This past September Alberta Cross released its first full-length album, A Broken Side of Time. In early 2010 the group emarked on its first headlining tour of the US and is now on to Europe. It has all been an enlightening experience for the group’s Sweden-born guitarist/vocalist Petter Ericson Stakee. The musician emigrated to Brooklyn a few years ago and in the following conversation discusses the impact of the borough on his music, while also touching on Neil Young, the new release and a recent show that nearly was cancelled when fans overran the venue.
I read a review of your recent Muddy Waters café gig (Jan. 15) in Santa Barbara, CA. What transpired that night sounded beyond ridiculous, can you get into the details of that evening for the readers?
We sold the show out midway through the opener’s set, but for some reason people kept sneaking in through the back of the venue. People were pressed against one another basically doubling the capacity of the venue. The sidewalk outside was just full of people trying to get in. It was really crazy. During the fourth song, the police came in and stopped the show during our first set [laughs]…
That must have been pretty disrupting to both the band and its fans.
It was pretty mad in there I have to say. We told the police about an idea we came up with to perform two separate sets because of the amount of fans. So we told the fans that if some would leave there now, we would play one set for the people who stayed. Then the audience from the first set would have to leave and let the other people in and we’d do a set for them. It was pretty awesome, a good night overall.
I also read in the review that you brought your guitar to the middle of the crowd during some songs along with fellow guitarist Sam Kearney.
Yeah, it makes for a better show, you know? It makes you feel like you’re one with the crowd. Especially in venues like the Muddy Waters one, it’s really quite intimate. And it works out well; you can get in a vibe and start to get people going.
Since Alberta Cross is relatively “new” in the American music scene, were you surprised by the intense turnout at this Muddy Waters show?
Well there’s a price you pay. It wasn’t always like this. This is our first proper headline tour in America now. We did a headline European tour before Christmas. The Muddy show was really amazing and definitely a great surprise. The West Coast so far has been awesome; L.A. Troubadour show sold out, San Francisco Bottom of the Hill show sold out, it feels good. A good start to the year for sure.
How has the live audience been receiving the new material from your latest album A Broken Side of Time? Do you stick to the new material, or do you integrate older songs into your live repertoire?
They seem to be really into A Broken Side of Time. The audience is into a lot of different things though, everyone has their own preferences. A lot of fans sing the words to the first EP ( The Thief & the Heartbreaker ) and some of the other people are into the newer stuff. That’s a good thing for us though. People are pretty much into all our stuff. It makes it easier than people just being into one song or a couple of songs, whatever. Now, I feel like people are singing a lot of the songs, it’s a good thing definitely to know they appreciate the entire catalog.
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