There is a variety of fun things to check out this week — everything from folk to metal, modern dance to blues. The week begins at the Slice, March 8 with Juno Award-winning folk musician/banjo picker Old Man Luedecke, who returns to Lethbridge after two years. The last time he visited, he had a decent crowd, but not nearly as many as the affable folk singer deserves. The show will start early, at 8 p.m., so don’t be fashionably late.
Calgary punk/alternative rock duo Miesha and the Spanks return to the Slice March 10 with Calgary female-powered grunge/blues band All Hands on Jane and local rock duo Cope.
If you really want to bang your head, Detroit metal band I Prevail play a soldout show at Coyote Joe’s, with Assuming We Survive and Make War. If there are any left, tickets cost $15 at the door.
If you just want to mellow out, local bluesman Leon Barr returns to the Mocha Cabana March 10 to play over the supper hours 6-9 p.m.. And country/roots singer Mariel Buckley returns to Lethbridge to play the Owl Acoustic Lounge.
There is a variety of fun on March 11.
Down the road in Fort Macleod, Vancouver-born, Toronto-based jazz musician Tia Brazda performs at 7:30 p.m. She has toured all over the world and is working on her sophomore album. Tickets are $35.
Closer to home, local blues band Paul Kype and Texas Flood return to the Slice, March 11. But if you love dance, LSIDA (the Lethbridge Society of Independent Dance Artists) feature their spring showcase at the Yates Theatre, March 11. There are performances at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. featuring dancers from across the province. Tickets are $20 from Classique Dancewear.
The Owl Acoustic Lounge features a pretty cool and different duo, Big Little Lions. Helen Austin and Paul Otten, who live on Vancouver Island and Cincinnati respectively, were an instant hit when they started working together, as they won several awards including a Juno and several other prizes with their infectious blend of Icelandic pop-inspired pop and folk music. They have had songs on a variety of television shows and films including Elementary, MTV’s Catfish, ABC’s The Vineyard, MBC’s The Night Shift, a Microsoft, three Ikea commercials, a McDonald’s commercial and the trailer for “Love the Coopers” movie. There is no cover for the show.
The monthly ukulele jam happens at Casa on Sunday, March 12 from 2-3 p.m. This month it will be in the 2D classroom at Casa instead of in the meeting room where it usually is.
Early in the week there are several alt country/honky tonk shows happening.
On Monday, March 13 the Slice features Kamloops Christian rock band Josh Seymour and the Hathaway Boys. Down the street, Winnipeg country musician Quinton Blair returns to the Owl Acoustic Lounge to host their open mic.
Get ready to rock on a Tuesday as Toronto-based post punk rock band Century Palm, featuring former Lethbridge resident, musician and concert promoter Paul Lawton stop by the Owl Acoustic Lounge, March 14 with local rock bands A Trozzo and the Electric Few and J Blissette.
A little further down the line, the March Windy City Opry happens at the Slice, March 15 with Calgary’s Brooke Wylie and the always amazing Tin and the Toad who have just released their second album.
Chris “Old Man” Luedecke is excited to stop by Lethbridge again on Wednesday, March 8.
The Juno Award-winning, Halifax-based musician just flew into Alberta to play a spate of shows with long time collaborator Joel E Hunt still in support of his 2015 CD, “Domestic Eccentric,” which is all about domestic bliss and home.
“The success of that CD has given me a pretty clear sense of purpose. There is a lot of stuff on the record. It’s 14 songs. People still want to hear the songs from it and I can’t get through all of the songs in a single show anyway,” Luedecke said from Camrose.
He has been busy touring and raising his family in Nova Scotia since his last visit to Lethbridge two years ago.
“I’ve been doing lots of playing, doing lots of fairs and I’ve toured in Australia and all over the United States,” he said.
He has also written a few songs and contributed songs to several different compilations including a tribute to fellow Maritime musician Shotgun Jimmie.
The Lethbridge show will start early.
“I’ve been doing a lot of those lately. It’s better. You get a better listening audience at early shows.
“I’ll have songs, stories and humourous anecdotes to tell,” he said, adding the show will also feature the multi instrumental prowess of Hunt, who sings plus plays fiddle and mandolin.
“He’s been playing with me for six years now. He plays everything I don’t,” said Luedecke, who sings and plays banjo among other instruments.
Old Man Luedecke returns to the Slice, March 8 from 8-11 p.m.
Detroit, Michigan post punk/metal band I Prevail are pleasantly surprised that most of their shows on their current tour in support of their debut CD “Lifelines” are sold out, including the March 10 show at Coyote Joes.
“It’s a great feeling. It‘s been phenomenal,” said “harsh” vocalist Eric Vanlerberghe.
“And we got off to a rough start with colds and the other singer, (clean vocalist) Brian Burkheiser, got pneumonia,” said Vanlerberghe, who along with bandmates Burkheiser, lead guitarist Steve Menoian and drummer Lee Runestad, grew up listening to post punk and screamo music combining spooky melodic vocals and harsh, screaming vocals and detuned, riff-heavy guitar, which earmarks I Prevail’s sound.
“The first half of the tour was completely sold out and it looks like the second half will be sold out, too. It’s been insane,” he enthused, adding it has been surprising since half the band was sick for them.
“We have a pretty strong presence on social media like Facebook. We’re always reaching out to the kids,” he continued.
“And we spend a lot of time touring. We had a lot of success from our first EP
They have released three singles from the new CD including “Scars,” “Stuck in Your Head” and “Alone.”
And “Blank Space” from their 2014 debut EP “Heart and Mind” charted at number nine on the U.S. rock charts.
“We were sitting on this CD for a while. We wanted to make sure we had the best songs possible,” he said.
“A lot of kids have listened to it or picked up a copy, so it seems to have worked.”
He noted the contrast of sung vocals and screamed vocals means the band has a wide appeal.
“There’s a good mix of heavy and more melodic music. People who don’t really like heavy music will hear the softer parts and say ‘I like this,’” he continued.
“It’s still energetic.”
They are enjoying playing with a variety of bands including Wage War and Assuming We Survive who are on the bill in Lethbridge.
Tickets for the Lethbridge show at Coyote Joe’s are close to sold out. They are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.
Big Little Lions have a huge sound and a whole lot of success for two people who live on opposite ends of the continent.
The duo, including Vancouver Island-based, northern England-born vocalist/guitarist Helen Austin and Cincinnati, Ohio-based producer/multi-instrumentalist Paul Otten, play the Owl Acoustic Lounge, March 11.
They both had successful careers scoring television and film before meeting each other at a film and television conference in 2011.
“When I first met him, I told him didn’t like collaborating and that was it, then a couple years later I listened to a project he did and I really liked it,” said Austin, who had already won a Juno award for Best Children’s Album and then decided to work with Otten on her CD “Colour It,” which won another Juno.
“But I wanted to get back into more adult stuff. Friends liked sone of my more jollier ones,” she said, adding that pushed her into working with Otten, who produced a couple of EPs and the full-length “A Little Torn, A Little Frayed,” which won a Juno.
“It seemed to work, so we decided to keep doing it,” she said.
“We both love Icelandic bands. So we wanted to do something like that. It isn’t traditional folk, but it isn’t straight pop either,” she described.
“Paul plays drums bass and keyboards all at once and I sing and play guitar and a range of different percussion instruments,” she said, adding the sometimes play with a band, but prefer playing as a duo.
“It isn’t financially feasible to tour as a band,“ she said.
“My daughter used to be in the band. She’s a fiddle player but she moved away,” she continued.
For a duo who live so far away, they see a lot of each other.
“We’ve both got families. But we’re doing this tour, and we did the Folk Alliance in Kansas and the Sundance Film Festival, so we’ve been together eight times this year,“ she said.
They released “Just Keep Moving” in May last year just released a new single, “Against the Wall.”
“We’re always writing. We’re working on a new album, but we want to make sure we have the best songs on it,” she said.
“I’ve been writing a lot of political songs lately. There’s a lot of injustice in the world.
“And Paul lives right in the thick of U.S. politics, so we released a single. We have to face it down cohesively,” she said.
They get a lot of music placed in television shows and films.
“We love getting a montage at the end of a show. We got one for the American show ‘Elementary’ and we got another on ‘Night Shift.’
“We also get songs on regional TV and MTV.” She said they have a good manager who helps get them TV and film cuts. they have been in the business long enough to have formed their own contacts and relationships with people in the industry as well.
They have never played Lethbridge before, so don’t know what to expect.
“We love seeing new places. I don’t spend a lot of time in Alberta — mostly Calgary and Edmonton because my husband is from Edmonton,” she said, adding to expect a fun show.
“Lethbridge will get to see Paul being an octopus, playing everything at once. And I’ll be playing. There will be a lot of interaction with the audience. We like to chat with the audience and find out about them.”
“The blues never hurt anybody on a Sunday,” said Steve Keenan of the Steve Keenan Band, who opened an excellent night of blues music at the Geomatic Attic, Feb. 26, opening for the 24th Street Wailers.
I was pleased to see a soldout show for the 24th Street Wailers on Sunday as they’re a band I wanted to see live as soon as I heard their CD “Unshakeable.” And they did not disappoint even though they didn’t play anything off any of their albums, even the latest CD, “Where Evil Grows.”
Lead singer/drummer Lindsay Beaver had an immediately appealing, ragged, bluesy voice reminiscent of Janis Joplin.
They have never been to Lethbridge, but played the Blues On the Bow, so some of the crowd had seen them before.
They dedicated their set to trying out brand new material on the receptive audience.
The short Beaver also stood up while singing and playing drums, which was new for her as she observed she‘s so short nobody could see her behind her kit.
It worked. Despite a few technical issues, she cracked jokes and grinned at her husband/upright bassist Michael Archer.
Beaver and Archer looked like they just stepped out of the ’50s.
The band themselves played a whole lot of old-time, piano and saxophone-driven rock and roll, while playing with a little jazz, a little rockabilly and a a lot of blues, not to mention huge doses of horn driven ’50s and ’60 Stax pop, R and B and soul music and a touch of the Sadies-style country psychedelia.
Saxophonist Jonny Wong stepped to the centre of the stage to take upbeat solos, which drew applause from the audience. Archer placed his ear to the body of his upright bass and dug in, before changing to electric bass for a couple of the faster songs. He even sang lead vocals on a song.
Guitarist Marc Doucet mostly kept to the back of the stage laying down rhythm, but also stepped to the front of the stage for a couple of perfectly formed solos.
Keyboardist Jesse Whiteley’s fingers were a blur as he did his best Jerry Lee Lewis impression, short of setting his keyboard on fire.
Considering Archer and Beaver are based in Texas and their bandmates are in Toronto, the band was on fire.
There were a lot of highlights including “Lowlife” and “She’ll be Gone.”
Another highlight was a cover of Irma Thomas’ ’60s pop rocker “Breakaway,” which sounded like The Isley Brothers’ “You Make me Want to Shout.”
They wound down the set with Archer picking up an electric bass for a smoking, rocking couple songs featuring Beaver taking an incendiary drum solo.
They were called back for an encore, which was a complete contrast to the rest of the set as it was a gorgeous a capella number featuring everyone except Doucet, showing off their vocal harmonies.
The Steve Keenan band, an excellent blues rock band, opened the show with a hit set of original blues/rock and country music.
The band, including Keenan on lead guitar and vocals, drummer Darwin Romanchuk, bassist David Popovitch and new lead guitarist Pete Watson, played a variety of songs including brand new songs, more country inspired songs and older blues rockers including my favourite Keenan original “Whiskey Drinking Blues,” and their excellent, set-ending cover of “Going Down.” At times Keenan sounded a little like Irish bluesman Rory Gallagher, especially on slower, more jammy numbers.
“Going Down” featured some sweet harmonized guitar leads between Keenan and Watson, who, in addition to playing in unison, effortlessly traded leads, sometimes within the same song. A highlight was a slower countryish tribute to Keenan’s new daughter.
They ended their set with their hot version of “Going Down” which drew enthusiastic applause and calls for an encore.
The Slice — Old man Luedecke
Slice — open mic
Casa — Lethbridge Folk Club open mic
Slice — Miesha and the Spanks with All Hands on Jane and Cope
Coyote Joe’s — I Prevail with Assuming We Survive and Make War 8 p.m. Cover; $20 at door, $15 in advance
Mocha Cabana — Leon Barr
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Mariel Buckley
Honker’s Pub — open mic
Empress Theatre (Fort Macleod) — Tia Brazda
Slice — Texas Flood
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Big Little Lions
Honker’s Pub — afternoon open mic
Coyote Joe’s — open mic
Yates Theatre — LSIDA dance showcase 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. $20
Casa — ukulele jam 2-3 p.m.
Slice — Josh Seymour and the Hathaway Boys
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Quinton Blair and open mic
Onion — open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Century Palm, A Trozzo and the Electric Few, J Blissette
Slice — Windy City Opry with Brooke Wylie and Tin and the Toad 8 p.m. $10
Geomatic Attic — Andrea Superstein $30 advance , $32.50 online, $35 door (to be confirmed
Average Joe’s — The Real McKenzies with the Isotopes $25 advance, $30 door
Slice — open mic
Mocha Cabana — Bruce Roome
Owl Acoustic Lounge— Junkman’s Quire
Slice — Mr. Tuesday
Honker’s Pub — open mic
Coyote Joe’s — St. Patrick’s Day with Adequate
Soundgarden — Susie and the Homewreckers
Honker’s Pub — afternoon open mic
Coyote Joe’s — open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — family jam 1:30 p.m., Unbroken Circle, Evan Freeman with Darren Young
Coyote Joe’s — Muscadine Bloodline