Michael Rault The Rec Room, Edmonton AB, June 19

Michael Rault The Rec Room, Edmonton AB, June 19
Photo: Levi Manchak
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No one coming home to Edmonton ever steps on the same parking lot pavement twice; parking lots in the city needs new asphalt every year. Michael Rault's Edmonton homecoming, amidst a busy summer on the road, put his evolution as a gifted musician on full display.
 
The venue, a gigantic adult-themed arcade located in a neverland of box stores, was as edgy as a retiree weeding their garden. Not all places are meant to be taken with a straight face. It was also impossible not to catch an infectious grin from opener Aladean Kheroufi, who charmed the crowd with a short set of earnest crooning.
 
As Rault began his set with the opening track "I'll Be There," from his recently released album It's a New Day Tonight, it was clear that the years away from home have propelled him to new terrain as an artist. Rault's vocal precision remained as flawless as its delivery, and his talent for arranging perfectly pitched harmonies blended seamlessly with the sheen of his guitar work. It could be his well-trained ear that forced him to pause and tune his guitar before nearly every song, but such is the price of fidelity. Despite the bold-faced branding in the room, the impressive sound quality served the stunning dynamics of Rault's band well. Every disorienting chord progression he and his two accompanying guitarists played cast a glint of glossy tones across the ears of the crowd.
 
Between songs and tunings, audience members could be heard telling each other that going to a Michael Rault gig was the first show they'd ever attended, and considering the young age of some, it was likely that their first show-going experience was just happening. A hometown show is always a certain type of reunion, so along with the first-timers, the turning whirlwind of hometown friends, family, and long-standing fans were audibly appreciative of old songs like "Too All My Friends." Rault finished his set with the glimmering "When the Sun Shines" and headed off, presumably to find his touring vehicle in the unfamiliar parking lot and leave back home.