The Rural Alberta Advantage

Clementine XO, Five Blank Pages, Rural Alberta Advantage & The Thurstons: Review

Last night was the 2nd cd release party for local band Clementine XO as they celebrated with friends and other bands such as Five Blank Pages, Rural Alberta Advantage (RAA) & The Thurstons.

The Thurstons kicked things off as a two-piece bass 'n drum-set partnership. Playing with pedals to add in a fake third or fourth members of the band, The Thurstons were simple and as indie-esque as it could get. Sharing vocals, the band sang and dueted a few tunes to a fair level of enjoyment. The most enjoyable aspect of their set was most-definitely the banter they shared with band members from the other collectives. One of the Thurstons is the younger brother of Amy Cole from the RAA and Clementine XO. Although brother and sister didn't switch words, the drummers from both bands did, adding for fun and a bit of "what was that all about?" talk.

Five Blank Pages, Brampton's answer to indie-pop that won't die, took the stage and performed a slew of new songs. Knowing the band and their older music from a while ago, Five Blank Pages' style and composition have vastly progressed over the last while. Although the band have always been rather static (physically), the band's idea to add the wonderfully-charismatic Rajiv Thavanathan to the band certainly made the stage look lopsided. However, you can't deny the entertainment and smiles you can get from seeing possible back-flips and "Maxtix wall-runs" that one bassist can perform.


The Rural Alberta Advantage, most-definitely the band that I was waiting to see (uhhh, and Five Blank Pages, too....yes), had a lot of fun getting set up. Keep in mind when I say "having fun", I mean covering their ears from patch chord problems that caused the output sound to crackle as if the house was coming down. Standing at the foot of the stage, I did not think for a second that this would halt the blue force that is the RAA. Of course, it was right to gamble on my prediction. The RAA are, without-a-doubt, a force you can't stop even with ten CN rail trains coming at it. Lead by Nils Edenloff (Fort McMurray, Alberta), The RAA sing folk songs about hometowns and heartbreak, growing up in Central Alberta. There isn't a let-down with this band, especially with (one of the best drummers you'll ever see) Paul Banwatt taking control on the percussion with his well-over 20-year old Pearl kit. The end of the set was the band's traditional "goodnight" to the audience with them coming out into the crowd space and singing a hymn, something that seemed close and dear to lead Nils Edenloff.

Clementine XO were defined to me as a band with a bluegrass-y sound with a twinge of today. I have to admit: I didn't notice that at all. Clementine XO were more of sweet vocals with tons of rocking energy. A bad thing? What?! No! The set was entertaining. Lots of vigor and jumping in the mid-stage and loud vocals were what I could see. The band had more of a Sebadoh style. Amy Cole, lead vocalist, had soft vocals with fun banter to boot. That, and Eric's Trip. Either or, Clementine XO have a good sound, but I'd imagine seeing the band taking a step up to something a little different soon. Listen to the song 'Last Generation of Housewives'. Catchy tune.

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