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November 24, 2017 November 24, 2017

Metal bands liven up local music scene

Posted on September 20, 2017 by Richard Amery

It’s a great week for metal, with a couple of excellent metal shows happening at the Smokehouse.
On Sept. 23, the U of L Headbanger’s Society present their first show of the season at the Smokehouse with Vancouver rock/metal band Of Artistry with local rock/metal bands Caste of Shadows and Sidestepping the Sun and To The Mountains Admission is $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Doors open at 6 p.m.
If that wasn’t enough metal in your face, the next night, Sept. 24, get ready to bang your head and thrash the night was with veteran Calgary metal band Divinity who are supporting their new CD The Immortalist. They will be joined by Vancouver’s Expain and local screamo band the Avulsion.
The early show starts at 8 p.m. There is a $10 cover.
For the diametric opposite to that, get your ’90s pop fix this week as the I Love the ’90s tour stops by the Enmax Centre, Thursday, Sept. 21 with Vanilla Ice, Salt N’ Pepa, Rob Base, Young MC and CC and Music Factory.
Tickets are $65, $85 and $102. The show begins at 7 p.m.
The Smokehouse features a big hip hop show in between all the metal, Sept. 22 with Pimpton’s Canadian tour stopping by with special guests Kwame Dolo and Dusty Wallace and local support from Trey Mark, LRev & Heavy Knowledge, Knox and xRGx.
Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door.
Also on Thursday, get ready to laugh as the Jokers Gone Wild tour returns to Casino Lethbridge. This month features Lars Callieou, Martin Mor and Gordon Souther. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10.
The Slice is all about rock this weekend with local bands To The Mountains From the Flame and Quick Draw performing at night on Sept. 22. Gabriel Thaine is playing a special, laid back happy hour show at 5:30 p.m.
On Sept. 23, the Slice features Vancouver indie pop band Goodwood Atoms, Saskatoon punk band Owners and local indie rock band the Utilities. There is a $10 cover for the show, which begins at 9 p.m.
The Galt Museum hosts a special event for classical music fans with Piano and Pie, Sept. 22 at 6:30 p.m. featuring the piano of Jill Heninger. Tickets are $35 for adults, $20 youth and students.
Lethbridge College has a big event on the weekend with Couleefest on Sept. 23.
There will be campus and department tours, and performances by local country band Hurtin’ at 2 p.m., and blues rock band the Steve Keenan Band following around 3 p.m. Local funk/ rock/ disco/pop orchestra Hippodrome will be on stage around 4:15 p.m. and Calgary-based east Coast style band 3 Finger Shot, will end the festivities with a set at 6:15 p.m.
The Owl Acoustic Lounge features a pretty laidback weekend with the Bryant Watson Duo performing, Sept. 22. Calgary indie rock band the Ashley Hundred return to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Sept. 23.
Average Joe’s also features a couple of sweet shows.
Local rockers the Chevelles return to Average Joe’s for the CJOC’s fifth annual Classic Cruiser Party Friday, Sept. 22 at 9 p.m. The local radio station will be giving away a 1957 Pontiac Super Chief. There will be a $5 cover charge after 7:30 p.m.
If you like Tom Petty and the women of the ’70s, Average Joe’s features a tribute the next night with Totally Tom Petty Hosts the Women of Rock, a Las Vegas-styled touring show featuring the many hits of Tom Petty, plus Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac, Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders and Pat Benetar. The show begins at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance,
And, last, but not least, Average Joe’s brings back Grand Prairie-born, Nashville/Maine-based country stars Emerson Drive, who have charted numerous hits including their latest “Just Got Paid.” They are also known for “I Should Be Sleeping,” “I’ve Had My Moments,” “She’s My Kind of Crazy” and “Countrified Soul,” to name a few.
Tickets are $40 in advance, $45 at the door. The show begins at 8 p.m. with local country singer Mark Maxwell.
Emerson Drive are glad to be back on the road in support of their new hit single “Just Got Paid,” which was released in May and has become an immediate fan favourite.
“That was written by Tebey (Ottoh and Jared Sciullo, Dee Jay Silver) and a couple of guys from Nashville. It’s doing great,” said Maine resident and Emerson Drive frontman Brad Mates, rejoining his bandmates, guitarist Danick Dupelle, drummer Mike Melancon and keyboardist Dale Wallace in Nashville to rehearse for the quick Canadian tour, which includes the Lethbridge stop.
“We’ve known Tebey for 10 or 12 years, so he knows what songs we like and the sound we’re going for. It (‘Just Got Paid’) is a great summer song. And people like it. We were playing a festival and within a few seconds, they were singing it back to us. So we looked at each other and we grinned ear to ear,” Mates said.
They were considering recording a full-length CD but may just release new music as singles.
“We’re about half done it. But we like it when a song comes in that just beats all the others we’ve already recorded,” he continued.
“We haven’t decided what to do yet, we may release an EP. We’d rather just release four or five really great songs we feel people will respond to,” he continued, adding they like releasing singles.
“It’s not like the old days when you had to book studio time two or three months in advance and spend a couple months there. Now we can go in and record a song in a day,” Mates observed, adding it helps that the band is so tight, considering he lives in Maine.
“I find it’s more beneficial to not have to be in Toronto or Nashville and just be able to get away from Nashville and the scene and just relax and recharge. That’s why we still call Grande Prairie home, because we like to go there to recharge, too,” he observed.
They have a couple other singles in the works and will likely play them at the Lethbridge show.
“We tour a lot. That’s always been part of our pre-production to play the new songs live. I love being able to see how audiences react to the new music. So ‘Just Got paid’ will be in the set and a couple of new songs,” he continued.
Time has flown by for the band.
“At the end of summer, the year is almost over after eight to 12 months of touring. It’s over before you know it, just in time to begin another cycle,” he said, adding they are excited to return to Lethbridge.
“We have a lot of friends and family in the area and the crowds at Average Joe’s are always so good,” he said.
Calgary extreme metal band Divinity have been carefully crafting their show and their sound for 20 years.
After several lineup changes and instrument shifts within the band, they re-released two previous EPs and a new third EP together as a concept album, “The Immortalist.” They play the Smokehouse with Vancouver metal band Expain and the Avulsion.
“Sean (Jenkins, vocalist) and I formed the band around 2001 or 2002,” observed guitarist James Duncan, noting they just added a second guitarist, Gord Olson, who joins vocalist Jeff Waite, bassist Keith Branston and Duncan’s brother Brett on drums.
Duncan noted the band takes a lot of time to create the many layers of their music.
“There’s 30 or 40 guitar tracks and a dozen vocal tracks. So I had to decide what to play live. Even the synth parts were written on guitar,” he said, adding having the second guitarist helps the band play more of the songs, not to mention gives them the opportunity for harmonized leads.
He noted Olson is a longtime friend of the band who they asked to join about four years ago, but was unable to due to other commitments.
“We can play really heavy rhythms and go right into a harmonized lead sections like Iron Maiden; it really fills out the sound,” he said.
While the album is meant as a concept album, Duncan said the individual songs stand on their own, so they aren’t playing it in order.
“We thought about doing that, but instead we want to draw people into the show by playing a couple of our loudest, heaviest songs,” he said.
“It is based loosely on the Matrix, not exactly, but that there is life and death and the idea that there is more than you know,” he said, adding the music embraces a variety of styles of metal including death metal, thrash metal and power metal.
“There’s faster parts and slower parts, too. There’s songs about psi wars and aliens,” he continued, they are connected with the graphic novel which accompanies the CD.
“We’ve created the concept, so you can see what is happening in a a full 24-page book,” he said, adding as the band members are all nearing or around 40 years old, they have no illusions about making a living with Divinity, so they all hold down good day jobs.
“People aren’t buying records anymore. You have to give them something else,” he said.
“Our day jobs allow us to do what we want to to with Divinity,” he said.
“We want everything to look and sound as professional as possible,” he said, adding Sean Jenkins does all of the bands graphic design including the website merchandise, posters and the book itself.
“This band can’t fund itself. But we want to create music we like and that other people will want to listen to, so if we can do that, we’re satisfied with what we‘re creating,” he continued, adding they are excited to be able to play with people like Steve Vai vocalist Devin Townsend of Strapping Young Lad and current tour mates Expain.
“There’s six of us on stage and we never give less than 100 per cent. It’s really energetic. Come to the show, your head will explode,” he said.
Calgary metal band Divinity play the Smokehouse, Sept. 24 with Vancouver metal band Expain and local metal band the Avulsion.
The early show starts at 8 p.m. There is a $10 cover.

Reviews
The Windy City Opry brought in a good crowd of roots music fans Wednesday, Sept. 13. I missed a solo set from Dave McCann, but caught the essence of a fun set of roots music from Peterborough duo the Mayhemingways.
As usual, they were impressive as Benj Rowland stomped at a set of bass pedals while alternating between accordion, a tenor guitar, a guitar and banjo. Drummer Josh Fewings added an unstoppable beat.
A set ending highlight was the slower “Watching the Apples Grow.”
Saturday Said The Whale Freshfest U of L
As usual, Freshfest was well attended at the University of Lethbridge, Sept. 9.
I only caught Said The Whale’s set. They played their usual set of catchy up tempo, guitar based indie rock, with just a touch of keyboards.
The band sang superb vocal harmonies and took turns singing lead vocals.
The Owl Acoustic Lounge featured Salmo alternative rock duo Rainboard aka vocalist/guitarist Tom Reimer and drummer Lyndon Schiewe. They played a set of weird, noisy rock with waves of ambient dissonance and a relentless beat. Reimer sang in a spooky, high Radiohead style voice.
Abbotsford-based post punk band Loans played a more upbeat indie rock along the lines of the Strokes. I missed an opening set from Unbroken Circle.
The Slice rocked with alternative sounds and big riffs, Sept. 9 with local alternative rock band the Supervoid, local rock duo Cope and Calgary riff rock band Woodhawk a can be best described as Loud, louder and ears bleeding loudest.
I arrived just in time to get my eardrums torn out by one of many ear piercing screams from the Supervoid frontman Jon Vornbrock, who let loose a bellow to be proud of just as I walked by the giant speaker on the edge of the Slice stage. Vornbrock, drummer Dean Wilson and bassist Christian Nelson played a tight set or original, mostly older material I haven’t heard them play for years. There were plenty of Foo Fighters/Smashing pumpkins alternative rock energy, though this show featured a little more Radiohead than usual. There were plenty of ’90s-style riffs and shrieks as they ended with “Take My Life.”
Tyson Wiebe and Mickey Hayward played a strong set of riff laden instrumental rock with weird, lengthy song titles. They’re always fun to see and a power to behold. They ended with the three songs from their most recent EP as Wiebe wound things down by crouching down his bank of effects and fiddled with the knobs to emit shrieks and other strange noises.
Woodhawk were up next with an impressive set of huge riffs from frontman Turner Midzain, a huge bottom end from bassist Mike Badmington, lots of intensity and drummer Kevin Nelson beaming ear to ear as he tossed his sticks up in the air and catching them.
They began with their new single “High Priest,” and didn’t let up for about an hour. They sounded like a blend of Black Sabbath with more modern acts like Monster Truck and in places, Midzain sounded a lot like Ian Blurton of C’mon and Public Animal.
They played most of the new CD “Beyond the Sun” and finished their set with a couple of older songs including the outstanding “Don’t Wake the Witch.”
Sept. 21
Enmax Centre — Love the ’90s tour with Vanilla Ice, Salt N Pepa with Sinderella, Rob Base, Young MC, C+C Music Factory featuring Freedom Williams
Casino Lethbridge — Joker’s Gone Wild $10
Slice — open mic
Sept. 22
Galt Museum — Piano and Pie with Jill Henninger 6 p.m. Tickets: $35 Adult, $20 Youth/Student, including GST
Mocha Cabana — Karen Romanchuk
Slice — Happy Hour Fridays with Gabriel Thaine 5:30- 7 p.m.
To The Mountains, Quick Draw, From the Flame
Smokehouse—Pimpton Canadian Tour with Kwame Dolo, Dusty Wallace, Trey Mark, lRev, Heavy Knowledge $10 advance, $15 at door 7 p.m.
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Joel Bryant and Pete Watson
Average Joe’s — Chevelles Classic Cruiser party 7:30 p.m. $5 after 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 23
Club Didi — Panti Rave, Lethbridge College — Couleefest
Smokehouse — U of Headbanger’s Society presents Sidestepping the Sun, To The Mountains, Caste of Shadows. $15 advance, $20 at door 6 p.m.
Owl Acoustic Lounge — The Ashley Hundred
Average Joe’s — Totally Tom Petty hosts the women of rock 9 p.m. $15 advance Slice— Goodwood Atoms, Owners, The utilities
Sept. 24
Smokehouse — Divinity, Expain, The Avulsion $10 8 p.m. doors 6:30 p.m.
Average Joe’s — Emerson Drive with Mark maxwell $40 advance $45 at door
Sept. 25
Onion — open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — open mic
Sept. 26
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Magik Spells
Sept. 27
Slice — Ryan Laird, Kendra Kay $15 8 p.m.
Owl Acoustic Lounge — standup comedy open mic
Sept. 28
Slice — open mic
Sept. 29
Mocha Cabana — Herb Hicks Jazz Quartet
Club Didi — Naked Monologues
Owl Acoustic Lounge — The Faps with Cope and MomBod
Smokehouse — Stevie heavy Hip hop
Honker’s Pub — open mic
Sept 30
Club Didi — Drunk improv
Slice — Klusterfunk and Shagadelic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Jay Bowcott
Honker’s Pub — Southern Alberta Wildfires Fundraiser

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