The Elephant In The Room Experience

(Twin Cities resident John Augustine wrote a review of our July 27, 2018 performance at the old Stillwater Eagles 94 club.  This article is excerpted from that review.)

This band is very capable and entertaining, with an extensive list of songs from the 1950s through the 1990s.  They opened with an enthusiastic rendition of Warren Zevon’s “Lawyers, Guns, and Money.”  I had heard them do this before, and Warren Zevon’s songs fit vocalist/lead guitarist Mitch Berg’s range and personality very well.  EITR ventured into previously-unexplored territory for their next song, “Found Out About You” by the Gin Blossoms.  Other songs EITR does particularly well are Golden Earring’s “Radar Love,” “Closer to Free” by the BoDeans, “Bye Bye Love” by The Cars, and material by the Eagles, Tom Petty, Sister Hazel, Wilson Pickett, Ian Hunter, Bob Seger, Bob Marley, Tommy Tutone, Cheap Trick, Aerosmith, Stray Cats, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Georgia Satellites, the Steve Miller Band, and the Greg Kihn Band.  A very wide variety.

Lead vocalist Tommy Huynh makes it easier to have more post-1990 songs in their setlist.  Because Tommy’s voice is in tune and powerful enough to be heard over hard-rock music, it frees Mitch to thrash harder on the guitar when he doesn’t have to carry the vocals.

EITR band leader Mitch Berg is a very capable singer, writer, and musician.  You can hear that on his solo album, See Red (by “The Supreme Soviet of Love”).  He can play blues, punk, rockabilly, country, and even some reggae.

Jon Heyer plays rhythm guitar (electric and acoustic) and occasionally, bass guitar on some songs.  He also sings some of the slower, bluesier, pre-1980 songs.

Drummer Paul Yackel can really play and can sing lead on some songs as well.

Torleif Sorenson often stays in the background during performances, but provides whatever texture is needed (bass, keyboards, backing vocals) for a song.  He plays a six-string bass, which is *not* something you see in your average local band.  Since adding keyboards to his live rig, the range of songs Elephant In The Room plays has increased.

Even though they don’t play live for a living, they come off as skilled professionals, not a goof-off novelty.  Elephant In The Room is a good, fun, five-man band, and if you haven’t experienced an EITR show, you should.  Perhaps the best thing that can be said about this kind of band is that the members seem to have a good, whole-is-better-than-the-sum-of-the-parts chemistry.