Though, it didn't seem like much had changed; there was a fresh coat of paint and the bathrooms were not as dank as they once were, but it may still be a work in progress.
First up was Savvie opening the show. Recently transformed from the folksy Redbird, Savannah Leigh Wellman has tongue-in-cheek called her new sound "Sex Rock" (though doesn't specify whose tongue in whose cheek), with crunchy guitars and reverb-drenched vocals to get your hips swaying.
The set was pretty much a shorter version of her recent album release show, playing most of the recently released Night Eyes, with songs ranging from the sly "Break You In", the grittier "Gravity", and the smooth groove of "I Fall Again". My favourite of the set, "Dreams of Surrender", was an intense heartbreaker of a song with Savannah's vocals soaring and culminating with Jason Blood shredding on guitar.
Not long after, the five members of Rah Rah packed the stage. There wasn't as much instrument-switching as previous shows -- most notably, Erin Passmore did not hop behind the drum kit, rather stayed up front on keyboard and guitar. Nearly all members shared vocal duties, but the bulk were split between Erin and Marshall Burns, as they burst out the gates with what I think was a new song, followed by "Art and a Wife" from their previous The Poet's Dead.
The set spanned all three albums as well as teased their upcoming Vessels, with a few songs that really got me excited for the new record. Particularly one called "Chip Off the Heart" (and probably not the mondegreen "Chipmunk for Hire") with Kristina Hedlund on lead vocals. Other highlights included "Henry" with its gang-vocal chorus, the chaotic climax of "First Kiss", and "20s", with a line that has started to hit a little too close to home, "I spent my twenties on rock & roll, I'll spend my thirties feeling old".
As the main set came to a close, they finished with a pair of songs that could only come from a Regina band. First "Duet for Emmylou and the Grievous Angel" which is my favourite of theirs, likely a shared sentiment as just about everyone in the room was singing along, especially "in Regina... Saskatchewan" as Erin and Marshall's voices blended together beautifully. Then they closed out with "Prairie Girl", Erin's voice once more soaring over the ridiculously catchy song.
But of course, they came back out for a couple more, leaving the crowd with a couple more new songs, one sweet song, and one that they were playing live in front of people for the first time ever.
Rah Rah is a ridiculously fun band live, each member full of energy and enthusiasm, and the show was a great tease for the upcoming album. When they first released "Good Winter", I liked it, but I thought it wasn't that big of a departure from The Poet's Dead. But the other new songs sounded like a really great step forward, and I am looking forward to Vessels even more now. And eagerly anticipating the following tour.