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Entertainment for all tastes on local schedule

Posted on February 28, 2019 by Richard Amery

This week is a veritable cornucopia of live entertainment for all tastes. There is a heap of classical music, dance, plenty of live comedy, hard rock, alternative rock, blues, jazz, pop and even bull riding.
But start the week off with laughter. The Owl Acoustic Lounge has its monthly comedy open mic on Wednesday, Feb. 27. They also have the monthly poetry open mic Feb. 28 with host Teri Petz.
Good Times has its amateur night on Thursday as usual. And Yuk Yuks Comedy returns to Average Joes on Friday with Todd Ness and Matt Foster beginning at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 on the day of the show.
A new jazz duo, Shallow Lilac, featuring Keenan Pezderic and keyboardist TJ Waltho, will be crooning some jazz music at the Watertower Lounge, March 1 and 2 at 8 p.m. Up the road in Fort Macleod, local singer songwriter Dave McCann plays the Empress Theatre,March 1, with Peterborough duo the Mayhemingways beginning at 7:30 p.m. . Tickets are $25.
Back in town, though it isn’t music related, PBR bull riding takes over the Enmax Centre, March 1 and 2.
For something completely different, the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra Extras Series 3 features Cello Adventures, taking place at Casa, March 1 and March 2. The orchestra’s cello section Cellissimo and vocalist Anna McBryan will be the featured performers. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25.
The March 2 show is competing with Vox Musica, which presents “Divine Music,” featuring Vox Musica plus prize-winning organist Neil Cockburn performing religious-themed music at Southminster United Church at 7:30 p.m. Selections include the “Lord’s Prayer” and the hymn “Jerusalem” as heard in the film “Chariots of Fire.” Tickets are $35.
It will be busy across the street as Pretty, Witty and Gay winds up with the cabaret in the Sterndale Bennett Theatre featuring an array of drag, burlesque and other alternative performers.
Some of the highlights include Didi d’Edada, Sophie Wright, The Desert Wind Belly Dancers, Carisa Morden, Deonie Hudson, Jake Rose and Madeline Smith, Bente Hansen and lots more. Tickets are $30 for the show, which begins at 8 p.m. Right next door in the Yates Theatre, Ammena Dance Company brings Explosion of World Dance and Music back March 2 for their 15th anniversary. The show will feature dance and music styles from around the world. The show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $31 for adults, $26 for children.
Also with a world music feel, The Geomatic Attic and Southern Alberta Community Living Association presents their fourth annual Community Cabaret at the Italian Canadian Cultural Centre with the Polkaholics, Jigging with Roy and Hippodrome to get you dancing beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20.
The Slice has a big rock show/art opening on Friday, March 1 featuring performances by Rainbow Patrol, Fawns and Winnipeg producer Roman Clarke, who has worked with Joey Landreth and Murray Pulver, and new artwork from Becca Arjoon and Melissa Fry.
The Slice has another big rock show March 2 with Red Deer rock band King Bull, formerly known as Sweetgrass, local blues rock trio Taylor Ackerman’s Global Acid Rest and local progressive rock trio Frege’s Puzzle.
The Owl Acoustic Lounge is also hopping on the weekend with a big alternative rock show on March 1 with J Blisette, Medicine Hat’s Old Youth and Calgary psycho garage funk band ;P performing beginning at 9 p.m.
Things don’t stop on Saturday, as the Metrik Jazztet performs a matinee show at 3 p.m. March 2. Later that night there is another big local rock show with Biloxi Parish, Hoverkraft and Bert McLure performing March 2 at 8 p.m. Admission is by donation. They even have a great country/roots show on Tuesday, March 5 as Calgary’s Mariel Buckley band will be performing the second show on their “Rhinestones in the Rough” tour in support of their sophomore CD “Driving In The Dark.” The show begins at 9 p.m. Admission is by donation.
Over at Casino Lethbridge, central Alberta country/rock band the Rojos will be playing Friday and Saturday.
Irish Descendants at Average Joe’s
Due to being on stage in Playgoers of Lethbridge’s production of “Where’s Oscar?” on Thursday, Feb. 21, I was only able to catch the last couple of songs from Newfoundland’s Irish Descendants, who brought a kitchen party to Average Joe’s.
The quartet, though they always seem to have a different lineup every time I see them, played a heap of high-energy, familiar Celtic favourites, punctuated by cries of “Sociable!” from frontman Con O’Brien. I arrived in the middle of the always entertaining “Fisherman’s Blues.” The band, fiddle player Patrick Moran, bassist Justin Hickey and bouzouki player Ronnie Power, were all excellent instrumentalists and superb singers, adding multi-part background harmonies.
I enjoyed “I Used to Love Her Once Before,” and they ended the early-starting show with Celtic classic “Rattlin’ Bog,” which gave the instrumentals a workout as it sped up every verse while frontman O’Brien noted they had a show the next night “a short spell up the road in Grande Prairie.”
Of course, they were called back for an encore, with Moran singing the always wonderfully witty “I Had But 50 Cents,” ending the night at 10 p.m.
It is always fun to see Uncovered, though I only caught their last set of the weekend, Saturday, Feb. 16 at Casino Lethbridge.
The local ’90s country band have expanded their repertoire with the addition of vocalist Alison Hawkins, who sang the first part of the set I caught which included a cool acoustic Cover of The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside.”
Juno sang a solid cover of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” from behind his drum.
Hawkins took over again for “Unbelievable.”
Karen Romanchuk at the Watertower
I haven’t seen local folk musician Karen Romanchuk for a while, so made a point of catching some of her show at the new Watertower Grill, Saturday, Feb. 16, where she was performing the whole weekend. I missed the crowds at both Saturday shows I caught, so got a good seat to watch Romanchuk, her husband Darwin on box drum and keyboardist/accordionist Bruce MacKay work through a variety of folk, rock and country covers including Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold,” a heart tugging version of Ian Tyson’s “Four Strong Winds” and a couple originals including “I Can.”
MacKay broke out the accordion for a laidback cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” and a John Prine cover “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness.” A highlight was a new original, “All Fall Down.”
Fawns at the Owl
Local electro-pop performer VandenDool kicked off a mini tour at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Friday, Feb. 15 for a full house. While I missed his set I caught the end of a solid set from Fawns.
I only caught the last three songs from Fawns, featuring the powerhouse vocals of Mercedes Fawns and guitar chops of Richard Charlton, backed by a super tight band.
Derina Harvey Band
Nothing heats ups a chilly winter night than hot and heavy Celtic music.
So, as expected, the Slice was packed on Friday, Feb. 15 for Edmonton-based Celtic rockers the Derina Harvey Band. I caught the end of their first set and all of their second.
The show was in full swing before they took a break. They had the crowd moving to a variety of Celtic jigs and reels powered by hot fiddle player Jessica Blenis, whose fingers must have been on fire after the show, even after the first set as I arrived in the middle of a blazing set-ending fiddle solo. Lead singer Derina Harvey was an affable and personable presence chatting with the audience in between belting out high-energy Celtic anthems like “The Night Old Pat Murphy Died” and a new up-tempo original, “Up All Night.” They played a few favourites from their previous two CDs including “Islander,” which opened set two, and “Rove and Go,” which came a little bit later. And it is always a good day when a band absolutely slays Celtic rock classic and sing-along “Heave Away,” as the Derina Harvey Band did. They showed off their vocal harmonies on a cover of Stan Rogers’ “Barrett’s Privateers.”
Ditto for a wicked cover of the Arrogant Worms’ “Last Saskatchewan Pirate,” which, had the audience singing along in their best pirate impersonations.
They slowed things down a little for “Fisherman’s Blues.”
Rockers Gone Country
New West Theatre’s “surprise ” production of Rocker’s Gone Country closed a successful run last week. It was a surprise because they usually save their big music-comedy revues for summer.
Rockers Gone Country is as entertaining as you’d expect, so I was glad to catch the show on Friday, Feb. 15, especially as a country band I was in used to play a couple songs that New West covered in the show, particularly Shania Twain’s “Rock This Country” which opened the show. True to the title, the show is all about the rock side of country music, particularly ’90s country.
It continued strong with Rylan Kunkel’s excellent rendition of Alan Jackson’s “Gone Country.”
There aren’t as many group numbers in this show, but there are a lot of numbers featuring one or two cast members backed by a couple of others.
There is also a lot of comedy, some of it pretty inspired, particularly a bit featuring Devon Brayne talking to Erica Hunt about how much has changed since he’s been away as Hunt explains to him how many bars and clubs have either moved or changed ownership and/or names.
It is great to see Brayne back with New West. He returned last year as Johnny Cash in their production of “Million Dollar Quartet.” Brayne brought his Cash back for a show-stealing solo acoustic performance of Cash’s cover of “Hurt.” His bartender steals the show for some of the best comedy bits, and one of the few where the cast go full on hillbilly. The rest of the humour is pretty straight forward with no accents. Though Erica Hunt’s old woman goes before a judge. Hunt and Scott Carpenter’s Lethbridge News Break was pretty popular with the crowd Friday, Feb. 15 as well.
The band is solid as well with Scott Mezei on guitar, bassist Greg Paskuski playing more guitar than usual, Bente Hansen covering most of the bass on her keyboards and drummer Theo Lysyk. Mezei and Paskuski took centre stage with acoustic guitars to accompany Hunt and Kathy Zaborsky singing Fleetwood Mac/The Dixie Chicks’ “Landslide.”
Zaborsky appeared in the background adding extra keyboards. Kyle Gruninger and Brayne added extra guitar on a couple of numbers as well. Gruninger led the band on an excellent rendition of Jon Bon Jovi’s “Blaze of Glory.”
More guitars is all the better on the guys’ (Gruninger, Brayne, Kunkel and Carpenter) rendition of the Allman Brothers Band’s “Ramblin’ Man.”
They had a lot of fun by breaking out individual mullet wigs for Billy Ray Cyrus’s “Achy Breaking Heart,” which ends with Carpenter bowing and tipping his mullet to the crowd.
The girls (Hunt, co-music director Zaborsky and newcomer Bryanna Rae) shone on the apt Martina McBride song “This One’s for The Girls.”
Zaborsky performed a beautiful version of Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance.” They ended the first set with Gruninger leading the troupe on Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long,” with Mezei playing the Lynyrd Skynyrd “Sweet Home Alabama” sample and Hansen adding the Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” sample of the song.
The cast kicked off the second set on a hauntingly beautiful a cappella version of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth.”
They ended with a rousing version of Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5.”
Feb. 27
Beaches — open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — standup comedy open mic
Feb. 28
Good Times — Comedy open mic
Slice — open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — poetry open mic with Terri Petz
The Zoo — Thursday Thursdays open mic
March 1
Enmax Centre — PBR Challenge
Empress Theatre — Dave McCann Westbound til Light CD release with the Mayhemingways
Average Joe’s — Yuk Yuks Comedy with Todd Ness
Slice — Art Showcase with Rainbow Patrol, Rooman Clarke, Becca Arjoon, Fawns
Owl Acoustic Lounge — J BLissette Tour Kickoff with Old Youth a;P
Casa — Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra Extras B Cello Adventures
Southminster United Church — Vox Musica features pianist Neil Cockburn
Casino Lethbridge — The Rojos
March 2
Yates Memorial Centre — An Explosion of World Dance 7 p.m. Adults $31, Children $26
Streatside Eatery — James Oldenburg and Paul Holden
Sterndale Bennett Theatre — Pretty Witty and Gay Cabaret 8 p.m.$30
Enmax Centre — PBR Challenge
Owl Acoustic Lounge — in afternoon Metrix Jazztet
Biloxi parish, Hoverkraft, Bert McClure
Italian Canadian Centre — Geomatic Attic Community Cabaret with Hippodrome
Casino Lethbridge — The Rojos
Watertower Lounge — Shallow Lilac
Slice — King Bull, Taylor Ackerman’s Global Acid Rest, Frege’s Puzzle.
March 4
Owl Acoustic Lounge — open mic
March 5
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Mariel Buckley band
March 6
Beaches — open mic
Slice — Idaho Joe and the mountain men
March 7
Slice — open Mic
Good Times — Comedy Open mic
Zoo — Thursday Thursdays open mic
March 8
Sterndale Bennett Theatre — Dance as Art Common Thread 7:30 p.m. $20
Honker’s Pub — open mic
Slice — Kara Grainger Blues Band and guests
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Richard Inman with George Arsene
Casino Lethbridge — Ryan Lindsay
Good Times — Ben Price Magic
March 9
Yates Theatre — Snowed in Comedy Tour $45 adults, $35 seniors $25 students With Dan Quinn Paul Myrehaug, Pete Zedlacher, Domonde Tschritter
Sterndale Bennett Theatre — Dance as Art Common Thread 7:30 p.m. $20
Slice — The Galacticas with Sessions and Youngbloods $10 9 p.m.
College Drive Church — Lethbridge Community band
Honker’s Pub — afternoon open mic
Casino Lethbridge — Ryan Lindsay

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