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Unusual places to host live music shows this week

Posted on August 2, 2016 by Richard Amery

The last week of July and first week of August starts pretty slowly with several shows in unusual places.
But start off the week with laughter at the Owl Acoustic Lounge July 27, when their monthly comedy open mic will be happening.
After you’ve laughed, get ready to rock with Detroit rockers Pop Evil who return to Average Joe’s July 28 with special guests Red Sun Rising.
Pop Evil have a hot new single on the radio called “Footsteps,” from their new CD “Up.” They also have several other number one singles “Trenches,” “Deal With the Devil” and “Torn To Pieces.”
The show begins at 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25 in advance, $30 on the day of the show.
And get ready for an eclectic weekend. Frankie Hidalgo and the MVPs will get those toes tapping with high energy salsa music at Casino Lethbridge, July 29 and 30.
There are a couple of completely different options on the weekend as well. Ghostkeeper will be sharing some of their new electronica and hip hop inspired music at the Slice as they open a big show with popular Calgary indie rock band Raleigh and Montreal’s Chairs.
Or else get in the mood for some surfing and skating at the Moose Hall as Vancouver skate punk/surf punk band the Tubuloids return to “Get Weird” in anticipation of their new CD called “It’s Getting Weird” with special guests, July 29.
There is a $10 cover for the show, which begins at 9 p.m.
And for something different again, the Herb Hicks Jazz Quartet return to the Mocha Cabana July 29.
Saturday, July 30 is marked by a big annual homelessness awareness and addictions awareness-themed event in Galt Gardens beginning at 10:30 a.m. Shelter Me: Party in the Park features family-friendly activities and live music from Shayne Marie at 12:30 and local hard rock band Outrun the Arrow at 2:30 p.m. There is no charge to attend the event.
That night, local funk rock trio Adequate get funky and are guaranteed to get you dancing at the Owl Acoustic Lounge.
August starts on a laidback note as Saskatchewan indie rock band Bears in Hazenmore return to Lethbridge to play the Farm with local band Max and the Minimums. There is a $5 cover for the show, which begins at 9 p.m.
Tubuloids ready to get weird on the road
Vancouver-based skate punk/surf punk band the Tubuloids are excited to be “getting weird” on the road this summer.
“We all get along really well, so it’s nothing but hilarity in the van. There’s lots of laughing and Simpsons quotes. So it is a lot of fun,” said Tubuloids guitarist/vocalist Kevin Baxter, noting his favourite Simpsons season is the 1996 season when Conan O’Brien was still writing for the show.
“Touring is like a vacation for us. We’d like to make it a paid vacation, then a job,” he said.
They visit the Moose Hall, July 29.
They were supposed to be hitting the road in support of their new eight-track EP, “It’s Getting Weird,” on the Beer City record label, but instead are just touring.
Though the new record isn’t officially out yet, it is already getting great response.
“We mailed out copies to university and college radio stations and it debuted at number on the Earshot charts,” he said. “It was supposed to be out on June 21 then in September, now it won’t be out until Oct. 14 because of a backup at the vinyl pressing plant,” said Baxter.
Lead guitarist Rob West, bassist Dave Dolan and drummer Teddy Rennie complete the Tubuloids.
“But we made some CD copies of it for the tour,” he continued.
They are just excited to take a break from their day jobs and hit the road and play.
“It’s a 12-day tour with nine gigs. We‘re going all the way out to Thunder Bay. It will be our first visit to Ontario,” he said.
Their new video for the title track of their new EP “It’s Getting Weird” may have helped spread the word.
“It’s our first video. We just released it two weeks ago and it already has a thousand views. We asked our friend Sheldon (Barr) to make it. It took five months to make, but we got some of our pro skateboard friends to be in it,” he said.
They are excited to play a Friday night in Lethbridge.
“We’ve met a lot of really nice people there, so it will be nice to see them again,” he said.
“Let‘s party Lethbridge,” he encouraged.
The Tubuloids play the Moose Hall, July 29. There is a $10 cover for the show. Doors open at 8 p.m.

Ghostkeeper to put own twist on electronica and hip hop
You won’t have to stay up until two in the morning to hear Ghostkeeper play when they return to the Slice, July 29, when they join Raleigh and their old friend and collaborator Ian Jarvis’s band Chairs.
Shane Ghostkeeper and Sarah Houle have been hard at work in their home studio simultaneously recording and writing a long-awaited new album with engineer Brad Hawkins.
“I think we may be playing this one as a trio with Sarah on percussion and Ryan Bourne, who is all over the new album, but maybe Ian Jarvis will jump on stage with us. He was the multi-instrumentalist on our last full length album,” Ghostkeeper said.
He is excited to play two shows with Chairs — Thursday in Calgary and Friday in Lethbridge.
“And Raleigh jumped on the bill, too. Actually I think we jumped on their bill. But we got asked to play with two great bands,” he continued.
“And we’re playing early. We’ll probably be opening, so you won’t have to stay up until two in the morning to see us,” he said.
“We’ll be playing a really short set. Maybe five or six of the new songs and a couple of the songs from the EP and the last full length. I’ll be playing the musical saw which is always a crowd pleaser and maybe Ian will jump up on stage with us. I hope so,” he said.
He is excited about the new album, which they have been working on for three-and-a-half years.
“We just got the final masters back. We were simultaneously recording and writing. This is the first time we recorded the songs and then learned them.
“It’s evenly split between my songs and Sarah’s songs. They’re back to back, so it’s like John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s ‘Double Fantasy,’ not that it sounds like that,” he said.
He noted the new music will be a concept album telling a story building on the lives of Sheer Blouse and Buffalo Knocks — the two activist characters Ghostkeeper and Houle created, based on their own lives.
Musically, the new music is more influenced by experimental electronica and hip hop music.
“It’s apocalyptic doo wop pop,” he described.
Ghostkeeper are shooting for an October release of the new CD
Ghostkeeper is excited to play with Montreal-based band Chairs.
“It’s a pretty fantastic band. Ian has been studying music for most of his life. They play more of a post-apocalyptic pop sound. They have a great guitar sound that’s solid,” he enthused.
“Anybody who appreciates music will appreciate them. Ian is a musical beast,” he said.
Ghostkeeper, Chairs and Raleigh play the Slice Friday, July 29 at 9 p.m.
Bears in Hazenmore to try out new tunes
Swift Current-based indie rock band Bears In Hazenmore return to Lethbridge to kick off August with a show at the Farm, Aug. 1.
The Lethbridge show will be in the middle of an extensive Western Canadian tour including dates all over Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C.
“We’re going out to the coast. The last time we were on tour was in February,” said lead guitarist Darnell Stewart, who is excited to tour in summer this time with bandmates Brady Frank (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards, trombone, lyrics); Dalton Lam (trumpet, fluegelhorn, organ); Dana Rempel (bass, saxophone, clarinet, synthesizers) and Tanner Wilhelm Hale (drums, percussion, backing vocals, keyboards).
They are looking forward to road testing several new songs in front of friendly Western Canadian audiences before taking them on the road on an Eastern Canadian tour in the fall.
“We’ve always had pretty good response to our music in Western Canada,” he said.
“We’ve spent pretty much all of 2016 writing new songs,” he said.
Horns are integral part of the band‘s sound, though they aren’t used in the usual way.
“The last time we were there, we had a full horn section. This time it’s the core band Dalton is our horn section. When people see the horns, they think we’re a reggae band, but when they hear us, they’re surprised that we use them to add textures,” he said.
“These new songs are much more experimental. We’re experimenting with time and groove,” he said.
The band is excited to return to Lethbridge to play with Max and the Minimums.
“Max Hopkins is a friend of ours who has been going to school in Lethbridge,” he said.
Max and the Minimums and Bears in Hazenmore play the Farm, Aug. 1 at 9 p.m.
There is a $5 cover.
Loud heavy music with Buzzard and Moths and Locusts
The Slice rocked with a dedicated core of metalheads and Turbojugends there, July 21 to take in local alternative rock trio the Supervoid and Victoria stoner rock bands Buzzard and Moths and Locusts.
The Supervoid put on their usual strong set of Smashing Pumpkins/Foo Fighters-inspired ’90s alternative rock, playing several songs from their new CD Infinite Plus one.
They started the show around 10 p.m. for approximately 25 people.
Buzzard was a joy to behold for fans of big, sludgy, detuned, riff heavy stoner rock.
The trio (Christian Head, Devon O’Brien, Dane Loucks) played a set of heavy, low, detuned, menacing, stoner rock heavily drawing from the wells of Black Sabbath with a touch of Motorhead and a touch of the experimental metal of the Smalls and the driving force of Monster Truck. There were plenty of big, heavy, sludgy riffs set off by bluesy guitar solos, mid song tempo changes, which the band played effortlessly. Among the highlights was [Carrion,” one of the more uptempo tracks as was a big jam on “Red Sky/Yappin.’”
It was getting late, so I could only stay for a few songs from Locusts and Moths, who played Bigwood last year.
While Buzzard was all about slow, heavy , punishing riffs, Locusts and Moths (Angus Barter – guitar; Dave Bean – drums, vocals; Mike Breen – guitar; Dave Read – bass guitar) were all about white noise, weird noises, whooshing guitar effects and volume.
One guitarist broke a string, so Buzzard’s guitarist lent him his white Gibson SG, which had to be retuned while bassist Dave Read and Dave bean drummer soloed together. Bean howled the lead vocals from behind his kit.

Shakespeare in the Park’s Romeo and Juliet brings out the humour
Shakespeare in the Park’s performance of Shakespeare’s well-known tragedy Romeo and Juliet.
While the tragic story of two star-crossed lovers is very sad, Shakespeare in the Park brings out a lot of the humour as well, in part thanks to members of local improv troupe the Drama Nutz.
Erica Barr almost steals the show as Juliet’s nurse, showing a range of emotions and feeling from knee slapping hilarity to heartfelt tragedy.
And Brandon Eyck makes an impression as the frenetic Paris who is decreed to marry Juliet by her father played aptly by John Bowers.
But as expected the star-crossed lovers Romeo played by Garrett Bishoff and enthusiastic newcomer, Chinook High School student Emily Klink who shines as Juliet, are both highlights of the production.
Chris Peterson is always a treat to watch and is again in Romeo and Juliet as well, as the provocateur Mercutio, conveying an array of emotions, humour as well as vicious insanity.
This production is set in contemporary Italy, so it is unusual to see a Shakespearian tragedy play out without swordplay. Despite that, the fight scenes are well choreographed, and even more brutal considering most of the deaths are the result of beatings other than cuttings, other than the poisonings.
I’m impressed by how well the talented cast under the tutelage of director DJ Gellatly bring out the humourous moments in the play, while never taking away form the heartstring-pulling dramatic moments.
Spending your Thursday and Friday night in Galt Gardens with Shakespeare in the Park and Romeo and Juliet is definitely time well spent.
Romeo and Juliet runs in Galt Gardens, July 28, 29, Aug 3-5 and Aug. 10-12 at 7 p.m each night plus a matinee at 2 p.m. at Casa, Aug. 6.
Biloxi Parish play impressive country-tinged rock
It is always a nice treat to see a new local band who blows you away. Biloxi Parish did just that and to close to a full house at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, July 20.
The band (Zach Passey, Taran Duncan, Matthew Rederburg, Cole Howg) played a solid set of urgent alt country/rock and roll music to an enthusiastic crowd.
The rest of the band had to duck as frontman Passey flung his guitar up around his neck and thrashed around, almost banging his head on the drum kit. Bassist Matthew Rederburg supplied an unstoppable groove while the lead guitarist stood in the background playing tasteful solos.
They wound up their set with a Ryan adams cover which had the crowd cheering.

Good times and good vibes at South Country Fair
I missed a female-powered night of rock and roll and blues at the South Country Fair at the Fort Macleod Fish and Games park, not to mention torrential rain and tornado warnings on Friday night as I was in Missoula enjoying my own amazing evening of female-powered rock and roll and pop music courtesy of Grace Potter.
I also missed most of Saturday as well, but arrived in time to hear my two key acts — Jr. Gone Wild and Big Rude Jake and a few surprises.
I arrived in the middle of Jr. Gone Wild’s set of upbeat country fuelled cow-punk music and as they were in the middle of a old favourite “Poets Dream.”
They brought back a lot of great memories of the ’80s and early ’90s as they played an extremely catchy set of jangling roots rock which sounded like R.E.M. mixed with a touch of punk. There were plenty of addictive sing-along melodies and beautiful playing.
Frontman Mike McDonald, bassist Dove Brown and drummer Larry Shelast followed it up with a couple of newer songs including the always fun “Barricades,” a Steve Loree-penned song about hockey riots in Edmonton.
Another one of my favourites “I’m So Glad,” had me singing along. Fortunately the rain had cleared away for the apt “Rhythm of the Rain,” featured a sweet Steve Loree guitar solo, as he had switched from playing pedal steel guitar. They picked up the tempo for some more hot , loud more rock influenced numbers to wind down their set.
While Big Rude Jake set up, George Fowler played a tweener with violinist Megan Brown, who had just returned from overseas just in time for the fair.
Big Rude Jake was impressive.
He began is set by confessing he couldn’t remember playing the fair 20 years ago and laughed, “I’ve written a few new songs since them, so here’s one of them.”
He got the enthusiastic crowd excited and moving with the swampy New Orleans groove of “Mississippi Rising” before moving more into a up jazz vibe, which got the crowd jump, jiving and wailing.
There were surprisingly a lot of children still out and about by the 11 p.m. start time of Big Rude Jake and his killer Alberta band including the wicked horn section of saxophonist Dave Babcock and trombonist Audrey Ochoa whose gut-busting horns spoke to the soul. Pianist Graham Guest’s fingers flew over the keys of his keyboard through several hot solos, which drew applause from the audience. And rhythm section drummer Jon May and upright bassist Cody Hutchinson were locked in.
Big Rude Jake was full of jokes and joy, playing a variety of jazz, jump and blues music, a slower jazzy tune about a ’68 Cadillac, some delightfully risqué songs like “The Jelly Song,” which had the crowd howling and “A Saint She Ain’t.”
A couple other highlights included the juke joint foot-stomper “Preacher’s Got A Brother” and “Avenue Blue.”
Along the side of the stage as the new BFL light shot multiple rays of light across the cloudy sky underlying the almost full moon, the audience was somewhat distracted by the antics of the Circus Act Insomniacs, who were performing a display of light juggling and then gorgeous rope acrobatics.
“What’s going on over there, all of the sudden everyone’s head turned. Is someone naked over there?” asked Jake, which inspired him to lead the band through a sultry burlesque number, “Song For Lily Christine,” which in turn inspired the acrobat to perform another routine with a big smile on her face.
He ended the set “the same way we began it” — with a taste of New Orleans. It was so well received they were called back for an encore, which they were happy to do and played an old Cab Calloway song, “Reefer Man,” which was no coincidence as the smell of skunk weed wafted through the night.
“I like to play songs about reefer to remind hippies that they didn’t invent smoking reefer, that guys dressed like me were smoking reefer before your parents were pretending they didn’t know what it was,” he laughed and made way for Montreal hip hop collective Nomadic Missive.
George Fowler and Megan Brown lead the audience through a sing-along of the Proclaimers’ ’80s hit “500 Miles” while the band set up. He noted Nomadic Missive speak seven languages and listed them all off, noted he and Brown only spoke two, but thought it fitting to play a bilingual Daniel Lanois song.
I couldn’t stay for Nomadic Missive, but they blended a variety of linguistic and stylistic influences, encompassing, Latin, French, English, Jazz, Creole, R and B and a lot of hip hop. The band members included a full horn section.
The last, laidback day of the 30th annual South Country Fair began bright and early at 11 a.m. on the South stage with Blackfoot Medicine Speaks and a workshop including Nomadic Missive and Ryan McNally. I arrived in time to catch a bit of Nomadic Missive’s workshop. They had trimmed their numbers to a trio for an acoustic set focussing on their powerful, soulful voices.
Over on the east stage, after the Big Grass Jam, Boots and the hoots with special guest Megan Brown playing fiddle were a “hoot ”as usual.
“She’s never played with us before and she knows our songs better than I do and I wrote them,” quipped Boots, one of his many golden one-liners, which had the relaxed crowd chuckling.
Their songs were a hoot as well, especially the whimsical “Country Music Superstar.” “Pinecone Cowboy,” featured Boots’ yodelling.
“This is the song that made us famous or infamous. We made maybe 30 bucks off of it,” he quipped as an intro. He introduced “Born To Lose” as “another song about sucking at life.”
I had to leave that set early because I didn’t want to miss reunited folk trio the Fates, who will be touring again.
They sang a gorgeous set of acoustic guitar, percussion and the spine tingling harmonies of Jenny Allen, Lori Reid and Lin Elder, with each of them taking turns singing lead vocals.
They took the opportunity to play some brand new songs as well as plenty of old favourites including “So Sad.”
They put their own spooky stamp on Steve Miller’s “Fly Like an Eagle.” An original highlight was a song off their “Therapy CD” about “invoking the power of Jesus on your worst enemy.”
Another highlight was the haunting harmonies and gentle strumming of “Let It Go.”
Workshops are a great place to catch some of the performers you may have missed or catch them again if they impressed you, so dozens of people were flaked out in front of the stages enjoying a beautiful July day — the soundtrack great music of all styles.
On the east Stage, Scott Cook and some of his band mates hosted an excellent songwriting workshop featuring Cook, Robt Sarazin Blake and Carter Felker.
Cook had the chillaxing crowd grinning on “Carving Stone.” Felker showed some spry picking on “Francine,” noting “ this isn’t a happy song, but it sounds like one.”
The South stage featured an eclectic workshop.
While Amelia Curran supplied the more serious side of songwriting, Lance Loree and South Country Fair mayor Washboard Hank embraced the more light-hearted side of the spectrum, while Ryland Moranz’s songs, including several brand new ones, were supremely earnest.
On the east stage Edmonton folksinger Billie Zizi and a band including her dad Cam Neufeld on fiddle entertained a growing crowd with a tough of Celtic music and whole lot of soul and R and B music. I only caught a couple of their songs, but they were true to the laid back vibe of the East Stage on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
At a festival, Tweeners are always a great way to keep an audiences’ attention while the next band is setting up at a festival. So I was pleasantly surprised to see Keri and Devin Latimer of the band Nathan, playing a mid-afternoon tweener on the South stage.
Keri strummed rhythms and looped them and then played theremin (an electronic musical instrument) over them as her husband payed acoustic bass.
One of the songs that stood out was “Virtual Machine.”
Australian instrumental duo The Imprints finished off this year’s fair on the South stage. They made quite the impression at a surprise post show show the night before, taking the stage for a long jam until 3 a.m. after Nomadic Massive’s set. This set was subdued yet trippy set of dance and pop music with a touch of a reggae groove.
Most of the sound came from Willow Stahult looping a variety of sounds with her violin while Lester Linden pounded out a steady beat on the drums.
Stahult was impressive. She reminded me of Kytami of Delhi 2 Dublin. She not only played intricate violin solos, but also looped catchy riffs which sounded live everything but violin. She was building bass sounds as well.
By the end of their long set they had a number of folks getting in their last dances before the end of this year’s fair.

July 27
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Stand Up Comedy Open mic
Fireside Lounge — Alyssa mcQuaid
July 28
Average Joe’s — Pop Evil with Red Sun Rising $25 advance $30 at door’
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Rye and Fairy Tales
Fireside Lounge — Andrew Scott
July 29
Mocha Cabana — Herb Hicks Jazz Quartet
Casino Lethbridge — Frankie Hidalgo and the MVPs
Slice — Ghostkeeper, Raleigh, Chairs
Fireside Lounge — Andrew Scott
The Moose Hall — The Tubuloids
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Rye and Fairy Tales
July 30
Galt Gardens — Shelter Me In The park 12:30Shayne Marie 2:30Outrun the Arrow
Casino Lethbridge — Frankie Hidalgo and the MVPs
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Adequate
Honker’s Pub — afternoon jam 3-7 p.m.
August 1
Owl Acoustic Lounge — open mic
Onion — open mic
The Farm — Bears in Hazenmore
Fireside Lounge (Waterton) — James Oldenburg
August 2
Slice — open mic
Fireside Lounge (Waterton) — James Oldenburg
Plum — open piano
August 3
Slice — open mic
Fireside Lounge (Waterton) — James Oldenburg
August 4
Fireside Lounge (Waterton) — James Oldenburg
August 5
Fireside Lounge (Waterton) — Sean Gallagher
Mocha Cabana — Tyra Whitson

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