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"What a freakin' blast" Nutana and Son of Han play joint album release show at the Cap (May 26/2023)

by Scott Roos

photos by Aaron Brown Photography

Hanson and Corbett share the stage in a highly anticipated moment during the Nutana set. (photo by Aaron Brown)

This past Friday, May, 26th the Sam Corbett helmed Nutana, and the Leot Hanson solo effort Son of Han, played a joint album release show at the Capitol Music Club. It was the final show, apart from a rescheduled Joel Plaskett date which will happen in September, in a series of ninth anniversary performances presented by the Capitol Music Club. Overall, it was a packed house, with the audience warm and receptive to each act that took the stage on this night.

Nutana opened the evening with a series of retro-esque original tunes plus a pair of tasty covers. Corbett’s flavourful cocktail of low key 70’s style instrumental sonics along the lines of Bread or America with a hint of Allman Brothers, and a touch of Pink Floyd seemed to resonate well.

Vocally, Corbett’s delivery was an understated slow burn. Spending the majority of his time behind the keyboard, although he did get behind the kit on a few occasions, his sit and play style served to showcase the remarkable hooks and deep lyrics of his songs. The energy level within Nutana stayed fairly restrained for the most part until Corbett’s former Sheepdogs bandmate Leot Hanson joined them on stage. It was a highly anticipated reuniting of Hanson and Corbett and they were able to deliver the goods in spades. Hanson’s spirited lead guitar on “From a Window” and the eerily Sheepdogsy sounding “That Would Be All” was a definite highlight. The set concluded with Sam’s dad Sheldon playing saxophone on “You Belong”. It was a solid effort.

Corbett's restraint was a key asset to his overall presentation. It created intimacy with his audience and drew them in. (photo by Aaron Brown)

“I feel great about the show, I was very pumped about how it went,” Corbett told NSMZ, “Playing with Leot again was a definite highlight, and I think he felt the same way too. We gotta figure out a way to do that again real soon for sure. It was also fun playing with my Dad, he's been a professional musician for my entire life, so obviously that's had a great effect on me.”

Sam's father Sheldon joined Nutana on their final song. The band was filled out by Ellen Froese, Clayton Linthicum, Chris Mason and Luke Goetz. (photo by Aaron Brown)

By contrast, Hanson’s Son of Han presented as a little more dynamic energy wise. With Hanson not doing the vocals on his own songs, the revolving door swung wide and often for other singers to front the band. At different times, Son of Han featured the vocals of Aspen Beveridge, Micah Braun, Billy Tataryn, Kit Langfield and Kory Istace. The varied repertoire kept everyone engaged throughout.

Of the five, Braun, who sang on “Arrows”, “Dem Boyz”, and “Gonna Lose” , was pretty entertaining to watch. He stumbled, rocked and swayed his way around the crowded stage of the Capitol like a clumsy version of Mick Jagger crossed with poor man's Bobcat Goldthwait. Watching him, you couldn’t help but smile. Anyways, the playful, med tempo, alt rock, pop bubble gum imbued, stomper “Arrows” is a great fucking song. The way Braun slyly sings “motherfucker” in that tune is like… GOALS. So the hat is tipped in Braun’s direction for sure.

Meanwhile, Langfield, mandolin in hand, grinned his way through the southern rock seasoned “Dreme”. Langfield has to be arguably, in this writer’s opinion, one of the more likable guys in the Saskatoon music scene right now. He’s got some sort of magnetism that draws you in that was on full display this night.

However, the MVP trophy of the Son of Han set has to belong to Istace who sings on the grungy, riff-gasm (if that’s not a word it is now) “Slave & Rage”. Sounding less like a castoff track from an ex Sheepdog and more like the song that was left on the cutting room floor of a Gruntruck session, this song kicks ass - the audience concurred by demanding an encore. Unfortunately, the band had already played through their material and couldn’t provide one. It's actually kind of admirable that they didn't give something that seems obligatory or a formality in this day and age. They just left and let the it all sink in. Respect...

“What a freakin’ blast. The general vibe in the room was so great, people were really digging on the music. The energy between the band and the crowd was electric,” raved Hanson in an email to NSMZ a few days after the show. “Nutana really opened the show up nicely, and Sam has so many ear-worms on that record, man. It was great to see all of that live. Hats off to Colin as well for doing a stellar job at the sound board - room sounded great all night.”

Both groups plan on performing again in the future. Son of Han has been offered shows in Toronto and Ottawa and Hanson is already working on a follow-up record. Corbett, on the other hand, would like to play another Nutana show but his gig with the Sheepdogs is picking up again. That being said, more Nutana songs may be on the way in the future but nothing is set in stone.

And, with this show in the books, the Capitol Music Club’s ninth anniversary celebrations have come to an end. On behalf of NSMZ, thank you to all the staff at the Cap for having us. You were truly great hosts.

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