Get ready to rock before Christmas.
But start things off on a jazzy note as HBO3 and Josh Davies host The Owl Acoustic Lounge on Wednesday, Dec. 19. The same night, down the block, Calgary-raised jazz musician Stefan Hegerat has a CD release party at the Slice for his debut CD “Icterus,” described as a fusion of rock and jazz. He has performed with JJ and the Pillars, Lisa Bozikovic, Blue Sky Miners, Ryan Carley and The Naive. This is an early show that begins at 7 p.m. There is a $10 cover.
As expected, there are plenty of Christmas-related activities happening this week. Chris Roedler is hosting a Christmas afternoon at Galt Museum Dec. 19 from 2-3 p.m.
The Owl Acoustic Lounge is tapping into its inner Potterhead by hosting an adult version of the Yule Ball, Dec. 20 with music and “butterbeer.” And local vocals instructor Andrea Roberts’ students are performing a Christmas concert at city Hall, Dec. 21 from 1-2 p.m.
New West Theatre opens its annual best of music-comedy revue show “Hit Parade” on Dec. 19. It runs until Jan. 5 Expect to hear a lot of old favourites from previous shows and a few new numbers and lots of laughs.
On the stranger side of the season, The Slice hosts an unusual show, Thursday, Dec. 20 with the Taitanium WTF Variety Show. Performers include model and “circus punk” Harley Page plus burlesque dancer the Real Green Fairy along with Fatt Matt and Santa Claus. There is a $10 cover or $7 if you wear a onesie or PJs.
But this week is all about the rock, some of it yuletide-themed.
Saskatoon’s One Bad Son bring their beloved holiday show to Average Joe’s, Dec. 20 with guests starting at 8 p.m. They will be be performing big hits like “Scarecrow” and “Raging Bull,” deeper tracks and a lot more. Tickets are $20 in advance, $35 on the day of the show.
The Slice is going to rock your face, Friday, Dec. 21 by hosting a Xmas Meltdown featuring Calgary classic metal band King Mammoth, Calgary-based groove metal/power metal band Spit of the Sin and Medicine Hat’s Nephilim’s Noose. The rock begins at 9 p.m. There is a $10 cover.
The Slice also brings a little rock to the stage with the Decadent Phase and Ian Morrice performing Saturday, Dec. 22.
The Owl Acoustic Lounge features local rock with the Silkstones and Hoverkraft performing on Friday, Dec. 21.
And Rancho Deluxe play their own brand of country and rock music at the Owl Acoustic Lounge. They are putting the finishing touches on their debut CD.
Classic rock/pop band Fast Times return to rock Casino Lethbridge Friday and Saturday. Down the road at KC’s Pub, Womp will be playing a little rock and roll.
And that’s about it as most places are closed for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
One Bad Son is bringing their annual Christmas/New Year’s Eve party to Lethbridge, when they return to Average Joe’s, Dec. 20.
The Saskatoon-based band have had an exciting year which included touring with ’80s hair metal band Skid Row vocalist Sebastian Bach.
“We did our first tour of the United States. We played everywhere. We played like 27 shows,” said One Bad Son frontman Shane Volk, driving from his home in Calgary to meet the rest of the band in Saskatoon for one rehearsal before hitting the road on their Western Canada Christmas tour, starting in Red Deer, continuing to Calgary on Dec. 15 and Lethbridge.
“There might be some Christmas music,” Volk chuckled.
“Every year for the past 10 years we’ve been doing this big Christmas/New Year’s show at home in Saskatoon, which is always a lot of fun, so we decided to take it on the road to some of our favourite Western Canadian cities. And Lethbridge has always been one of our favourites,” Volk continued.
“We’ll be playing a lot of songs people have heard before and a lot of songs we haven’t played in a number of years,” he continued, reflecting on a successful year which included seeing “Raging Bull ” hit number one, lots of touring and hometown recognition as they were nominated for rock and pop artist of the year at the first-ever Saskatchewan music awards and Saskatoon magazine Planet S named them best band for the third year in a row.
“The public votes for that award, so it means a lot,” he said.
One Bad Son and Guests play Average Joe’s, Thursday, Dec. 20 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, $35 on the day of the show.
New West Hit Parade
New West Theatre celebrates its greatest hits with the annual December Musical review Hit Parade, running Dec. 19-Jan. 5 at the Yates Theatre at 7 :30 p.m. each night.
As expected, the production is a collection of some of the audience’s and cast’s favourite music and comedy from the previous year.
It is also a homecoming and welcome back to some familiar faces like Scott Carpenter, Erica Hunt, Kathy Zaborsky, Kyle Gruninger, relative new newcomers Ashley Thomson and Rylan Kunkel, and other familiar faces who are making a long awaited return to the stage like Jessica Ens.
“Jessica Ens has been teaching. She was pregnant with her daughter Chloe when she did her last show with New West four years ago. So Chloe was the youngest cast member because she was a fetus at the time,” chuckled Scott Mezei, the new music director for the show, who is co-music director with long-time cast member and vocal director Zaborsky.
“I’ve been in the last five shows, but I’m still the new guy here, chuckled Kunkel.
“And I get to play saxophone in this show again,” Kunkel enthused.
“I’m a musician who acts so that has been great,” he continued.
“I get to perform Elton John’s ‘Crocodile Rock’ again, too. So it’s nice to be able to repeat that again,” he said.
But though there are familiar faces, there are some changes as Mezei is filling the massive shoes of long-time music director and drummer Paul Walker who retired this year.
“They are massive shoes to fill,” he said.
“He did a lot of work behind the scenes before the show,” Mezei observed.
Mezei’s Adequate bandmate Keenan Pezderic fills the drum stool, joining keyboardist Bente Hansen, bassist Greg Pakuski and Mezei playing guitar, though he was playing bass for the media call Dec.12.
Mezei noted the music crosses eras and genres including the hits plus some new pieces.
“There is music from the 1950s right up to music from the movie ‘A Star is Born,’” Mezei observed.
“There’s a lot of great music. It’s going to be fun,” he continued, adding he is also looking forward to being part of a Las Vegas medley.
“There’s a lot more musical comedy and not as many jokes. But there’s one where we’re all dresses as Mounties,” he observed.
“It’ll be really funny,” he promised.
Hit Parade runs Dec. 19-22, 26-29 and Jan. 2-5 at 7:30 p.m.
There is also a special New year’s Eve performance at 7 p.m. and matinees at 1 p.m., Dec. 22, 29 and Jan. 5
Wednesday, Dec. 12
Windy City Opry with Eve Hell and the Razors and Peter and the Wolves
It is great to see Shaela Miller’s monthly Windy City Opry doing so well. They almost always have great crowds, especially on a Wednesday night. I would have expected no less for this month’s show, Wednesday, Dec. 12, because it featured Calgary rockabilly trio Peter and the Wolves, who are always a good draw in Lethbridge no matter what day.
Eve Hell and the Razors were also supposed to be on the bill, but they missed them and didn’t even see Eve Hell, who I was looking forward to saying hello to.
Peter and the Wolves were amazing as usual, especially as frontman Peter Cormier had injured his hand during load in.
I caught the end of their set, fortunately they stuck around for a second and most of the audience stayed with them despite the long set break.
Their first set ended with a couple of tracks from their third CD “Howlin and Prowlin’,” including a couple of my favourites “Jailbird Josephine” and “Sundae Monday Blues,” which ended the set. They also played their usual strong version of blues classic “St. James Infirmary.”
As expected, they played straight ahead guitar/upright bass/drum-driven rockabilly music, which got toes tapping and couples trying out their best ’50s dance moves. I missed the keyboard-powered rock and roll potion of the show, which came earlier.
After a long set break, the trio returned to the stage at 11:15 to knock off a hot version of Hank Williams “Long Gone Lonesome Blues.”
A highlight after that was “Ain’t Nobody going to Love Me like the Devil Do.”
Cormier and company took advantage of their second set to try out a few new songs and some deep cuts from Chuck Berry.
They ended their spirited second set with Cormier performing at a popular old school rockabilly trick, by playing guitar while standing on the end of Pedro Lowe’s upright bass.
It is always a pleasure to have Southern Alberta roots/country band Tin and the Toad back in Lethbridge.
I was lucky they were still playing by the time I arrived at the Slice, Saturday, Dec. 9. Justin “Tin” Smith, Cody “Toad” Shearer, steel guitarist/lead guitarist Steve Loree and drummer Ryan Shearer were joined by Tyler Bird on bass, filling in for Pete Loughlin. They played their usual toe tapping, heartfelt set of alt country and roots music. As usual, their multi-part vocal harmonies were a highlight. Headliners, the Mayhemingways’ Benj Rowland joined them on stage to play accordion for a song. They ended their set with their exception country version of SNFU’s “Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump.”
I always look forward to seeing Peterborough duo the Mayhemingways back in Lethbridge. They always get a good crowd. They even have people who travel from out of town to come and see them, and with good reason — they always put on an amazing show. Rowland was multi-tasking in guitar, banjo and accordion, stomped out a rhythm on bass pedals and sang dark lyrics, but made them sound downright ecstatic. Drummer Josh Fewings gleefully pounded the skins and sang harmonies.
They mostly played originals music from their last two CDs, “Hunter St. Blues” and “Skip Land” but Rowland rocked the accordion on an excellent cover of Dire Straits’ “Walk of Life.”
His appealing tenor voice reminded me of Mike McDonald of Jr. Gone Wild.
A couple of highlights I recognized were “Trouble in the Basement,” “Dirty Small Town Crush” and “Hunter Street Blues,” which featured Tin And the Toad returning to the stage to jam.
They also played a solid country of the Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City.”
It is always great to see Jon Martin and the New Weather Machine play. Martin was backed by drummer Kyle Harmon, bassist Paul Holden and guitarist Jason Oakes. I caught their last couple set of impassioned, slightly slower than usual progressive rock at The Slice, Friday, Dec. 8, where they were opening for Vernon pop/rock band She Hangs Brightly.
As usually they played big riffs, a big groove and featured martins impassioned vocals and jam fuelled leads.
It was wonderful to see Eryn Kleyth backed by her band She Hangs Brightly, including guitarist Dean Gordon-Smith, drummer Ken McGregor and loquacious bassist Luke Kowalski.
Together they played appealing, catchy pop rock music showcasing Kleyh’s beautiful powerful voice, which was reminiscent of No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani especially on a song called “Tragedy.”
They played quite a few upbeat originals including “Part of third Pack” and “Part Time Fool.”
Kleyh danced and weaved in front of the microphone like she was a hippie at a folk festival, closing her eyes blissfully, while her bandmates played psychedelic solos.
The spirit of the ’80s was strong in She hangs Brightly as they broke out some choice covers including an impressive rendition of Martha and the Muffins’ “Echo Beach,” and an impressive version of the B-52’s “Love Shack,” one of several featuring Luke Kowalski singing lead vocals. Kowalski took centre stage on a countryish number from his country band as Kleyh left the stage to go to the bar.
Ghost Woman at the Owl
Lethbridge psychedelic rock band Ghost Woman like to combine multi-media elements to their shows, like their well- attended Dec. 8 show at the Owl Acoustic lounge. They turn off all the lights at their shows, so going to one is like entering a cave with random psychedelic images flashing on the wall behind the stage. It’s also tough to see who is actually in the band in any given performance. For this show, it looked like a blissed out Aaron Trozzo was playing bass as frontman Evan Uschenko lurked in the shadows crooning spooky lyrics and playing ambient, delay-laden surf tinged guitar licks.
Beaches — open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Jazz jam with HBO3 and Josh Davies
Galt Museum — Holiday music with Chris Roedler 2-3 p.m.
Slice — Stephan Hegerat CD release party
Average Joe’s — One Bad Son 8 p.m. $30 advance $3 day of show
Slice — Taitanium WTF variety show with Harley Page Real Green Fairy and Fatt Matt
The Zoo — Thursty Thursday open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Yule Ball Adult version
Slice — Xmas meltdown with King Mammoth,Spit of the Sin and Medicine Hat’s Nephilim’s Noose $10 doors 8 p.m show 9 p.m.
Owl Acoustic Lounge — The Silkstones, Hoverkraft
Casino Lethbridge-Fast Times
Honker’s Pub — open mic
Club Didi — showtunes singalong
City Hall — AC Vocals Christmas concert
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Rancho Deluxe
Slice — Ian Morrice and the Decadent Phase
Honker’s Pub — afternoon open mic
Casino Lethbridge — Fast Times
KCs Pub — Womp
Beaches — Open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Standup Comedy open mic with Michael moses
Slice — open mic
The Zoo — Thursday Thursday Open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — poetry open mic
Club Didi — Drunk Improv
Casino Lethbridge — Rudz Crew
Average Joe’s — Dueling Pianos with Cal Toth
Honker’s Pub — open mic
Casino Lethbridge — Rudz Crew
Honker’s Pub — afternoon open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — NYEEEMomBod, Harsh, Supervoid
Onion — LEMF New Year’s Party
Slice — New year’s EveParty Doors Tribute with the Morrison Phase
Owl Acoustic Lounge — NYE with Adequate and guests
Club Didi — New Year’s Panti Raid 10 p.m
Soundgarden — Unzipped $10 7 p.m.
Italian Canadian Club — Bamboo Guppies $50
Casino Lethbridge — Hippodrome $75 buffet 7 Hippodrome 9 p.m.
The Coast Hotel — The LA Chefs New Year’s Eve with the Chevelles and Cal Toth $79
KCs Pub — Blame Andi 9 p.m.