Published Aug 10, 2014Serena Ryder seemed psyched to be performing. Not professionally excited, the duty of any artist at certain level of popularity. Not energetic, an offshoot of showmanship. No, she just seems psyched to be on the stage, hair-flipping, ear-to-ear grinning happy to be sharing her music with such a big audience. Why shouldn't she be? She's been working long enough to appreciate how rare and great the kind of pop popularity she has now can be.
Her Regina Folk Festival set, closing out the Saturday night main stage festivities, was a mix of that joyful energy and a slick professionalism. Radio hits like "Stompah" and "What I Wouldn't Do" might have been played to death for some by now –– not any of the enthusiastic audience in front of the stage, to be sure –– but she and her band made them new, not through different arrangements or any substantive changes but simply through sheer vigour. Ryder's embracing this new part of her career –– even to the exclusion of former live staples like "Little Bit of Red," a bit of surprise to be honest –– and it suits her.