By Victoria Strange
A foot-stomping, whistling, and hand-clapping crowd filled the sold-out Performing Arts Centre on Wednesday evening, February 3. Fans eagerly held signs, waved their cowboy hats and cheered for the most anticipated band in this season’s line-up: Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans.
With the room humming with excitement, the man next to me turns and says “I drove all the way from Calgary for this show. Are you a big fan, too?” Before I could answer, the room erupted as Lund and his band made their way on stage and launch into their first song.
Lund has an immediate and electric stage presence. The first few songs were all from his latest album, Things that Can’t be Undone. The music flowed with a mix of alt-country, rock, and honkey-tonk. Weight of the Gun, a favourite track of Lund’s from the new record, even dips into a Motown style. But there is still a raw rough edge to the music, and it’s that quality the audience seems to love.
Lund is part of a hard-working band and comes from a long line of hard-working ranchers. He’s proud of his family and proud of his home. After the song, Cows Around, he performed a perfect moo call into the mic and announced “half my family are in the cow business and the other half are in the oil business… or at least they used to be!” After the next song, Lund clarified (just in case there was any doubt about his hard-working family roots) that when he referred to the oil business, he meant they were the ones working “in the mud.” The crowd erupted with cheers.
Lund is personable, down to earth, and ‘real’ during the performance. He forgots a line in one song, then laughed and brushed it off while the band kept the beat, and said, “Let’s try that again.” He paused in another song, changing lyrics on the fly to fit the performance, giving the nod to British Columbia instead of Alberta. The crowd loved the humour and the dedication, and fans rose from their seats to fill in the sides and back of the theatre, dancing and cheering to the music.
The night steadily increased in excitement and humour. Lund sang a playful song solo (which didn’t make the new album) about an albino girl and the hopes to make her his “milky white wife.” The lyrics were simply funny and the crowd roared with laughter. From there, it was a natural progression to singing fan favourites about whisky. Again, the audience laughed, belting out “Rye whiskey, rye whisky, rye whiskey I cried, if I don’t get rye whisky I think I may die…” in unison.
By the encore, Lund had everyone on their feet. The excitement was contagious and even Lund seemed swept up by it, continuing to give the crowd “one last song”, seemingly not wanting to end the night himself. It was indeed a foot-stomping, crowd-whistling, and hand-clapping kind of show.
Am I a big fan, too?