This Sunday rocks.
The whole week, in fact.
But save your shekels for Sunday night as there are two huge shows happening.
Indiana roots rocker John Mellencamp plays the Enmax Centre at 7 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 28. He has numerous hits including “Jack and Diane,” “Paper In Fire,” “Small Town” “R .O.CK. In the U.S.A” and “Pink Houses,” to name just a few.
Tickets are $110.50, $99.50 and $82.50.
Across Town, if you grew up in the ’90s and 2000 you’d remember the Vancouver alt rockers Default who charted a number of hits including “Wasting my Time” and Deny.
They play Average Joe’s with Age of Days at 8 p.m.
But, before that, there are a lot of other things happening.
Chicago indie rock band Thompson Springs are at the Slice,Tuesday, Oct. 23 with Biloxi Parish.
Down the street at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Cincinnati/Vancouver Island folk duo Big Little lions perform on Wednesday, Oct. 24.
First, ’70s folk/country musician Murray McLauchlan visits the Yates Theatre and is excited to present his hits and new music. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $53.50.
The next night, the Louisiana Hayride hits the Yates. The tribute to the classic country radio show features musical tributes to Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, Roy Orbison, Lefty Frizzell, Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle. Tickets are $50 and the concert begins at 7:30 p.m.
The Geomatic Attic is hopping this week with a cluster of shows.
First up is a free presentation of Michael Barclay’s new Tragically Hip biography “The Never Ending.” John Wort Hannam and Steve Foord will be performing beginning at 7 p.m. and Barclay will be telling stories about the Tragically Hip and reading from his book.
Australian songwriter Kim Churchill performs at the Geomatic Attic on Monday, Oct., 29. Tickets for the show, which starts at 8 p.m., cost $32.50.
And the very next night, Birds of Chicago return to the Geomatic Attic featuring JT Nero and Allison Russell, plus multi-instrumentalist Steve Dawson who has spent the past week in Lethbridge, performing with Kat Danser and is recording with Leeroy Stagger.
Friday features a metal show at the Slice with Egyptian-influenced metal band Massive Scar Era with local band Quietus and Eons of Earth. There is a $10 cover.
For the folk minded, Nathan Godfrey and Mike Tod play the Owl Acoustic Lounge on Friday, Oct, 26. And D’arcy Kavanagh and Ian Hepher return to the Mocha Cabana.
Get into a Halloween state of mind this weekend with a couple of shows. Kelly Klimchuk hosts a Halloween open mic at Honker’s Pub at 8 p.m. Cal Toth’s Duelling Pianos returns to Average Joe’s on Friday.
And let CKXU and Terrific Kids Collective scare the bejesus out of you with Frighthall — their two-day haunted house and mini-music festival at the old firehall, Oct. 26 and 27.
Glam punk band J Blissette, psychedelic garage rock band Bad Hoo and lo-fi dream pop band Soft Cure play an all-ages show beginning at 6:30 p.m. The haunted house is open at 1.
The next day the haunted house continues all day followed by music from experimental art rock band Marigold, scuzz punk band Janitor Scum, local psych rock/alternative rock band Queen of the Worms and goth pop band the post namers and Calgary noise rock band dri hiev. Tickets are $15 at the door for Saturday and $10 for Friday or a festival pass for $25.
Halloween continues on Oct. 27. The Chevelles host their annual Halloween Party at Average Joe’s. Admission is $10 in advance or $15 on the day of the show.
The Slice hosts Halloween with Taylor Ackerman’s Global Acid Reset, Scott McLeod and DJ Greasy. There is no cover for that.
Local rock band MTBC celebrates Halloween by releasing their new CD at the Owl Acoustic Lounge with special guests Jolene Draper and Edmonton indie rock band Evergreen.
And local classic rock band Who’s Yer Daddy return to the 1010 Pub to host their Halloween party as well.
Murray McLauchlan has a pretty storied career, including numerous awards dating back to 1972 including 11 Juno awards, the most recent being Country Male Vocalist of the year in 1988 and the Order of Canada, and is a pilot to boot, but he’s not one to rest on his laurels.
He returns to Lethbridge to perform a solo show at the Yates Theatre, Oct. 25 with upright bassist Victor Bateman.
McLauchlan has written quite a few hits dating back to the early ’70s when American folk singer Tom Rush recorded “Child’s Song.”
“Honky Red” was performed by Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Bobby Neuwirth. He received early song cuts by country music star George Hamilton IV.
“It’s been a few years since I was in Lethbridge, But I’ll be back on Oct. 25,” said McLauchlan, cleaning up his cabin for winter. He is also known for “Down by The Henry Moore.”
He was last here with Marc Jordan, Ian Thomas and Cindy Church, a.k.a. Lunch at Allen’s, back in 2016.
McLauchlan began writing and performing songs in his late teens. After playing at major music festivals, such as the Philadelphia Folk Festival, where he appeared alongside Jim Croce and John Prine, and Mariposa where he gave up half of his concert time so Joni Mitchell could play, he attracted wider attention on the club circuit, playing such well-known rooms as The Riverboat in Toronto, The Bitter End in New York, The Main Point in Philadelphia, and the famous Earl of Old Town in Chicago.
McLauchlan has recorded 19 albums in the past 40-some years.
But for this show, he plans on focusing on his last two albums, particularly the most recent, 2017’s “Love Can’t Tell Time,” which celebrates his love of learning how to play Italian-style guitar.
“I went to Italy in 2013 and was listening to a lot of jazz and classical guitar and I learned how to play it. I really loved that experience. It reminded me how much I love playing guitar,” he said.
Lyrically, a lot of the CD is about looking back.
“People in their prime can still look back,” he observed.
“‘Little White Lies’ is beautiful, though they can be hard to listen to,” he said, pointing out one of his favourite tracks on the CD.
He said being in Italy and listening to all the different music inspired him musically and pushed him as a guitarist.
“I’ve got to keep evolving. It was important to me to be able to change. It keeps things fresh,” he said, adding changing musical tastes is natural as he ages.
“Lots of my fans are boomer-aged — 45-70 like me and I’ve grown with them,” he said.
He will be performing a stripped-down set of music, with McLauchlan playing piano and guitar and Victor Bateman on upright bass.
“I’ve always liked people like John Prine, who can go on stage and play,” he said. He is looking forward to returning to Lethbridge.
“I have a lot of positive experiences in Lethbridge going back to working with Ron Sakamoto. I always meet a lot of great people there and we’re always interested in coming back,” he said.
McLauchlan plays the Yates Theatre, Thursday, Oct. 25 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $52.50
Though Frontman Dallas Smith a has embarked on a successful second career as a country musician, he returns to the ’90s youth as part of ’90s rockers Default, who stop by Average Joe’s, Sunday, Oct. 38. with Age of Days.
“I don’t like having any restrictions being put upon me. I want to do what makes me happy, so I’ll do them both,” said Smith on a dying cell phone, of reconciling his burgeoning country career with returning to a successful alternative rock career.
“So when the opportunity came up to play with the guys, I said yes. It’s a great opportunity,” he said.
Default Default began their meteoric rise with the release of their debut album “The Fallout.” With the #1 success of singles “Deny” and “Wasting My Time,” “The Fallout” earned the band the 2002 Juno award for “Best New Group” and, having sold over one million copies south of the border, platinum certification in both the United States and Canada. Their gold-certified sophomore release “Elocation” garnered a nomination for “Best Rock Album” at the 2005 Juno awards and follow-up “One Thing Remains” spawned their third #1 hit with “Count On Me.”
They have just released an EP “Re-Cuts” featuring some of their best-known hits.
They play Average Joe’s, Sunday, Oct. 28. at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 day of the show.
The Birds of Chicago have been soaring since their last Lethbridge visit in 2016. They have released an acoustic EP “American Flower” in 2017 which they recorded with Steve Dawson in Nashville. They also released a more rock and roll record “Love in Wartime,” which they recorded with the North Mississippi Allstars’ Luther Dickinson.
They will be playing music from both albums when they return to the Geomatic Attic,Tuesday, Oct. 30.
“We don’t like to be restricted by a setlist. Our catalogue is an organic and living thing. And we like to keep the dialogue open with the audience, so if they want to hear something, we’ll play it,” said JT Nero, who will be joined by his wife Allison Russell and Steve Dawson, who was just here to pay with Kat Danser.
“Steve plays about 70 per cent of our shows, so when we looked at our schedule and saw Lethbridge, we asked him and he said he’ll be there, so we’ll be playing as the acoustic trio,” Nero said, adding a burst of songwriting inspiration led to two quick releases.
“We really wanted to do a more rock-and-roll album, so we worked with Luther on it,” he said, adding Dickinson doesn’t play on it.
“That was by his request. We already had all of the guitar worked out it, so he was there as a second set of ears,” he said.
“It was great working with him. He’s a great set of ears and he’s become a real confidante,” Nero said.
The year before, Birds of Chicago released an EP of acoustic songs called “American Flowers” with Steve Dawson.
“It makes a nice companion piece to the album. The songs determine what they need and lead the way. Those songs didn’t fit with the album. It’s always nice when songs reveal where they want to go,” Nero continued.
“Steve is great. He’s so easy-going. He’s an engineer and a great technical musician. He‘s also a music nerd,” he continued.
They are always writing.
“We’re always writing music. We’ll release a new record when it feels right,“ he said. It’s what we do. you make records and go on the road and play them for people. Each one feels different,” he said.
“We‘ve spent a lot of time touring and a lot of time overseas,” he said.
They are looking forward to returning to Canada.
“Two thirds of the band are Canadian (Dawson is originally from Vancouver while Russell hails from Montreal,” so we always like getting back north, he said.
The Birds of Chicago play the Geomatic Attic at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 30.
Tickets are $37.50.
Kat Danser and Steve Dawson
Kat Danser has a whole lot of blues and anew CD as she showed a decent sized crowd at the Geomatic Attic, Oct. 18.
But first Lethbridge got a treat as uber-producer and multi-instrumentalist Steve Dawson got to play a brief opening set before joining the rest of Danser’s tight band.
Dawson, who is in Lethbridge recording at Leroy Stagger’s studio until returning to the Geomatic Attic with Birds of Chicago on Oct. 30, opened with a stunningly beautiful instrumental from his latest CD “Lucky Hand.”
He noted because the songs are all instrumentals, he could name them whatever he wanted, so said he named them after locations within 100 km of his Nashville studio.
He only played a couple from the new CD, but focused instead, on older blues material including Gid Taylor and the Skillet Lickers’ “Henhouse Door,” which he noted he loved because his studio is called the Henhouse. He showed off his encyclopedic blues knowledge, but when he blanked on the name of the lead guitarist of 1920s and ’30s Georgian string band Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers, he was pleasantly surprised when one audience member informed him it was Riley Puckett.
For his solo set he alternated between a couple of open-tuned acoustics for slide guitar licks and crystalline harmonics and a Weissenborn Hawaiian guitar he plugged in and played on his lap. He told the story of Hermann Weissenborn who invented it and noted they weren’t very popular in traditional Hawaiian music because they weren’t loud enough until musicians like David Lindley rediscovered them, plugged them in and turned them up loud.
He played a couple of others from his back catalogue including a highlight he noted he recorded with the McCrary Sisters, whom he observed wouldn’t sing in anything if it wasn’t gospel, but convinced them to song on “Leave my name behind.”
He wound down his set by observing he usually gets a tribute show together in Vancouver and invites guests to play on a tribute his favourite albums, and played a Bob Dylan’s “Girl From the North Country” which Joe Cocker’s band played on “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” back in 1969 with Dylan himself in the audience.
He ended with another gorgeous instrumental from his new CD.
That might have been a hard act to follow for Kat Danser and her band, but they were up to the challenge.
Their set focused on Danser’s new more upbeat blues Cd “Goin’ Gone.”
The smiling Danser chatted with the enraptured audience as she worked her way through the CD and told stories.
Dawson alternated between a variety of different acoustic and electric guitars, his Weissenborn and a steel guitar for some of the more countryish songs. Danser was no slouch on guitar, but with Dawson and Jimmy Guiboche handling six string duties plus upright bassist Chris Brzezcki and drummer Kelly Kruse holding the back end down, she was free to strum rhythm and tell stories and rattle the occasional tambourine.
She joked about getting her PhD and boring people by talking about her dissertation in string bands in the south in the 1920s-’40s and talked about her love of being in the southern U.S. and listening to the many different types of blues music being played. She also talked about growing up in an abusive and highly religious home in rural Saskatchewan town and played a heartfelt, folky number called “My Town.”
She also noted how she remembered playing “Kansas City Blues” for the first time in Lethbridge and recording for it for the new CD just based on the response she got for it.
In between stories, the band played a super tight set. Dawson and Guiboche traded guitar solos and the rhythm section was spot on.
One of many highlights was a Brownie McGhee song “Chevrolet Car,” for which she slapped a tambourine and wandered into the middle of the audience.
As promised in last week’s interview, she wound up the show with an excellent version of Ike and Tina Turner’s “Nutbush City Limits,” during which she also slapped the tambourine and wandered off the stage, letting the band finish off before a standing ovation brought her back to the stage for an encore.
Sunday afternoon Folk Road Show at the Owl
The Owl Acoustic Lounge is starting to do afternoon shows. I usually can}t make them, but made a point of being there for at least one set of the Folk Road Show a.k.a. Ben Caldwell, Dominique Fricot, Olaf Caarls and Nicholas Petrovich. They had trimmed down to a quartet as Peter Van Vliet had returned home to Denmark. Nonetheless they put on an excellent set of multi-instrumental folk music featuring four part vocal harmonies.
They noted their first set was going to be more folk, but they planned on turning it up in the second set. I only had the energy for the folk set and was impressed as always as the four alternated instruments every song between bass, drums, electric guitar, mandolin and keyboards. Caldwell recalled his last Lethbridge visit when the band discovered Club Didi.
The set featured plenty of hot playing and heartfelt vocal harmonies and lyrics.
Perpetrators at the Slice
The trouble with having two bands i really want to see playing at the same time, is I’m inevitably going to miss some or all of one of their sets.
So, due to Rotary Park playing for the Lethbridge Folk Club, I missed the first set from Winnipeg blues rock trio The Perpetrators.
The trio of guitarist/vocalist Jay Nowicki, bassist Johnny Scoles and Drummer Emmet van Etten played a solid set of gritty, sweaty blues rock with just a touch of country music including music from mostly their last couple of albums.
I was afraid a competing show from Papa King and Darryl Duüs at the Owl would drain the Perpetrator’s blues-loving audience. Luckily it was not so as The Slice was packed, Saturday, Oct, 8, with an enthusiastic crowd, who were getting sweaty in front to the stage.
They slowed down, but once for “ the countryish “Josco,” a tribute to Johnny Scoles, who also owns Winnipeg’s popular live music club the Times Changed.
They ended their second set with their rousing cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Off The Hook,” which described the show.
Their abbreviated third set was also excellent, with plenty of nowicki’s Hound Dog Taylorish guitar playing and a few choice covers including a cover of Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl.”
A highlight of that set was definitely the rollicking “Crazy About My Baby.”
They were called back for an encore of a blues rock-injected version of Hank Williams Jr.’s “Are you Ready for the Country.”
Lethbridge College Cave Folk Club Rotary Park
It is always great to see Calgary newgrass/folk band Rotary Park. They returned to Lethbridge to play for an attentive Lethbridge Folk Club Crowd at the Lethbridge College Cave, Saturday, Oct. 13.
I caught most of their set and their new line up including a lead guitarist Gus playing his first gig with the trimmed down quartet.
He added more of a jazz element the the band’s rootsy sound. Nicki McRae alternated between playing mandolin and rapping out a rhythm in a box drum she sat on when she wasn’t singing lead vocals.
She sang several songs about her home of Saskatchewan.
They played a variety of originals and a few choice covers including “Raise A Ruckus,” which there were playing as i walked in.
They showed killer musicianship as usual as well as outstanding vocal harmonies. I really enjoyed the jazz flavour, the new guitarist brought to the table.
Another excellent cover was the soulful “Just Ask,” a cover by Lake Street Dive.
They were called back for an encore.
Smokehouse— Open Mic
Slice— Charlie Jacobson
Slice— Thompson Springs with Biloxi Parish
Owl Acoustic lounge— Big Little lions
Geomatic Attic- Michael Barclay Gord Downie biography reading The Never Ending present 7-9 p.m.
Yates Theatre — Murray McLauchlan $52.20 7:30 p.m.
Slice—open mic Petunia and the Vipers
Owl Acoustic lounge— poetry open mic
Mocha Cabana— Herb Hicks jazz QuartetIan Hepher and D’Arcy Kavanagh
Average Joes- Duelling pianos with Cal Toth Yates Theatre—Louisiana Hayride Show $50 7:30 p.m.
Old Firehall —CKXU Fright hall with J Blissette, Bad hoo, Soft Cure $10 or festival pass $25
Slice— Massive Scar Era and guests
Casino Lethbridge— Bow City underground
Owl Acoustic lounge—Mike Tod and Nathan Godfrey
Empress theatre T Buckley 7:30 p..m
Slice— Halloween partyGlobal Acid Reset with Scott Macleod and DJ Greasy, Scott Taylor
Fire hall #1— CKXU Fright Hall Marigold, Janitor Scum, Queen of the Worms, Post Namers, Dri Hiev 8:30 p.m. $15 or festival pass $25 Southminster United Church — Hank Williams Tribute $61 7 p.m.
Owl Acoustic lounge— MTBC album release with Evergreen
Casino Lethbridge— Bow City underground
Average joes— Chevelles Halloween party$10 advance $15 day of show. 9 p.m.
Owl acoustic lounge— MTBC album release with Evergreen
1010 Pub— Halloween party with Who’s Yer Daddy
Enmax— John Mellencamp $110.50, $99.50. $82.50 8 p.m.
Average Joes— Default with Age of Days 8 p.m.
Smokehouse —4-6 p.m. Sweet Grass
The Owl Acoustic Lounge—open mic
Onion— open mic
Geomatic Attic— Kim Churchill
Smokehouse —open mic
Slice— Pleasurerzone with Laura Rain and the Caesars $15
Geomatic Attic— Birds of Chicago
Enmax — Cirque du Soleil Corteo
Beaches — open mic
Theoretically Brewing— Theorybrew halloween
Owl Acoustic Lounge- A Very funky Halloween with Adequate
Enmax — Cirque du Soleil Corteo