Reviews > Shows
Alberta Cross, Bush Hall, London, 11/17/2009
Hopping across the pond following a North American run, Alberta Cross returned to its roots for several London shows. London hipsters, American transplants and the band’s family members filled Bush Hall, an intimate venue decorated with crystal chandeliers and disco balls.
Opening for Alberta Cross was London-based Oh Ruin, led by Eoin O’Ruainigh. While the band emitted a similar mood as the headliner, Oh Ruin blended vocals reminiscent of Ryan Adams or Adam Duritz with the melancholic tones of Bon Iver. Playing for half-an-hour, Oh Ruin successfully captured the attention of mingling listeners in the bar and drew them deeper into the cavernous venue (the band even culled several members of Alberta Cross to observe the performance).
Alberta Cross (guitarist/vocalist Petter Ericson Stakee who donned a standard black scarecrow hat, bassist Terry Wolfers, guitarist Sam Kearney, drummer Austin Beede and keyboardist Alec Higgins) came onstage in ‘70s southern rock get-up, complete with shoulder-length hair.
With a moodiness reminiscent of Jeff Buckley but with the power of The White Stripes, the band opened with the slow rocker, “Song Three Blues,” from its latest, Broken Side of Time. Stakee’s gritty and soulful vocals drenched the audience in oozy, stripped blues for a fast-paced “Taking Control” and a crooning “Ramblin’ Home.” Even though his vocals were often nearly drowned out by an overpowering bass, slight technical difficulties didn’t stop the audience from dancing and singing along.
Originally on Alberta Cross’ self-produced EP, The Thief and the Heartbreaker, but re-released on the band’s recent album, “Old Man Chicago” was definitely reminiscent of a soft, Neil Young-like southern rock staple which was followed by the significantly less moody and melancholic crowd favorite, “Lucy Rider.” The packed audience listened, captivated, as Stakee’s vocals trembled and questioned, “Why do we always lose what we love?”
For a change of tone, Alberta Cross pounded out a slew of songs from the new album, including the haunting and reverberating “ATX,” with guitarist Kearney playing a wailing slide. The band closed the show with the popular “Low Man” and “City Walls.” The quintet will continue to play shows throughout Europe and then travel back to the States for two shows in VT in late December with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.
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