Saskatchewan has never seemed so appealing as when Rah Rah dominated the Biltmore’s stage.
The members cranked out prairie party rock that rallied the crowd into a singalong and dance party that miraculously managed to get urbanites moving and grooving.
The show included everything from twangy vocals and guitar licks to 90s revival pop and a whole lot of cheeky lines. “I’ve never been to a rave, but I’d imagine this is what it would look like,” Kristina Thornsen, violinist/singer/multi-instrumentalist admitted to the crowd. Although I would disagree, I get her point: a huge crowd marinating in sweat and trying to keep up with Kristina’s creatively interpretive dance moves and using her glow sticks as beacons to draw everyone’s eyes to the stage was quite the sight and sound.
Rah Rah played all the usual material, building up to a big singalong in “Duet for Emmylou and the Grievous Angel” in a most passive-aggressive fashion. Rarely has there been such a loud group singing at the top of their lungs how apathetic they’ve become about love or lost interest in an old fling. If there was a theme song for the night, it would be “20s” – what could be a better song to lose one’s inhibitions to than chanting “I’ll spend my 20s on rock and roll/I’ll spend my 30s feeling old.”
Of course, most of the songs played were off of Rah Rah’s 2013 Juno-nominated album The Poet’s Dead. The duo of Erin Passmore and Kristine have completely opposite styles, yet make an amazing team. Passmore dominated the room belting out “Prairie Girl” and Thornsen’s distinct voice with a squeaky mouse effect was featured in “Run” and a few other tunes clearly written for her voice and her voice alone. Marshall seemed in a particularly good mood for the night, using his front man charms and incredible guitar skills to keep the it all together, he really shined during “First Kiss” with a little extra oomph than usual.
The band was more well-rehearsed than ever, even with Passmore living in Vancouver. It was a semi-homecoming show but never felt like we were too far from the Prairies.
Review and photos by Jessica Brodeur