olde Pine Theatre also lets the ensemble return to their roots a bit.

“It’s always a blessing to play in a room that sounds good acoustically,” Elker said.

Playing the weekend before Christmas also means access to some well-known tunes.

“We’re going to play a Christmas carol or two,” Elker said. “We’re going to see what we can work up.”

Playing a string band arrangement doesn’t hinder them from performing danceable tunes.

“There’s a lot of ways to play with songs,” he said. “That’s something we like to do with songs — play with it and experiment.”

With a driving banjo, thumping bass and the steady beat of a kick drum, the band isn’t afraid to tackle raucous rock song covers or Christmas carols.

Elker’s stomping accompaniment with the kick drum adds to the band’s rhythm and energy.

“It definitely helps us play with dynamics — to play loud or pull it back,” he said.

He even added high hat to some songs. One he works with his left foot, the other with his right. That’s all while singing and playing guitar. Elker admits when he started playing he could barely play guitar and sing at the same time.

“It was definitely some trial and error,” he said of learning drums. “Now I’ve mastered going left (foot) to right (foot).”

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