The Rural Alberta Advantage

  • Amy Cole
    Photo: Jason Wright
  • Nils Edenloff
    Photo: Jason Wright
  • Paul Banwatt
    Photo: Jason Wright

Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.

By Sarah Mudler
Chicago

Fresh off a stint at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, Canadian indie rock darlings the Rural Alberta Advantage stormed into Chicago on March 26 for a sold-out concert at the beautiful Lincoln Hall. The three-piece band — consisting of Paul Banwatt, Amy Cole and Nils Edenloff — recently signed with Saddle Creek Records and are in the midst of an extensive tour in support of their second full-length album, Departing.

The crowd buzzed with anticipation as the band set their gear, and with Lincoln Hall being the type of venue that doesn't have a curtain between sets, shows tend to have a living-room kind of feel. The room appeared to be filled with intellectuals — the kind of people who are old enough to know what they like. And it was obvious that they liked the Rural Alberta Advantage.

The stage was simply set — drums, a guitar and two sets of keys.

"This is such a beautiful, beautiful venue," Edenloff commented as they launched into their first song, the loud and raucous "Luciana." The room immediately erupted into clapping and wild dancing, with all eyes in the maxed-out room turned toward the stage.

Every inch of the main floor was filled with folks thrusting their fists in the air to the music and singing along with every word. During the folksy tune "Rush Apart," Banwatt and Cole, who subsequently kicked off her platform heels, wandered the stage with a set of drum sticks, hitting everything they could find in time with the music.

Edenloff took time to tell a story before each song, divulging information on how it was written or the underlying themes. And it seemed as if every new song riled the crowd up just a bit more, with the incessant beats driving them to dance wildly and throw their hands in the air.

"We played Lincoln Hall before, but that was for a festival," said Cole. "We honestly never thought we'd sell the place out, so thank you!"

During the slow and sweet "In The Summertime," the crowd knowingly coupled up, looking lovingly at each other, still singing every word. But the quiet only lasted a few minutes as Edenloff introduced "Frank, AB," saying, "This is a dance song about a rock slide, so yeah, dance!" And the giant overhead disco ball lit up the crazed room.

With the room still peaked at attention, they launched into a fan (and admittedly the band's) favorite live song, "Stamp," an upbeat and unbelievable catchy tune that garnered attention after the release of the adorably cute accompanying video in January.

After finishing up what was supposed to be their last song, it was as if the band couldn't stay away. "We're gonna play a few more songs, if that's OK," said Edenloff.

After a handful more of dance-worthy jams, and to the delight of the masses, the band jumped off the front of the stage and weaved their way to the middle of the floor where a pocket formed for them to perform their official last song — the acoustic gem, and fitting closer from Departing, "Good Night."

And that it was — a good night.

To catch Rural Alberta Advantage in a city near you, click here.

Below is footage from The Recording Academy Chicago Chapter's interview with the Rural Alberta Advantage.

Set List:
"Luciana"
"Muscle Relaxants"
"Rush Apart"
"Don't Haunt This Place"
"Tornado '87"
"Two Lovers"
"The Breakup"
"Maybe Tomorrow" (theme song from "The Littlest Hobo")
"The Ballad Of The RAA"
"Four Night Rider"
"Edmonton"
"Under The Knife"
"In The Summertime"
"Frank, AB"
"The Deadroads"
"Stamp"

Encore:
"North Star"
"Drain The Blood"
"Barnes' Yard"
"The Dethbridge In Lethbridge"
"Good Night"

To purchase music from the Rural Alberta Advantage, click here.

(A Midwest girl at heart, Sarah Mudler joined The Recording Academy Chicago Chapter in 2004. Coming from a Detroit rock background, she has expanded her musical interests into everything from pop to blues to jazz to gospel, and even a little country now and again. She can be seen haunting local Chicago venues almost every night of the week, and is currently the Senior Project Manager for the Chicago Chapter.)

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