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The Rural Alberta Advantage @ The Cedar

Jan 16, 2014

The Rural Alberta Advantage played to a sold-out Cedar Cultural Center crowd on Wednesday, January 15th for their first show of 2014 along with opener Midnight Reruns.

The Rural Alberta Advantage played to a sold-out Cedar Cultural Center crowd on Wednesday, January 15th along with opener Midnight Reruns. It was the first show of the year/current tour for the band, and they definitely left everyone at the Cedar pleased and satisfied, with an energy that was entirely its own.

MIDNIGHT RERUNS

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Up first was opener Midnight Reruns, who started the night off right with their Milwaukee-based brand of pop rock. It isn't often that you see a group of young dudes with such a good grasp of how to rock, but they certainly rose to the challenge, keeping the drumming steady, the basslines unbelievably catchy, and the guitars shredding as they blazed through a set that flew by, despite its relatively decent length. It's not uncommon to end up more focused on your beer or your phone during an opening, but Midnight Reruns made me forget I even had a phone in my pocket. Lead singer and guitarist Graham Hunt especially thrilled, with deft rhthym and lead guitar that drove the melodies of each song as drummer Sam Reitman propelled the beats forward. Overall, I found myself completely impressed by Midnight Reruns, and can't wait to see where they go from here.

THE RURAL ALBERTA ADVANTAGE

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Finally, the moment we'd all been waiting for. The Rural Alberta Advantage took to the stage and started with a few upbeat tunes from their two previous records (Hometowns [2008] & Departing [2011]) before launching into one of four new songs they played from an album they’re currently working on. They played most of the songs on their previous two records and sprinkled in the new ones throughout the set.

The new music was full of huge surges and cutouts to just Nils Edenloff singing and playing acoustic guitar, with the drums, synth and harmonies from Amy Cole eventually coming in and building to form a powerful climax. The tunes were upbeat and had some really interesting and at times unexpected rhythms from drummer Paul Banwatt. It was nice to be surprised and I think they succeeded at trying to keep their sound fresh. All in all I really liked the new songs and it was clear that the rest of the crowd felt the same way.

Amy Cole was set up on the far left of the stage, switching between synth, xylophone and shakers when she wasn’t wailing on a floor tom or adding atmospheric backing vocals to the mix of sound. Nils Edenloff was in the middle of the stage, singing lead and switching between his acoustic guitar and a bass synth. It sounded like he was running his acoustic through a distortion pedal or it had some kind of overdrive/strong gain on it during a few songs, which created a really cool crunchy sound for an acoustic, which is something you might not realize when listening to their recordings. Paul Banwatt’s drum kit was on the right of the stage, pointed inward toward his band mates. Banwatt puts on a hell of a show, with some really intricate beats and groove changes, often done at a pretty fast tempo. I think his drumming is what makes the Rural Alberta Advantage such a distinct band.  

After the band had finished their set, Edenloff came back up to start their encore with a song by himself, followed by the rest of the band coming up on stage and playing a really rockin’ version of “The Dethbridge in Lethbridge”. After the song was done, Banwatt grabbed a floor tom and the band walked into the middle of the sold-out crowd, where they fittingly closed the night by singing their song “Good Night,” free of any microphones or amplification. There’s something that’s hard to describe that happens when a band walks into the crowd and plays a song side-by-side with their fans that paid to see them, especially when the place is sold-out and everyone can still hear what’s being played. It was a very enjoyable way to end a very enjoyable night. 

Written by Channing Alto and Trevor Spriggs