Paul Brandt & High Valley – Capitol Theatre – 02/17/12

Posted: 20th February 2012 by refrainmusic in Concerts

Hitting the Capitol Theater on a snowy night in the middle of February comes Canadian country superstar Paul Brandt with special guests, Open Road Recording artists High Valley.  The lobby of the beautiful theatre was very busy with the anticipation of the upcoming show and it looked as though it would be a pretty much full house.   The Capitol Theatre reopened its doors in 1993 after being restored to it’s former stylings of 1921, it’s acoustics and beauty modernized, shine through today.  Off to our seats it was almost show time, and every time I walk in this regal old theatre I feel taken back a bit and am amazed something like this still exists.  It was the first time I’d been seated in the upper balcony, and oddly it felt almost dizzying and I awaited the start of the show, admiring the old feel of this beautiful auditorium.  An interesting addition to the show was showing the influence of social media in today’s musical world as you could see behind the instruments a large video screen showing “tweets” about the show (if you don’t know what tweets are, where have you been?).  Audience members could enter a ‘Paul Brandt’ contest and win a trip to the Calgary stampede, and I must say it was a neat addition to see your own tweets roll across the screen for you and all the crowd to see (@highvalley / @PaulBrandt).

Audience Tweeticipation - Paul Brandt Concert - 02/17/12

Local radio personality Shilo Bellis from XL96 kicks the night off with the introduction of Open Road Records “High Valley”.  The Rempel brothers are three young lads with a great skill set on their instruments, fantastic harmonies, and a great sense of fun onstage.  Having opened for the likes of Brad Paisley and Keith Urban these brothers from Northern Canada are really beginning to come into their own with the group having won the 2011 Country Radio Music Award for Best New Group / Solo Artist (Country) and in 2010 and 2011, they were nominated for the Rising Star Award at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards (CCMA).   To add to that list they were recently nominated for a JUNO award for “Best Country Album”.

The brothers are always appreciative of the crowd before them when they play here, and inject their show with humorous story telling and anecdotes from their life and travels.  They were even able to deal admirably with two rather ‘boisterous’ fellows that were rather raucous in their appreciation of the band (whom were later removed to applause from the crowd).  The guys rolled through all their hit singles from their self-titled debut album which had four singles in the top 25 on country radio, “I Will Stand By You”, “On The Combine”, “A Father’s Love” and “Call Me Old Fashioned”.  They also took the time to talk about a personal cause that had special meaning for them in regard to sponsoring children in impoverished countries.  The crowd was highly appreciative of the young group High Valley, who I highly (no pun intended) recommend that you check out.

High Valley - Capitol Theatre - 02/17/12

After a brief intermission it was time for our main act, Paul Brandt, to take the stage.  With a stage set up appropriate for the Capitol, featuring three large throw rugs, a multitude of candle lights, and three large ‘lava lamps’ the stage set an intimate mood for Brandt’s show.  Hitting the stage with little introduction, and launching right into the first songs, Brandt set us off on a night that would take us across decades and a worldly music career.   The “Now” tour kicked off with that very song from Brandt’s latest and sixth studio album “Give It Away” and took us all the way back to one of his biggest hits in “I Do” that he wrote for a co-worker’s wedding from his career, which came to a surprise to many, as a pediatric nurse.

Paul Brandt - Capitol Theatre - 02/17/12

He even regaled us with a few humorous stories from his time on the childrens ward, speaking of stories, that’s one thing I personally was very appreciative of, Brandt taking the time not to just play music for us; but to ‘interact’ with us.  Now some bands, all you want them to do is ‘play’, but most I’d like to ‘hear from them’, to me it makes for a more ‘complete’ show and experience…if we just wanted to hear the music, we could do that at home.

Paul Brandt - Capitol Theatre - 02/17/12

Brandt took us around the world with his stories, showed us how music is ‘universal’, how it and his guitar got him out of a tight spot in a militant country overseas.  How it has aided him in helping World Vision sponsor children, which he took some time in the middle of the show to speak about and encouraged people to check out in the lobby of the Capitol.    Taking us on a journey through his career with songs like “My Heart Has A History”, “I Do”, “Convoy” (which brought his merchandise guy on stage in a duck suit, and if you know the song you know why) and his latest single “Give It Away”.  Even joined by opening act HighValley members for a couple of his songs to the delight of the crowd.

Paul Brandt - Capitol Theatre - 02/17/12

I must remember to make a note to myself the next time I go see a performer that typically likes to wear a cowboy hat most of the time, don’t sit in the balcony or you won’t see their face much!  Brandt talked about how he loves what he does, and how he appreciates everything he has received over the years and how he’d still do it in his ‘living room’ if he couldn’t do it live anymore.  But he will have a chance to do it on a very large stage later this year when he gets the chance to celebrate on the main stage at the Calgary Stampede as the Stampede celebrates it’s centennial and Brandt get’s to fire off a million dollars in fireworks every night (who wouldn’t be excited about that!).  Closing out the night with an encore, Brandt asked the crowd what they wanted to hear, and many shouted out “Alberta Bound”, which was the final song of the night!

Thanks to High Valley, Paul Brandt, the Capitol Theatre, and Jones entertainment for another great show, and if you get to see either of these acts in your area I strongly urge you to, until next time!