It is a short week due to the long weekend, yet there is still a lot going in Lethbridge.
It is an excellent week for loud, local rock and roll.
Chief Mountain plays for Paint and Sip at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Aug. 8.
It will be a super night for music, because after that, local ’90s rock trio the Supervoid will be joined by Seattle musician Mark Palm’s pop-rock project Supercrush. He used to play in a variety of punk and hardcore bands including shoegaze band Modern Charms.
This month’s edition of the Windy City Opry at the Slice features an all local lineup on Wednesday, Aug. 8 with local roots band Rancho Deluxe and a songwriting circle including Megan Brown and Victoria Officinalis. The music begins at 8 p.m. There is a $10 cover.
The Slice features a super special guest to host the Thursday night jam — Kansas City blues musician Amanda Fish and her drummer Glen James. Fish, the sister of fellow blues musician Samantha Fish, just released her sophomore CD “Free.”
It will be a fantastic weekend as well.
The Slice slows things down on Friday, Aug. 10 with Toronto folk duo Piper and Carson performing featuring Piper Hayes and her partner Carson Ritcey-Thorpe
The Slice turns things up with a big metal show, Saturday, Aug. 11 with Calgary’s King Mammoth and local metal band Extrados. There is a $10 cover for that show.
The Owl Acoustic lounge slows things down on the weekend wth a couple of excellent folk shows.
Gillian Moranz returns home to play a show at the Owl on Friday with her brother Ryland and the Red Hot Hayseeds/Boots and the Hoots’ Tyler Allen. And have a hoot country style with local country band Hurtin’ the next night, Aug. 12. Admission to both shows is by donation.
Get your rock on with old El Rancho Cabaret Band Ryerson Road who play Casino Lethbridge, Friday and Saturday.
And don’t forget the monthly ukulele jam at Casa at 2 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 12.
But the biggest event of the weekend is in Galt Gardens as Applefest! returns with a wicked lineup of music, and of course, lots of apples and apple-related activities and vendors.
The music begins at 11 a.m. with the Blackfoot Drummers followed by Artemis in Summer. Mark Hall band will lay down some country music at noon, followed by the Owl’s Steven Foord. Coda Blues plays some blues at 2 p.m. followed by a rare show from local alternative rock band Queen of the Worms. Beyond Crimson keep the energy up afterwards followed by more blues and country from Gabriel Thaine at 5 p.m. Victoria Fox-Kit and In cahoots wind up the entertainment at 7 p.m. There is no cost to attend the event.
Early in the week, Swift Current progressive rock band the moon Runners play the Owl Acoustic lounge with local band Frege’s puzzle on Tuesday, Aug, 14.
Kansas City-based blues musician Amanda Fish is taking advantage of her first visit to Canada.
She and her drummer will be stopping by the Slice to host a superjam on Thursday, Aug. 9.
“This is the first time I’ve ever been in Canada or even out of my own country, so I’m doing everything I can that is Canadian. I’m drinking Labatts and eating poutine,” said Fish, after being pleasantly surprised by a ride on an indoor roller coaster in the West Edmonton Mall.
She is enjoying a rare multi-day gig, this time at Blues on Whyte in Edmonton.
“That never happens at all, so it is really cool,” she said, adding the tour has been going well.
“I’m really digging Canada. Audiences have been great. We’ve had a great reception,” she said, noting they aren’t mixing her up with her well-known sister Samantha Fish, who is also an excellent blues musician.
“They definitely know about Sam,” she said, adding their styles are different.
Amanda Fish just released her brand new, sophomore CD “Free,” but she won’t have it on this tour.
“They‘re all going be be waiting for me on my doorstep on Friday (Aug. 4), so I’ve got my neighbour picking them up for me because I’m up here,” she said.
She is excited about the new CD, her long-awaited follow up to her 2015 debut on Vizztone records.
“I’m playing guitar on this tour,” she said, adding she plays a lot of different instruments on the album including bass, guitar, mandolin and piano. It includes a lot of special guests including drummer Glen James, Chris Hazelton, country star Sara Morgan, Alastair Greene, plus Vizztone label mates Tyler Morris and Richard Rosenblatt and Bob Margolin, who used to play with Muddy Waters.
“It was really cool having him on the CD. Though I never met him. He recorded his parts by remote. You can do most things remote with the internet,” she said, adding translating the new music to duo for the tour has been challenging.
“It’s wonderful and free, There are a lot of great players on the CD. I actually know the songs better on bass. So playing lead guitar is challenging. I just try to keep the groove,“ she continued.
The Wide Skies Music Festival free show outside Southminster United Church July 31 was a lot of fun, at least until a surprise downpour rained out Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer.
I arrived midway through the Weber Brothers’ energetic set of up-tempo folk, which also played with some blues and even gospel music.
It was just the brothers, Sam and Ryan, sans their hot band, but they killed it as a duo. They played a variety of tracks from throughout their career, but focused a lot on their new CD “Patches.”
Sam Weber, the lead guitarist, told a story about playing one of the songs, “Old Record” for a tough but supportive audience of Kris Kristofferson, Gordon Lightfoot and their mentor Ronnie Hawkins. Upright bassist Ryan Weber alternated between that and acoustic guitar, showing he was just as talented on the guitar as on the bass. Sam switched to a Gibson SG for some of the more up-tempo bluesy numbers including “Free Your Mind.”
That’s exactly what Shakura S’Aida did on her main stage set, singing powerful blues music along the lines of Koko Taylor. She was backed by a solid band chock full of groove and attitude including a hot lead guitarist and a tough-looking steel guitarist. She told stories and let her band shine on a couple of long instrumental jams, before belting out a sweet cover of the Doobie Brothers’ “Taking It To The Street.”
On the side stage Shaye Zedravic and Skinny Dyck and the Chicken Catchers delivered a sweet set of plaintive singer-songwriter material.
And just as Tom Phillips was getting warmed up with the Chicken Catchers backing him, lightning flashed and the deluge fell, causing most of the audience to either leave or flee into the sanctuary of the church, hoping to wait it out and let Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer bring the show to a close. But it was not to be.
Luckily Phillips was also scheduled to play an afterparty at the Slice with his hot band. This was fantastic. He sang authentic county music as a tight band of bassist Tim Leacock, backup singers Shaye and Cindy Zedravic and local musicians drummer Tyler Bird, lead guitarist Shael Pezderic and Skinny Dyck on steel guitar had a few people dancing out of a fair sized crowd, especially on a Tuesday night.
The Weber Brothers had a better turnout for their afterparty at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, delivering more of the same from their main stage set. So they cracked a few jokes and played a bit of folk and a lot of intense blues which had the whole room hopping by the end of their set for a hot version of rock and roll “Lawdie Miss Claudie.”
As the sodden masses from the Wide Skies Music Festival trickled into the Slice, Tuesday, July 31, for the Tom Phillips afterparty, Toronto musician Tennyson King was just getting started with a solid solo set of original music. He told stories about his travels to Australia, played some sweet guitar and sang pretty melodies in a voice reminiscent of Darius Rucker and Dave Mathews. He looped a few rhythms to solo soulfully over them and added rhythm by kicking at a kick drum placed behind him.
Shovels and Rope and Little Miss Higgins
The Wide Skies Music Festival opened on July 30 at Southminster United Church with the first of two paid concerts showing how duos do it better.
Little Miss Higgins and South Carolina duo Shovels and Rope opened Wide Skies in the sweltering Southminster United Church for an enthusiastic and sweating audience.
I always enjoy Little Miss Higgins, and haven’t seen her for a while. She and lead guitarist Eric Lemoine focused on music from their last two albums “My Home, My Heart” and “Bison Ranch Recording Sessions.”
Lead singer Jolene Higgins told stories about living all over the place and including Brooks, where her mom lives, noting she kindly consented to look after Higgins’ and Lemoine’s three-year-old toddler while they were on tour. She told that story to preface a new song “Belly Full of Baby” early in the set. She noted usually the song has a trumpet lead, which she attempted to whistle.
Musically, Lemoine started playing slide on dobro and switched to guitar while Higgins switched between ukulele and guitar. They had a laid back breezy, hippyish vibe.
They picked up the tempo a little with “ABC Blues,” once again inspired by trying to find time to write new music while raising a child, and the always wonderful “Chateau Poulet.”
They introduced a brand new song, “Top of the Mountain,” written around a poem composed by Higgins’ Auntie Joyce, who was in the audience.
One of my newer favourites, “Put The Needle On,” was a highlight midway through their set.
Shovels and Rope were on a whole other level, building a massive sound based on the multi-instrumental prowess of Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent. They didn’t say a lot in between songs as they were both busy leaping between a variety of instruments including a piano, mandolin drum kit, guitars and much more. It was all the more impressive watching each of them switching instruments and simultaneously playing drums and keyboards and bass on keyboards. Their lyrics were darkly poetic stories full of passion and stunning visuals. “Gasoline,” “Boxcar” and “The Devil Is All Around” were a few of the many highlights as was “Birmingham.”
“Mary and the One Eyed Man” was another highlight.
Stylistically, they ran the gamut between noisy Neil Young and Crazy Horse-style rock and roll, old country, blues, gospel, alt country and even alternative rock near the end when they decided to debut a few brand new songs. including the moving, alternative rock number “I’m Coming Out,” with a biting guitar riff.
I missed Frazey Ford and her band and the Cave Singers at Southminster United Church, Aug. 1, which wound up the Wide Skies Music Festival.
Petunia at the Slice
Whether he’s singing in English, Spanish or gibberish, B.C. musician Petunia must be seen to appreciated.
The Vancouver based musician brought his band, the Vipers, to the Slice, Sunday, to perform for approximately 30 people. He was last here on St. Patrick’s Day for about 50. But no matter what kind of mood he is in or what sort of music he feels like playing, he is always entertaining. He has an inimitable yodelling voice and a band that can’t be matched including lead guitarist Stephen Nikleva, who was at home playing jazz, country, Caribbean/Cuban music, blues, rock and roll, rockabilly and even Romanian music, upright bassist Joseph Lubinsky and dynamic drummer Paul Townsend.
I arrived in time for his second set and found he was in a Caribbean/Cuban jazz kind of mood. And just when I was expecting to hear steel drums, Townsend created a reasonable facsimile of them by wandering out from behind his kit and rat a tat tatting with his drumsticks on the strings of Nikleva’s guitar while Nikleva sipped at his drink.
I didn’t recognize a lot of Petunia’s new songs but he also performed an excellent version of “Six Days On The Road.”
He stepped aside for Townsend to bash out an impressive jazz fuelled drum solo and watched Nikleva play some just as impressive Romanian music on guitar.
They wound things down on more of a rockabilly note on “I Don’t Get It.”
Edmonton’s For Tonight entertained an intimate audience at the Slice, July 28. I was looking forward to seeing a southern rock, punk band, as they described themselves, but the reality was a little different. They played a solid set of upbeat, piano powered pop music with falsetto voices and perky vibes which sounded like a blend of Maroon 5, Ed Sheeran and a touch of Simple Plan as well as Kaleo, who they covered. They covered a variety of music including Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and psyched the audience out with a few bars of “Cocaine Blues,” before segueing into Blink-182’s “All The Small Things.”
They added a few of their original power pop/pop punk originals and showed their more R and B side on a beautiful cover of “Stand By Me.”
Polly Dactic and Birch Barks
The Owl Acoustic Lounge hosted a fairly well-attended FLIPfest fundraiser, Saturday, July 28.
While I missed local band object_option, I was in time for Calgary duo Polly Dactic to set up a couple of keyboards and bass.
The quirky Calgary duo, consisting of members of Blü Shorts and Hag Face, played up-tempo, droning techno style must featuring lots of synth and a synth sounding bass coupled with reverb soaked vocals.
Local indie rock band Birch Barks released a new tape to end the night. They played a strong set of ambient indie rock along the lines of Radiohead and a touch of U2.
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Chief Mountain and Paint and Sip 7-9 p.m. $44
9 p.m. Supercrush/Supervoid
Beaches — open mic With Devin Gergel
Slice — Windy City Opry
Slice — open mic with Amanda Fish
Average Joe’s — Dueling pianos with Cal Toth Nicolas Sheran park- Family Fun Festival 3-8 p.m.
Honker’s Pub — open mic
Slice —King Mammoth
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Tyler Allen with Gillian Moranz Split Summer Ramble and Guests with Ryland Moranz
Casino Lethbridge — Ryerson Road
Galt Gardens — Applefest!
Honker’s Pub — Open mic
Slice — Piper and Carson $10
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Hurtin’
Casino Lethbridge — Ryerson Road
Casa — August ukulele jam 2-3 p.m.
The Owl Acoustic Lounge — open mic
Onion — open mic
Smokehouse — open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Moonrunners, Freges Puzzle 9:30 p.m.
Beaches — open mic With Devin Gergel
Slice — open mic
Mocha Cabana — Alice Tindori
Slice — A Farewell to Megan with Tyson Borsboom and Makiisma
Owl Acoustic lounge — Ghost Woman, Birch Barks, Brenna Lowrie
Casino Lethbridge — Mark Hall band
Honker’s Pub — open jam with Aaron Landry
Casino Lethbridge — Mark Hall band
Honker’s Pub — afternoon open mic with Andy Mac