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Brent Butt headlines Canadian comedy night

Posted on October 5, 2016 by Richard Amery

Open October with laughter. The week opens with Brent Butt and buddies Ivan Decker and Jamie Hutchinson bringing the Canadian Comedy Night to the Enmax Centre Oct. 6. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $59.50. YukYuks Comedy returns to Average Joes, Friday, Oct. 7 with Matt Foster and Chris Gordon, who has performed on the CBC show “So You Think You Are Funny” as well as NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.”
Also on Oct. 6, there is an intimate evening with Leeroy Stagger at Plum beginning at 7 p.m. with a three course dinner. Tickets are $125.
But before that, jazz jams are back. HBO3 will host a jazz jam at the Owl Acoustic Lounge the first Wednesday of the month. The first one is Wednesday, Oct. 5.
The Owl Acoustic Lounge also has an excellent roots and country shows this week.
On Friday, Oct. 7, Central Ontario roots/Celtic duo the Mayhemingways return to play a show with Central Alberta roots juggernaut Tin and the Toad.
There are a couple big rock shows for Thanksgiving weekend as well.
Bloody Diamonds, Connor HD, FLAC and CHAM play Attainable Records on Oct. 8. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with the FLACs playing first at 8 p.m. Attainable Records has several shows coming up. On Oct. 11 they feature Clockwork Towns, Basic Nature and Cosmo Duff at 8 p.m. Admission is $10 for Attainable members. Ticket price includes an Attainable membership.
Attainable also hosts Calgary-based alternative rock/punk duo Miesha and the Spanks, Oct. 12.
And Average Joe’s features some rock band roll on Oct. 9.
Local Metallica tribute Damage Incorporated featuring their new guitarist Matt Merlin and Calgary-based Van Halen tribute Loss of Control will be performing beginning at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10.
Casino Lethbridge features local acoustic cover band Uncovered on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 7 and 8.
Saskatchewan-born, Vancouver-based stand up comedian Brent Butt is always working on new projects.
“I’ve got three projects I’m developing, two half-hour comedies and an hour-long project,” said Butt from his Vancouver home.
“I have to develop my own projects, I’m not a good enough actor for other people to hire me so I’m always making and building my own projects,” deadpanned Butt, best known for starring in and writing the hit TV show “Corner Gas.”
He brings The Canadian Comedy Night to the Enmax Centre featuring funny friends Ivan Decker and Jamie Hutchinson.
“It’s a one-off show. These are the guys I work with. They’re the guys I always get to open for me,” he said.
“Jamie and I have been friends since the late ’80s. And Ivan is somebody I saw in a club who just cracked me up,” he continued.
“So it is fun to get to travel with these guys and be on stage with them,” he said.
He doesn’t know what his set will look like until he is in front of the audience.
“I never really know until I’m on stage. I know the first few minutes and then I can see what the audience is responding to. I’ve been doing this for 28 years and in that time I have a lot in the tickle trunk. If I’m telling sports jokes and they aren’t responding to them, I can go into the tickle trunk for something else. So it’s never boring and it’s always exciting,” he continued.
“A few years ago, I wrote a routine and I’d perform it. But I realized in the middle of a show, I looked outside at myself and realized that I was bored. It’s like driving for 20 miles and all of the sudden realizing you’re operating on autopilot,” he said.
“I really want my fans to enjoy themselves and if I’m having fun performing then it’s infectious,” he continued.
He said he doesn’t have a lot of advice for up and coming comedians. He said people who are determined to be in the business would not be dissuaded by anything he says.
“Just because a fat, balding guy tells you something, it doesn’t mean you’ll do it,” he said,
“Just do a lot of shows. You can’t teach a person who isn’t funny to be funny, but you can teach a funny person to be funnier,” he observed.
He has been lucky enough to meet some of his comedic idols.
“I just saw Brian Regan. He’s a guy who has influenced Seinfeld and Louis CK,” he said.
“I’m a big fan of Mike McDonald and went to one of his shows, and now we’re good friends, he said.
“I’ve met Bob Newhart and even Robin Williams. Actually when Jamie and I were booking shows at clubs, Robin would call Jamie up and ask if could get on the bill. Jamie, would take the phone and say ‘wait 10 seconds’ and say ‘I think we can fit you in.’ He loved us because we’d never tell anyone, we‘d never promote it. So it would be a nice surprise for the audience when he got on stage,” he said.
“He was a very quiet guy. His character is the complete opposite of who he was,” he reminisced.
He is constantly inspired to write new comedy.
“I used to keep a notebook, now I write by recording voice onto my phone,” he said.
“I’m a middle-aged guy now, so I talk about that a little bit. I try not to write a lot of topical stuff,” he said.
He is looking forward to being back in Lethbridge.
“It has been at least a year. Come out to the show. Because nothing beats live comedy. You can watch comedy on the TV or on your phone, but live, there a special kind of chemistry, magic or alchemy happening,” he said.
The Canadian Comedy night featuring Brent Butt, Jamie Hutchinson and Ivan Decker begins at Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $59.50
Bloody Diamonds return
Toronto alternative rock/ blues rock band Bloody Diamonds return to Lethbridge Oct. 8 to play Attainable Records in support of their new EP “Tough Love.”
They are enjoying touring the East Coast first.
“We’re actually from Halifax originally,” said Bloody Diamonds lead singer/guitarist Sara Elizabeth, who is joined by guitarist Jake Seaward, Mike Allain and Max Mancuso.
They are pleased with the new EP.
“It’s more dirty, gritty, raw and powerful. It’s probably our favourite recording,” Elizabeth said.
“We started working on it in 2015 with a producer and we spent a lot of money but we weren’t happy with it so we scrapped it all.
“Then we went in and recorded the new EP in five days,” said guitarist Jake Seaward.
“They are solid rocking songs and the lyrics are really heavy. We write about really painful things,“ Elizabeth said, adding some of the darker lyrics such as about locking somebody in the trunk of her car are exaggerated.
“Some of them are very extreme but they’re pretty challenging and over-exaggerated,” she said.
They are looking forward to returning to Lethbridge.
“It will be a pretty heavy set. It will be loud with a lot of vocal power,” he said.
More information about the Bloody Diamonds is at http://www.bloodydiamonds.com
Bloody Diamonds play Attainable Records, Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m. with Edmonton proto-punk quartet CHAM, local bluesy/jam rock band Connor HD and the FLAC’s. The show is for Attainable Records Creative Society. There is a $10 cover at the door. The FLAC’s begin the show at 7 p.m. sharp.
James McMurtry at Geomatic Attic
For a man who writes such literate songs, James McMurtry isn’t very loquacious in an interview.
The Austin-based folk singer will be bringing his band to the Geomatic Attic, Oct. 15 with special guest, Winnipeg songwriter Scott Nolan.
“I don’t know Scott, by my manager does. I think they distribute his records. He’ll be opening the show,” said McMurtry on a dying cellphone somewhere in rural Oklahoma.
McMurtry, who is pretty much the Lou Reed of Texas, has spent most of his life traveling the world singing about the poor and downtrodden folks on the fringes of society, as well as biting political and social commentary and, of course, a few love songs, which mark his most recent CD “Complicated Game,” which was released in April 2015. He has been recording since 1989 when he release “Too Long in the Wasteland.”
There are more relationship related songs on the CD.
“I didn’t have any really good political songs. Those are just the songs I had for the CD,” he said, adding none of them are based on his life.
“I write fiction. I don’t write autobiography,” he said.
Driving has inspired a lot of songs lately.
“Forgotten Coast, I was driving around north Florida and saw all of these place names, so a I started seeing which ones I could rhyme. I do a lot of driving so I get a lot of words coming flying through my windshield,” he said.
It has been a few years since his last Lethbridge show and longer than his last album.
“‘Just us Kids’ came out in 2008 and we had a live album from our Europe tour in 2009,” he observed.
He said the quick Canadian tour and the Lethbridge show will cover the highlights of his career.
“It’s a band show and will include music from all of the records,” he said.
Tickets for the Oct. 15 show cost $37.50. The show begins at 8 p.m.
Reviews
A pair of Canada’s best Delta bluesmen plugged in and turned things up at the Geomatic Attic, Sunday, Sept. 25.
Calgary’s Tim Williams and Winnipeg’s Big Dave McLean entertained a good sized Sunday night audience with a show that was part stand up comedy, part celebrity roast and part blues and rocking blues music.
The duo blended McLean’s ragged baritone and William’s tenor twang as they took turns singing lead on an assortment of songs, and taking good hearted shots at each other all the while serving up blues fans a hearty helping of Delta blues and electric blues music. I’m used to seeing the two of them play gritty acoustic blues music, so seeing them play electric backed by a band was a pleasant surprise
Tim Williams opened the show by playing a solo acoustic set of songs from his most recent CD “So Low.”
An old Blind Boy Fuller song, “Pistol Snapper,” was a highlight. He switched to a resonator guitar for Williams’ rearranged version of Johnny Cash’s “Big River,” which he turned into a Delta blues number and introduced by saying the Mississippi born Cash was just as influenced by blues music as he was by country music.
If you closed your eyes, you could have pretty much imagine yourself hanging out in a juke joint on the Mississippi delta. He wound up his brief solo set with a song he played at the Memphis Blues challenge, which he won.
Big Dave McLean joined him for a couple more Delta blues songs, for which Williams switched to mandolin to add some hot solos the enhance McLean’s big, raspy baritone voice which was reminiscent of folks like John Prine and Dr. John.
McLean switched to a steel-body resonator guitar and slapped it’s neck for extra power and percussion.
They were then joined by Williams’ rhythm section of suitcase John on bass and drummer Kevin Bell as both Williams and McLean traded acoustic guitars for battered electrics — Williams a gorgeous black Gretsch and McLean a battered Gibson.
Williams told stories from the depths of his vast blues knowledge and play music from his immense repertoire while McLean cracked the jokes, happy to stand aside to let Williams talk and solo. McLean got to shine in his own solo spots and played a few songs from his most recent CD “Faded But Not Gone” including the highlight “Oh- Mr. Charlie-Oh.”
McLean added some harp solos to several of the songs Williams lead the band through including an excellent Kansas City jump blues song. Both of them stood back to let their rhythm section solo on a couple of songs.
McLean opened up the second set with a couple of solo delta blues songs which he played on his steel body resonator before Williams and the band rejoined him on the stage.
Williams talked about touring with Mose Allison then played his rendition of Allison’s “If You live“ from Williams’ “ So Low” Cd. McLean added a beautiful harp solo to the song.
Williams talked about playing with blues piano icon Pinetop Perkins and played “Chicken Shack.”
After that McLean decided it was time to play some Howlin’ Wolf and did so. That lead to Williams playing a tribute to New Orleans Zydeco legend Buckwheat Zydeco, who passed away last week and played “Hey Barbarita,” getting the audience to shout back a few lyrics.
As they were in a blues classic mood, McLean knocked off a version of “Sweet Home Chicago” for which Williams added a hot mandolin solo.
Williams wound the second set down by talking about playing with BB King. He played an Albert King song “I’ll Play the Blues For you,” after that reminiscence.

The Owl Acoustic Lounge had a surprisingly good and well-deserved turnout for Edmonton soul and blues siren Kimberley MacGregor, considering they were competing with Shaela Miller and Ryan Dyck’s wedding which drew most of the blues and roots music listening community.
I missed an opening set from Megan Brown, but arrived in time to catch an exceptional set from Calgary musician Sean Hamilton, who plays with a variety of different Calgary bands. This time he was wearing his folk hat, so accompanied himself on guitar while singing earnest, upbeat folk and roots music. A song about the “honeymoon phase” of a relationship, three months into it was a highlight as was a peppy love song called “ Dear Laura.”
He added a harp solo near the end of the set and finished things off by showing his multi-instrumental prowess by borrowing Kimberley MacGregor band’s drum set to simultaneously sing, play guitar and play the drums.
The Kimberley MacGregor band were as impressive as I thought.
They featured the Edmonton-based songstress’s raw, powerhouse vocals reminiscent of Rita Chiarelli, Angel Forrest and a touch of Janis Joplin and Susan Tedeschi.
They started off slowly with “I’m Not Here,” from her most recent CD “ I Am my Own” but her tight rhythm section, drummer Geoffrey Hamdon-O’Brien and bassist Melissa Walker (of Two Bears North and Scott Cook’s band) locked in immediately with MacGregor’s rhythm guitar as lap steel guitarist Nathan Burns added haunting solos.
She played a brand new song, “120 Seconds,” after that.
They had a massive groove and MacGregor’s huge voice soared through the room.
While most of her set was original material, she added a revamped version of aTom Waits’ “Hoist the Rag,” and invited the audience to guess who sang it, saying she would buy the winner a shot.
She followed that up with “a song about poo” about people who “talk s—t about other people.”
She ended with “Trouble” from the most recent CD.

Word on the Street had plenty of authors as well as lots of local talent performing on stage on Saturday, Sept. 24.
I arrived in time to hear Mwansa Mwansa and her outstanding band of guitarist James Oldenburg, bassist Paul Holden and drummer Brad Brouwer play their usual strong set of pop, soul and R and B, ending with a beautiful version of “Sitting By the dock of the Bay.”
Jolene Draper and the Inquisitive few had a few more folks than usual playing afterwards.
Draper was joined by James Oldenburg, doing double duty on guitar, Steve Marin on upright and electric bas, Scott Mezei on drums and keyboardist Matt Wiebe.
They began their set with a couple of originals, a brand new, bright and bouncy original called “Crushed” which showed off Wiebe’s piano playing chops.
Oldenburg played an array of just perfect, tasteful guitar solos throughout especially on more jazz tinged number.
They added a few poppy covers including Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock” and put their own stamp on “ Born This Way by turning it more into a jazz number than a pop hit.

October 4
Geomatic Attic — Monkeyjunk $35 advance $37.50 online, $40 door 8 p.m.
Plum — Open Piano
October 6
Enmax — Canadian Comedy Tour with Brent Butt, Ivan Decker $59.50
Plum — Leeroy Stagger
October 7
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Tin and the Toad with the Mayhemingways
Casino Lethbridge — Uncovered
Honker’s Pub — Andy MacNamara
Average Joes — Yuk Yuks Comedy
October 8
Attainable Records — Bloody Diamonds with CHAM and Connor HD and the FLAC’s $10 7 p.m.
Honker’s Pub — open mic 3-7 p.m. with Stuart Macleod
Casino Lethbridge — Uncovered
October 9
Average Joes — Damage Inc with Loss of control The Van Halen Experience
October 10
Owl Acoustic Lounge — open mic
Onion — open mic
October 11
Attainable Records — Basic Nature, Clockwork Towns, Cosmo Duff 7 pm. music 8 $10
October 12
Owl Acoustic lounge — Sean burns Duo
Attainable Records — Miesha and the Spanks
October 13
Enmax — Alice Cooper 7:30 p.m. tickets $59-$69
Yates — Jesus Christ Superstar
October 14
Casino Lethbridge — El Camino
Yates — Jesus Christ Superstar
Casa — Lethbridge Folk Club open mic
Average Joes — Dueling Pianos
October 15
Yates — Jesus Christ Superstar
Empress Theatre (Fort Macleod) — Boots and the Hoots
Geomatic Attic — James McMurtry
Casino Lethbridge — El Camino
Honker’s Pub — open mic 3-7 p.m.
October 16
Casa — ukulele jam-2-3 p.m.
Geomatic Attic — Birds of Chicago $30 advance $32.50 on line $35 door
Yates — Jesus Christ Superstar
October 17
Enmax — Slayer, Death Angel, Anthrax
Owl Acoustic Lounge — open mic
Onion — open mic
October 18
Club Didi — unplugged open mic

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