WireImage | Redferns Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has been…
- Posted on Jan 13th 2011 11:32AM by DJ Lanphier
Magnus Aske Blikeng
After playing a diverse and stellar set comprised of tunes from their 2009 release 'Hometowns' and the forthcoming 'Departing,' and coming back for encores, each member of the band picked up their instrument, climbed down at center stage and moved through the audience. Frontman Nils Edenloff grabbed his acoustic guitar, multi-instrumentalist Amy Cole carried a tambourine and drummer Paul Banwatt brought up the rear with drumsticks and a floor tom. After reconvening within the confused but dazzled crowd, they took up residence in the dark shadows against a side wall and stood on a bench. Then the Toronto-based trio began to play 'Goodnight,' the final song from their upcoming album, without microphones, without lights and without trepidation.
Perhaps it was the catharsis of being freed from the bright lights and the elevation of the stage. Perhaps it was being so close to your audience that you could touch them, feel their breath and see the whites of their eyes. Whatever the reason, something magical occurred as Edenhoff sang. His sometimes gruff, plaintive voice became nuanced and piqued with emotion. While the band is known to play this particular song offstage, this time it seemed to take on a life of it's own.
At first, a few intrepid audience members felt the need to clap along to the beat, perhaps as a show of support. That quickly faded away as it became clear that the moment was much more intimate and resonant than a clap-along. This was personal stuff, on the edge and very real. Removed from the harsh red and blue lights, the amplification of a sound system and the stage which separates performer and audience, Rural Alberta Advantage were breaking music down to its core elements: passion, beauty and simple language. The audience stood in rapt silence, soaking it in, straining to see the band members in the dark, hanging on every line, every lyric, as occasional flash bulbs broke the dark inkiness. And then, the song was over.