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November 24, 2017 November 24, 2017

Indie rock takes centre stage

Posted on October 4, 2017 by Richard Amery

October opens with plenty of good independent rock shows going into the Thanksgiving weekend.
The Smokehouse opens with an open mic with Daylan Delaney, Oct. 3.
And Edmonton-based indie rock band Scenic Route to Alaska return to the Slice, Oct. 4 in support of their new single “Slow Down.” They may also play some new music from their next album, which they recorded over the summer with producer Howard Redekopp.
Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.
The Slice also has a big local rock show on Oct. 6 with local emo-metal band Atrophy Manuscript who are reuniting after nine years to release a their unreleased last album on tape. They will be joined by Vancouver‘s Uptights and Regina’s Dagan Harding. Tickets are $10 in advance $15 at the door.
Indie rock fans have their pick of shows on Oct, 7. Local indie rock band the Silkstones play Casino Lethbridge Oct. 6. Indie rock fans won’t want to miss an excellent show from London, Ontario’s the Ivory Hours, who will be playing the Slice, Oct. 7 with Calgary bands Windigo and the Fox Who Slept the night Away.
Ivory Hours are supporting their new CD “Dreamworld” and hit single “Shadow Kids.”
And in a slightly similar vein, Edmonton’s Vissia returns to Lethbridge to play the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Oct. 7 as well.
Yet another indie rock/pop show happens early in the week as Edmonton band the Royal Foundry make their Lethbridge debut at the Slice Oct. 10 with Montreal band the Maxwells.
Tickets are $10.
Royal Foundry are best known for their hits “Dreamer” and “Running Away,” which among other things, has been embraced by the CFL as their theme song.
On the other hand, country rock veterans the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band return to Lethbridge to play all their hits like “God Bless This Broken Road,” “Cadillac Ranch” and “Fishin’ in the Dark,” to name a few, at the Enmax Centre at 7 p.m. Tickets are $65 and $75.
But keep that cowboy hat on as Glace Bay country music veteran Matt Minglewood performs at Average Joe’s, Sunday, Oct. 8.
He is touring in support of his 17th CD “Fly Like Desperados.” Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 on the day of the show.
The show begins at 8 p.m.
Country fun continues in October as the October edition of the Windy City Opry features Calgary musician Kent McAllister’s new project the Stumble Rips plus Saskatoon’s Zachery Lucky. The show begins at 8 p.m. sharp. Admission is $10.

London born indie rock/pop band Ivory Hours visit Lethbridge, Oct. 7 in support of their new CD “Dreamworld” and first single “Shadow Kids.” They will be playing the Slice with Calgary indie rock band Windigo and the Fox Who Slept the Day Away.
In addition to the new CD and single, they are also releasing their own beer, named Dreamworld after the album, with a London brewery.
“It’s been a great day, because we’re launching this new beer with a brewery in London called ‘Forked River.’ It’s a white IPA,” enthused Ivory Hours frontman Luke Roes.
“They’re from London and we’re from London, so it was a perfect fit. I’m excited about it. I’ve always wanted to make my own beer,” he continued, adding it could go national and be released through the LCBO.
“Or we might try to bring some in our van,” he chuckled.
Their sophomore CD presents a heavier, slightly different direction for the band, though still heavily pop influenced.
“Before, we were exclusively a guitar rock band. We’ve always had that pop element to our music. This time, I added extra touring musicians. There’s cello which we didn’t have before and more synthesizers and distortion on a lot of different things, heavier textures and I let my imagination run wild,” he said.
Ivory Hours has won several music competitions. Their debut CD “Warpaint” helped them win the Edge radio station’s “The Next Big Thing Competition” which they followed up by winning Canada’s Walk of Fame Emerging Artist mentorship program and placed fourth in the CBC Searchlight Competition.
But right now they are excited to perform in the Juno Master Class week in October.
“We’ll get to work with music industry professionals and vocal coaches. We’re hoping we will learn a lot,” he continued.
But first, they visit Lethbridge for the first time.
“We’ve definitely played in the area, but we haven’t played Lethbridge,” Roes said, adding Ivory Hours will be touring as a quartet with Roes on guitar and vocals, drummer Thomas Perquin, Lukas Duncan on keyboards and guitar and bassist Carson Oulette.
“Our live show is pretty sweaty and dancey. We like to have a connection with the audience. It is a pretty good mix of music from the new album, our last album and the EPs,” he said. “So we do hope people will come out.”
Ivory Hours play the Slice, Oct. 7 with Windigo and the Fox Who Slept the Day Away. Admission is by donations
Edmonton musician Alex Vissia has taken her time to release her new EP “You Should Be Sleeping,” which is a taste of her upcoming full-length CD “Place Holder”.
But she has been doing anything but sleeping, writing songs, recording them, mixing them , earning an Alberta Arts Council grant to help fund publicity and playing a lot of shows, not to mention changing her band name to “Vissia,” and ensuring all of her social media reflects that.
“The last CD came out in 2013 so it has been four years, but this album has been ready to go for two years,” said Vissia, en route to Vancouver from Kelowna in the middle of a Western Canada tour which stops in Lethbridge at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Oct. 7.
“These days it is important to take your time instead of just recording it and releasing it to the world,” she continued.
She is pleased with the sound of the new EP as well as the upcoming CD.
“The CD will have all three songs from the EP,” she said, noting her touring band, drummer Nick Davies and bassist Kurtis Cockerill are on the CD along with several other guests including her sister Andrea and producer Emily Bachynski, who also sings on it..
She is pleased with how the CD sounds.
“I’ve been working on it for years. Thee songs are about my life in the early to mid 20s, and now I’m close to 30. I’m writing a lot about about relationships and how they affect people,” she said, adding there is a lot of soul influence in the music.
“It’s a full band sound and it’s very guitar-driven,” she said.
“And it was mixed by Sam Kassirer who works with Josh Ritter and has worked with Del Barber. I’m a huge Josh Ritter fan, so I was pretty excited when he returned my e-mail,” she enthused, adding the response to the CD, which was released on Sept. 22 has been very positive. The full length CD won’t be released until October.
She decided to go by Vissia instead of her full name for to avoid having anybody coming in to her music with a preconceived notion of what to expect.
“When people hear Alex Vissia they they expect me to fill a specific role — like a folky singer-songwriter. With Vissia, you don’t know what to expect,” she said.
“It’s like Wilco, you never know what to expect until you hear it,” she continued.
“It’s been good so far.
Alex Vissia plays the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Oct. 7 at 9 p.m. Admission is by donation.

Edmonton band The Royal Foundry don’t want to be constrained by genres.
The band, featuring the core of husband-and-wife duo Jared and Bethany Salte, had almost immediate success after entering the Peak music competition in 2015 with their song “Running Away,” which was their first foray into alt pop music.
“We started out as a folk duo and my band before that was a pop-rock band, and my dad was in a pop-rock band too, so it’s always been there,” said Jared Salte, from Nashville where they are writing songs for licensing purposes before embarking on a Canadian tour which stops in Lethbridge, Tuesday, Oct. 10 with Montreal rock band the Maxwells. The Royal Foundry features the two Saltes on guitar, keyboards and vocals plus cellist/drummer Robbie Szabo and bassist Jeremy Dehek.
They just released their first full-length album, “Lost in Your Head,” which features “Running Away” as well as their new hit single “Dreamers,” which Disney used to advertise their 2017 wedding dress line.
“We entered the Peak Performance competition as a folk duo and didn’t win, but we learned a lot about writing songs and how to release a single and promotion. So the second time we were armed with all of this knowledge to expand on,” Bethany Salte added, noting it was their first attempt at experimenting with synthesizers and pop music.
“Jared was in his element trying out all of there new synthesizers sounds,” Bethany chuckled.
“It was definitely the fastest song we wrote. It was different playing with synthesizers rather than just banjo and acoustic guitar,” Jared added.
Bethany noted the album isn’t just pop music.
“We wanted to explore a lot of new genres, so there is alt rock, some folk and of course pop, ” she said, adding they are already excited about a new project.
“We wrote these songs over the past two years ago and have heard them hundreds of times, so excited for the next thing,” she said. They worked with producer Sam Hanson in Los Angeles.
“We’ve never worked with another producer before, and he listens to a lot of pop music, so it was difficult to let go. But it was a really great experience,” Bethany observed.
“Running Away” immediately got placed in commercials including one for Alberta Environment and embraced by the CFL for their theme.
“That’s literally what it’s about— running away, with the quarterback running with the ball, but it’s still surreal to hear it,” Jared Salte said.
They are excited to make their Lethbridge debut.
“The new songs are a lot of fun to play live. And our drummer (Robbie Szabo) is a classically trained cellist, so there is a lot of running around and some looping,” Bethany said.
There is a $10 cover for the show, which begins at 9 p.m.

Reviews
Emerson Drive at Average Joe’s
Emerson Drive were in the mood to party with a sedate Sunday night crowd at Average Joe’s, Sept, 24.
II caught the end of a solo acoustic set of country music from mark Maxwell who encouraged some of the people to get out of their seats and go to the front of the stage to toast the Lethbridge music community.
After a short break, Emerson Drive kept most of them on their feet in a toe tapping, hit heavy set. I thought they were going to start with the Who’s “Baba O’ Riley” but it ended up being their 2009 hit “I Love this Road,” which actually has the same three chords and which set the tone for the night.
They played a pleasant mix of ballads and more upbeat country rockers like Countrified Soul,” which showed off the talents of their guitarists. Frontman Brad Mates grinned and paced all over the stage, delivering heartfelt vocals throughout.
“My Kind of Crazy” was a highlight of the set, midway through the show.
Things got pretty real midway through the set as Mates dedicated Emerson Drive‘s big hit, “Moments,” to their former bassist, Patrick Bourque, who they lost to suicide almost 10 years ago to the day on Sept. 25, 2007 just as the band was getting big with their album “Countrified.”
They picked up the tempo with the R and B-influenced, Tebey-penned new single “Just Got Paid,” after that.
They kept the energy up with “She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful,” “I Should Be Sleeping” and “A Good Man,” then really showed their musical chops on “Testify” to wind up their show.
I couldn’t resist catching some of a Tom Petty tribute at Average Joe’s, Saturday, Sept. 23.
I arrived in time for a second set of Vancouver-based tribute act Tom Petty presents the Women of Rock.
The set began with a prerecorded harmonica solo playing as frontman Phil Dunget, looking every bit the part of Tom Petty, with flowing, shoulder-length blond hair and quirky sunglasses, playing “You Don’t Know What It’s Like,” and following it up with “Learning to Fly” and “Mary Jane’s last Dance.” He nailed the guitar solos, note perfectly. He donned a Tom Petty top hat as “Stevie Nicks” aka Linda Maze, who was performing all of the ladies including Pat Benetar and Chrissy Hynde, took the stage for some of Stevie Nicks’ hits as well as to sing harmony on some more Tom Petty songs.
She definitely had the Stevie Nicks ’70s hippy-meets-Disco Duck look down with shaggy blond hair and sultry red dress, and swaying in place.
She sang “Stop Draggin’ my Heart Around” and aded extra harmonies on “Running Down a Dream.”
But she also took a solo spot, playing a beautiful version of “Landslide” on acoustic guitar. A dark-haired lady joined them to add extra tambourine, who I thought was going to sing Chrissy Hynde as she resembled her, but ended up just being an audience member.
They ended their show with “American Girl.”
Swim Owl at Acoustic Lounge
The Owl Acoustic Lounge hosted Calgary Indie Rock band the Ashley Hundred, Saturday, Sept. 23. But while I missed them, I was pleased to catch a set from Medicine Hat indie rock trio Swim, who often play with Curtis Windover. They were on their own this time, playing a solid set of groove infused indie rock and pop music with the occasional synthesizer.
Word on the Street
Word on the Street was a lot of fun on a brisk, Saturday afternoon, Sept. 23 outside the downtown Lethbridge Public Library.
Local Jazz/rock/Celtic band The Junkman’s Quire, clad in toques and jackets, played their usual upbeat set of cello-tinged folk and Celtic music. Megan Brown strummed guitar and sang as frontman George Fowler sat and played cello. As expected, Word on the Street is all about books and reading. I took in parts of several panels on Blackfoot story-telling and learned a little about the meaning behind pow wow drumming.
Other tents featured an assortment of authors reading from their works, while a panel of mystery writers answered questions from a curious crowd about where their ideas come from.
Couleefest at Lethbridge College
Lethbridge College celebrated 60 years with Couleefest, Saturday, Sept. 23.
It was a cool day, but the action on campus was pretty hot.
I caught parts of sets from local country band Hurtin’ playing a variety of country hits for a good sized crowd wandering through a plethora of displays set up around the stage in the Lethbridge College courtyard. There were more displays inside including a fashion display featuring outfits from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, right next to a set up of students giving free 10-minute massages. Across from that was a virtual reality crime scene experience in which you could put on a set of virtual reality goggles and look at the crime scene from all angles, right from the crime itself to seeing the victim taken away in the ambulance and to the hospital.
Outside, the Steve Keenan Band took over the stage to play some hot blues licks for an enthusiastic audience. Hippodrome and Three Finger Shot closed out the day.

Oct. 3
Smokehouse — Open mic with Daylan Delaney
Oct. 4
Slice — Scenic Route to Alaska
Oct. 5
Slice — open mic

Oct. 6
Mocha Cabana — Ray Sauer
Slice — Atrophy Manuscript with the Uptakes
Casino Lethbridge — the Silkstones
Honker’s Pub — open mic

Oct. 7
Enmax Centre — Nitty Gritty Dirt band $65 $75 7:30 p.m.
Slice — Ivory Hours with Windigo and Fox Who Slept the Day Away
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Vissia
Honker’s Pub — open mic

Oct. 8
Average Joe’s — Matt Minglewood with Guests $25 advance, $30 day of show

Oct. 9
Onion — open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — open mic

Oct. 10
The Slice — The Royal Foundry with the Maxwells $10
Smokehouse — Javier Hip hop

Oct. 11
Slice — Windy City Opry Zachery Lucky and Kent McAllister

Oct. 12
Slice — open mic

Oct. 13
Mocha Cabana — Keith Woodrow
Casa — Lethbridge Folk Club open mic 7 p.m. $5 donation
Slice — Tallest to shortest with Dirti Speshuls
Smokehouse — Dethfest

Oct. 14
Galt Gardens — Zombie Walk noon-3 p.m.
Coast Hotel — Benefit with Trevor Panczak
Slice — Adequate $10

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