December 15, 2009 | 9:05am
Omaha's Saddle Creek Records, Rural Alberta drew the biggest crowd of the night with their sweet and energetic songs about loves lost, haunted railroad towns, and missed opportunities. Almost reminiscent of a Bleed American era Jimmy Eat World, it was no surprise to me what their appeal to this intimate Arizona crowd was. The cute guy-girl vocal pairing of Paul Banwatt and Amy Cole evoked the emotion-heavy yearning of Jim Adkins and Rachel Haden, while drummer Nils Edenloff kept the tempo up with chaotic disco dance beats, which provided an interesting contrast between the subtleties of the acoustic guitar and keyboards. My main concern for the night was the levels on their sound. I'm not sure what happened after Shaky Hands left the stage sounding great, but Rural Alberta had the ill fortune of being too loud at first. Banwatt's vocals were almost peaking through the speakers as the crowd got closer to the stage and at times the guitar was completely overpowered by the drums and vocals. My only real gripe was that I didn't like how their drums sounded. While the technique was there, I felt like I was listening to a 90s pop-punk band from SoCal with how tightly tuned his toms were. Other than that, it was a pretty good Monday night.