In The Flesh...The Rural Alberta Advantage, The Wooden Sky, And Great Bloomers - Live At The West End

>> Thursday, 11 February 2010

Purple city. Ever done it?

The RAA’s frontman Nils Ekman has. But not here. In Edmonton! Who knew it wasn’t a Peg-City-specific event?

While introducing the rollockin’ acoustic-driven “Edmonton” last night, the polite and soft-spoken Rural Alberta Advantage leader revealed to a sold-out West End Cultural Centre that this Edmonton phenomenon was his muse for the song. This, naturally, sparked widespread outrage from the excitable crowd, with shouts of “We do it too!” reverberating off the walls.

We certainly do. Much to the chagrin of optometrists.

Blazing through an hour-or-so of tunes off their fantastic Hometowns, the RAA (their self-appointed nickname), dazzled the 400+ enthusiastic, chatty, and receptive crowd at Winnipeg’s finest music room. Attendance, I’m told, was up ten-fold since their spring show at the Royal Albert.

Some slick new numbers were injected into the set, signifying some great music to come. Ekman even sang a pair of stripped-down and surprising covers: Survivor’s iconic “Eye of the Tiger”, and the theme song to the weirdly popular Canadian-made show, “The Littlest Hobo.”

For just three musicians standing next to each other, the overall sound was brilliant and huge in scope. Definitely the product of equal contributions. Amy Cole harmonized with Ekman and provided colourful textures, banging drumsticks, a kids’ store glockenspiel, sleigh bells, and a drum. Drummer Paul Banwatt’s spirited chops seemed to anchor and amplify his counterparts’ efforts. Ekman’s fierce, red-faced vocals were so impassioned I could see his pulsing forehead veins from the mezzanine.

These merchants of song unquestionable sell and believe in their aural product. I would too.

Two parts of The Wooden Sky’s wonderful performance really stood out: the wildly manic drumming of Andrew Kekewich and singer Gavin Gardner’s tender, weathered vocals. “Oh My God (It Still Means A Lot To Me)” was pitch-perfect and is still resonating two days later.

Great Bloomers warmed up the crowd with an equally terrific set of smart and sprightly alt-folk. Their song structures favoured gradual builds that exploded into the insane frenzy of a runaway mine car.

Overall, not a single dull moment the entire evening. Anyone do Purple City afterward?

Infinite Playlist: La Roux - La Roux


Rieds 12 February 2010 at 07:29  

I had heard that Purple City was actually *started* by the Optometrist Alliance of Winnipeg.

Mykael 12 February 2010 at 09:34  

Aren't they lead by Drs. Spaceman and Riviera?

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