Most of the best shows this week feature local musicians playing for good causes.
The big event of the week is Heartbreak Hotel: A Special Flipfest Fundraiser at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, April 28. Calgary-based banjo picker and singer/songwriter Amy Nelson returns to Lethbridge for the show.
Shaela Miller is also on the bill; her band will also back Wanda Krein. There will be a raffle for prizes including a Dolly Parton prayer candle, country-inspired pins by local artist Meghan MacWhirter, a selection of used country vinyl and more. Admission to the event is by donation. It begins at 9 p.m.
It is competing with Maggie Hall’s annual day-long fundraiser for Alzheimer’s. There will be a variety of different artists performing at Legends Pub, April 28. Bands include local country band the Mark Hall band, folk group Artemis in the Summer, electronica artist Tyler Vandendool, Calgary bluesman Eric Braun, local blues rock band Good Time Charlie, singer/songwriter Bryan Horvat, local metal band Eons of Earth and 123Go. Admission is $10. The music begins at 4 p.m.
But the fun begins early in the week, April 24 with Vancouver classic rock-inspired musician Terence Jack stopping by the Slice with local singer/songwriter Tyson Borsboom. The early show begins at 8 p.m. Admission is $10.
The Slice has a busy week as the next night, April 25, they welcome back Moose Jaw-based blues rockers Johnny 2 Fingers and the Deformities who will be playing with local alternative rock trio the Supervoid. There is a $10 cover for that show as well.
The Slice features more alternative rock, April 27, with alternative rock band Fox Eyes, and Brooks-based Celtic/punk/blues band My Tin Hat and Friends. There is a minimum $5 donation for that show.
As April draws to a close, it means get ready to laugh as the Owl Acoustic Lounge features their monthly standup comedy open mic. You can also laugh at Average Joe’s, April 26, as local Rotarians return with 10 Rotarians and A Microphone, presenting 10 different Rotary Club members and standup comedians. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. it is a fundraiser for Rotary Club of Lethbridge Mosaic. The giggles begin at 8 p.m.
Club Didi hosts a couple nights of laughs this weekend with the season-ending edition of DMTV, during which the new improv troupe have some fun riffing on the TV show “Fullest House.” There is a $5 cover for that show, which begins at 9 p.m. The next night Impromptu returns to Club Didi with Drunk Improv, April 28. There is a $10 cover for the show which begins at 9 p.m. Just up the road in Fort Macleod, Ben Price Magic presents Rabbit Stew, a fundraiser for Empress Theatre. It is the debut of a new show the Lethbridge magician is getting ready to bring across Canada. Admission is by donation at the door.
Average Joe’s brings back high-energy AC DC tribute Who Made Who on April 27 as well. The show begins at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance.
Brand new local 14 piece Latin band Latin Rev make their debut at Miz City Church, April 28 in support of Music For Life Africa. Mi Colombia Linda will be performing a traditional Colombian dance routine as well. Tickets are available for $10 in advance at Blueprint. The show begins at 7 p.m.
For the more classically inclined, Vox Musica performs Mozart Requiem with members of the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra, April 28 at Southminster United Church. Musaeus will also be performing. Tickets are $25 for the concert, which begins at 7:30 p.m.
There is also a whole lot of rock on April 28 as Terrific Kids Collective presents Vancouver based indie pop band Winona Forever, local indie rock band The Utilities plus Swim. Admission is by donation.
The Slice has a big local rock show on April 28 as Norwegian Blue records features alternative rock band MTBC, skate punk band Sessions and Son of a Baker a.k.a. Mickey Hayward. Admission is $10.
Blues people will be at Casino Lethbridge both April 27 and 28 for local blues/rock band Paul Kype and Texas Flood who play at 8 p.m. each night.
Sean Burns is playing a lot in Lethbridge recently in support of is new CD “Lost Country: Music for Taverns, Bars and Honky Tonks.”
He played three times this week, at the Owl Acoustic lounge on Thursday, April 12 and at Casino Lethbridge April 13 and 14.
I caught the most excellent first set on Friday, and despite being Friday the 13 it was lucky I did with so much happening on the weekend.
The Winnipeg musician was in his element on stage as he had a good-sized crowd listening and a good number of them two stepping the night away to a variety of classic country as well as several tracks from his new CD.
He brought fellow Winnipeger Grant Siemens with him to play tasteful leads. They were backed by local musicians “Skinny” Dyck on steel guitar, drummer Tyler Bird and bassist Paul Holden.
They opened with a couple of capable covers of Bob Dylan’ “Be My Baby Tonight” and well worn cover of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” plus country classic “Luckenbach, Texas” and “The Streets of Bakersfield.”
They sprinkled a few originals from the new CD which fit into the set perfectly including “Lonesome Again” and “Farewell Parties,” which Burns laughingly described as a “belly rubber.”
They wound up their tight first set with another country classic, “Swinging Doors.”
Local arts collective Terrific Kids turned the downstairs of the old fire hall into a loud, sweaty, noisy venue, April 13.
I missed the first gig from local noise rock duo Touching God (Sean Warkentin and Adrian Sutherland), but arrived in time for the return of Calgary noise rock band Dri Hiev. The last time I saw them was at the first Electric Eye Music Festival in 2015.
They were just as crazy as I remembered them, though they were trimmed down to a bassist/keyboardist, guitarist/drum machine operator and a frenetic lead singer, bouncing all over the tiny stage, emerging though the smoke surrounding the stage.
They were all about loud, dissonant noise which had a heavy techno and industrial-style music feel to it.
It was a chaotic scene in the darkened brick basement with the frontman howling and hissing, spilling beer on the stage trying to mop it up mid-song before jumping into the audience and writhing on the floor. A disturbing black-and-white movie played behind the band. It felt like they were sure to anger the spirits hiding in the shadows. I only lasted a few songs, mainly because I didn’t want to miss fellow Calgarians the Dudes around the corner at the Owl Acoustic Lounge.
A show by Calgary rock and roll band the Dudes is always a celebratory event.
They were doing double duty, Friday, April 13, as they were also playing the Last Class Bash at the university earlier. I caught most of their show at the Owl. As expected, they had an enthusiastically, sweaty soldout crowd for the special ticketed event, though it didn’t feel like a sellout. They played a solid set of catchy, crunchy rock and roll with a touch of soul and whole lot of late ’90s/early 2000s indie rock flavour. They had a lot of groove and were all about good vibes and happiness even though some of the songs like “Everybody Dies Too Soon” have darker lyrical themes. Nobody sounds quite as happy singing about death as frontman Dan Vacon does. Vacon sang in an appealing adenoidal tenor drenched in soul.
They played a lot of crowd favourites and several tracks from their apty titled latest album, “East Side Good Times.” One memorable umber was “No. 1 Fan.”
They included plenty of older familiar crowd favourites like “Good Times” which summed up the show.
Their tight set had most of the audience dancing in front of the stage throughout the night.
Ken Whiteley for Folk Club at The Cave
I haven’t seen Canadian folk icon Ken Whiteley since I lived in Kenora and he was touring with Mose Scarlett and Jackie Washington, so Whiteley’s long-awaited return to the Lethbridge Folk Club, April 14 at the Lethbridge College Cave, was a fitting end to another successful Folk Club season which brought back a lot of good memories.
Whiteley is still hippyish in demeanour and is all about telling stories and showing off some impressive guitar picking. Which he did with the help of some beautiful old guitars including an old acoustic, a 12-string and a white National steel guitar on which he played some beautiful slide guitar. But he also played some fleet-fingered folk and even a little jazz on a song, “I Won’t Be Happy Until I Make You Happy,” which “Canadian treasure, Jackie Washington taught me,” which he prefaced with a sweet story about the life of his old friend.
Whiteley maintained a strong, resonant, slightly reedy voice and sang simple melodies which had the audience instinctively singing along.
True to the folk tradition, he led the audience through a couple of singalongs of some of his favourite songs including “It’s Golden” and chatted about touring and recording with children’s entertainers Raffi and Fred Penner.
“It’s way past my bedtime. I’ve been doing this for 50 years,” he observed close to 11 p.m. as he wound up the show by switching to the 12-string and playing a couple more songs including a Mahalia Jackson song and a couple of his own, including a gospel tune and a newer song, “Friends All Over,” which was a great way to finish things.
But he was called back for an encore anyway.
I only caught the end of Bands as Bands 2:Can Con Edition at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, April 14. I was looking forward to hearing MTBC covering Limblifter and Age of Electric, but missed them and a “secret” band also on the bill.
Instead I caught a band including guitarists Ryland Moranz and the Utilities’ Joel Stretch, bassist Tyson Wiebe and drummer Mickey hayward, which made me nostalgic for late ’90s Winnipeg pop rock band the Weakerthans.
Wiebe chuckled, “We’re playing these songs better than the Weakerthans are now,” laughing he didn’t think the band was actually together anymore.
They definitely did a solid job of a variety of Weakerthans’ songs though I didn’t catch my favourite, “I Hate Winnipeg.” They played several other familiars ones including their ode to curling.
I don’t know how many rehearsals they had for this show, but they sounded like they had been playing Weakerthans songs forever, which they probably had as Moranz, Wiebe and Stretch each got to sing their favourites.
All three a have similar tenor voices, so the transition between songs and lead vocalists was pretty much seamless.
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Standup Comedy open mic
Slice — Johnny Two Fingers and the Deformities with Supervoid
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Chinook High School Recital 6 p.m. Comedy open mic
Slice — open mic
Average Joe’s — 10 Rotarians With A Microphone 8 p.m. $20 advance, $25 at door
Owl Acoustic Lounge — FlipFest fundraiser with Shaela Miller, Amy Nelson, Wanda Krein
Average Joe’s — Who Made Who AC DC Tribute 8:30 p.m. $15 in advance3
Slice — My Tin Hat and Friends
Casino Lethbridge — Paul Kype and Texas Flood
Honker’s Pub — open mic
Casino Lethbridge — Paul Kype and Texas Flood
Legends Pub — Alzheimer’s fundraiser $10 4 p.m. With Mark Hall band, Bryan Horvat, Artemis in Summer, Eric Braun, Good Time Charlie, Tyler Vandendool
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Winona Forever, Swim and the Utilities
Club Didi — Drunk improv 9 p.m. $10 Impromptu is back and ready to get drunk and amuse you with improve games and sociables.
Slice — Chief mountain and Friends
Southminster United Church — Mozart Requiem from Vox musica Choral Society
Miz City Church‚ $10 7 p.m. Latin Rev
Smokehouse — Sunday matinee Two and bro 4-6 p.m.
Onion — open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — open mic
Smokehouse — open mic
Slice — open mic
Enmax Centre — Troyanda with Cree hoop Dancers, Red Star Women, Senator Buchanan Indigenous Dance Troupe $15 adults $12 students and seniors, $5 children under 12
Owl Acoustic lounge — May the 4the Be With You— Biloxi Parish and Vandendool
Slice— Rancho Deluxe/Steven William Foord $10
Lethbridge Lodge — Centric Music Festival Fundraiser — The Cabaret featuring Erinn Evdokimoff-Roberts
Tony Zappone with pianist Zain Solinski
Featuring the music of: Piaf, Britten, Weil, Bolcom and more
Honker’s Pub — open mic
Enmax — George Thorogood and the Destroyers
Mocha Cabana — Rigo the Latino Cinco de Mayo
Average Joe’s — Cinco de Mayo $21
Legends Pub— Humboldt Broncos fundraiser
Honker’s Pub — afternoon open mic
Boys and Girls Club — Shayne Marie with Cody Hall 5:30-8 p.m. $5