Friday, February 26, 2010

Officially an Albertan now?

Last night I went to my first official country concert. A friend (who attends a lot of concerts) mentioned last fall that Corb Lund and the Hurtin' Albertans were coming to the Jubliee. It so happens that four years ago when I worked at the Jubliee (Northern Alberta Jubliee Auditorim) the first concert I manned the doors for was also Corb Lund. At the time I had only lived in Edmonton for a few months and had never heard of him. Since then I have become more familiar with his work thanks to the format change of the CBC2 radio a couple of years ago, and was therefore quite keen to see him live, properly (i.e. not while working).

I can't say much about the opening act. Our tickets had just said "Corb Lund and guest" so I wasn't too sure about what to expect. It turned out to be an Edmonton singer who had some local recognition, but I was never able to catch his name. They were all right, I like the second to last song (more rock-sounding) the best. They also performed an unfortunate song called "Love Car," which I thought the lyrics for were rather lame; however, they weren't who I paid to see, so...whatever, they were okay--enough.

After the opener there was an intermission to allow the stage to be reset for Corb Lund and his band. We just sat in our seats during that time and chatted. When the lights went down a single figure all in black came out first: the bassist. Having been a bass player I know it's not the most glamorous of instruments and so I'm not sure there has ever been a string bassist to meet with such applause when arriving on stage. He started out with an impressive solo while the other band members (I think lead guitar, then drums) strolled out and jammed until sufficient suspense was built as we waited for Corb to appear. It was all very dramatic, and I'm sure they very affect that band was hoping to create.

The show proceeded with a rapid pace and very little banter filled the space between the songs. It didn't seem necessary to announce titles as much of the audience seemed to know what songs were coming up after only a couple of notes. I recognized some of the music, as Crob gets pretty good play on CBC these days, but I definitely didn't know all the lyrics to any of the music performed. Regardless, I think I seat-danced and slapped my thighs or clapped my hands during most of the concert. Many of the songs were taken at a fast tempo and at times I wondered when exactly Corb had the time to breath with the way the words spilled past his lips.

I've already touched on the bassists, but the whole band was quite good. The lead guitarist played a regular electric guitar, but also a lap slide guitar. He had the chance to showcase his skills with a number of solos during the show as did the bassist. The drummer didn't get the chance to cut loose except for at the end of the evening when Corb attempted to get a spot on him to recognize his unsung talents. I've never understood the appeal of playing the drums, but he did put together a solo that impressed even me. Although Corb played rhythm guitar most of the night he did take on a couple of solo riffs that demonstrated he's no slouch on the guitar either...oh right, and he sang the whole night.

So now that I've been to a country concert does it make me an official Albertan--especially a country concert like Corb Lund where most of the songs are about living in Alberta, where it's "east of the Rockies and west of all the rest?" Hmmm...probably not. I like Ontario, heck, I like Toronto and want to go back there some day, but Alberta does have great blue skies and tall mountains to hike. I'll probably miss these aspects when we do move back home.




Lisa said...

The first act was Ridley Bent. He's not from Edmonton, though - he was born in Halifax but grew up all over Canada. Yes, I agree, he was just "meh".

Corb Lund was awesome though! They always put on a great show.

Cape-Freak said...

Aye, the thing I miss most from my time in Vancouver is hiking in the mountains. There's just nothing to compare around here. Even the escarpment seems like a minor bump in the road in comparison.


S. Andrea Milne said...

Lisa--thanks for the correct info on Mr. Bent.
Matthew--agreed. I will miss the mountains for the good hiking.