If Wilkes-Barre had a beach, Elephants Dancing would be its soundtrack
Elephants Dancing makes beach music in a city without a beach. The Wilkes-Barre band was started by 22-year-old Michael Iorio and longtime musical collaborator Danny Sales (guitar/vocals). When the two realized they wanted to cover the same bands, they started playing songs inspired by The Dirty Heads, Mike Love and Bob Marley instead of learning those artist’s songs outright.
The band grew when Iorio, a musical performance major at the small liberal arts institution Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, enlisted fellow Mansfield Joe Turner (drums) and Alec Tallman (percussion) to fill out the group’s sound. The bassist said they’re inspired by the easygoing nature of reggae and surf rock and the rapid-fire vocal delivery of hip hop; those influences form a tight package around lyrics born from an introspective early 20s mindset.
“We try to be as meaningful as we possibly can,” Iorio said. “One of our songs, ‘1,000 Years,’ talks about how long it will take to find your dream and to make sure that you have the right dream and it’s not full of greed, because you’ll never find it. ‘Dirty Karma’ is about doing the right thing and not screwing people over because it’ll bite you in the ass. That type of deal.”
Both “1,000 Years” and “Dirty Karma” can be found on Elephants Dancing’s 2014 EP “Clear Skies.” The band is releasing another EP this summer, “Get Tropical,” and is currently working to raise funds for studio time to record a full-length. Until then, the group is keeping up a steady stream of live shows featuring all original material save for the odd Ed Sheeran or Third Eye Blind cover.
Elephants Dancing will play July 8 at Wilkes-Barre venue The Other Side and July 15 at Scranton’s The V Spot, before venturing to Atlantic City, New Jersey, July 16 for a performance at The Watering Hole. They plan to stick around Atlantic City for a few days after the performance — for the last two summers, the band has taken their reggae rock show on the road to locations in New Jersey and Maryland, hoping to drum up interest in environments that suit their sound.
“We try to do it as much as we can, but it’s really hard to get gigs,” Iorio said. “These boardwalk trips are just us sleeping in our car to try and spread the word.”
Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts