The Russian rockabilly surf rock band, The Red Elvises, have been coming to Albuquerque for years and at one point had a pretty massive local following when they would roll into town at the very least once a year. Those that have gone to their shows become nostalgic for their showmanship and inventive sounds. One cannot help but want to dance to and join in on their audience immersive gigs.
These days though, there is only one original member left in the band that was founded in 1995. They’ve changed their name to Igor and The Red Elvises, maybe because it just isn’t quite the same show or band with different members.
It was unfortunate to see that only a small number of people came to the show on Tuesday. This may be part of a larger issue; many millennials out and about downtown are no longer going to see bands play anymore, but seem more interested in hip hop and EDM.
The newer members of The Red Elvises play the same songs as the other incarnations of the bad did, and have even added a few new ones to their repertoire, but the show itself is different. The new singer does not have a Russian accent, that is an aspect that made the band what it used to be. The fervor was gone and replaced with a younger and not as lively group.
I must admit I hadn’t seen them play in years, and don’t get me wrong, every single one of the new band members are talented in their own right, especially their new horn player—she is a badass—but also their formerly infamous red balalaika bass was not being twirled about and used as a show prop as it once was. Essentially the show didn’t have the flair it once had. This could be due to Bernov, the previous bassist, quitting the band in 2009 to join the circus as a clown with a group called Slava's Snowshow.
But things do happen. Something that was made notable by Russian accents, grandiloquence and sheer soul to play had been changed and ended up sort of lost on a younger audience. Unfortunately this gig missed the mark of their usually grandiose shows.
According to their bio, showman extraordinaire Igor Yuzov is “perpetually globetrotting, and in the process he has found scores of wildly talented, entertaining musicians to bring into the fold of this increasingly international party band,” and it’s understandable that sometimes bands need to change to keep thriving.
Maybe it’s that I was hoping to see the show I had memories of from in my youth, but sometimes bands develop into something else entirely, even though they're playing the same music. And sometimes older fans are either going to embrace it or they’re not.
The new musicians added to the group and they did put on a great show. Anyone looking to go have a great time dancing to fun and upbeat vibes will thoroughly enjoy the newly evolved Red Elvises, especially if they play Launchpad again.