If you want to ring in 2017 with live music, there are plenty of New Year’s Eve options.
But first, laugh out 2016 on Dec. 28 with the last stand-up comedy open mic of the year at the Owl Acoustic Lounge.
If you want to get a head start on New Year’s Eve celebrations, there are several events happening Dec. 30.
The Herb Hicks Quartet will be playing jazz at the Mocha Cabana from 6-9 p.m.
Get your rock on at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Dec. 30, with local alternative rock bands Fox Eyes, JJ Thomas and the Supervoid. There is no cover for the show.
Edmonton-based indie rock band Jesse and the Dandelions return to Lethbridge to play the Slice, Dec. 30 with local bands Ghost Women and The Silkstones. There is a $10 cover for that show.
And get a preview of Casino Lethbridge’s New Year’s Eve with Mwansa Mwansa, who will be singing beautiful soul, R and B and pop music Dec. 30
She will be back to ring in the new year on Dec. 31 at 9 p.m. after a feast of prime rib. Tickets for the Casino’s New Year’s Eve Show are $70 each
Several shows feature food. The Coast Hotel hosts the Chevelles and Cal Toth for their annual big gala show. Tickets are $75 which includes a five-course steak and lobster meal.
If your tastes are more Italian, the Italian Canadian Club serves up chicken parmesan and the music of local rock band the Bamboo Guppies. Dinner is at 8 p.m. followed by the music.
And Dory and the Weathermen play the Lethbridge Legion. There will be food, party favours and champagne. Tickets are $50.
Exhibition Park will be hopping New Year’s Eve. Rockfest features local rock band Fast Times and classic rock icons Trooper. Tickets are $69. There will be a midnight buffet, champagne, party favours and a free shuttle service (for a donation to the Lethbridge Humane Society) for those celebrating a little too much.
And also at Exhibition Park, dust off your dancing shoes and get jazzed with Ellen Doty, who will be playing the Heritage Hall for Swing Bridge Lethbridge. There will be a candy buffet, midnight lunch, champagne and a beginners swing dance lesson at 8 p.m. Tickets are $50.
Honker’s Pub features the music of Good Time Charlie. The evening begins at 6 p.m. with cocktails and a three course pork loin dinner and party favours. Tickets are $45.
The Slice features a rootsy New Year’s with Burning Bridge and Petunia and the Vipers, who always entertain. Tickets are $35.
For the New Year’s Eve partier on a budget, the Owl Acoustic Lounge features a great blues show with Papa King and special guest Darryl Düus. Admission is by donation as usual at the Owl.
Beaches brings back Calgary-born, Lethbridge-based pop/rock band the Irregular Orchestra for New Year’s Eve. There is no cover for that show.
Local classic rock band Whose Yer Daddy return to the Ten Ten Pub for New Year’s Eve. There is a $15 cover for the show. Across the street at Coyote Joe’s, get your ’90s fix with Uncovered, who will be playing all night. There is a $5 cover for that show.
And get a little weird for New Year’s Eve at Attainable Records, where the Terrific Kids Collective present Medicine Hat musician, Curtis Windover and the Whatever, Edmonton’s l.n baba and local alternative rock band J Blissettt. There is a $10 cover for the show.
And just out of town at the Coaldale Inn, Paul and Jenn Kype will be holding court, playing folk and blues music. There is a $10 cover for that show.
Though there may be a few heavy heads after New Year’s Eve, you can expect some pretty awesome shows which are already scheduled for Lethbridge in 2017.
Local R and B/ Funk/Disco/pop band Hippodrome play their annual winter show at the Slice, Jan. 6.
Hippodrome will also be playing the Geomatic Attic’s Community Cabaret at the German Canadian Club, March 4.
Punk explosion returns to the Slice Jan. 7 with A Trozzo and the Electric Few. The same night, fantastic local roots rock band Biloxi Parish play the Owl Acoustic Lounge with Evergreen.
The Slice has some very cool shows in January. Metal Meltdown, Jan. 21, features Tyrants of Chaos, Outrun the Arrow and Extrados.
And The Derina Harvey Band, who were a Celtic rock hit of South Country Fair two years ago, play the Slice Jan. 28.
For something more percussion based, Stomp hits the Enmax Centre on Jan. 9.
The Lethbridge Folk Club open mics return to Casa Jan. 13. And the Folk Club brings country singer Tim Hus to the Lethbridge College Cave Jan. 14.
If you miss the Chevelles on New Year’s Eve, they return to Coyote Joe’s Jan. 10.
February features Saturday Night Fever in the Enmax, Feb. 3. The Enmax has some big shows planned. Country star Brett Kissell plays the big stage at the Enmax Centre March 2. And classic rockers Loverboy play the Enmax April 8. Comedian Rick Mercer comes to the Enmax April 29. The ticket centre in the Yates Theatre/Sterndale Bennett Theatre closes in the new year as renovations of the theatre begin, so you’ll have to get your tickets at the Enmax Centre.
A highlight of February is always the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra’s annual collaboration with the University of Lethbridge Opera Society. This year features the best of Gilbert and Sullivan, Feb. 3 and 4 at Southminster United Church.
The Lethbridge Folk Club stays in the roots vein with Scott Cook, who performs the Lethbridge College Cave Feb. 3 with special guests Skinny Dyck and Carter Felker.
There are a couple of excellent pop shows in early February. USS and Repartee return to Lethbridge to play Pulse Feb. 6 while rapper Sonreal returns to Lethbridge to play Pulse, Feb. 7.
A big comedy show has been booked for Feb. 18 when funnyman Tom Green brings his Snow Jam Tour to Studio.
There are a couple of big Celtic shows already planned for 2017 as well. The Irish Descendants return to Average Joe’s Feb. 23.
And just down the road, the Real McKenzies play their annual pre-St. Patricks Day show, this time at Average Joe’s, March 16 with baseball-themed punk band the Isotopes.
The Lethbridge Folk Club brings Peace River area bluegrass/folk/gypsy jazz/swing band the Misery Mountain Boys to the Lethbridge College Cave March 11.
The Geomatic Attic has excellent shows planned as well.
Ben Caplan, who was another South country Fair highlight , plays the Geomatic Attic March 21.
So if that is any indication, 2017 should be an excellent year for live entertainment.
New West presents “Tinsel”
New West Theatre’s holiday season production of “Tinsel,” running at the Yates Theatre until Dec. 31, is all about sharing the love and remembering some of New West Theatre’s favourite moments over the past few years. Pretty much all of the musical selections include the words “love,” “heart” and “you.”
The show opens with a moving arrangement of Lionel Richie’s 1986 hit “Dancing on the Ceiling.” All of the talented cast, including longstanding members Scott Carpenter, Erica Hunt, Kyle Gruninger and Kathy Zaborsky plus newcomers AJ Baragar, Shelby Wilson and Rylan Kunkel, who is part of his first New West show, get to show off during the group numbers. Shelby Wilson is an instant highlight who stands out immediately from the beginning of “Dancing on the Ceiling.”
In additions to singing together, they also get to glow in solo spots.
The newcomers shine especially bright throughout “Tinsel.”
Baragar strums guitar sings a hilarious rendition of the Arrogant Worms’ “If I Were Prime Minister,” as “backup singer” Gruninger tries to steal the spotlight from him. Baragar and Gruninger also play well off each other and together, as they display their acrobatic ability, donning tights and tutus, balancing a big red rubber ball between each other to the tune of a few bars from the Nutcracker Suite played by the crack band of keyboardist Bente Hansen, lead guitarist Scott Mezei, drummer/band leader Paul Walker and bassist/guitarist Greg Paskuski.
Gruninger definitely steals the spotlight on a version of The Killers’ “I Believe In a Thing Called Love.”
But Shelby Wilson definitely left me wanting to hear more after her rendition of “From New York To L.A.” She returns in the second half of the show to do a lovely duet with Baragar of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.”
A highlight of the first half of the show is an outstanding performance of a cast version of George Harrison’s “Got My Mind Set On You” lead by Baragar.
They end the set on a laid back note, all seated on stools to sing a heartfelt version of “We Are the World” with each member singing a line.
Rylan Kunkel goes full Elton John in the second set, leading the band on the grand piano while dressed as Elton John at his most flamboyant for “Crocodile Rock.”
The always lovely Kathy Zaborsky takes on the grand piano for an operatic version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
And you can’t have New West show without being blown away by Erica Hunt’s powerhouse pipes.
This time she belts out a great version of “Piece of My Heart” and a solid duet with Gruninger of “When Will I be Loved.“
Hunt also dominates most of the comedy bits, bringing back beloved characters with Scott Carpenter including their elderly couple, talking about how old she looks as well as their Scottish movie critics who have a lot of fun, maybe too much fun, reviewing popular Christmas movies.
There isn’t a lot of Christmas in the “Christmas show,” but there is a lot of peace, love and happiness. Though Kunkel leads the cast through a medley of “Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth.”
There are several outstanding comedy bit including a medley of dad jokes, “If I Were Prime Minister,” and inspired physical comedy bit about a mixer for phobics who try not to trigger each other’s phobias.
A highlight of the second set it the lie detecting AJ Bot featuring Baragar, Hunt and Carpenter.
The show ends with a cast version of the B 52s’ “Love Shack” and the apt “What I Like about You.”
Darryl Düus at the Slice
It is always a great time when Darryl Düus returns to play the blues.
There was a good-sized crowd at the Slice Dec. 22 to hear him do just that with his band the Gentlemen of Leisure.
But first, I caught the end of a set of gritty blues and classic rock-style music from the Juxtaposers, who featured Don Cassell blowing harp and singing, backed by drummer Aaron Trozzo, bassist Paul Holden and Tyler Bird playing lead guitar.
Düus took the stage just after 11 p.m., backed by Tyler Bird on drums and Evan Euschenko on bass and baritone guitar.
Düus opened the first set by belting out “Love Somebody” and playing some hot slide guitar. He switched guitars for a variety of originals from brand new songs to songs he wrote years ago.
He invited Shaela Miller on stage to sing an old Merle Haggard song “Big City,” which Taylor Ackerman used to sing with the band before he moved.
After that, he invited Papa King Cole on stage to sing blues classic “Baby Please Don’t Go,” and to give a preview of their New Year’s Eve show at the Owl Acoustic Lounge. He followed that up with a jam on his own song “Oilite” from his CD.
After a great version of that song, Düus switched to a homemade cigar box three-string guitar for a deadly slide-powered version of “Walking Blues” as Euschenko switched to a baritone guitar.
He slowed things down a touch with a laidback cover of the Doors “The End,” which was not the end of the set as
He had a couple more new originals to play. One sounded like blues classic “Going Down” while another had a Hound Dog Taylor feel.
He kicked things up a notch with a cover of punk band Fear’s “I Love Livin” In The City,” before going back to the blues and playing a song about getting into trouble with pretty women.
The second set which began just before 1 a.m., looked to be a massive jam with members of the Juxaposers and Darryl Düus and the Gentlemen of Leisure.
Angry Christmas with Trismigistus and No Devil Lived On, Supervoid
It was an angry Christmas at the Slice, Dec. 17 with a trio of alternative rock bands playing including Trismegistus, No Devil Lived On and the Supervoid. I caught the end of stoner rock/grunge trio Trismegistus, which featured a couple of members of No Devil Lived on including their guitarist paying the drums and singing.
No Devil Lived On were more in the the experimental stoner rock vein, playing a set of big guitar riffs and groovy bass.
They wound up their set by playing several Tool songs, which drew the most applause of the night.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to stay for the Supervoid, who are playing the Owl on Dec. 30.
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Stand-Up comedy open mic
Slice — open mic
Mocha Cabana — Herb Hicks Jazz Quartet
Casino Lethbridge — Mwansa Mwansa
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Fox Eyes/ JJ Shiplett/ Supervoid
Slice — Jesse and the Dandelions/ Ghost Woman/ The Silkstones $10 9 p.m.
Beaches — The Irregular Orchestra
1010 Pub — whose Yer Daddy $15
Coyote Joe’s — Uncovered $5
Exhibition Park (Heritage Hall) — Ellen Doty $50
Coaldale Inn — paul and Jenn Kype $10
Coyote Joes — Uncovered 7 p.m. $5
The Coast — New Year’s Gala with the Chevelles $75
Owl Acoustic Lounge — New year’s Eve With Papa King
Lethbridge Legion — Dory and the Weathermen $50
Mocha Cabana — New Year’s Eve
The Slice — New Year’s Eve with Petunia and the Vipers and Burning bridge $35
Exhibition Park — Rockfest with Trooper and Fast Times $69
Italian Canadian Club — New Year’s Eve with the Bamboo Guppies New Years Eve Party at Italian Canadian Club
Attainable Records — Terrific Kids Collective New Years with Curtis Windover and The Whatever, L.n. baba, J Blissette $10 9 p.m.
Casino Lethbridge — Mwansa Mwansa $70 dinner 6-9 p.m.
Honker’s Pub — New Year’s Eve party with Good Time Charlie 3 course Pork Loin Dinner, Live Music, featuring “Good Time Charlie” and party favours. The party starts at 6 p.m. for cocktails, dinner at 7 p.m. and music and dance at 8 p.m.
Enmax Centre — Stomp
Casa — Lethbridge Folk Club open mic