Dan Mangan / Rural Alberta Advantage Danforth Music Hall, Toronto, ON, October 25

Dan Mangan / Rural Alberta Advantage Danforth Music Hall, Toronto, ON, October 25
Photo: Sarah Murphy
Leading off a Can-con double bill, the Rural Alberta Advantage threw their energy into an lengthy opening set that included both older material and a couple of new tunes. Favourites from Departing like "Tornado '87" and "Barnes' Yard" got the early arrivers clapping and stomping along, though other songs in the set tended to blend into one another. The standout from the opening slot was definitely frontman Nils Edenloff's solo rendition of The Littlest Hobo theme song (yes, that show about the dog that every Canadian watches when nothing else is on).

While the RAA weren't short on crowd support, Dan Mangan and his ever-expanding band filed onstage to rapturous applause. Opening with the recently released "We Want to Be Pleasantly Surprised, Not Expectedly Let Down" from his "Radicals" 7-inch, Mangan then launched into a set showing off Oh Fortune and its beloved predecessor Nice, Nice, Very Nice.

Songs like "Sold" and "Post-War Blues" had everyone on the floor clapping along, while the more sombre ones like "If I Am Dead" and "Regarding Death and Dying" allowed for dramatic walls of sound to build.

Mangan took a couple ridiculous shouts from the audience in stride, laughing along, but gave the masses a chance to be heard when he surfed over the crowd for the always sing-along-friendly "Robots." When it came time to close out the night, he made his way back into the crowd to stand on a stool and conduct the building for "So Much for Everyone," which has become a staple in his live set.

While the show may have been a bit familiar to fans that have seen recent tours, the Vancouver songsmith proved to everyone that robots need love too — and that Mangan still deserves it for his live show.