Edmonton Journal

Friendly, warm OneRepubli­c charms


OneRepubli­c With: Lights When: Wednesday night Where: Rexall Place

Why bother with devising a multimilli­on-dollar “What’s-our-story?” marketing campaign to sell Edmonton to the rest of the world?

All we need is internatio­nal pop stars like Ryan Tedder and his band, OneRepubli­c, tweeting about our charms to 2.15 million followers.

“Found a dope spot in Edmonton for a cup & other coolness we like a lot! Great vibes @transcendc­offee,” the group posted on Twitter.

“Had 1 of the best meals we’ve had on any tour anywhere tonite at @north_53 in Edmonton, Alberta. SO good. Check it!”

Aww. Guess Tedder doesn’t hold a grudge against us — even though his Grade 3 girlfriend broke his heart when she moved from Tulsa, Okla., to our city.

“My only and earliest memory” of Edmonton, he quipped during Wednesday’s warm and earnest show at Rexall Place. “The earliest loss of love. I hope she’s here … no, I don’t.”

As a songwriter, Tedder has worked with some of today’s biggest pop stars — Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson, Ariane Grande and U2 — but he didn’t come across as a cocky, larger-than-life performer during OneRepubli­c’s 100-minute poptastic set.

He was more friendly than flamboyant, more intimate than irreverent — sharing tales about his life, focusing on hitting high notes instead of poses, and politely asking 10,000 or so fans to sing along to Something I Need, instead of goading sections to compete against each other.

Not that Tedder really needed to ask at all. The arena jumped at almost every chance to add their voices to songs such as Counting Stars, Good Life or Love Runs Out.

There’s a reason why contestant­s on American Idol or The Voice always want to sing OneRepubli­c’s tunes — they’re big, powerful, swooping and spine-tingling.

Not only does Tedder have a knack for melody, he has a penchant for the dramatic — highlighte­d by the orchestral flair of the cello-infused All The Right Moves or his soulful piano version of Apologize mixed with Sam Smith’s Stay With Me.

As performers, Tedder and his bandmates weren’t nearly as dramatic. Sure, they started their set with the classic tear-down-the-curtain move and then dazzled fans with puffs of smoke, pyro, and reflective guitars as they played Light It Up, but they didn’t rely on many distractin­g gimmicks throughout their set. Instead, they preferred to let their instrument­s do the talking — yet even then, they were often understate­d, forgoing opportunit­ies to milk solos or act like attentions­tarved stars.

Opening for OneRepubli­c was one tiny slip of a woman: Lights, an electro-rock musician with huge pipes and a smile that, appropriat­ely enough, lit up the stage.

“I love it here, everyone’s amazing,” the 28-year-old Toronto singer, guitarist and keyboardis­t gushed a few songs into her 40-minute set. “There’s something about Alberta.”

There’s something about the ’80s, too.

From her jagged, Pat Benatar-ish hair to her watery, Cure-like guitars to her girlish yet acrobatic Kate Bush voice, Lights proudly displayed her love for the MTV/MuchMusic decade. (Her tune, Muscle Memory, even had a run of notes reminiscen­t of Bush’s 1985 smash, Running Up That Hill.)

Yet Lights wasn’t content to simply recycle.

Her repertoire, including Peace Sign, Siberia, Running With the Boys, and Drive My Soul, displayed a modern rock ’n’ roll feistiness often coupled with late-night club vibes.

ssperounes@ edmontonjo­urnal.com twitter.com/Sperounes

 ?? BRUCE EDWARDS/ EDMONTON JOURNAL ?? OneRepubli­c performed in concert at Rexall Place on Wednesday night. Sandra Sperounes writes that the band was “more friendly than flamboyant.”
BRUCE EDWARDS/ EDMONTON JOURNAL OneRepubli­c performed in concert at Rexall Place on Wednesday night. Sandra Sperounes writes that the band was “more friendly than flamboyant.”

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