Rural Alberta Advantage plays the Republik

Until last night the closest I’d ever come to experiencing The Rural Alberta Advantage was blasting its first album Hometowns in my Honda Civic with the windows down as I danced in my seat. So it was a whole other thing to see them play live in their namesake province last night at the Republik.

For one the energetic crowd clearly have a special place in their hearts for a band that sings lovingly about the prairies the Edmonton tornado of ’87 and the Frank Slide of 1903 in the mining community.

And these feelings are apparently mutual. Right before playing “Tornado ’87” lead singer and guitar player Nils Edenloff introduced the song by saying that usually when they play they have to explain the Albertan history behind the songs but not tonight. Everybody cheered of course.

Fans of both their first album and the newly-released Departing were given a healthy dose of each. The RAA played almost the entire track list of Hometowns opening with the high-tempo “Luciana” and ending their four-song encore with the woooooo-tastic “The Dethbridge in Lethbridge.” When the band came back on stage for their encore Edenloff joked they were going to play not one but four more songs whether or not people wanted them to. Again everybody cheered. I was just happy I got to join in on all of the “woooos” and “ooooooooohs” that pepper Hometowns .

They definitely played fewer songs from Departing probably realizing the crowd would be more excited about the songs they’ve been listening to for the past three years. But standouts like “Stamp” “Tornado ‘87” and “Muscle Relaxants” worked nicely with the older songs.

The most endearing moment of the night was when keyboard player Amy Cole and drummer Paul Banwatt left the stage and Edenloff played an acoustic slowed-down version of The Littlest Hobo theme song “Maybe Tomorrow.” It was disappointing that much of the crowd didn’t seem to recognize the Canadian classic but equally sweet that Edenloff said the song reminds him of his nomadic touring lifestyle.

Only home for a short while The RAA will make a few stops in B.C. before heading down to the States. Maybe tomorrow they’ll wanna settle down/Until tomorrow they’ll just keep movin’ on.

Katie Rankin is a journalism student at the University of King’s College in Halifax N.S. She enjoys ginger ale classic Canadian television theme songs and interning at Fast Forward Weekly.

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