Celebrate Canada Day with rock and roll music.
Canadian classic rockers Prism play two shows in Lethbridge. The Vancouver band, featuring original member Al Harlow, will be playing its numerous hits including “Spaceship Superstar,” “Take me to The Kaptain,” “See Forever Eyes,” Flying” and many more at Average Joes, June 30 at 8:30 p.m. Band of Brothers are also on the bill.
Prism will be at Coyote Joes for Canada Day, taking the stage at 9 p.m. Ticket are $15 in advance, $20 on the day of the shows.
As usual there is a lot of music, magic and dance happening at Henderson Lake Park on Canada Day.
The Lethbridge Taiko Association begins celebrations at the Japanese Nikka Yuko Gardens at 10 a.m. Music begins on the main stage in Henderson Lake with the Lethbridge Community Band Society. They will be followed by Shayne Marie/Asher/Fernando, Mi Colombia a Linda. Matthew Robinson performs at 1:50 p.m. followed by magician Ben Price, Champion Tae Kwon Do and opening ceremonies at 4 p.m. The Soul Sisters follow that then Extreme Cheer Sensation, local teen rockers Diversified, Lethbridge Princess parties, jazz rockers the Junkman’s Quire, jigging, the delta blues stylings of Leon Barr and Desert Wind belly dancers. Local alternative rock duo Sparkle Blood performs at 8:50 p.m. and The Geometras and DJ Rabbyt will lead you to the fireworks.
If you just want to dance, be at Galt Gardens in the afternoon where DJ Rabbyt will be spinning dance music along with Marty Funkhauser, Steve Samurai, Phunkey le Freq and Verboze. They perform from noon to 5 p.m.
There is no charge for these Canada Day celebrations
If you like hip hop music, WC of Westside connection will be performing June 30 with DJ Crazy Toones and Dctmg and local rappers Smg , Lil Smokey, Trey Mark, Sam Mackey, Luke Prozac, Blood Rez, Lrev and Pyke.
Tickets are $20. Doors open at 8 p.m.
Local rock abounds around town. Toques and Bears return to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, June 30.
And Bikers Against Child Abuse are having a pig roast and fundraiser at the Tilted Kilt parking lot July 2. Family activities will be happening from noon to 4 p.m. Local blues rock band Driving While Blind will be performing at 8 p.m.Tickets are $20.
Calgary indie rock band the Northwest Passage play the Owl Acoustic Lounge, July 2 in support of its brand new, freshly minted CD “A_Wake.”
They feature members of popular Calgary band Savk. There is no cover for the show, though donations will be taken.
If you are hanging around Lethbridge for July 4 and feel like celebrating Monday night, Peterborough based bluegrass/alt-country/cajun duo the Mayhemingways returns to the Owl Acoustic Lounge.
And if you enjoy noise rock and alternative rock, R Ariel stops by Attainable Records, July 5 in support of her fifth CD and book “In North America.” She will be joined by local band the Postnamers and An Ant and an Atom. Admission is $10 the music begins at 9 p.m.
Prism still ready to rock for Canada Day
Rock and roll is decidedly not dead, it has just changed according to Al Harlow, frontman of Vancouver classic rockers Prism.
Prism plays two shows in Lethbridge for Canada Day — a June 30 pre-Canada Day party at Average Joes and across town at Coyote Joes for Canada Day.
“It seems like rock and roll culture is on the increase,” Harlow observed, warming to the subject.
“We have three generations of people coming to our shows including young kids who grew up listening to our songs on the radio,” he said, adding that is true of many “heritage acts” who formed in the ’70s and ’80s and who are still touring. Though he said he doesn’t like to consider Prism a heritage act, he accepts the fact audiences usually come to see Prism to hear their many mega-hits.
“I went to see Paul McCartney in Vancouver a month ago. He was amazing but he put a few new songs into the set which were amazing, but he realized why the people were there — to hear his hits. I wanted to hear his hits, too,” he said.
“We play a lot of shows with bands like Chilliwack and Kenny Shields. We were playing with Chilliwack and I told Bill Henderson ‘you’re a national treasure,’ and he said ‘No, we‘re a national treasure,’” he related.
“We put on a real rock and roll show. We may not dress up in the costumes we did in the ’70s, but we’re dressed to play a rock and roll show. It’s powerful and to be part of it is exciting,” he said.
He noted while the business has changed, the primary motivations of artists hasn’t.
“Young people playing music aren’t in it to become millionaires. We weren’t. When we were 20, recording was a big deal. You had to go to Hollywood or somewhere to record. Now you can have a studio in your basement,” he said.
“When we were 19, you had one platform to be heard, now you have 380 platforms and maybe you get .0009 of a cent for each one,” he said.
But I have a new CD ready. I love doing it and don’t plan on stopping,” he said.
He said it is important for him to write new songs. Audiences respond to them, too.
They released “Big Black Sky” in 2008, which is currently sold out on Prism’s website.
“‘Tangiers’ from that CD is still part of the set, it seems to resonate with people. And we play ‘Big Black Sky’ and ‘Say You Want Me,’ which is more my favourite because it is a big Rolling Stonesish rocker,” he said adding Prism is almost done writing a new CD.
“I have a new Prism CD almost done and a new Al Harlow CD,” he said, adding the solo CD explores his love for the blues and folk music.
“I play a lot of slide guitar, well I play a lot of slide guitar with Prism, but the songs don’t fit in with Prism,” he said.
Harlow said it is important to give his fans a good show when Prism plays.
“I don’t just want to stand and stare at my shoes. I lose five pounds after one of our shows. I’m a happy guy and it shows when we go out and play. It’s like getting up in the morning and putting on a nice pair of freshly washed old jeans,” he said.
“I went to go see Tony Bennett, He’s 81 now and still performing. He’s got the drink in his hand and wiggling around. It’s not rock and roll, so he’s not getting that calisthenic workout but he’s amazing,” he said, adding he’d love to be performing when he‘s that age.
Harlow has a million stories to tell so he is writing a book about them.
“There are a lot of books out there and I’m in them, but there is a lot of misinformation about me,“ he said.
“So I’m writing one. I’ve written 500 pages, but I need to trim it down to 400 as soon as I get off my lazy ass and do it,” he chuckled, reminiscing about hanging out with Long John Baldry back in the day when Harlow was broke and starving in London, England in the ’70s.
“I remember being broke and starving in London, I’d spend my last five pence to call him and he’d come and get me,” he said.
He recalled writing the band’s hit “Flying.”
“It’s a true story. I was in Britain with Rocket Norton (Prism’s original drummer) and we met these two girls. We took off to Paris on whim. And I guess Rocket and this girl fell in love so he brought her back here and it didn’t go well. She didn’t like his boorish, braggart ways, so I ended up taking her on dates. There’s pictures of us in front of the Empress Hotel in Victoria. He’d already paid for a return ticket,” he said.
“Three weeks ago I was going through old photo albums for my son. I got him into Jaguar cars. And I found a picture of that girl. It was the first time I’d seen that picture. She must be 70 now. She was a lovely girl. I never did see her again after that, so c’est la vie. So that song is about her,” he reminisced.
He enjoys playing Lethbridge.
“We’ve played there a lot even before we were Prism, when we were the Seeds of Time (The core of Prism including Harlow, lead guitarist Lindsay Mitchell, keyboardist John Hall and Rocket Norton who formed in the late ’60s with Jim Vallance and Bruce Fairbairn, both of whom went on to become renown songwriters and producers). I’ve played big festivals there and smaller stages. We played an outdoor stage with Honeymoon Suite and Kenny Shields and we had a big 40-foot stage to run around on it. It’s a different dynamic playing on smaller, 15-foot stages in a bar when the front row is right there. But it is always cool when we play Lethbridge. We’ve made a lot of friends there like Rob Mereska,” he said.
Prism plays Average Joes, at 8:30 p.m., June 30. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. They play Coyote Joes at 9 p.m. on July 1. Tickets are also $15 in advance, $20 at the door.
Northwest Passage to debut new CD in Lethbridge
Calgary-based quartet the Northwest Passage is psyched about releasing its debut CD A_Wake.
They will be premiering it in Lethbridge at the Owl Acoustic Lounge July 2.
“We adore Lethbridge and we always have, which is one of the reasons we’re focussing on it,” said frontman Paul van Kampen who was just at the Owl Acoustic Lounge last week playing with SAVK.
“We‘ll do a Calgary release later,” he said adding the CD isn’t officially out yet. The Northwest Passage CD features Paul van Kampen (vocals, piano and synths), Darren Young (vocals and guitars), Laura Reid (violin), Daniel Wilson (drums and percussion), Russell Broom (bass guitar), Laura Jones (vocals), and featuring Arran Fisher (backing vocals in Lorelei). The core four of van Kampen, Young, Reid and Wilson will be playing with Laura Jones and possibly another member if they are able to make it.
“We’ll be playing the CD from front to back and just let the CD do it’s thing,” van Kampen said, adding July 2 will be their first visit to Lethbridge under the Northwest Passage banner, though they have performed here in other incarnations.
The band have been playing the songs for about two years.
“It‘s a look at life and death as a metaphor for love lost. It’s very deep and complex album,” he described.
“It deals with very personal subject matter,” he said adding it is dedicated to long-time friend Carson Hemsing who died several years ago.
“He was a friend. His life paralleled mine, and then diverged. It explores our friendship and our separation. It explores the deepest, darkest fears we all have, well, I only write from my experience, so it was my way of exorcising my demons,” he said.
“I think it work exceptionally well,” he said.
Russell Broom, who has worked with countless big name Canadian artists including Jann Arden, produced the CD and played bass on it.
“He is really a top-notch musician. He became like a fifth member of the band. He played bass on the album and really took us under his wing,” he said adding he helped focus the band.
“The way our writing process works is I write 100 per cent of the songs and bring them to the band and it becomes a fight over who gets to take lead. There was a lot of back and forth. He came to one rehearsal. He broke down each of our parts and made sure each part served the purpose of the song,” van Kampen said.
They play the Owl Acoustic Lounge at 9 p.m. There is no cover for the show.
Bend Sinister leave Lethbridge audiences with smiles
You always leave a Bend Sinister show with a smile on your face, even on a weeknight.
A surprisingly good Wednesday night crowd danced the night away to the Vancouver-based progressive rock band at the Slice June 22.
As always their sound is anchored by frontman Dan Moxon’s keyboards. Their sound is supplemented by recent addition Kristy Lee Audette’s extra keyboards, trumpet and harmony vocals.
In addition to the outstanding playing of guitarist Joseph Blood, bassist Matt Rhode (this time dressed in red spandex pants), and drummer Dickey Neptune, all five of them sing vocal harmonies to die for.
They started off strong right of the gate with, I think, a new song that showcased their spine-tingling vocal harmonies.
Moxon sang vocal hooks you could hang your hat on and everybody played their parts just beautifully. After that “Feeling Fine” had the floor filled and everybody was just that— feeling fine.
“Feeling Fine” featured a catchy little trumpet riff which the other instruments echoed.
Another crowd favourite “I Got Love” had the floor filled again. It was one of many songs that had the feel of vintage Deep Purple. Audette’s harmony vocals gave them the air of Ian Blurton and Caitlin Dacey’s Toronto rock band Public Animal.
They added a few new songs including “Walk The Other Way” which resonated with the crowd, starting off slow and building to a slow burn. It featured a beautiful vocal melody that would do Burton Cummings proud.
Moxon grinned as he lead the band into another older song “ Things Will Get Better” which exemplified Bend Sinister’s optimistic, hopeful sound reflecting the happiest days of the ’70s.
“Teacher” pretty much brought the house down after that as the floor filled yet again.
After that came another new song called “Lies To Me” which was one of several songs that had a Supertramp sound complemented by extra keyboards and Audette’s trumpet.
They brought back the heavy again with some more Deep Purple inspired songs also reminiscent of Public Animal.
Moxon asked the audience if they’d ever been to South Country Fair, which drew a chorus of cheers. He reminisced about the band playing the fair a few years ago and staying up until 10 in the morning and then played a slower song inspired by the experience called “Going to Get High,” of which the easy-going feel reminded me of Calgary’s the Dudes.
They earned about a billion cool points by winding things down around 1 a.m. with an awesome, almost note-perfect cover of Van Halen’s ’80s hit “Jump,” and called it a night with their latest single “ Long Live Rock and Roll,” but a chorus of Awwwwwwweeees” brought them back for one last song — a solid cover of Supertramp’s “Logical Song.”
I wasn’t expecting to hear an opening band for the show, but Nanaimo-based Gold and Shadow opened up with a set of originals and covers that drew heavily from the well of Pink Floyd, Radiohead, U2 and countless Vancouver area indie rock bands who love waves of ambient guitar.
Gold and Shadow had plenty of that and waves of keyboards. Both the bassist and guitarist had a bank of effects units placed at their feet, which they knelt down to adjust. An additional keyboardist joined them mid set as their frontman had some fun with effects.
They played a Radiohead cover and their lead guitarist took centre stage to sing a Dan Mangan cover.
They played “Life Giver” from their new EP “Birdhaus.”
Citizen Rage full of anger and fun
It is tough to get people to come out on a Tuesday night so I was disappointed though not surprised by the lack of numbers for Calgary thrash punks Citizen Rage at Inferno/Pulse, June 21. Especially considering they had a lot of competition for a Tuesday with Meatloaf playing the Enmax and BA Johnson at the Owl. I missed opening acts Chernoff and Ginger Priest, but made a point of catchy Citizen Rage.True to their name, they had a lot of Rage as frontman Mark Russell strutted across the stage and into the audience bellowing into his microphone as his band blasted on behind them. There was a lot of rage but also a lot of love and community despite the small numbers, Russell made everyone feel part of the Citizen Rage family as he shouted at everyone to come closer. A mosh pit started and ended as quickly as it began. Russell introduced their new guitarist who provided a loud and intense wall of snarling distortion.
Russell took a seat behind the drums and traded places with the drummer who took centre stage to shout out lead vocals for a song.
They played a lot of familiar music from their Red and blue CDs as well as new music from their brand new Green and yellow EPS.
Their bassist looked like Dan Vacon from the Dudes and High Kicks.
I left early because I wanted to catch B.A. Johnson but needn’t have as he was still in the process of setting up when I arrived.
B.A. Johnston leaves crowd singing and laughing
Hamilton slacker poet/funnyman/mischievous leprechaun B.A. Johnston always brings in a dedicated crowd and leaves them smiling when he plays the Owl Acoustic Lounge, even on a surprisingly busy Tuesday night as he did June 21. I caught most of the opening set from local band the Rainbow Patrol who channeled the spirit of the ’90s in the vein of the Dandy Warhols and Gin Blossoms, before ending their set with more of a psychedelic, stoner rock groove. And I completely missed local punk trio Advertisement.
There weren’t as many people as I expected, but still a good sized and good natured crowd of about 60 people. Johnston returned their good vibes in spades, cracking bad jokes about Medicine Hat and about “the sh——est mall in town” and joked about that, then about Meatloaf collapsing on stage in Edmonton.
He stood on chairs, rolled around on the floor in the middle of the crowd with manic energy.
He began his set with a newer song about shopping at No Frills and delivered a bevy of favourites like “Deep Fryer in my Bedroom” “McDonalds Coupon Day” and “Bad Cat Sitter,” as he stripped off a multitude of layered T-shirts and switched hats as often as he switched instruments.
He bashed away at his battered acoustic guitar, a Discman and a couple of keyboards playing an array of cheesy ’80s sounds, he cursed at one of the keyboards which kept cutting out, but barely missed a word of his songs. Neither did his audience who sang along while he tried to plug his keyboard back in.
He jumped onto a table with manic energy and a knocked over a couple of people standing on chairs trying to see over the crowd clustered in front of the stage. They were all right though.
He sang another new song about man buns, rolled all over the floor some more and ended up behind the bar where he fed bartender Braeden a bottle of booze.
We wound down his frenetic show with his GST cheque song, which had the crowd singing along and officially ended it in the women’s bathroom where he usually ends his Lethbridge shows
Sue Foley sizzles at sold-out Slice
It was so great to see and hear Sue Foley again. And even better to see her sell out the Slice for the Lethbridge Jazz Festival June 18.
Foley, dressed simply in boots, jeans and t-shirt, was backed by a crack band of Edmonton based bassist Chris Brzezicki and keyboardist Graham Guest plus Winnipeg based drummer Ken McMahon. Rather than making the show all about her, the show was all about showing off her talented and tight band. When the musicians are that talented and in tune with each other, there was no need to try to show each other up so she was more often content to sit back and let her band mates solo especially Guest, who played a lot of impressive piano and keyboard solos. The music often evolved into extensive jams allowing everybody to solo.
The show was also an opportunity for Foley to road test asme new songs which drew polite applause from the attentive audience.
“You Want Love You’ve Got It“ was an early highlight featuring a subtle solo from Foley, who sang with a smooth, sultry, jazz inflected voice.
They ended the first set with a long jam on “Where the Action Is,” which featured a fleet fingered piano solo from Graham Guest.
Set two was all about the energy and dancing. They had several people dancing from the beginning. Guest got more applause for his piano solos and Foley got to show off her talents more in the second set as well, taking a seat in the middle of the stage for some of her solos after hanging her jacket on the back of her chair.
She really showed how beautifully she plays on a long extended slower blues jam, which was a gem and during which she sang a capella for a few lines.
They picked up the tempo with “ We’ve Got a Good Thing,” which summarized the feel of the night.
The band showed they could think on their feet. Foley called out the key for Percy Mayfield’s “Please Send me Someone To Love,” she noted she discovered when she was 16 as they stepped right up. She sang it stunningly beautifully. She was a captivating presence. I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
She wound things down by asking the crowd “Are you still with us,” and called it a night with “Come To Me Baby.”
The Lethbridge Jazz Festival is always a good time.
One of the highlights of the Lethbridge Jazz Festival is always Jazz in the Park in Galt Gardens, which features excellent local talent and some of the highlights of the festival.
This year, I only caught a couple of the acts June 18.
I arrived in time to hear a rare performance local experimental jazz quartet including crack rhythm section drummer Kyle Harmon and bassist Paul Holden, saxophonist Ryan Heseltine and guitarist/vocalist Arlen Wutch.
Harmon and Holden anchored things with a wicked rhythm groove while Heseltine supplied plenty of sweet saxophone solos. Wutch added plenty of tasteful lead guitar and lead vocals.
They played an excellent set of jazz music which included a revamped, laid-back jazz version of Soundgarden’s grunge era hit “Black Hole Sun.”
I was especially pleased to see Kat Danser on the big outdoor stage with her band as I missed her Friday night Jazz Festival show at the Owl Acoustic Lounge.
She borrowed Sue Foley’s upright bassist Chris Brzezicki for the show and was joined by harmonica player Peter Moll and lead guitarist Jimmy Guiboche.
She alternated between an acoustic guitar and a Weissenborn guitar on her lap she used to play steamy leads. In between, she chatted about the previous night’s show at the Owl Acoustic Lounge and gave the audiences a lesson in blues history.
She played a variety of songs from her most recent CDs “Baptized by the Mud” and “Passin’-A-Time.”
“Birds N Bees n Me” was a highlight as was the title track,” which she introduced by saying “When you write the blues you don’t make stuff up; you write about what you know.”
She talked about growing up on a Saskatchewan farm and putting pennies and dimes on the train tracks but never being able to find them afterwards and sang about trains. She praised her harmonica player for his amazing solos and talked about touring with Fred Penner who got on stage to play harmonica with her and making him solo until he couldn’t breathe.
After that she played “Mama‘s Blues,” which had a couple of kids dancing in front of the stage.
She ended her set with the old Robert Johnson song “ If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day.”
Owl Acoustic Lounge—Stand Up Comedy open mic
Average Joes — Pre Canada Party with Prism and Band of Brothers Inferno— WC of Eastside Connection with DJ Crazy Toones with DCTMG, Smg , Lil Smokey , Trey Mark,Sam Mackey,Luke Prozac, Blood Rez; Lrev and Pyke $20
Owl Acoustic Lounge— Toques and Beards
Coyote Joes— Prism
Mocha Cabana— Herky Cutler
Casino Lethbridge— Uncovered
Canada Day Henderson lake— 10 a.m. Lethbridge Community Taiko Association
(by Japanese Garden)
12-12:40 p.m. Lethbridge Community Band Society
12:40-1:20 p.m. Shayne Marie/Asher/Fernando (Pop/hip hop/country)
1:20-1:50 p.m. Mi Colombia a Linda
1:50-2:30 p.m. Matthew Robinson (Folk/country) https://matthewrobinson.bandcamp.com/
2:30-3 p.m. Ben Price (magic) http://www.magician.org/member/benprice
3-3:30 p.m. Magic
Champion Tae Kwon Do 4 – 4:30 p.m. Opening Ceremonies:
• Oh Canada
• Jambaldorj Batbayar – Throat Singer
4:30-5 p.m. Soul Sisters (soul)
5-5:30 p.m. Extreme Cheer Sensation
5:30-6:10 p.m. Diversified http://www.lethbridgeband.com/
Lethbridge Band Diversified is a 6 piece band. We play rock and roll from the 50’s to current music that you hear on the radio..
6:10-6:40 p.m. Lethbridge Princess Parties
6:40-7:20 p.m. Junkman’s Quire (Jazz/rock/ pop/folk)7:20-7:50 p.m. Jigging
7:50-8:30 p.m. Leon Barr (blues) https://www.reverbnation.com/leonbarr
8:30-8:50 p.m. Desert Wind Bellydance
8:50-9:30 p.m. Sparkleblood (alternative) https://sparkleblood.bandcamp.com/
9:30-10 p.m. The Geometra’s with DJ Rabbyt (DJ/dance)
10 – fireworks The Blue (YYC)
11 p.m. FIREWORKS
Galt Gardens— Canada Day party In the park 12-5 p.m. with DJ Rabbyt
Phunky Le Freq
Owl Acoustic Lounge— Northwest Passage album release
Casino Lethbridge— Uncovered
Tilted Kilt— Bikers Against Child Abuse with Driving While Blind
Slice— open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge— Mayhemingways
Onion— open mic
Attainable Records— R. Ariel , Postnamers and guest
Lethbridge Public Library— noon Floyd Sillito
Owl Acoustic Lounge— Slates with Garrett Klahn
Pulse— Outrun the Arrow with the Youngbloods Doors 6 $10 cover