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Lots of variety on local music scene this week

Posted on September 19, 2018 by Richard Amery

There are a couple of big shows this week. Vancouver-based, organ-powered progressive rock band Bend Sinister Stop by the Owl Acoustic lounge to play a special ticketed event, Wednesday, Sept. 19. Tickets are $10 for the show, which begins at 9 p.m. They are supporting their new CD “Foolish Games.” Local band the Dirti Speshuls will be opening the show.
It is a busy Wednesday as there is also an open mic at Beaches. The Slice hosts Port Alberni folk/alternative rock and pop band the Chase Spencer band on Sept. 19 as well. Admission is by donation.
Admission is also by donation at the Smokehouse where Prairie Huckster aka Gabriel Thaine and Aya will be playing every instrument they know.
There is a big alternative rock show on Thursday, Sept. 20 with Saskatoon’s grungy, noisy post punk duo Man Meat, plus Edmonton trio Hex Beat and local alternative rock trio MomBod. Admission is $10 for the show, which begins at 8 p.m.
On the weekend, the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra has their first Extras concert of the season with Musaeus performing at Fall in Strings — a Tribute to Autumn at Casa at 7:30 p.m. featuring violinist Isabelle Robinson, keyboardist Mary Lee Voort and the Musaeus String Quartet. The Symphony opens their series on Oct. 15 with Russian Inferno.
If that isn’t enough classical music for you, pianist Jesse Plessis returns home to Lethbridge to perform at the Galt Museum’s Piano and Pie, Friday, Sept. 21 beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 for adults, $20 for youth and students.
The quick picking and velvet baritone of Winnipeg-based musician Richard Inman returns to the Owl Acoustic Lounge on Friday, Sept. 21. For something different from that, bang your head at the Smokehouse as Medicine Hat thrash/punk band Western Death return to rock with local bands Chernoff, alternative rock duo Cope and High River hardcore punk band Shark Weak. There is a $10 cover for the show, which begins at 8 p.m.
Local rock band the bamboo Guppies return to the stage by playing Casino Lethbridge Friday and Saturday.
There are several fun events on Saturday. The annual Zombie Walk takes place in Galt Gardens, Sept. 22 at 3 p.m., though Kat Panic will be able to help you with your makeup beginning at noon There will be vendors and food as well.
Edmonton comedian Mike “The Pickle” Dambra returns to Lethbridge to bring the funny to Average Joe’s, Sept. 22. Opening acts Meagan Massina and local comedians Jordi Bott and Lakshjit Gill are also on the bill. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. The laughs start at 8:30 p.m.
The Slice goes pop with Tyler Vandendool and Saskatoon-based alternative pop duo Too Soon Monsoon and Kane Incognito are also performing. Admission is by donation.
Local rock band Biloxi Parish release their new album at the Owl Acoustic Lounge on Sept. 22. And Word On The Street starts off Arts Days 2018 on Saturday Sept. 22 with lots of authors, stories and live entertainment. The event opens at 10:50 a.m. with a blessing from Francis First Charger followed by a drum circle from Thunder Chief productions. The Saints play at 11:30 a.m. followed by Japanese Minyo Dancers at 12:15p.m , Fawns at 12:30 p.m., the Lethbridge Highland Dance Association (1:15 p.m.); Ezra Sulin (1:30 p.m.); Black Roses for Breakfast (1:50 p.m.); Troyanda Ukrainian Dance Troop (2:15 p.m.); Jolene Draper & The Inquisitive Few (2:30 p.m.); Will Big Bull (3:15 p.m.); Alison & Danny (3:30 p.m.) and Ecuadorian Roots (4:15 p.m.).
The other big show this week is the return of Hamilton folk rock/alt country group Elliott Brood who return to the Slice on Tuesday, Sept. 25. They released their latest CD, “Ghost Gardens,” in 2017. Tickets are $25. Steve Foord will open the show.
After 15 years together, Hamilton/Toronto trio Elliott Brood feel like they’re just hitting their stride. They are looking forward to returning to Lethbridge to play their usual haunt at the Slice Sept. 25.
“After 15 years or however long we’ve been together I feel we‘re just hitting our stride as a players. Not that we didn’t play well before, it’s just that every night we feel like we’re playing in the pocket,” said frontman/banjo player/ guitarist and ukulele player Mark Sasso from a tour stop in Moncton. He is joined by Casey Laforet on guitar, vocals and bass pedals and Stephen Pitkin playing suitcases, percussion and vocals.
“We’re going back to Hamilton to play the Supercrawl festival. It’s a huge event. It’s such a great experience for us. It’s putting Hamilton back on the map. It’s right downtown in the street. They get like 100,000, 150,000 people or about 50,000 people a night. It will be our third time playing it and they keep asking us back so we must be doing something right,” Sasso continued.
“We’ve been playing a lot and touring a lot. We‘re on the east coast now, where we haven’t been for a while,” he observed.
They are still touring in support of their 2017 “Ghost Gardens,” which is doing well with fans.
“Fans have been listening to the music and buying the album and singing the songs back to us, same as they always do, so we must be doing something right,” Sasso said.
Part of their success is road testing new songs as they are now and will be doing in Lethbridge.
“We‘ve got three new songs we’re road testing now. It’s part of what we do. We play them live. We like to steal energy from the crowd and see where it takes the song. It’s part of the process we really love,” Sasso said, adding songs change quite a bit with repeated playing.
“We have to live with them and these songs may sound like they are now when we record them for the next album. Or they may not,” he said.
“This way people are familiar with them by the time they come back.”
They always enjoy returning to Lethbridge.
“The story that is ubiquitous with us is Lethbridge is the first place we ever played outside of Toronto. So it has a special place in our hearts because of that. We have a lot of friends there who we are always excited to come back and visit,” he enthused.
“It’s a Tuesday night. But we’ll tear it up there like we always do. Every night is a Saturday night to us,“ he said.
Tickets for Elliott Brood are $25. The show begins at 8:30 p.m. Steven Foord is opening the show.
Windy City Opry shows start early at the Slice, so I don’t catch much of them on Wednesday, as was the case on Sept. 12. Sometimes I get lucky and the band plays an extended encore, which wasn’t the case with guest host Boots and the Hoots and the full band. Boots was a real trouper, standing and performing, though he broke his leg in three places a couple weeks ago.
I caught the last two songs including a a great version of The Big Bopper-penned George Jones hit “White Lightning.”
They had a great turnout of attentive folks out on a Wednesday night. I missed the opening set from Lance Loree and his wife Toby.
John Wort Hannam premiered his hot new CD “Acres of Elbow Room” for a packed and sweltering Geomatic Attic, to open their new season on Sunday, Sept. 9.
Hannam and his tight band of upright bassist Jason Valleau, drummer Jon May and keyboardist Steve Fletcher, played several tracks from the new CD including the new single “Key of D Minor” and the title track. I missed the first couple of songs and the opening set from Skinny Dyck and Carter Felker.
The ever-so-earnest Hannam joked and told stories. Jon May’s piano playing was just right especially on the outstanding “Key of D Minor.” They picked up the pace and the humour with “Wild Young Things.”
Another highlight was his Kasey Chambers cover “The Quiet Life.”
Hannam dug deep into his repertoire with the more country rock stylings of “Meat Draw,” which was a highlight. Another old song “poor man” was another more countryish highlight which featured drummer Jon May coming to the front of the stage to play tambourine. They introduced a new song called “I Believe” which was inspired by the mass shooting at the big country concert in Las Vegas last year. Hannam picked pretty acoustic guitar licks throughout.
He noted he wasn’t going to do the fake leaving the stage and returning for an encore bit that most bands do, and so ended an uplifting show with “That’s Life” from the new CD and sent everyone home with “Chasing the Song.”

The Lethbridge Folk Club opened their new season Saturday, Sept. 8 at the Lethbridge College Cave with a well-attended multi-media show from Banff/Canmore folk trio the Wardens, consisting of Scott Ward, Ray Schmidt and Bradley Bischoff — two retired forest rangers and one still on the job.
They sang lovely harmonies and played sweet guitar as they told stories of living in the mountains and working as a ranger. They sang about the history of Banff and Canmore area and some of the interesting characters who have lived there including a ranger’s wife who came to Canada as a Scottish war bride after the Second World War.
An interesting number and story was about the experience of fighting forest fires as a ranger.
Another touching highlight was a tribute to a young ranger, who died alone in the mountains after being thrown from his horse and writing a letter to his wife and family as his last act.
Another more lighthearted number was “Ranger TV, about looking into a fireplace in the dead of winter.
They wound up their set with an upbeat whimsical number about health food called “Supper on the Trail.”
They sent everyone home with “Happy Trails.”
I only caught a few songs from Maritime transplant Eddie Lockhurst at the Slice, Sept. 8. He sang pleasing folk-style acoustic music. He had a pleasant voice along the lines of Jay Farrarr and a touch of Todd Snider, but also let loose a mighty bellow on a couple songs. He ended the set I caught with a cover of “Last Kiss.”
Freshfest was off the hook last week at the University of Lethbridge, Sept. 7 and 8. I was only able to Catch Calgary power trio the Static Shift on Saturday after a brief intro from the weekend’s host the Deaner from the FUBAR movies.
The Deaner had fun checking the the two microphones on stage and pretending to be out of breath because of it before promising, “I’m really actually in shape. I could do cartwheels across the stage if I wanted.’”
The Static Shift looked and sounded like they stepped right out of the ’70s with long hair, flared bell bottoms and paisley shirts. They played, big, beefy, catchy riffs right out of the Black Sabbath, Foghat, Led Zeppelin and Grand Funk Railroad playbook. There was also wah-wah pedal drenched guitar solos and lots of massive groove.

Sept. 19
Owl Acoustic lounge — Bend Sinister $10
Beaches — open mic
Slice — Chase Spencer Band 9 p.m. by donation
Smokehouse — Prairie Huckster 8 p.m. by donation
Sept. 20
Old Fire Hall — Man Meat, Hex Beat, Mom Bod 7 p.m. $10
Slice — open mic
Sept. 21
Honker’s Pub — Open Mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Richard Inman
Casino Lethbridge — Bamboo Guppies
Slice — Gabriel Thaine and friends
Galt Museum — Piano and Pie with jesse Plessis $35 adults $20 students 6:30 p.m.
Smokehouse — Western Death, Cope, Chernoff
Casa — Lethbridge Symphony Extras A Musaeus Fall in Strings $35 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 22
Average Joe’s — Mike Pickle Dambra 8:30 p.m.$15 advance $20 at door
Galt Gardens — Zombie Walk
Honker’s Pub — afternoon open mic
Slice — Too Soon monsoon with VandenDool 9 p.m. by donation
Lethbridge Public Library — Word on the Street
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Biloxi Parish Providence album release with Tyson Ray Borsboom
Casino Lethbridge — Bamboo Guppies
Sept. 24
The Owl Acoustic Lounge — open mic
Onion — open mic
Sept. 25
Smokehouse — open mic
Slice — Elliott Brood 8:30 p.m. $25
Sept. 26
Beaches — open mic
Owl Acoustic lounge — Standup Comedy open mic
Sept. 27
Owl Acoustic Lounge — poetry open mic
Slice — open mic
Sept. 28
Mocha Cabana — Herb Hicks jazz Quartet
Honker’s Pub — open Mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Darryl Düus band
Slice — The Galacticas
Average Joe’s — Dueling pianos with Cal Toth
Sept. 29
Honker’s Pub — afternoon open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — The Turncoats with the necessities
Slice — Simon Kempston
Smokehouse — Saturday afternoon at the Smokehouse with Crooked Creek Warblers 3-6 p.m.
Empress — Rose Cousins 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 1
The Owl Acoustic Lounge — open mic
Onion — open mic
Oct. 2
Smokehouse — open mic
Oct. 3
Beaches —open mic
Oct. 5
Exhibition Park — Oktoberfest$10
Slice — The Gentleman’s Club with Lionz and Jon Martin $10 and artist Dorian Mondru

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