Concerts Concerts The Rural Alberta Advantage Haunt This Place

The Rural Alberta Advantage Haunt This Place

The RAA at Lee's Palace
Rural Alberta Advantage
Rebekah Higgs, Gravity Wave
Lee’s Palace in Toronto, ON
December 16, 2010

Review by: Natalia Buia
Photos by: Courtney Lee-Yip

The atmosphere at Lee’s last Thursday was reminisant of a cottage or a ski lodge – trapped inside in the dead of winter with all your friends, keeping warm, singing along to your favourite bands with beer in tow.

The Rural Alberta Advantage

Not a single person wasn’t singing along to Paul Banwatt’s every word. The crowd responded well to the opening song, "Luciana". But it wasn’t until the band played "Don’t Haunt This Place" (my favourite song on Hometowns) that drove them wild. Despite breakable guitar strings, Banwatt never stopped playing with so much passion and momentum, but it didn’t seem like the audience was bothered by any technical difficulties. The crowd, including myself, was there for the sing-along sessions with one of Canada’s finest bands on the verge.

Other stand out performances included “The Ballad of the RAA” although, not to take away from Nils Edenloff’s great talent, I felt the drums sounded overthrown in the beginning. The band also played a couple new songs on their upcoming album, Departing, that will be released in March. “Stamp” is a larger than life sounding song with the same ol' heavy drumming and howling melodies that fans have come to love.

While transitioning from new to old again, Amy Cole and Edenloff gave quite the hilarious performance of Duck Sauce’s “Barbara Streisand”, only it didn’t last as long as we wanted it to.

During the encore, things slowed down with “In The Summertime” but the audience remained in awe. Amy worked the drum like no other, as Paul and the rest of the audience sang “once in while I know our hearts beat out of time”. The RAA is the kind of band you want – no... need! – to see live in the presence of your dear friends, drinking beer and letting the songs about love lost and now always found resonate within you.

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Rebekah Higgs

The Halifax beauty, Rebekah Higgs, was a breath of fresh air that night, playing beautifully and eloquently with her band. Between songs, Higgs continually gave thanks to the fortunate audience showing just how grateful she is to be on stage. I was more than pleased to hear new songs from her Little Voice EP that came out this year.

“Asleep All Winter” was the track that blew me away the most. It’s comparable to something Ben Gibbard of The Postal Service would dream about performing, but Rebekah sings with more innocence and charm. The track is certainly more pop/dancey than her prior folk infused hits. If this is the direction Rebekah is going in 2011, I want to go there with her.

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Gravity Wave

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