Vocalist/guitarist John Barber and drummer Alex Major began collaborating musically at the age of 10. Naming their band after a pet guinea pig and a street name, they formed Ellis Ashbrook while in high school in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. By 2003, the band was playing rock clubs around Providence, Rhode Island, and Boston, Massachusetts. Since then, the band has released three albums and relocated to Brooklyn, New York. Ellis Ashbrook presently consists of Barber, Major, Jonathan Granoff (bass guitar), and Natalie Lowe (keyboards, vocals). The quartet's most recent album is 2011's Meridia.
At the Bowery Electric tonight, Ellis Ashbrook's original songs were a combination of classic rock, grunge and hard funk, a collage falling somewhere between Frank Zappa's psychedelic guitar-based prog-rock and wailing, hip-shaking 1990s alt-rock. A live 1960s-style light show was projected live onto a screen hung behind the musicians. The psychedelic pop and rock music at times became very riff heavy and street dirty, and then intricate arrangements led to new and unanticipated complexities. It succeeded impressively because of the imagination and technical ability of the musicians. Ellis Ashbrook showed itself to be a fresh, dynamic and very creative band in search of a non-traditional rock audience.
Visit Ellis Ashbrook at www.ellisashbrook.com.