April has just flown by. And as usual, at the end of the month, there is comedy.
The Owl Acoustic Lounge hosts its monthly standup comedy open mic, Wednesday, April 24, beginning at 9 p.m. Good Times features their regular amateur comedy night on Thursday, April 26. Good Times welcomes Bronx-based, Dominican comic Vlad Caamano for a special show on April 26 beginning at 7 p.m. He has performed at Just For laughs, was part of the CW Comedy Gala with Howie Mandel and is working on a pilot for a new TV show with “Undateable” writer Adam Styzikiel. He has also been named on of the top 10 comics to watch by Variety magazine in 2016. He has also played roles on “Brooklyn 99,” “Superstore” and “Marvel’s Runaways.” Tickets are $25.
Comedy veteran Lori Ferguson performs two shows at Good Times, at 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Saturday, April 27. Tickets are $10. Good Times even has a Monday show with comedian and magician Wes Barker, performing at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 for that show.
And Club Didi features Drunk Improv, Friday, April 26 as well beginning at 8:30 p.m. There is $10 cover.
The Owl Acoustic Lounge welcomes local poets with a poetry open mic on April 25 with host Teri Petz.
Down the street at the Slice, bang your head desert rock style with the Decibel Worship tour featuring Vancouver atmospheric sludge band Heron, fellow Vancouver desert rock band Bort, plus Lethbridge’s own Monolith and Rainbow Patrol. The music begins at 9 p.m. There is a $10 cover charge.
Stoner rock seems to be the order of the week as Vancouver islands Wise Youngblood share the stage with Red Deer’s King Bull on Friday, April 26.
Down the street, Blazed Gringo and the Man return to the Owl Acoustic Lounge with a touch of jazz, plus Eat your Vegetables. Admission is by donation.
Local jazz trio HBO3 featuring Paul Holden, Brad Brouwer and James Oldenburg will be at the Watertower Grill, Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27.
Get your dose of the blues at Casino Lethbridge with Zojo Black, Friday and Saturday, April 26 and 27.
And delta blues fans or just fans of fleet fingered guitar picking should not miss Forget, Saskatchewan-based bluesman Ken Hamm’s long-awaited return to Lethbridge in support of his equally long awaited new CD Mokoman, which he released last year. He plays a Lethbridge Folk Club show at the Lethbridge College Cave, Saturday, April 27 at 8 p.m. sharp with the Karen Romanchuk 3 opening the show. Tickets are $30.
There is a lot of blues happening this week, as competing with that, Papa King Cole and the Boogiemen return to the Slice, April 27. King will be joined by lead guitarist Steve Keenan and keyboardist T.J Waltho, and will be playing all the blues you can use. Down the road from that show, Galiano Island country/blues musician Jack Garton and the Demon Squadron will be playing the Owl Acoustic lounge. They will be joined by The Dark Wrangler aka Don Cassell and Dil Jopp from in Cahoots.
Kelly Klimchuk hosts Honker’s Pub’s April 26 open mic. Aaron Landry hosts Honker’s Pub’s afternoon open mic on Saturday, April 27.
For something slightly different, Club Didi features Our Homo Highness: a tribute to Lady Gaga, April 27 at 8;30 p.m. There is a $10 cover for that.
Saskatchewan-based delta bluesman Ken Hamm is never in a hurry to put out new material.
He released his latest CD. “Mokoman,” in 2018. Before that his last release was a double CD set in 2006 called “Live in 05.” So he is excited to return to the Lethbridge College Cave to play for the Lethbridge Folk Club, Saturday, April 27.
“I have a lot of die-hard fans there who have been listening to me for 40 years and I hate to let them down,” said Hamm, from Forget, Sask., which he has called home for the past 15 years and where he has been keeping busy chopping wood and enjoying the thriving music community.
“There’s only 40 people here and there are five bands who play a lot,” he said.
He is excited to finally have a new CD out, which includes old blues, folk, classical music and even gospel, which he was excited to record in the comfort of his own home.
“I have a friend, Tom Richards, who has a small computer studio. So we meet every Sunday to work on songs. We started working on several of his songs, which I hope to have on the next album and then we started recording my songs,” Hamm said, adding he enjoyed the no pressure circumstances.
“It was very liberating. Usually when you’re renting a studio, you have 20 songs. But we started doing this for fun,” he said, adding he plays most of the instruments himself.
“That’s me playing guitar, banjo, dobro, foot stomps, hand claps.”
“Really this whole CD was an experiment to see what it would be like to record at home,” he said, adding it has drawn a really positive response from fans and critics, though he didn’t really do a lot of promo on it.
The title track, “Mokoman,” was written by his neighbour.
“She wrote a poem about Mokoman, which is a little town in Ontario where my grandparents settled. She’s from there, so I put music to her poem. I’ve been playing it a lot. I even played it at her wedding because she got married since I wrote it,” he said.
Hamm has been playing a lot of festivals and house concerts from everywhere from Kakabeka Falls, Ontario to Horsefly, B.C. since He was last in Lethbridge in 2015.
“It’s been a while. But I’ve been playing a lot. And I have the new CD out which most people haven’t heard since I was last there, so I’m excited to play it for people. I just finished a Home Routes house concert series,” he said, adding he is playing a lot of smaller towns and venues.
Hamm did a lot of digging for the songs, putting his own stamp on on classic blues and folk music, and even added a beautiful version of the classical music piece “Jesu Joy on Man’s Desire.”
“Pete Seeger recorded a version of that on banjo in the ’60s, but I discovered that later. Leo Kottke recorded a version of it on guitar in the 1970s (1977), so I was really inspired by that,” he said.
“A lot of people have recorded ‘High Flying Bird,’ which was written by Billy Edd Wheeler, like Jefferson Airplane and Richie Havens,” he observed.
“And I really love the instrumental ‘Anji,’ which was written by Davy Graham (in 1961). Paul Simon has a version of that, too. I also really like ‘Icky Icky Fly Thing,’ which I recorded with Karrnell Sawitsky. He’s a great fiddle player. He plays with a lot of bands in Saskatchewan including Fretless, which is an amazing group with two violins, a cello and a viola,” he said.
“‘You Ain’t Hurrying Me’ was written by an a aapella group from the Bahamas (The Dicey Doh Singers in 1997), that I found on a compilation of music from the Bahamas. So I tracked him down to see if it would be OK if I recorded it, and it turns out he lives in Toronto,” Hamm chuckled, adding he plans on playing most of the new CD for Lethbridge.
“I can play about 80 per cent of it. Though there are a lot of overdubs, that I can’t play live,” he said, adding he will be playing solo in Lethbridge.
“I have three shows in a row there, including Nanton and Cranbrook,” Hamm said.
Ken Hamm plays the Lethbridge College Cave for the Lethbridge Folk Club Saturday, April 27 at 8 p.m. The Karen Romanchuk 3 open the show. Tickets are $25 for members, $30 for non-members.
Winnipeg alt country band Proud Sons are, well, proud to have been asked to spend a couple months touring with ’90s alt rockers the Tea Party including playing a sold out show, May 1 at the Yates Theatre.
“Actually in another interview, someone asked us what our favourite show we played was and that opening for the Tea Party in Winnipeg at the Burton Cummings Theatre. So we put it on Instagram and one of the band members wrote and said hey, why don’t you tour with us and the rest is history said guitarist/vocalist Ryan McConnell, noting they are also both on the same record label, Coalition Music.
They began the tour on March 17 and wind down the first half of the tour in Lethbridge.
“Then we go back to Winnipeg for five days to get some sleep and go out again for the second half out to Vancouver and down to Los Angeles,” he said, adding the tour ends on May 17, after which the Proud Sons have a few music festivals planned.
“We’ve been playing a lot of sold out or close to soldout shows. And even though our music is a lot different than the Tea Party’s music, people really seem to like it,” he said.
The band formed in 2012 after two different bands blended, after discovering mutual affinity for vocal harmonies.
“It’s something we sort of stumbled upon,” he said. “We were all doing our own things. I was a singer/songwriter. Me and Jason (Stanley, guitarist vocalist were in one band and the brothers, (bassist/vocalist Jesse Meyer and Lead guitarist/vocalist Kyle Meyer) were in another. (Drummer Jay Mymryk rounds out the line up). So when we formed, we all decided to sing. We‘ve always liked the Eagles,” he said.
“We have a more consistent sound now, which we didn’t have before.”
He said the band was a little nervous to open for the Tea Party.
“There’s always nerves whenever you get on stage. But especially when we’re playing for soldout crowds of 2,000,” he said, adding they were a little nervous at first, but soon got used to it.
They have enjoyed getting to hang out with the Tea Party.
“They’re great guys and they’ve been super gracious to us,” he said.
“They have their own tour bus that often leaves right after the show. And we‘ve got our old tour van. But we’ve been able to have a few beers with them before the shows,” he said.
“Which is cool because we’ve been listening to them since we were eight years old,” he said, adding they are playing a half hour set.
“So we’re playing the EP and some brand new songs and a few covers. We love the Beatles’ ‘Don’t Let Me Down,’” he said, adding they have never played Lethbridge before.
“That’s about perfect for us. We‘re just getting warmed up by then,” he said.
It‘s been a few years since I saw Edmonton musician Billie Zizi; probably the last time I saw her was playing a mellow set at the South Country Fair in 2016. It was a pretty mellow set on acoustic guitar with her dad Cam Neufeld on fiddle. But she picked up an electric guitar, plugged in and turned up at the Slice, Thursday, April 18 with her band, bassist Ryan Funk and drummer Jesse Miller for a good-sized Wednesday night crowd.
They played an eclectic set of mostly original music ranging from smooth jazz to alternative rock and groovy experimental music, all of it featuring a lot of solid, tasteful guitar playing from Billie Zizi and her Telecaster.
Her high-pitched, wavering vocals reminded me of fellow Edmontonian Colleen Brown and Major Love. Drummer Jesse Miller adding background harmonies on a couple of songs as Funk added a few, too, on other tunes.
In addition to upbeat originals, she also put her own stamp on covers of “Angel From Montgomery” and The Zutons/Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie.” Then bassist Ryan Funk announced “Let’s get weird” before launching into a funky, bass-powered jazz rock jam before turning over the stage for The Slice’s regular Thursday night jam.
Jolene Draper and the Inquisitive Few returned to the Watertower Grill, Friday, April 12 in a ’50s and ’60s rock and roll mood.
They played several jazz-tinged originals and an array of covers including rock and roll classics like “Oh Boy,” a solid version if Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock,” and ’90s rock including the Spin Doctors’ “Three Princes.”
A new original, “Should Have Been,” was a highlight of the second set.
They played a disco-flavoured number and wound up the set with Jefferson Airplanes’ “White Rabbit.”
They stayed in the psychedelic rock vein for their third set with a cover of Shocking Blue’s “Venus,” popularized in the ’80s by Bananarama.
Charlie Jacobson at the Slice
Red Deer-based one man band and bluesman Charlie Jacobson had a decent crowd at the Slice, Friday, April 12.
He was in the middle of a spirited version of John Lee Hooker’s classic “Boom, Boom, Boom,” accompanying himself on a bass drum and cymbal, keeping a steady beat as he played and danced in place. He followed that up with Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Cold Shot.”
It was one of several blues and rock and roll classics plus modern blues tunes he played including a stunning version of Albert King’s The Hunter, and an outstanding version of Gary Clark Jr.’s blues groove “When My Train Pulls In.”
Slice — Decibel Worship Tour with Heron, Bort, Monolith, Rainbow Patrol $10
Beaches — Open Mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Standup Comedy Open mic
Slice — open Mic
Good Times — Comedy Open mic
Zoo — Thursday Thursdays open mic
Owl Acoustic lounge — Open mic poetry with Teri Petz
Slice — Wise Youngblood with King Bull
Good Times — Vlad Caamano 7 p.m. $25
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Blazed Gringo and the Man, Eat Your Vegetables
Club Didi — Drunk Improv
Casino Lethbridge — Zojo Black
Honker’s Pub — open mic with Kelly Klimchuk
Slice — Papa King Blues and the Boogiemen with T.J Waltho and Steve Keenan 9:30 p.m. $10
Lethbridge College Cave — Lethbridge Folk Club presents Ken Hamm 8 p.m. Owl Acoustic lounge— Jack Garton and the Demon Squadron, The Dark Wrangler Don Cassell and Dil Jopp
Club Didi — Our Homo Highness Lady Gaga
Casino Lethbridge — Zojo Black
Honker’s Pub — afternoon open mic with Aaron Landry
Good Times — Lori Ferguson
Owl Acoustic Lounge — open mic
Onion — open mic
Good Times — Wes Barker 7 p.m. $20
Yates Theatre — the Tea Party 8 p.m. $49
Beaches — Open mic
Theoretically Brewing — Body Lens with Co Op 8 p.m. $10
Smokehouse — Spencer Jo, Joshua Wood, Crooked Creek Warblers 9 p.m.$10
Slice — open mic
Good Times — Amateur Night stand up comedy open mic