Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day all week long with a plethora of great live music. But first, get ready to bring your best swing dance moves to the Slice, March 14, as this month’s edition of the Windy City Opry features Calgary rockabilly band Peter and the Wolves and Shaela Miller Band.
The Real McKenzies play their annual Lethbridge pre-St. Patrick’s Day party March 15 at Bullys Entertainment Centre. They will be joined by Edmonton ska/punk band The Raygun Cowboys. Tickets are $25. Doors open at 6 p.m. The show will be done by midnight.
CKXU’s annual Fundrive kicks off with several big events this weekend.
The official “launch” for this year’s cosmic frequencies themed Pledge drive begins at 6 p.m at SAAG. There will be special Theoretical Brewing CKXU Extra Terresti-ale and live music a with Galactic Space Punk and Boogie Houser.
After that there is an after party at the old Firehall featuring Calgary post punk band Melted Mirror, Paris/Edmonton psych pop duo Le Plaisir and local duo Birch Barks.
If you want to hear some country, Calgary western swing/country and jazz group the Red Hot Hayseeds return to the Owl acoustic Lounge, Friday, March 16 as well.
Calgary rock band Mr. Tuesday return to the Slice on Friday, March 16.
A rock band called Maple Sugar play Casino Lethbridge this weekend.
St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Saturday this year, so there is even more entertainment than usual.
Start things off with murder. The Windy City Medieval Faire is planning an interactive murder mystery at The Galt Museum beginning at 6 p.m.
“Everyone plays a character,” said organizer Juanita DeVos, noting you will be issued your character with your $20 ticket available at Java The Hut or $25 at the door. If you just want to watch rather than really be involved, you can ask for a smaller role.
Malfeasance is afoot at the “Shakin’ Shamrock Pub” and it is up to you to figure out whodunnit. There will be socialization at the beginning of the night where you share who your character is. There will be Irish food and Guinness, party games and lots more.
The event is a fundraiser for the windy City Medieval Faire who have to pay off the debt from last year’s event in preparation for this year’s Faire.
After that, there are several options. Pianist Cal Toth plays Mojos Pub, local blues rock band Coda plays Legends Pub. Local funk trio Adequate play an Adequate St. Patrick’s Day at the Owl Acoustic Lounge.
There are several ticketed events as well.
Local jazz/rock/folk band the Junkman’s Quire play Average Joe’s with Lethbridge Firefighters Pipes and Drums. There is a $5 cover after 9 p.m..
B.C. country musician Petunia and Nathan Godfrey return to the slice, March 7. There is a $15 cover for the show.
If you want to bang your head, From Mountains to Eons features local hard rock bands To The Mountains and Eons of Earth rocking the Smokehouse beginning at 8 p.m. There is a $10 cover for the show.
And the Lethbridge Folk Club presents High River bluegrass band The Spitzee Post Band at the Lethbridge College Cave at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 for members, $30 for invited guests including a year’s membership.
But the fun isn’t done as Johnny Reid returns to the Enmax Centre, Monday, March 19 with classic rockers Glass Tiger.
The Lethbridge International Film Festival is coming up in a week as well at the Lethbridge Public library downtown branch. the theme is “issues of our times,” so films explore issues like North Korea, climate Change and migration.
“An Inconvenient Sequel” screens March 19. “Human Flow” is March 20. “The Secret State of North Korea ” is Wednesday, March 21. “Food Evolution” is March 22, “Wildlife of the Oldman River Valley” shot in and around Lethbridge by local wildlife photographer Rick Andrews is March 23 and “Land Beneath our Feet” finishes the festival, March 24. Showtimes are 7 p.m. each night. More details are at http://www.liffs.org.
The deadline is approaching to enter the Chinook One Act Drama festival, an annual event sponsored by Playgoers of Lethbridge.
It takes place at the ATB Community Room in Casa, Friday, April 6.
So far, there are four entries in this year’s festival including one written by Playgoers of Lethbridge veteran Elaine Jagielski and three from University of Lethbridge students.
Original scripts are welcome as well as existing scripts. Submissions can be no longer than 60 minutes and no shorter than 10 minutes.
Registration is $25 with a cheque made out to Playgoers of Lethbridge.
The plays will be adjudicated by theatre professionals. Previous adjudicators have included New West artistic director and drama teacher Sharon Peat and U of L professor and playwright Ron Chambers. Awards will be given for best actor, best actress, best original script and best play. The best play chosen will be able to compete at the Provincial One Act Play Competition in Fort McMurray, May 25-27.
Vancouver-based Celtic punk rockers The Real McKenzies always guarantee a good time at their annual pre-St. Patrick’s Day party in Lethbridge, which is Thursday, March 15 at Bully’s entertainment centre with special guests, Edmonton ska punk band the Raygun Cowboys.
The Real McKenzies have pretty much been touring non-stop since last year’s Lethbridge visit in support of their 25th anniversary album “Two Devils Will Talk.”
“We’ve been touring for about eight months all over the world. My wife almost left me,” deadpanned frontman Paul McKenzie from a tour stop in Quebec City.
“We love touring in Quebec,” McKenzie said, adding the constantly rotating Real McKenzies lineup will be pretty much the same as the last time including guitarists Jono Jak, and Dan Garrison, drummer Dan Stenning, bassist Troy Zak and Spanish piper Aspy Luison.
“The tour is going great. It’s nice to see people really getting into the show,” he said.
A highlight of the year was returning to Japan.
“Did you know in Japan you can get a five-gallon drum of Saki? So while the other guys wasted their per diems on expensive meals, I bought that and some ingredients and went to a restaurant and ordered a bowl of rice, then stole the soy sauce. Then I went back and made myself a delicious stew for under $10,” McKenzie observed.
They weren’t able to return to Scotland, where he likes to revisit his Scottish roots, on this tour.
“We always meet a lot of really cool people in Scotland, but it’s very expensive to get there, and it’s becoming more gentrified. They’re tearing down all of these really cool old places and replacing them with concrete and glass. So is almost everywhere now. So it is really difficult to make any money there. Not that it’s about the money, but even a beer costs what amounts to $10,” he observed, adding that is the reason they only get there every couple of years or so.
“That’s what I love about Quebec City is they have really, really strict laws about that. And, of course, Quebec women are tres bonne,” he chuckled, adding, after the tour , they are going to return to Europe After this Canadian tour, they return to Europe for several eastern European dates all over Italy, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia, then get to work on their next album for Fat Wreck Chords.
“We’ve been with them for so many years that Fat Mike even likes me now,” he laughed, adding he has been researching Scottish lore for inspiration for the new songs.
“There’s this town in Scotland called Overtoun. They have the Overtoun Bridge and something like hundreds of dogs have jumped off it to their deaths and nobody can figure out why,” he said, adding they haven’t been able to visit the town yet.
“So I have that and a lot of fun songs,” he said.
They are looking forward to returning to Lethbridge where McKenzie has a lot of relatives in southern Alberta, who usually come to the show.
“The Clan McKenzie are in Lethbridge. They usually come to the show, but sometimes life gets in the way,” he said, expressing disappointment that most of the snow will likely be gone by the time they arrive.
“I was looking forward to having a snowball fight with the Lethbridge Firefighter Pipes and Drums band,” he said.
“I remember one show there that we played with them. I forget where, but it was full I was afraid we’d get shut down because we were over capacity, but someone told us, don’t worry about it, the fire chief is over there behind the drum,” he chuckled.
“I’d like to extend a welcome to everyone to come and leave your politics at the door and have a party with us,” he said.
Tickets are $25. Doors open at 6 p.m. The show will be done by midnight.
High River newgrass band The Spitzee Post Band are excited to make their Lethbridge debut for St. Patrick’s Day, March 17 at the Lethbridge College Cave for the Lethbridge Folk Cub.
They formed amidst the floods in High River in 2013 and have released two CDs including their most recent, “Hardly Strictly Bluesgrass,” which they released four months ago.
“People seem to like that we don’t just play bluegrass,” said vocalist/mandolinist Joe Gore. “It‘s getting played everywhere, on CKUA and across the country,“ continued Gore, who is joined by his wife Coralee on upright bass, classically trained violinist Craig West and slide/steel guitar payer Wayne Corner plus Turner Valley resident Rhonda Shippy on banjo.
“We all sing harmonies,” he said, praising his bandmates, especially Corner, who often plays with Calgary bluesman Tim Williams.
“We’re inspired by bands like the Steel Drivers, but we’ll even turn Blind Faith songs into bluegrass songs,” he said, adding their sets included everything from traditional bluegrass to country and rock turned into bluegrass songs.
“Alison Krauss is about as far away from Bill Monroe as you can get, but we like both of them. The complement each other,” he said.
They were an instant hit with audiences, so spent most of their weekends playing gigs, mostly bigger festivals like Shady Grove.
“People seem to like us. We don’t just play bluegrass. This year looks to be about the same, but we’re going to organize it so we play more at home,” Gore continued.
Though they are playing a St. Patrick’s Day, gig they don’t have a St. Patrick’s day set planned, though they know a few Irish themed numbers.
“We play ‘Galway Girl.’ but like my friend Steve Earle says, remember ‘Galway Girl’ is an American song,“ Gore said.
They haven’t played Lethbridge before, but are excited to make their debut. They are already starting work on their third CD.
“We started recording some new songs. We might record some Bob Wills and Steve Earle and we have some originals,” Gore said, adding they still mainly play on weekend, as they still have day jobs.
The Spitzee Post Band play the Cave, March 17. Charlie Ewing opens the show at 8 p.m. sharp. Admission is $25 for members, $30 for invited guests including a year’s membership and $15 for students with a valid student ID.
The Geomatic Attic was more than sold out for Southern California songwriter The White Buffalo and Toronto songwriter/folk musician Matthew Barber, Tuesday, March 6. Neither of them were used to an audience who listened as attentively as the Geomatic audience did, sitting in the dimly lit room.
Barber recalled playing the old Tongue n Groove years ago and began strumming acoustic guitar and plaintively singing original folk covering tracks from his last several albums, though he didn’t play his 2005 minor hit from a few years ago “The Soft One.”
He switched to piano for the second half of his set to introduce a few songs from his brand new upcoming album “Phase of the Moon” including the title track and new single “Back to You.”
His appealing tenor voice reminded me of a mix of John Lennon and Michael Bernard Fitzgerald with a touch of Paul simon by the end of the set.
“Got to make a Living ” was a highlight.
The White Buffalo aka Jake Smith and band mates bassist Chris Hoffee and new Drummer Zach St. John started off strong, loud and aggressive with “Hide and Seek” from the new CD “Darkest Darks, lightest Lights.”
He played a few crowd favourites from it including applause generating “The Observatory,” which was recently on the TV show “This Is Us,” and “Border Town/Bury Me in Baja” and “Avalon,” but didn’t play my two favourites, “Night Stalker Blues” and “Robbery.” He also didn’t play his plaintive cover of “House of the Rising Sun,” which was part of the TV show “Sons of Anarchy.” But there were plenty of highlights.
His intense set showed he had completely mastery of his big, soulful, resonant baritone voice, which was a mix of Eddie Vedder and Darius Rucker, easily transitioning from heart-tugging ballads and raucous rockers. The tight band easily kept step including the drummer, following along on an iPad. The bassist leaped around and added harmonies
“Come Join the Murder,“ from the last episode of “Sons of Anarchy,” was a highlight midway through the set. “Darling, Darling“ was another highlight. Smith melodically whistled solos into the microphone during some of the mid tempo and slower numbers.
“Home is in Your Arms,” was reminiscent of Chris Stapleton. “Damned If You Do” was another highlight.
I also enjoyed the perky “Joe and Jolene,” after which he slowed down for a moment before picking up the tempo, then drawing the show to an uptempo close. Of course he received a standing ovation and was called back for an encore, which he began solo, before asking his band to return.
Tri-Continental at Geomatic Attic
The Geomatic Attic has had a nice string of sold-out and close-to-sold-out shows, so it was no surprise close to 100 people packed the place on Sunday, March 4 for the long-awaited return of Tri-Continental a.k.a. Madagascar Slim, Bill Bourne and Lester Quitzau plus drummer Michael Treadway.
I arrived at then end of the first set but was glad I stuck around for the second. It was like being at a folk festival in the dead of winter as the three took turns playing their songs and singing while adding what they needed to the others. Treadway grinned adding drums and an assortment of percussion to everything.
Each of the three captivated the audience with their presence, especially Bourne, whose voice was hypnotic.
Lester Quitzau opened the second set with a delay-soaked instrumental piece full of enrapturing slide guitar reminiscent of Sonny Landreth and a brace of chiming harmonics, to which he later added the poems of Buddhist poet Cold Mountain for lyrics. His slide added an extra level to everyone else’s songs.
Madagascar Slim laid down a solid groove and played exotic Madagascar style blues and jazz music for a highlight called “Boh,” which was a tragic love song.
He switched to bass to help out Bill Bourne, whose spooky, teeth-clenched voice was just plain hypnotic over some beautiful acoustic guitar picking.
New Weather Machine at the Owl
It is always wonderful to see a good crowd out to support local music. The Owl Acoustic Lounge was packed for local progressive rock band the New Weather Machine, Saturday, March 3.
Unfortunately I missed Open Channels, but arrived in time for the New Weather Machine.
The band, including frontman Jon Martin, guitarist Jason Oakes, bassist Jason Schultchen and drummer Clayton Smith, played a few tracks from their most recent CD, “Seas of Dawn,” but mostly focused on brand new material, which was more in the vein of straight-ahead rockers. Both Oakes and Martin showed some substantial guitar playing chops with heavy riffs and hot solos.
One of many highlights was a slower, ’70s-inspired number with a delay-soaked riff and long opening riff.
Ewan MacIntyre Band at the Slice
It isn’t often you get to see a band coming to the Slice all the way from Scotland. So I made a point of catching the Ewan MacIntyre band, Saturday, March 3. They weren’t what I was expecting. I caught the last mellow song of their first set, which featured some pretty fiddle playing before they took an extended set break as a handful of people trickled in. The trio included a fiddle player and upright bassist backing frontman Ewan MacIntyre, playing guitar and singing.
Instead of full-force Celtic reels and traditional jigs, they mostly played laid-back, more introspective singer/songwriter material along the lines of Paul Simon and Danny Michel plus a touch of Brit pop and rock and a little bit of jazz.
Though midway through the set MacIntyre traded his guitar for the mandolin and a some more up tempo more traditional songs.
The Slice — Windy City Opry Peter and the Wolves with shaela miller Band $10 8 p.m.
Rocky Mountain Turf Club — the Real McKenzies with the Raygun Cowboys
Slice — open mic
Slice — Mr. Tuesday $5
Honker’s Pub — open mic
Casino Lethbridge — Maple Sugar
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Red Hot hayseeds
Firehall — CKXU Fundrive Launch with Melted Mirror, Les Plaisir, Birch barks
SAAG — CKXU Takeover with Galactic space Punt and Boogie Houser
The Slice — Petunia and the Vipers with Nathan Godfrey$15
Mojos Craft Pub and Grill — Cal Toth 8 p.m.
Lethbridge College — Lethbridge Folk Club with the Spitzee Post band and Charlie Ewing
Empress Theatre — Lindi ortega 7:30p.m.$37.50
Legends — Coda
Smokehouse — “From mountains to Eons” To the mountains, Eons of Earth $10
Owl Acoustic lounge — Adequate
Lethbridge College Cave — Lethbridge Folk Club Spitzee Post band with Charlie Ewing
Honker’s Pub — afternoon open mic
Casino Lethbridge — Maple Sugar
Average Joe’s — Junkman’s Quire with Lethbridge Firefigthers pipes and Drums $5
Enmax Centre — Johnny Reid Revival Tour with Glass Tiger 7 p.m.
Onion — open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — open mic
Smokehouse — open mic
The Slice — Gutsy Club/CKXU Fundrive Battle of the Bands $10
Owl Acoustic Lounge— jazz jam with HBO3 and Josh Davies 7:30 p.m.
Casino Lethbridge — Joker’s Gone Wild with Todd Ness, Shawn Gramiak, William Hannigan
Slice — open mic
Geomatic Attic — Laurie Lewis and the right Hands 8 p.m., $37.50, $40
Average Joe’s — Chevelles for Lethbridge American legion Baseball $20
Slice — CKXU FUNdrive landing party with Space Music Cover Night
Casino Lethbridge — Bamboo Guppies
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Todd Stewart with Danny Vacon
Honker’s Pub — open mic
Club Didi — DMTV 9 p.m. $5
Geomatic Attic — Tin and the Toad 8 p.m. $27.50, $30
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Metric Jazztet 3 p.m.
Fish and Game Hut — Local Singles, Future Womb, Sun Crying $10
Casino Lethbridge — bamboo Guppies
Slice — Tyrants of Chaos with Despite the Reverence $10 8 p.m.
Honker’s Pub — afternoon open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Arrows North tour with Kimberley MacGregor, Curtis Glas and Megan Brown
Onion — open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — open mic