For the latest ipickmynose presents show, the Rural Alberta Advantage (myspace) and Half-handed Cloud (myspace) played the Bottom of the Hill last Thursday. Okay was scheduled to be the middle band but had to cancel due to illness.
Half-handed Cloud went on a bit later than the original start time due to the schedule only having two bands instead of three. The growing crowd was getting a bit restless. John Ringhofer played a half a dozen instruments–banjo, omnichord, percussion and trombone among them–sometimes accompanied by pre-recorded instruments on a tape player. He played his quirky, short and cute folk pop songs in a straight-forward but endearing manner. It was a fun set.
The venue was getting pretty full by the time the Rural Alberta Advantage went on. Having just come off their CD release two days prior and very positive review from P4k among many others, the band was obviously basking in the glow of the new attention.
Playing most of Hometowns with a couple new songs thrown in, the band came out and gave it their all. From the audience members around me, I literally heard gasps at the band’s performance, particularly Paul’s intricate and barely-contained drumming. When the RAA hit “Don’t Haunt This Place”, their third or fourth song, I don’t thing there were many at the show who were left unconvinced at the greatness of the band’s live show.
They were very appreciative throughout the show of the crowd and the reception they were receiving. And the audience was receptive–it felt like everyone was leaning forward just to be a little closer to the band.
At the end of the set, the band came out for an encore, of course. Nils led off with a convincing solo rendition of “Eye of the Tiger” that turned into a sing-along. After the song, Nils remarked that he wanted to just keep repeating the chorus because it was so much fun singing with the audience. After another song, they left the stage again, only to be called back for a second, non-obligatory encore. It was a gorgeous version of “Sleep All Day”. All in all it was a fantastic show that I was proud to be involved with.