On The List :: Rural Alberta Advantage @ The Echo [7.10.09]
It's the little things that matter; like the tiny (maybe pink) twist-tie around keyboardist Amy Cole's right-pinkie finger. Set against a back-drop of old Smiths' videos at the Echo, The Rural Alberta Advantage bring their admittedly small group of songs to Los Angeles for the first time. The band is visibly impressed by the size and energy of the crowd. The crowd, if we can speak in the universal plural, is visibly impressed by the band. And this might be a small coincidence but it really counts.
For a first-record tour, the band has no choice but to play their album. There is an earnestness (though I suspect they will tire of this description in time) or a forthrightness about playing your catalogue in full that suits the band well. Breezing through album favorites "Four Night Rider," "Edmonton" and "Don't Haunt This Place" in an eire blue and pink light, lead singer Nils Edenloff is every bit the cathartic frontman. These songs are crushingly personal; about places and things that are or were deeply affecting. Before the rolling "Frank, AB," Edenloff explains the song's genesis in a town of the same name and the lethal rock-slide left unexcavated for thirty years. "It's creepy but I guess it's good for a dance song." Edenloff laughs a little and the Smiths' DVD loop begins to show a live performance of "Girlfriend In A Coma."
Headed undeniably for an encore the band leaves the stage. Edenhoff comes back alone armed only with a moving cover of "Eye of the Tiger." It is unironic, if this is possible, and not entirely devoid of the athletic overtones of the original; "I got claw-finger there for a minute," says Edenloff. Cole and drummer Paul Banwatt return to the stage. It would be easy to make the Neutral Milk Hotel comparison as the title screen for "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" flashes across the backdrop. But the crowd isn't stopping this band. For a second encore, Banwatt says, "really, we've only got one more song." The crowd keeps clapping. He means it and so do we. And that might be a small coincidence but it counts.
Listen :: The Rural Alberta Advantage - "Don't Haunt This Place"
Bonus :: The Rural Alberta Advantage - "Frank, AB"