April comes in with a roar, and a snowstorm, but there is lots of music coming up in April to melt it down.
Start off with a whole lot of rock as Shinedown returns to the Enmax Centre, April 4. They were last here opening for Kiss in 2015. This time they headline the show with One Bad Son, 10 Years and In this Moment sharing the bill. Tickets are $58 for the show, which begins at 7:30 p.m.
If you want to laugh, Yuk Yuks Comedy returns to Average Joe’s, Friday, April 6 with comedians Todd Ness, William Hannigan and host Randy Webb performing. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 art the door. The laughter begins at 8:30 p.m.
The rest of thew weekend is all about local roots and blues.
Ryland Moranz returns to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, April 6, for a solo show. He’ll be spending much of the rest of the year touring.
And local roots trio The Crooked Creek Warblers return to the Slice April 6 as well.
The next night there are a couple of cool shows.
Calgary punk duo Miesha and the Spanks return to the Slice April 7 with local alternative rock trio Mombod. Miesha and the Spanks are supporting their new CD “Girls, Girls, Girls.” There is a $10 cover.
It is all about the blues at the Owl Acoustic Lounge. Papa King and the Boogie Men a.k.a. guitarist Marc Belisle, pianist Earl McAuley, drummer Brandon McPherson and bassist Doug Freeman will be painting the town as artist Deirdre Earl paints the blues at the show. Admission is by donation. The Show begins at 8 p.m. There will b a silent auction and Deirdre Earl will be painting with the music.
Painting and music are a common theme in April as the next week, John Wort Hannam brings the Fourth annual Songs For Ken ALS fundraiser back to the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod.
Artist Annie Froese will be creating art on the spot to the tunes of The Polyjesters, Calgary bluesman John Rutherford, Calgary musician Mike Stack, Brooke Wylie, Maria Dunn and Hannam, who will all be playing with a backing band. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25.
Saskatoon-born rockers One Bad Son are excited to be playing arenas again.
“We’ve done it twice before, opening for Def Leppard and later that year for Judas Priest though it was only for a couple of shows. But we got to meet Rob Halford, which vwas ery cool,” recalled One Bad Son drummer Kurt Dahl, who is excited share a stage with Shinedown, In This Moment and 10 Years at the Enmax Centre, Wednesday, April 4.
“We have a half hour so it will be an OBS greatest hits package. We’re playing for a lot of people who may not have heard us before, so it is not the time to dig deep. We play for a half hour and we’re done,” said Dahl, noting the new single “Hurricane” from their latest CD “Made in the Name of Rock And Roll” is doing very well, charting at 19.
“The last single, ‘Raging Bull,’ made it to number one, so we hope this one will do just as well.”
Hurricane is their ninth top 20 hit, so they have a lot to pack into their half hour. “Scream For Me,” was the first single off the CD.
They enjoy playing arenas when they get the opportunity.
“It’s a pretty cool opportunity. You don’t have sweaty audience members right in front of you, which can be really inspiring, but you also don’t have people running around knocking over the cymbals,” he chuckled.
“Our songs are written with arenas in mind, even when we’re playing clubs. They sound big,” he said.
He is pleased with the early success of “Hurricane,” which was just released a few weeks ago.
“It’s one of our heavier songs. But it’s getting played all over the country and people are digging it,” he said, adding sometimes the band gets to choose the singles, other times management does; regardless, it is still a rush when they do well.
“Some bands have a hit right away; for us, it took 13 years. It’s been a lot of work, so we really appreciate the people who dig it,” he said.
“We love Lethbridge. We really can’t wait to be there again. Lethbridge has always been really supportive of us.”
Tickets for the show are $58. It begins at 7:30 p.m.
Miesha Louie and Sean Hamilton of Calgary-based punk duo Miesha and the Spanks are excited about their new CD “Girls, Girls, Girls,” which they bring to the Slice April 7 with local alternative rock trio Mombod.
They have been touring heavily across Canada in support of the CD, which was officially released, March 9.
“We toured out to the Maritimes and back. And we’ve driven through a lot of snowstorms. And it really has affected attendance, so I don’t think we’ll do that again,” said Miesha Louie from Regina, noting they return home to Calgary for a few days before visiting Lethbridge again.
She is pleased to have recorded with Buzzcocks drummer Danny Farrant and his songwriting partner Paul Rawson, who she has been working with long distance online for several years since meeting Farrant at Sled Island.
“We flew to the United Kingdom to Brighton to record the CD with them. It was an intense 10 days, so we didn’t really get to see much. They’re so talented. They have written for television shows like the ‘Vampire Diaries’ and ‘Sons of Anarchy,’ so there were all of these ideas flying around. I knew what I wanted to hear and said no immediately to them until I tried them,” she said.
“It was just so cool to be in the same room with them and bouncing ideas off them in person rather than sending an e-mail and waiting three hours for a reply,”she said, adding the CD includes new songs and reworkings of the songs from “The Stranger” EP they released last year.
“‘The Stranger’ EP songs sound so much better on the CD. It’s been a challenging learning all the parts form the CD for the stage. But then the live show has always been a little more raw than the CDs, which are more polished,” she said.
She participated in an artist development workshop in Toronto last year, which motivated her to tightly schedule the upcoming year with single releases, videos and tour dates, They released the first single “Atmosphere” in January and are planning to release “Summer Love” for summer.
Miesha and the Spanks and Mombod play the Slice, April 7 at 10 p.m. There is a $10 cover.
Songs for Ken
Local musician John Wort Hannam is excited to bring the fourth edition of his popular ALS Society fundraiser Songs for Ken back to the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod, Thursday, April 12.
There are a few new aspects to the event, which raises an average of $10,000 each year for the ALS Society of Alberta to help people who have been diagnosed with the incurable disease.
“This year we have a house band instead of five or six solo artists,” said Wort Hannam, who noted The Polyjesters bassist Jason Valleau, keyboardist Steve Fletcher, drummer Jon May and fiddle player Scott Duncan will join this year’s performers the Polyjesters, Calgary bluesman John Rutherford, Calgary musician Mike Stack, Brooke Wylie, Maria Dunn and Hannam.
The same lineup performs the next night in Calgary for the Fish Creek Concert Series.
“People who come to the concert always ask me if I’m doing it again next year and I’d feel terrible if I didn’t though it is a lot of pressure to put it on every year,” noted Hannam. ALS, which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neuromuscular disease in which nerve cells die and leave voluntary muscles paralyzed. There is no cure for the disease which usually kills the victim within three to five years.
Hannam’s friend Ken Rouleau died from ALS at the age of 43 in 2012 after suffering from ALS for 13 months.
Painter Annie Froese will also be on stage painting along with the music. Her work will be auctioned off at the end of the concert.
“She’s a High River artist who paints in watercolours. It will be her second time coming though we have an artist every year,” Hannam continued.
“It adds an extra element to everything happening,” he said. She will be painting so the audience can watch her work as she is inspired by the music.
Hannam noted the money goes a long way to helping people afflicted by the disease. There is no cure for the disease as, once diagnosed, people with ALS live an average of three to five years or less.
“The money goes to help provide hospital beds and equipment so they can continue to live at home,” he said. “There is a lot more interest in supporting ALS since the ice bucket challenge a few years ago, but it still doesn’t get as much attention as cancer or Heart and Stroke foundations,” Hannam said.
“This is a chance to help ALS sufferers ad have a really good time,” He said.
Songs for Ken happens at 7:30 p.m. at the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod, April 12 and the next night at the Southminster United Church in Calgary (10690 Elbow Drive).
Tickets cost $25 by calling the Empress at 403-553-4404 or 1-800-540-9229.
The Empress holds 320 people, Hannam noted usually 300 of those seats are filled.
Geoff Berner at the Owl
There’s a good reason to always stay for the encore even on a weekday show, because you never when Corb Lund will show up to sing.
Vancouver-based folk/ punk/comedian Geoff Berner has a new song called “Never Play Cards For Money With Corby Lund,” on his new CD, “Canadiana Grotesquica,” so it was only fitting Corb Lund himself would show up at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, March 29.
Lund is usually touring or recording and when he returns home to Lethbridge he generally keeps a low profile, so it is always fun to see him.
Berner played to an attentive full house, probably the quietist audience I’ve ever seen at the Owl Acoustic Lounge. Berner was somewhat humbled by the guitar playing and insightful, heartfelt songwriting of opening act Richard Inman.
Inman made a room full of instant fans with his big, resonant baritone voice and pretty guitar picking. He played a strong set of mostly original and always thought-provoking folk music.
Inman told stories and played several new songs to open the show and noted he would be back in Lethbridge with a band in June.
I arrived as he was telling a story about Anne Murray and noted his song “Snowbird” wasn’t the same as her song.
He ended his set with an Adam Carroll cover, “Rough Side,” noting there was accordion on the original and asked Berner if he’d like to play with him, who joked there might be too many chords in it so nothing came of it.
Inman ended his set with the apt “Hasta la Vista.”
Berner was equal parts folk singer, activist and standup comedian, wielding his accordion and telling stories and cracking jokes.
He opened with a couple of new songs including “The Ghost of Terry Fox” from his new CD. He joked Terry Fox is what Canadians aspire to be while Steve Fonyo is who Canadians really are.
He called back to a line in one of Inman’s songs about a John Wayne western, noting he also had a line about John Wayne in one of his new satirical songs about survivalists.
Berner wore his left-leaning politics on his sleeve, conveying it with liberal doses of humour. What was especially prevalent on “Super Subtle Folk Song” from his new CD, one of several tracks he played from it including “Gino Odjick” about his favourite ’90s Vancouver Canucks enforcer.
He went back a few albums with “We Are Going to Bremen to be Musicians,” and cracked up the room with “Half German Girlfriend,” about his relationship as a Jewish man and his actual half German girlfriend and their respective families.
“Never Play Cards For Money With Corby Lund” was a highlight as Lund yelled “You’re cutting into my action, buddy.” Berner prefaced that with a story about the smalls touring with a Norwegian band and Corb teaching them to play poker for toothpicks.
He was winding down his set, but there were plenty of audience requests, provoking Berner to quip “Don’t you all have to work in the morning? I shouldn’t have played all of the new stuff first.”
So he led the audience in a sing-along of crowd favourite “Dalloy Polizei.”
He “left” but was called back for an encore request of “The Rich Will Move to the High Ground,” his “funny song about climate change.”
Inman was going to join him on guitar but instead, Lund was inspired to get up on stage and sing the second verse with Berner.
He officially ended the set with “Rule of the Road,” the last track off the CD, inspired by Country Dick Montana, who observed everything you bring on tour comes back broken.
My timing was completely off on Saturday, so missed most of the shows I wanted to see including Tyrants of Chaos, who just finished by the time I arrived at the Slice.
I caught the main Saturday night show I wanted to see at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, March 24 — a songwriter in the round featuring Makiisma (Megan Brown), Kimberley MacGregor and Curtis Glas, who usually plays bass with Boots and The Hoots.
I missed most of this set, too, including my favourite Kimberley MacGregor song “Trouble,” but she played some excellent new songs including a highlight comparing dating to shopping for clothes and trying them On.
Curtis Glas had the similarly sassy “ What She Wants,” from his “The Hired Guns” EP from a few years ago.
The trio provided a contrast in styles with MacGregor’s big, soulful, bluesy voice, the more country and folk of Curtis Glas and Megan Brown’s alternative folk stylings,. She played guitar on her own songs and added fiddle to the other songs.
Todd Stewart, Danny Vacon at the Owl
Todd Stewart and the Danny Vacon, who will be back at the Owl Acoustic Lounge with the Dudes, April 13, made a good duo at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, March 23.
They took turns playing songs and playing and singing harmonies on each others’ songs. it was a cool contrast of Todd Stewart’s more folk and country and Danny Vacon’s more soul and R and B influenced pop.
There were several people celebrating their 31st birthdays so Vacon lead the audience through a count of 31.
CKXU landing party at the Slice
U of L-based community radio station CKXU wound up their successful space themed “Cosmic Frequencies” fundrive with a “Landing Party” at the Slice, March 23.
Keeping with the theme, several bands formed just for this event to play their favourite space themed cover songs for an enthusiastic audience.
Spiral Galaxy including keyboardist Jane Edmundson, violinist Nicole Hembroff, CKXU station manager Aaron Trozzo could hardly be seen in the darkened room through a screen of smoke and balloons, but they played an array of music ranging from T Rex to The Flaming Lips. Hembroff sang on a couple in including a re arranged version of Modern English’s “Melt With You” They added a cover of oasis’s “Champagne Supernova,” as well.
Later on CKXU Band Wars winners Jane Doe joined forces with popular alternative musician Connor HD for a spirited set of space-themed music. They took the Cosmic Frequencies theme to a whole new level as they dressed in alien costumes they had made out of empty plastic bottles and construction paper. The lead singer introduced every song by saying they heard the song being beamed from Earth. They played the popular instrumental “Peter Gunn” and something that may have been Frank Zappa. They also added ’90s and 2000s one-hit wonders like Smash Mouth’s “Walking On The Sun.”
Local rock band the Chevelles always equal a good time, especially when they’re helping out a good cause, in the case of their March 23 show at Average Joe’s, the Lethbridge American Legion Baseball team.
I caught them on a set break but caught a live auction of donated items. When the Chevelles returned, It was all about the hits and nothing but the hits. They played their usual tight and fun show including classics like AC DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” and an extended jam on Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” I left as they slowed thing s down with Poison’s ’80s hair metal ballad “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.”
Enmax — Shinedown with In This Moment and One Bad Son
Slice — open mic
Average Joe’s — Yuk Yuks Comedy tour with Todd Ness, William Hannigan and host Randy Webb 8:30 p.m. $15 advance, $20 at door
Slice — Crooked Creek Warblers
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Ryland Moranz
Honker’s Pub — open mic
KCs Pub — Dory and the Weathermen 8 p.m.
Slice — Miesha and the Spanks
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Painting with the blues with Papa King and the Boogiemen and Deirdre Earl 8 p.m.
Honker’s Pub — afternoon open mic
Onion — open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — open mic
Smokehouse — open mic
Empress — John Wort Hannam Songs For Ken with Mike Stack, Brooke Wylie, The Polyjesters, John Rutherford, Annie Froese $25 7:30 p.m.
Owl Acoustic Lounge — The Dudes (special ticketed event) with Biloxi Parish $20
Average Joe’s — Dueling Pianos
Empress Theatre — Steely Town with Steve Pineo $26.75 7:30 p.m. Honker’s Pub— afternoon open mic
Casa — Lethbridge Folk Club open mic
U of L The Grove — Last Class Bash with Smalltown DJs, The Dudes, Burchill, Zodiaque, Freddy J, ONTK $10 advance $15 at door
Old Firehall — object_option, Dri Hiev Touching God $10