The Rural Alberta Advantage / Entire Cities / Kings of Lowertown Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ottawa, ON February 17

Sometimes a lyric just encapsulates a night perfectly and that honour went to Toronto, ON’s Entire Cities, who noted, "I like getting fucked up by the sunshine.” While inherent in that lyric is the desire to escape from winter, it also showcases juxtaposition between something innocent, the warming sun, and the twisted use of an expletive. All bands similarly showcased some sunny melodies that were twisted and tweaked into exciting formats. New local act Kings of Lowertown were making their live debut, and, well, they were as polished as one would expect, but there was a simmering anger that roared through their standard rock on occasion. However, a little more stage presence would have been nice. Entire Cities were a little leaner than usual, but that did nothing to dull the way they would be ambling through a fine country-ish pop tune then, on a dime, blast the audience with a frenzy of guitar and drums. From indie rock to country-fried folk to some good ol’ banjo pickin’, it was quite exciting and they only seem to be getting better. Of course, not sounding rural at all was the Rural Alberta Advantage, whose lead singer is, yes, from Alberta. Like a well-oiled threshing machine, the RAA, in matching red uniforms, ripped through their catchy and tight indie anthems with a nice fervour. Moving breathlessly through their new album, Hometowns, their intricately composed pop songs effortlessly got people moving and dancing and, really, their entire set was a sheer delight. Even more charming was the encore, where the RAA disconnected, climbed down from the stage and serenaded the audience, who were appropriately in awe. It really was all lovely and charming, but, luckily, slightly fucked up.