Concert Review: Rural Alberta Advantage

Bands: Rural Alberta Advantage, Lovely Feathers, Arletta
Venue: Middle East Upstairs
Date: October 8, 2009


Good band! Unfortunately the front-man’s high E string broke during the first song. Fortunately, a middle age dude named Spencer volunteered to restring the guitar. He got that done by the end of the second song. Arletta continued to play their brand of folk, except for one “arena rock” tune (jokes) that sounded more like Built to Spill than Kings of Leon. They were enthusiastic the whole time and made good conversation between songs. The attractive off-gray jumpsuit wearing violinist did a spectacular job on a couple of songs. They just finished recording an LP in a Charlestown studio.

In-House Music:
The Supreme Genius of King Khan and His Shrines. Amazing.

Lovely Feathers
I’ve been a Lovely Feathers fan since summer 2005, when I heard “Pope John Paul” on WMBR after leaving the North Shore Mall. That song stuck with me for a while…I remember writing about it for my freshman portfolio. Heck, two weeks ago I had a crazy dream that I altar served a mass and this was the opening hymn.  But the opening riffs to the song about the late Polish holy figure were never played! Bummer! Nor did they play the classic faux-glam pop track “Rod Stewart.” They did play 6 songs off Fantasy of the Lot. Don’t get me wrong, FotL is a very good album, but it pales in comparison to their past work. I never actually realized how instrumental the keyboard was in the Lovely Feathers until last night. Songs like “Gifted Donald” and “Family That Doesn’t Know The Game” are okay, don’t get me wrong, but come on…they don’t have the live flair like “Pope” and “Rod” probably would. Of course, if any song was recognized it was “Lowiza,” which is about the singer’s cheating old bastard grandfather who isn’t quite into his wife (grandmother) any more. It was awesome! “Are you sexual?” sang the amped-up keyboardist. Unfortunately the backing vocals weren’t really noticeable on a lot of the other songs. That was a tad disappointing. “In The Valley” was great with both singers belting out the lyrics. The keyboardist really nailed this song right on the money. “She says hi to the man in the house. She says I am the man of the house!” “Frantic” is another one of my long-time faves that got me and the rest of the room going. “Wrong Choice” was pretty damn awesome as well. Overall, I was happy to finally see them in concert. Do I really wish they played my two faves? Of course. Next time, maybe.

Set List
1. Long Walks
2. Gifted Donald
3. Family That Doesn’t Know The Game
4. Finders Fee
5. Lowiza
6. In The Valley
7. Frantic
8. Wrong Choice
9. I Don’t Know!

Rural Alberta Advantage
So basically I only knew four songs from RAA prior to going to see them. I really don’t know how to describe them. It’s  a dynamic trio, in that the drummer also plays the keyboard, the front-man plays guitar and keyboard, and there is another drummer. I guess the best way I could put it would be an epic Page France. I couldn’t get too into many of the songs because I didn’t recognize them. Most of the audience recognized all the songs and appropriately bobbed their head or just flat out danced. Anyway, they played the Middle East two months ago. Guess they love it! They were sure appreciative of everyone coming out. The front-man did a solo acoustic of “Eye of the Tiger” after asking the audience: song from the 70s or the 80s? 80s won. It was awesome to hear the tales of Alberta. Especially of the late “Mr. Barnes.”

Set List
1. “New”
2. “Rush Apart”
3. “The Ballad of the RAA”
4. “Jungle”
5. “Luciana”
6. “Frank, AB”
7. “Eye of the Tiger” — The ’70s song was going to be S.O.S by Abba!
8. “North Star”
9. “Drain The Blood”
10. “Four Night Rider”
11. “Edmonton”
12. “Summertime”
1. “Mr. Barnes”
2. “Sleep All Day”
3. “Don’t Haunt This Place”

Concert Grade: B

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