It is a relatively slower week for live music; however, the theatre scene is hopping with two plays running this week.
Hatrix Theatre brings “12 Angry Jurors” to the Nordbridge Seniors Centre, Nov. 15-18 at 7:30 p.m. each night. The play, inspired by the 1957 movie classic “12 Angry Men,” includes a lot of familiar faces as well as some valiant newcomers. Tickets are $15 from Blueprint Records. There is also a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Nov. 18.
New West Theatre and Theatre Outré also premiere their new Canadian play “Vigil,” penned by Calgary playwright Morris Panych, Nov. 18 at the Trianon Gallery.
It runs Nov. 15-25 at 7:30 p.m. each night. They also have a matinee on Saturday at 1 p.m., Nov. 18.
For live music, once again, things begin early in the week with a couple of excellent indie rock/pop shows happening.
Moose Jaw musician Brodie Moniker of PandaCorn and Fancy Diamonds stops by the Slice Nov. 15 with local indie rock/alternative rock band the Mormon Girls and Makiisma.
The Owl Acoustic Lounge welcomes back Phoenix-raised pop/indie folk musician R Ariel with local alternative rock duo Birch Barks and local hip hop collective ONTK and Calgary’s Pierre Mvono. The music begins at 8:30 pm. Admission is by donation.
As usual there are a lot of open mics sprinkled throughout the week. Coulee Brew has an open mic on Wednesday, Nov. 15. The Slice has their regular open mic on Thursday and Honker’s Pub has their open mic on Friday night and Saturday afternoon.
The Owl Acoustic Lounge and Onion also have regular open mics on Monday nights.
This week, the Owl Acoustic Lounge hosts their family jam at 1:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon, Nov. 18. Later on Nov. 18, blues band in Cahoots will take the stage.
Girls rock the weekend at the Owl Acoustic Lounge as they welcome San Diego-based post riot-grrl, noise pop band Soft Lions, plus local lo fi band Ground Sloth Orchestra and synth pop band W.I.T.S. performing on Friday, Nov, 17.
Calgary-based soul rock trio Flowshine return to the Slice, Nov. 17 with local band Birch Barks.
Edmonton folk/rock/blues/indie rock band Kane Incognito play the Slice, Nov. 18. Elk Valley indie rock trio The Rock River Rebels are also on the bill. There is a $10 cover.
I don’t want to say the “C” word, but Christmas is coming, which means, ’tis the season for fundraising concerts.
Local funk rock trio Adequate funk up Average Joe’s for the Atom Tier 1 hockey team, Nov. 18. Admission is $10.
And Gabriel Thaine and Friends have a big fundraising concert at the Gate for the Lethbridge Food Bank, Nov. 18. Admission is $40. The concert begins at 7 p.m. $20 from every ticket sold will be donated to the Food Bank. Tickets are available at Blueprint.
The Geomatic Attic also has another big show in a month full of them.
Winnipeg-area roots/country songwriter Del Barber makes a long-awaited return to Lethbridge with his trio guitarist Grant Siemens and bassist Bernie Thiessen. Tickets are $32.50. Last year he released an excellent CD of hockey songs called “The Puck Drops Here.” The show begins at 8 p.m.
There is also fun planned for early next week.
The Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra explores “Adventures in Film,” Monday, Nov, 20 for their second concert of the season. The program includes symphonic works from the past 60 years of film including that of composers including John Williams, James Newton Howard, Hanz Zimmer and more. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25-$75.
Over at Casino Lethbridge, Uncovered will play all of your favourite hits, Friday and Saturday.
And start your week with a laugh as Connor Christmas and Brett Hutchinson present improv comedy at the University of Lethbridge Students’ Union Zoo beginning at 8 p.m.
And local alternative rock duo Cope and new local band MTBC (Rob Cooper, Quint Viskup Garwin Poff and Silvana Campus) perform at the Owl Acoustic Lounge Nov. 21.
Winnipeg-area musician Del Barber took the past two years to re-evaluate his life, work on the farm and write new material.
He brings his trio of guitarist Grant Siemens and bassist Bernie Thiessen to the Geomatic Attic, Nov 17.
After releasing his most recent CD of hockey songs, “The Puck Stops Here,” he parted ways with his record label True North and took some time to stay at home and reflect while working his wife’s parents’ farm and write some new songs.
The hockey album was an enjoyable lark that he and his band the No Regretzkys enjoyed doing.
“The record company was dragging their heels on releasing a new album, so this was idea I pitched to them and they liked it,” Barber observed.
The album includes covers of Tom Cochrane’s “Big League,” Gary Glitter’s “Rock And Roll Part 2,” and, of course, Stompin’ Tom Connors’ “The Hockey Song,” and obscure hockey songs like the Pursuit of Happiness’ “Gretzky Rocks” and the Hanson Brothers’ “Hockey Night Tonight” and even the Coach’s Corner Theme.
“There’s probably enough material for for two more albums, but when it came down to it, we just picked the ones that worked,” he said.
“It was just a fun little project that was bonus content,” Barber said, noting he hasn’t decided what the Lethbridge show and tour will sound like.
“It’s not a big tour, but it is something. It’s hockey season so we’ll probably play some of that CD, but probably not a lot. I’ll drive to Winnipeg and playing with the band and we’ll see what works,” he continued, adding he’d like to focus on the new songs he’s been writing though he has an established career including five albums to draw from including the Juno-nominated 2014 CD “Prairieography.”
“I’m starting to learn how to write about myself again. I have a better sense of who I am now. I usually blue collar people, friends. It’s pictures of their lives and their stories because that’s who I am. More rural people are the people who I appeal to, Toronto be damned. People there just didn’t get me,” he said.
“The last two years I’ve been working on the farm and doing manual labour. My wife’s parents have a cattle and grain farm. And we just found out we’ve having a baby in March. So that’s been a new experience for me too,” he continued.
“I miss having a good record company behind me and the money that goes with it and the team. So it’s like I’m going back to where I started and starting again,” he said.
“I feel that at 34, I can stand back and look at the state of the world and understand it a little bit more, which is harder to do when you are 20 when I first started doing this,” he said.
Phoenix artist Rachel Crocker, a.k.a. R Ariel, is a woman of many disciplines.
She is a photographer, author and musician who returns to Lethbridge to play the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Nov. 15 with Birch Barks, hip hop collective ONTK and Calgary/Lethbridge rapper Pierre Mvono.
Crocker is supporting her latest CD “Oh.”
“This one is more pop leaning,” said Crocker, en route to a tour date in Seattle, adding it has been approximately a year and a half since her last Lethbridge visit.
“The Lethbridge audience was really chill. And it was real sweet,” she said.
She is pleased with the new CD, which she recorded in San Francisco over approximately eight months and released on Nov. 1.
“I did a lot of experimenting with beats and MIDI sounds to create it,” she continued.
“It depended on what the song needed. Sometimes it was guitar,” she said, noting she was inspired by growing up.
“A lot of the album was inspired by more poetic, more self-reflective events, self love and heartbreak — life stuff,” she said.
“But I like to leave a lot of it up to the listener to figure out what it means.”
She is also a photographer and author, which gives her the flexibility to explore other artistic mediums.
She is performing this tour solo.
“I do a lot of different projections. And it is just me playing guitar or keyboards with the projections in the background,” she said.
R Ariel, Birch Barks, ONTK and Pierre Mvono play the Owl Acoustic Lounge Nov. 15. The music begins at 8:30 .m.
Crazy Cats Brass at Windy City Opry
Shaela Miller tried something a little different for the November edition of the Windy City Opry at the Slice on Wednesday, Nov. 8 — she brought in a full brass band to heat up a chilly night. It was a rousing success, with nary a twang to be heard or a guitar to be seen or even a bass to rumble as Steve Oberheu’s sousaphone filled out the bottom end.
Instead Winnipeg’s Dirty Catfish Brass Band brought in a whole lot of horns to get a good-sized crowd dancing up a sweat in front of the stage.
I only caught the last couple songs including a mashup of “My Feet Can’t Fail me Now” and Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough,” which even included a few bars of the Ghostbusters theme.
Frontman Todd Martin easily hit castrati-style high notes for that. But it was all about a variety of bright, punchy horns, which brought New Orleans to mind.
They were called back to play an encore of an original “Do What Ya Wanna,” featuring plenty of boisterous energy and gang vocals.
Tragically Hip night
Local musicians, dubbed the Hip replacements gathered at the Slice to pay tribute to the music of the Tragically Hip and departed frontman Gord Downie, Saturday, Nov. 4.
The Slice was the most packed I had seen it in some time and the band had it together.
I arrived at the end of the set in the middle of a touching version of “Bobacageon,” with lead singer Darrel Wantanbe sounding every bit as plaintive as Downie himself.
There was a crack band of jammers on stage including drummer Brad Brouwer, guitarist Mark Hall and host Bruce Roome on guitar as well. Those were the only ones I saw, though there were numerous other up on stage throughout the night.
Frank Gutjahr, guitarist of local band Driving While Blind, took up bass for the third set of the night tackling “Little Bones,” among others.
It was a good time and was a fundraiser for brain cancer research.
Steve Keenan at the Owl
It is always a pleasure to see the Steve Keenan Band. They returned to the Owl Acoustic Lounge on a snowy, ugly, chilly Saturday night, Nov.4.
I only caught the end of their set, but, as always enjoyed the freewheeling jams of drummer Darwin Romanchuk, bassist David Popovitch and guitarist Pete Watson who seamlessly traded solos with frontman Steve Keenan.
They entertained a chattering audience of approximately 20 people with a whole lot of blues and even a touch of country in a cover of Chris Stapleton’s “Nobody To Blame.”
They ended their set with one of my favourites “Going Down.” And throughout, Keenan and Watson traded solos naturally.
Slice — Brodie Moniker with Makiisma and Mormon Girls
Owl Acoustic Lounge — R Ariel/Birch barks/ ONTK!
Coulee Brew — open mic
Slice — open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Soft Lions, Ground Sloth orchestra WITS
Slice — Flowshine with Birch barks
Geomatic Attic — Del barber
Mocha Cabana — Accordion melodies with Alice Tinordi
Honker’s Pub — open mic
Casino Lethbridge — Uncovered
The Gate — Gabriel Thaine and Friends $40 Lethbridge Food bank fundraiser 7 p.m.
Slice — Kane Incognito with The Rock River Rebels
Owl Acoustic Lounge — 1:30 p.m. family Jam/ 9 p.m. In Cahoots
Average Joe’s — Adequate for Atom Tier 1 $10
Casino Lethbridge — Uncovered
Southminster United Church — Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra Adventures on Film
Onion — open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — open mic
U of L Zoo — improv comedy night with Connor Christmas and Brett Hutchinson
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Cope, MTBC
Slice — Joe Vickers
Slice — open mic
Casino Lethbridge — Jokers Gone Wild with Mike Dambra Ben Proulx, Scott Porteous
Casino Lethbridge — Bamboo Guppies
Enmax Centre — The Debaters Live, 7:30 p.m. $59.50, $87.50.
Average Joe’s — Damage Incorporated Metallica Tribute with Nightrain Guns N Roses Tribute $15 advance $20 day of show 8 p.m.
Mocha Cabana — Herb Hicks Jazz Quartet
Owl Acoustic Lounge — The Utilities
Southminster United Church — Canyon Church Camp rebuilding fundraiser with Dory and the Weathermen $20 6 p.m.