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Music and laughs on tap at local venues

Posted on January 16, 2019 by Richard Amery

You can continue to ease into the new year with a whole lot of local music.
The fun begins as Gabriel Thaine brings back his High Level Variety Show to the Slice, Tuesday, Jan, 15.
It is a variety show so anything can happen — music, comedy, juggling, dance, whatever springs to mind. Doors open with the signup at 8 p.m. The show begins at 8:30 p.m. There is a $5 cover.
Jazz jams return to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Wednesday, Jan. 16, with hosts HBO3.
Corduroy Brown hosts the open mic at the Slice Jan. 17.
If you want to laugh, Good Times features hypnotist J.R. Matthews on Friday, Jan. 18 and comedian Adam Ruby performing two shows, Saturday, Jan. 19 at 6 and 9:30 p.m.
There is a whole lot of rock this weekend. The Smokehouse hosts an excellent local punk show on Friday, Jan. 18 featuring Calgary Celtic punks the RiverJacks and local bands The hockey Moms and 13toGo. The music begins at 8:30 p.m. There is a $10 cover.
Over at the Slice on Jan. 18, local psychedelic rock band the Rainbow Patrol is releasing their new CD and bringing back Calgary power trio Bazaraba to help out.
Down the street, local band Queen of the Worms return to the Owl Acoustic Lounge.
The Slice also rocks on Saturday, Jan. 19 with the sounds of Red Deer. St. Groove return along with Dayparting, formerly known as Conniferius and Calgary’s the Rumble.
Down the road again, at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Suzie and the Homewreckers hold court as part of Drunken Sailor’s sixth anniversary party Jan. 19 which is all about the ladies at the Owl. The Owl hosts the Lethbridge Girls Rock Camp family jam in the afternoon followed by a matinee performance by local rock band HoverKraft.
Club Didi has an interesting show on Saturday. Lip Synch Roulette features local drag performers competing to be the best lip synch team.
The show begins at 8:30 p.m. There is a $10 cover.
And Ryerson Road plays a little bit of country and a little bit of rock and roll, Friday and Saturday, Jan. 18 and 19.

Ladysmith/Vancouver Island-based folk musician Ryan McMahon returns to Lethbridge in support of his brand new, sixth CD, “In Line For A Smile.” He plays a special house concert at the Flat, Tuesday, Jan. 22.
“It’s great. I’ve played there a couple of times. They’re super nice kids. They cram 40-50 people into their basement,” he said, adding he enjoys playing house concerts.
“I play about 70 of them a year. When you have gigs, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and you’re in the same area sitting in the hotel spending money and food, you might as well play. I’ve played in coffee shops, community halls, churches. I’ll play anywhere you want me to,” he said.
“Craig Cardiff plays the Flat, that’s probably where I got their contact information,” he added.
He is excited about the new album.
“I’ll be playing about seven of the new songs. They’ve all been road tested a lot. And I’ll be playing some older songs. Tom Petty may even make an appearance,” he said, adding the CD reflects his many influences like City and Colour and Jackson Browne.
“I try not to wear my influences on my sleeve. But I love City and Colour and I’ll see your Jackson Browne and raise you a Warren Zevon, because I love his lyrics. And while I might not always like the Tragically Hip, I loved Gord Downie’s writing,” he said, adding it is hard to believe, that at age 39, he’s been playing music for 20 years and released six albums
“I turn 40 this year, and by this time a lot of people are looking for an exit strategy, but I enjoy making music. I’d play the shows for free, but I get paid for the travel, the airports and all the driving,” he said.
He noted the new CD reflects some of those feelings.
“I came out of a bad place where I socialized, in quotes, a little too much,” he said.
“It’s easy to just stay in the hotel room and miss friends and family back home. So I’ve been making a point of getting out and meeting people. If I’m in Revelstoke, I’d go to a bookstore and just meet people.”
“I also have lost a lot of people close to me like my grandpa. So ‘This House Is Not For Sale’ is about his house, where I spent a lot of time in and having to sell it. And the song ‘Mortality’ is about thinking of your mortality as well,” he said.
The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10.

Greg Rekus at the Owl
I always look forward to seeing Greg Rekus return to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, but have been missing his shows lately. Luckily I caught the last two songs of his energetic set of folk-punk, Monday, Jan. 7.
As usual, he was performing solo with a battered acoustic guitar and added extra percussion by leaping up and down on a wooden platform. He played an energetic set for approximately 25 people.
Saturday, Jan. 5, new comedy club Good Times opened with several close to soldout standup comedy showcases. In the process they gave the public a preview of the comedy to come in the next two months as all of the comedians will be performing their own solo shows in the coming weeks.
They have a few kinks to work out with sound and lighting but the essence of a really cool, underground comedy club. I caught the very first showcase at 5 p.m.
The first comedian Alex Biron, who will be back Feb. 9, joked about the different kinds of homeless people in larger and smaller cities. He had a funny bit comparing what $80 million means to a CEO compared to what $80 means to an ordinary, poorer person.
Surrey, B.C.-born, Fort McMurray-based comedian Renne Manners, who returns Feb. 16, joked about being a single mom and how her seven-year-old son also writes jokes as well as a funny bit about the number of teen moms in her high school in Surrey.
Charles Payne, who returns on Jan. 26, observed how “white the room” was and joked about how disgusting and confusing pictures of male genitalia are and online dating over 40.
I couldn’t see much of Adam Ruby’s manic set as he stayed mostly at the back of the stage and out of my eyesight from my seat at the side of the stage. He joked abut parenting now compared to in the ’70s and ’80s when he grew up. He returns to Good Times Jan. 19.
New York-born comedian Mike Dambra performs in Lethbridge about once a year. He was more in your face than the other comedians. He joked about spending a Saturday night performing comedy in a basement, laughing, “I have another show at a pizza place after this.” He joked about how Canadians are annoyingly overpolite compared to New Yorkers, but spent about half of his set teasing a front-row patron about selling furniture for a living. Dambra returns to Good Times, Feb. 2.
Cory Mack was the comedian I was waiting to see as she is the sister of my former boss. I even booked her for Fringe Festival back in Kenora, several years ago. Her routine was about growing up on a farm in rural Saskatchewan and about how to get older kids to move out of the house by having louder sex. She also had a funny bit comparing how people, namely her husband, stroke their smartphones compared to pleasuring a woman. She returned to Good Times this past Saturday.
Shawn Gramiak closed off the showcase with a hilarious self-deprecating set, which mostly concentrated on trying to date when you look like an oddball like him (big, burly, with long unruly blonde hair and glasses) joking, “People are always asking me if I have a van.” He returns on Feb. 23.

Local R and B/funk/ blues/soul and disco collective Hippodrome always equal a good time, so it was no surprise their Saturday, Jan. 5 show at the Slice drew a hot, sweaty, soldout crowd in the full throes of danceable ecstasy by the time I arrived around 10:30 p.m
They played a familiar set of high energy, horn powered classic hits guaranteed to get your mojo working.
Erica Hunt and the always personable Juran Greene sang most of the lead vocals on numerous hits from ’60s R and B to ’70s disco including “That’s the Way I Like it,” to Greene’s exceptional renditions of “Flip, Flop and Fly” and “Mustang Sally.”
Shawna Romolliwa, in between beaming and dancing, crushed a version of Etta James’ classic soulful blues number “Tell Mama.”
James Oldenburg blasted out a wicked guitar solo; they had an unstoppable groove. It was back to disco with the Trammps “Disco Inferno.”
They wound up their set with their always hot version of Sam and Dave’s “Soul Man.”

January 16
Beaches — open mic
Lethbridge Public Library — Scars Among Us Book launch 7 p.m.
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Jazz jam with HBO3
January 17
Slice — open mic with Corduroy Brown
The Zoo — Thursday Thursday open mic
January 18
Slice — Rainbow Patrol CD release party with Bazarabra
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Queen of the Worms
Casino Lethbridge — Ryerson Road
Honker’s Pub — open mic
Good Times — J.R. Matthews
Smokehouse — RiverJacks with Hockey Moms and 13toGo $10 8:30 p.m.
January 19
Exhibition Park — Alberta Food and Beverage Expo
Slice — St. Groove with the Rumble and Dayparting
Owl Acoustic Lounge —2 p.m. Lethbridge Girls Rock Camp matinee; 4 p.m. Lethbridge Girls Rock Camp matinee; 8 p.m. Drunk Sailor Afterparty with Suzie and the HomeWreckers
Honker’s Pub — afternoon open mic
Casino Lethbridge — Ryerson Road
Club Didi — Lip Synch Roulette
Good Times — Adam Ruby 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

January 21
The Owl Acoustic Lounge — open mic
Onion — open mic
January 23
Beaches — open mic
Slice — Krowns
January 24
Slice — open mic with Gabriel Thaine
The Zoo —Thursday Thursday open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — 7 p.m. Owl Poetry open mic with Terri Petz 9:30 p.m.Robbie Burns Celebration with Junkman’s Quire
January 25
Slice — Tanner Cyr and Stars From Streetlights And Indifferent 8 p.m. $15 in advance
Casino Lethbridge — Sean Burns
Watertower — Blame Andi 8:30 p.m.
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Bears in Hazenmore
Honker’s Pub — open mic
Mocha Cabana — Herb Hicks Jazz Quartet with Sheena Lawson
Good Times — Roast Battle
January 26
KCS Pub — open mic
Slice — Songwriters showcase with Makiisma, Corduroy Brown, Chris Drew, George Arsene
Owl Acoustic Lounge — special ticketed event With Black Mastiff, Soda Pony, Biloxi Parish, FaceCut $10
Honker’s Pub — afternoon open mic
Empress Theatre — Harry Manx
Casino Lethbridge — Sean Burns
Watertower — Blame Andi 8:30 p.m.
Good Times — Charles Andrew Payne
KCs Pub — open mic

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