Concert Review: Rural Alberta Advantage, April 29, Phoenix

Toronto – Having spent the past few years in a part of this country that is more rarely toured, I’ve been waiting a long time to see the Rural Alberta Advantage play live. Selling out the Phoenix several weeks before the show, I wasn’t the only person teeming with anticipation for this long-touring Toronto band as they approached their instruments at the front of the stage. We collectively held our breath until the first note rang out – the band exploded with electric energy, and the crowd responded by bursting into a singing, dancing, and clapping frenzy that didn’t stop until long after the show had ended.

Back in town to promote their sophomore album Departing, the RAA remarked on many occasions how happy they were to be home… and it showed. The band played songs from both the new album, as well as from their already acclaimed Hometowns, along with a few covers for fun – a throw-down version of Eye of the Tiger, and a quiet Nils-only Littlest Hobo that got the audience swaying. Many songs came with short stories or explanations, such as the rockslide in Frank, AB that buried an entire town, serving as the inspiration for the song of the same name, the anniversary of which was on the night of the show. In typical fashion, Paul Banwatt’s contagious smile lit up the room as his drumming skill and agility amazed. Nils Edenloff sang every note with the strained passion that tells of every emotionalmoment behind each lyric, highlighted by the beautiful harmonies of Amy Cole, who somehow also managed to be playing a xylophone, keyboards, a bass drum and tambourine – often all at once!

For more than the RAA’s energy and obvious musical talent however, this show had epic quality for the bands genuine moments of awe and humility at the outpouring of support from the hometown crowd. Within 5 minutes of each other, Amy took a moment offstage as she blinked back tears following roaring applause, and then Nils asked the AV guys to turn on the audience lights so he could see the whole crowd and ‘remember this moment forever’. While the band saw this as the biggest show they have ever played at home, I have no doubt that their popularity will only surge further, and will also hope to remember the moment when I was able to be close enough to the stage, to see tears well up in Amy’s eyes.

Drain The Blood by theraa

Posted on by stacey in Concerts

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