May means more music and psychics. There are a couple of shows to look forward to, beginning May 1 with a soldout show at the Yates Theatre with The Tea Party and Winnipeg band the Proud Sons, and Thursday, May 2 as local post punk band Body Lens kicks off their latest tour at Theoretically Brewing. It will be the last tour with guitarist Quinn Lee, who is moving to Montreal. They will be joined by Vancouver post punk band band Co-Op. The show begins at 8 p.m. There is a $10 cover.
It is Celtic punk and folk night at the Smokehouse the same night, with The RiverJacks’ Spencer Jo playing a solo show with Vancouver indie-punk Joshua Wood, formerly of Devil in the Wood Shack. Ruiner is also on the bill as is Crooked Creek Warblers. Admission is $10.
Local band the Decadent Phase celebrates Slice owner Derek Hoyle’s birthday by transforming into three bands on May 3. They will be Creedence Clearwater Revival, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and ZZ Top. The show begins at 9 p.m. Admission is $10.
For something a little mystical, there are two opportunities to consort with psychics.
The Italian Canadian Club host a dinner with Calgary psychic medium Judy. She has 40 years experience in mediumship, life coaching and tarot card reading. She is also a therapist, Reiki practitioner and hypnotherapist. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $25.
Sisters Pub hosts psychic medium and comedian Jennie Ogilvie, Saturday, May 3 from 7-9 p.m. Tickets are $40.
As usual there is a lot of comedy this week. Good Times has their amateur night, May 2 and hosts some rising stars the next day, May 3, with their up-and-comers showcase featuring Brian Dawyduik, roast battle winner Lakshjit Gill, Cole Howg and host Johnny Pogo. There are performances at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 in advance, $10 at the door.
Ken Hicks performs one show at Good Times, May 4 at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10.
YukYuks Comedy has a special Tuesday show at Average Joe’s, May 7 with Jasen Fredricksen and opening act Brent hall. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. The laughs begin at 8:30 p.m.
Average Joe’s hosts a Cinco De Mayo party on May 4 with Dos Tierras playing 8-9:30 p.m. and DJ Tizio on the decks after 10 p.m. Tickets are $25 including a buffet.
Between Skies is at the Watertower Grill, Friday and Saturday.
Local folk/ country singer songwriter Tyson Ray Borsboom will be at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Friday, May 3. He will be joined by Kevin Giron. As usual, admission is by donation.
The Owl stays in a folk vein with a tribute to Cat Stevens, Janis Joplin and James Taylor on Saturday, May 4.
But get ready to bang your head at the Slice on Saturday as local metal band Tyrants of Chaos and Saskatoon hard rock band Despite the Reverence will be shaking the walls down in support of their new CD “Plethora.”
That seems to be the case at the Slice this week as they have a big stoner rock show on Monday, May 6 with Dead Quiet, The Rainbow Patrol and Frege’s Puzzle.
If you’re in the mood for some blues, hit to road to Coaldale for The Steve Keenan Band, who play KC’s Pub, Saturday, May 4. The show begins at 8 p.m. There is no cover.
For something a lot mellower, there are a couple of classical music concerts this week as well.
Vox Musica will be at Southminster United Church, with “Here comes the Sun,” Saturday, May 4 with special guests the jamani duo Matt and Jodie Groenheide, the LCI Chamber Choir and CCH Steel Panthers. They will be performing arrangements of traditional and contemporary folk and pop songs by the Beatles and “Africa” by Toto. Tickets are $15. They concert begins at 7:30 p.m.
On Monday, May 6 the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra celebrates the seasons with special guest violinist Isabelle Robinson. They will be performing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Sibelius’ “Symphony No. 2.
The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25-$75
The fun doesn’t stop there. There are two big shows on Tuesday, May 7.
Country stars the Bellamy Brothers are playing the Yates Theatre, at 7 p.m. Howard and Dave Bellamy have been topping the country charts since the ’70s with songs like “Let Your Love Flow” and “If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body (Would You Hold It Against Me),” “Dancing Cowboys,” “Sugar Daddy,” “You Ain’t Just Whistlin’ Dixie,” “Lovers Live Longer,” “Do You Love As Good As You Look,” “Redneck Girl,” “For All The Wrong Reasons,” “I Love Her Mind,” “I Need More Of You,” “Old Hippie,” “Too Much Is Not Enough,” “Kids Of The Baby Boom,” “Reggae Cowboy” and “Crazy From The Heart.” Tickets are $65.
Also on Tuesday, the Slice has an alternative rock/punk show with J Blissette, Victoria’s Groceries and Katabat. Admission is $10.
The Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival has announced an outstanding lineup for their ninth year.
“We have all sorts of Juno Award winners and Grammy Award winners,” summarized Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival president Don Robb, adding they have collaborated with with local organizations including the Geomatic Attic, Lethbridge Folk Club and Nikka Yuko Japanese Centre
Robb is pleased with the festival’s steady growth.
“We were under the banner of the Medicine Hat Jazz Festival for two years before that and we had 800 to 1,000 people over two days. Last year we had over 5,000. So we’re pretty pleased with our growt,” Robb said, adding they are excited to be back at the Sterndale Bennett theatre.
“It was under renovation last year, so it wasn’t available to us, but we’re back this year,” he said.
The festival begins with the Young Lions concert at the Gate, Friday, June 7 at 12:45 p.m.
“It’s one of the cornerstone events of the festival. It’s called the Young Lions because the older generation of jazz musicians would say these young lions are going to take over from us and they will. So we have over a dozen bands and choirs from local schools participating,” he said.
After that, they are trying out a new venue — the City Hall foyer, where Kayley Kinjo and the Hypocrites will be playing for special collaboration with the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens.
“We’re experimenting with it as a venue. It’s wide open and music sounds great there,” Robb said.
Tickets for that show are $45 in advance, $50 at the door. Tickets for this show and all of the others are only available online at http://www.lethbridgejazzblues.com/.
The other cornerstone event is Saturday, June 8 with the free event, Jazz In the Park, which features touring acts Rondell Roberts, Montuno West, Velle Weitman and the Dirty Catfish Brass Band performing from noon to 5 p.m.
“The past couple years have been all local acts, but we’re changing things up again,” Robb said, adding local acts will be performing in several venues including the Mocha Cabana, Streetside, Telegraph and Firestone and others they are considering. The lineups are to be announced.
The Lethbridge Folk Club is co presenting a special show at Stoketown Cafe with Calgary’s Karl Roth Trio at 8 p.m.
Sweet Inspiration Gospel choir returns to the festival, at Southminster United Church, with host Dawn Pemberton Wednesday June 12 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10.
Jim Brenan breaks in the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, Thursday, June 19 at 7:30 p.m. “He’s a legendary saxophone player who has played with a who’s who of jazz musicians,” Robb said, adding he has played with luminaries like Michael Mossman, Ralph Bowen, Kenny Barron, Slide Hampton, Kenny Wheeler and Ravi Coltrane, to name a few. Tickets are $20.
The Sterndale Bennett Theatre is also the venue for Toronto-based, Grammy Award-winning musician, composer and drummer Larnell Lewis, Thursday, June 14. Tickets are $30 for the show, which begins at 7:30 p.m.
The Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival ends big Saturday, June 15 with a jazz lunch at the Owl Acoustic Lounge at 3 p.m. featuring Tricia Edwards, who plays a lot as a soloist, jazz combo and classical accompanist and who also plays with Calgary’s more popular salsa and Latin bands. Tickets are $15.
Jazz and funk band The Shuffle Demons close off the festival at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, June 15 at 7;30 p.m. Tickets are $25.
“They had a minor hit with the old Hockey Night in Canada theme,” Robb said, adding there are no festival passes.
“We’ve kept the ticket prices reasonable, so you can pick and choose which shows to go to,” he said.
Wide Skies Music Festival is completely outside this year, July 30 and 31. The Geomatic Attic’s Mike Spencer is pleased to present a lineup with a Western Canadian flair and a strong Latin flavour.
“We have a lot of western Canadian musicians this year,” Spencer said, adding Vancouver rockabilly trio Cousin Harley, Danny Michel and Harry Manx have previously played the Geomatic Attic. they are also grabbing a couple of people who are also playing the Calgary Folk Festival like Sofia Viola.
“She’s from Argentina and tours all over Central America and South America. She sings in Spanish, which is amazing,” Spencer said. Vancouver Island’s Carmanah are also on the bill.
“And we‘re still working on a local line up for the second stage,” Spencer said.
As usual they will block off 11 Street to 4 Avenue next to Southminster United Church, put up two stages, feature a beer gardens, food trucks and artisans.
“The Geomatic Attic has been putting on shows for 11 years, but three years ago in 2017, we got the opportunity to put on a show outside. People like to go to places they haven’t been before. how often do you get to sit in the middle of a road and see a concert,” he said.
Spencer stressed an important aspect of the festival is reducing the environmental footprint.
“So we’re encouraging people to walk, bike or take public transit,” he said.
There won’t be any shows in the Southminster United Church as in previous years; however, Spencer is adding a folk fest-style workshop in the church on the Tuesday, July 30 featuring Carmanah, Cousin Harley guitarist/singer Paul Pigat, Danny Michel and Sophie Viola. The church will also stand in as an alternate venue in case of rain.
Spencer said he also tried to get Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer who were rained out last year.
“But the dates weren’t available. They’re also playing Calgary Folk Fest, but they were only available on Monday,” he said, adding he will continue trying to get them back.
“We’re also working with the Allied Arts Council and with other venues for pop-up events,” he said.
Spencer is excited to work with the Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival, though it is more of a collaboration for media events.
“A lot of our acts fit right in the Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival,” he said, noting they share a common goal of showing there is a lot of interesting cultural things happening in Lethbridge.
Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival president Don Robb noted they have worked with the Geomatic Attic to present shows previously.
“We’re excited to work with them again. There is a certain amount of cross pollination,” he said.
Noisy at the Slice
Things got loud at the Slice, Wednesday, April 24.
A decent Wednesday night crowd was on hand for The Rainbow Patrol and Vancouver bands Heron and Bort. local band Monolith wasn’t able to make it.
Heron borrowed Bort’s drum kit and amp stack. There was narry a bassist in sight as the two guitarists, including one of them playing a seven-string, laid down super-heavy, gloomy, Black Sabbathy, sludgy, massively detuned depressing riffs that could only come out of a depressing, endless rainy winter of their Vancouver home.
The vocalist howled and growled his death metal best, punctuating it with the occasional blood-curdling shriek. He thanked the audience of approximately 30 for “coming out on a Wednesday to hear bands you’ve never heard of before,” before the band crashed into a song abut “the vastness of the universe and meaninglessness of life.” In addition to punishing riffs, they enhanced their set with sound effects of car crashes and news clips.
I was there to see Bort, who I’d been playing on my radio show.
They had a more acce ssible, ’70s-style heavy rock sound along the lines of Grand Funk Railroad and Foghat, with more modern influences like Monster Truck and Truckfighter, whose shirt the lead singer was sporting.
They were a little more upbeat than Heron and even had a couple tasteful guitar solos to go along with the big riffs.
As a bonus, they even turned Tears For Fears’ ’80s pop classic “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” into a sludgy stoner rock anthem.
They played behind a double stack of 4×20 cabinets, which were probably unnecessary for a room the size of the Slice, but surprisingly reined in the volume a little bit through their solid set.
There is something familiar and comforting about the unabashed weirdness that is Hamilton funnyman B.A. Johnston, who made his semi-annual return to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Tuesday, April 23.
He was, as he usually is, consistently entertaining. He cracked jokes about Medicine Hat, jumping off chairs, wandering into the audience and feeding them their own drinks, wandering behind the bar as laughing fans leaped over his microphone cord to feed bartender Brae a bottle of something pink, rolled around the floor like a deranged leprechaun, and, as usual, stripped off layers of identical “What Are you looking At Dickhead?” shirts.
He scampered around the stage, poking at a Discman, two keyboards and a trashed acoustic guitar to play the usual array of crowd favourites and sing alongs like “Deep Fryer in My Bedroom,” “How Many T-Bone Steaks Can I Fit in My Pants: Can’t Stop Stealing From Work,” “Jesus Lives In Hamilton,” and “GST Cheques,” for which he had the crowd shouting along, “Gimmie Some Treats.” He also played a song about a bad cat sitter and the always popular “Drive Through Beef,” about getting unwanted mayo on his fast food.
He played several songs from his last CD “Gremlins 3,” including “IKEA” and “Too Messed up To be in This Canoe,” but didn’t play my new favourite, “A Day Off is a Day off.” He did wander outside the side door though.
But he played a couple from his brand new CD “The Skid is Hot Tonight” including instant crowd favourite “We’re All Going to Jail (Except For Pete, he’s Gonna Die), and “Jesus Take Tttthe Wheel,” about driving to Medicine Hat on black ice.
But he quickly returned to classics like “My Roommate is a Couche Tard” and plugged his new Bell Vibe TV show about Hamilton called “Ham Jam.”
He even played a birthday request of “The Squirrel Song,” and followed up with “The Best Day Ever McDonald’s Coupon Day.”
As usual, he ended up playing his last, last encore in the bathroom, “I Want to Drink in a Bar Surrounded by Aliens.”
A two-piece J Blissette featuring Jackson Tiefenbach wielding a Gibson Flying V and drummer Matthew Rederberg opened the show with a solid set of punk related music.
Snake River/Shirley and the Pyramids at the Owl
I missed a lot of the Owl Acoustic Lounge’s 4-20 party, but caught the end of Snake River’s set, Saturday, April 20. They had expanded their ranks including adding a violinist since I last saw them and she was in the middle of a big jam with a 12-string guitarist, which ended their set.
Saskatoon’s Shirley and the Pyramids played a loud set of heavily distorted and layered guitar with just a touch of Stratocaster twang.
They sounded like a heavier Dandy Warhols-style indie rock, which pretty much drowned out their lead singer.
The ’80s returned in force to Club Lime, Friday, April 19, with two excellent tribute bands dressed in their glam rock best and playing the hits.
It’s always a lot of fun when a tribute band dresses the part
Calgary-based Motley Crüe tribute Live Wire, featuring drummer Steve Jacobson dressed as Tommy Lee, vocalist/guitarist Eric Paulin dressed as frontman Vince Neil, guitarist Bryan Berger as Mick Mars, and bassist Shawn Tiedemann dressed as Nikki Sixx.
They wore full spandex, makeup and ’80s-style wigs and even their instruments looked like Motley Crüe’s. Tiedemann was playing a B.C. Rich Warlock bass.
The night was full of Crüe’s hits popular like “Dr. Feelgood,” which they were playing as I arrived.
And you couldn’t have an ’80s show without a big drum solo, so there was one of those as well.
They invited some of their female fans on stage to dance to “Girls, Girls, Girls.”
They tried to get the crowd to call and respond to “Ten Seconds To Love,” and they eventually did, when they realized what kine they were supposed to sing.
“Smokin’ In the Boys Room was a highlight. They wound down with a tender version of “Home Sweet Home,” featuring Tiedmann playing the intro keyboard riff and kicked things up a notch again with “Kickstart My Heart.” They were definitely a Motley Crüe experience and brought the audience back to a more ’80s frame of mind.
Stage Fright did the same for Def. Leppard fans, though I only caught a few songs.
They dressed like ’80s Def Leppard and payed a lot of hits, starting with “Rock! Rock! Till You Drop.”
Chevelles bassist Kitty Chevelle a.k.a. Dave Chomiak nailed Def Leppard vocalist Joe Elliott’s vocals and was able to strut around the stage like he was playing a stadium instead of Club Lime as Tyrants of Chaos bassist Paul Denton was handling bass duties.
They had the look down, with a massive Union Jack covering the drum kit before their set began and massive Stage Fright banners hanging behind the stage.
In between sets, Shawn Tiedemann switched from bass to guitar and dressed in what looked like a colonel’s uniform with bright red ascot, the other guitarist pretty much nailed the Def Leppard guitar solos. They also nailed Leppard’s gang vocals.
I left for other shows during “Woman.”
Shiverettes Wares at the Owl Acoustic Lounge
FLIPFest held a big show for a packed house at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Friday, April 19.
I caught the end of Wares’ intense set of noisy alternative rock. Their lead singer reminded me of The Pack A.D.’s Becky Black in both appearance and voice.
The Calgary feminist punk band tore the roof of the Owl with a lot of high-energy punk music, mostly from their brand new CD, “Real Shrill Bitches,” referencing that, the three primary musicians, Haley Muir, Kaely Cormack and Cecilia Schlemm, sported custom “bitch” T-shirts, with Haley wearing a “Loud Bitch” shirt, Kaely wearing a “Shrill bitch” shirt and Cecilia wearing a “Hard Bitch” shirt. Drummer Steve Richter didn’t get a custom shirt and just held down a thunderous beat.
They played a really tight, energetic set, with Muir singing most of the lead vocals, but Kaely Cormack sang a couple of the highlights including “Abort.”
Her ferocious guitar attack on “Bumblebee” was a highlight of the show as Muir howled the chorus “Are you listening?”
They had a solid attack reminding me of ’90s feminist punk bands like L7, and played a rock solid set on the poorly lit stage, which had plenty of people listening and dancing.
They wound things down with a couple of high notes “Scorpio” and a newer song “Trust.”
Makiisma and Ace of Wands at the Slice
The Slice also had a big, show, but not quite as many people. I missed J Blissette and the Orchard and caught a few songs from Makiisma featuring TJ Waltho on keyboards, Keenan Pezderic on drums and Steve Martin on bass. Megan Brown, plucking her electric guitar, started of slowly with a jazz-tinged alternative rock number and announced they were recording a new album later this year.
Toronto’s Ace of Wands didn’t get on stage until close to midnight for approximately 20 people, but were well worth the wait, if only to see multi-tasking lead singer Lee Rose stomping on bass pedals, strumming guitar and plucking a bass guitar for the past couple more punk-flavoured songs. But she impressively simultaneously sang and played violin near the end of their show.
The trio, also including guitarist Anna Mernieks and drummer Jody Brumell played a hauntingly beautiful set of indie rock, pop and alternative rock, mostly from their “Lioness” CD.
The title track stood out in an intense and tight set, which reminded my of Colleen Brown and Major love, thanks to lee‘s vocals.
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
Honker’s Pub — open mic
Owl Acoustic lounge — Tyson Ray Borsboom with Kevin Giron
Watertower Grill — Between Skies
Good Times — Up and Comers Comedy Showcase 7 p.m., 9 :30 p.m. $5 advancem $10 at door
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Tribute to Cat Stevens, Janis Joplin and James Taylor
The Slice — Despite the Reverence with Tyrants of Chaos
Sisters Pub — Jennie Ogilive comedian Medium $40 7-9 p.m.
Honker’s Pub — afternoon open mic
Average Joes — Cinco De Mayo with Dos Tierras and DJ Tizio$25 7p.m.
Watertower Grill — Between Skies
Southminster United Church — Vox musica with LCI Choir CCH Steel panther Band
KC’s PUb — Steve Keenan band
Italian Canadian Club — Dinner with Psychic Medium Judy $25
Slice — Dead Quiet with Rainbow Patrol and Frege’s Puzzle
Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra Four Seasons
Owl Acoustic lounge — Open Mic
Yates Theatre — Bellamy Brothers
Slice — Groceries Katabat,J Blissette
Average Joe’s — Yuk Yuks Comedy with Jasen Fredricksen and Brent Hall $15 advance $20 at door 8:30 p.m.
Beaches — open mic
Southminster United Church — Diane Lines’ Jump $12 7 p.m.
Average Joe’s — Odin and Evolution Firestarter tour with L.A. McGhie. Craigles O’Grady, Crisko , Kropp Hopper $10 8:30 p.m.
Slice — open Mic
Good Times — Amateur Comedy night
Watertower Grill — Jolene Draper and the Inquisitive Few
Smokehouse — Dead Army
The Slice — Cody Hall band 8:30 p.m.$10