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Lots of great music to usher in summer

Posted on July 3, 2019 by Richard Amery

There has been a lot going on in the past couple of weeks. So this week, ease into the summer season with a couple of special shows.
The fun begins right after Canada Day as Toronto-based synth pop band Zinnia aka Rachel Cardiello shares the Slice stage with local alternative rock trio Mombod July 3.
CKXU is celebrating its 15th year on the FM dial at 88.3 FM by hosting monthly parties at Theoretically Brewing.
This month’s summer session is July 5 featuring local alternative rock dup Birch Barks, Ryan Phillips and Marigold. The music begins at 8 p.m. There is a $10 cover.
There are several wicked shows on Friday, June 5. Local funk rock trio Adequate hold court at Casino Lethbridge, Friday and Saturday night. Just down the road, the Eric Braun band will be playing the blues at the Watertower Grill for the weekend as well. Soulfest in Twin Butte will likely draw most of Lethbridge’s music community away for the weekend.
Calgary-based klezmer/folk/rock band The Plaid Tongued Devils make a long-awaited return to the Slice, July 5. They are en route to Soulfest in Twin Butte, where they will be playing on Saturday night. The Plaid Tounged Devils will be sharing the Twin Butte Store stage with Heather Blush’s Rattle and Strum Children’s show, Winnipeg country musician Sean Burns, the Kyle Owen Band, Heather Blush and the Uppercuts, Peter and the Wolves and Boots and the Hoots.
Soulfest opens on Friday with Cam Penner and Jon Wood, Carolyn Mark and Kitty and the Rooster. Tickets for the weekend are $85 or $40 for just Friday night.
If you are staying in town for the weekend, there are tough choices downtown.
While the Plaid Tongued Devils perform at the Slice on Friday, down the street, Vancouver folk/roots/gypsy collective the Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra return to Lethbridge to play the Owl Acoustic Lounge for a special ticketed event the same night. Tickets are $10.
Jonny Bean on the north side is starting to host shows. Folk/pop musician Adrian Chalifour of Towers and Trees and who appeared on TV show “The Launch” on March 6, hits the stage, Friday, July 5 at 7 p.m.
On Saturday, July 6, The Owl Acoustic Lounge hosts local favourite indie rock band the Silkstones, performing as a trio this time, and Webb. Admission is by donation.
And if you didn’t get enough Caribbean culture last weekend, the Slice features local Latin rock collective Latin Rev to help you dance up a sweat on a Saturday night.
And don’t forget, the Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society opens their run of “Macbeth” in Galt Gardens this week. There will be performances at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 4 and Friday, July 5 at 7 p.m. in Galt Gardens. The Scottish play runs in Galt Gardens pretty much every Thursday and Friday until Aug. 9. Admission is by donation.
Early next week, Keith “Catfish” Woodrow is back at the Slice to host his monthly slice of blues jam. The music begins at approximately 8:30 p.m.

The Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra are excited to spread their multi-faceted and influenced brand of Canadian music overseas. Percussionist/ drummer Paul Wolda is still psyched from the band’s March tour of New Zealand.
“We spent 10 days touring in New Zealand,” he said, adding that came on top of a tragic shooting in Christchurch.
Wolda said people are so peaceful there they had a hard time accepting that something like the shooting happened there. “They weren’t sure if they were allowed to smile again. So we hope we were able to help,” he said.
“People there are very nice. We were well received and treated really well.”
“And the landscape actually reminded me a lot of B.C.,” he mused, adding they were able to make some contacts there for a possible return to New Zealand as well as an upcoming tour of Australia.
“It’s interesting. Though we sound really different, and have a lot of different influences, when you tour overseas you’re representing the music of Canada,” he said, adding people appreciate having a Canadian band travelling overseas to play for them.
“They respect that.”
“We’ve been staying pretty close to home until recently. It’s not as important to have new music when you’re going some place for the first time. But we’re going to sit down and write some new music in December before we go to Australia. And we’ll be doing a lot of touring in Canada,” he said.
“We have a lot of ideas we haven“t turned into songs yet. But they reflect how much we’ve grown musically. But it’s still going to fun for the audience. It will still be fun, dance oriented music,” he noted, adding the show will depend on the audience.
“We’ve played a lot of different venues in Lethbridge from places where people want to dance and party like at the Slice and venues where people are really listening like the Geomatic Attic. Both are really good for us,” he said.
“It’s always a great experience for us in Lethbridge.”

Five Alarm Funk at the Slice
Vancouver funk/jazz collective Five Alarm Funk put the fun in funk music for a sold-out show at the Slice, Tuesday, June 25.
Another Lethbridge show has been a long time coming, so the band and their fans, some of whom I haven’t seen out since the last time they played, made the most of a stormy night by getting hot and sweaty inside the Slice.
I arrived, hot off the road and on the heels of a bad couple of days, so needed a cold beer and a whole lot of good vibes and love, both of which were well in abundance with Five Alarm Funk. Main drummer Tayo Branston had already worked up a sweat and thus stripped off his shirt by the time I arrived about a half hour into the show. His bandmates sported an eclectic array of multi-coloured spandex, funky sunglasses and a kilt for the trumpet player.
They played mostly high-energy rhythmic, brassy, butt-shaking music. But in addition to the music, their characters and costumes always make Five Alarm Funk shows all the more enjoyable.
So bongo/djembe drummer Tom Towers was a constant blur of energy, constantly slapping the skins with his hands and in a couple cases, a severed hand prop, occasionally dipping down during various solos to change funky shirts, sunglasses and hats. They brought back some of their familiar characters like the Critic, featuring the bare-chested Towers, sporting a mustard yellow sport coat and 3-D glasses.
He also donned a shark head an a variety of other quirky accoutrements.
There were a lot of highlights, including “Ice Cream Man ” from their CD “Abandon Earth.”
The two-person horn section sounded like a dozen, with saxophonist Eli Bennett hitting some impressively screeching high notes and trumpet player Kent Wallace hitting his own high notes.
For something a little more laidback than the Five Alarm Funk show at the Slice, a decent-sized crowd at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Tuesday, June 25, sat back and chilled with Big Little Lions.
The duo of British-born singer/guitarist Helen Austin and Cincinnati drummer/keyboardist Paul Otten sang beautiful harmonies while laying down a bed of laidback yet perky multi-layers indie rock/folk and pop music.
Austin’s vocals were hauntingly plaintive yet also immediately appealing. They wanted to try out some new music, but played a few songs that have been played on CBC’s “Vinyl Cafe,” including “Say Hello,” though Austin said they weren’t going to play “Unicorn,” probably their best-known song, though they may have given in to audience demand after I left to go back to Five Alarm Funk.
“We might have been too jolly,” Austin quipped, before playing a couple more melancholy tunes.
Dragon Boat Festival
The Rotary Dragon Boat Festival is always a blast, even when battling spurts of rain. I caught a few different acts in between storms June 21 and 22.
The Chinook High School rock and pop program played an impressive array of ’90s songs and classic rock, with a couple of different lead vocalists belting out beloved hits by the likes of Guns N Roses and Nirvana.
The main act of Friday night was the Chevelles. They played their usual strong set of classic rock, opening with “The Boys Are back in Town,” “Twilight Zone,” and a couple of Rolling Stones classics, “Gimmie shelter” and “Sympathy For the Devil” coming on top of each other.
I left as they went disco for a song or two.
I also caught a couple of acts on Saturday, June 22 at the dragon boat races. I mainly wanted to catch local blues rock band Coda. I caught them in the middle of a heartfelt version of the Allman Brothers/Govt. Mule’s song “Soulshine,” but they also put a bluesy stamp on “Hold On I’m Coming” and the Beatles’ “Ticket to Ride.”
They went classic rock with a cover of Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.”
While Dory Rossiter and her band Horizon were setting up, not to mention trying to track down their bassist, Global Drums put on a spirited set in front of the stage of Caribbean music and more impressively a percussion-powered version of Nirvana’s “Smell’s like Teen Spirit.”
I was just expecting a set of classic rock from Horizon, but was pleased to hear them branching out on a variety of different pop and rock songs powered by Dory Rossiter’s big voice.
Coda bassist Rick Maddeaux stepped up to fill in on the first couple of songs including a cool version of Barns Courtney’s “Fire.”
I’m really starting to appreciate Kathleen Edwards, so I was really pleased to hear Horizon cover Edwards‘ “I Make the Dough.” And I love their cover of Kacey Musgraves’ “Follow Your Arrow,” so excited to hear that as their bassist arrived and took over for “Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me.”
A rare local show from local blues rock band The Steve Keenan Band is not to be missed. So I was especially glad to hear them play a solid set of mostly original music at Casino Lethbridge, Friday, June 21. They were also at the Casino, June 22.
The band, featuring Steve Keenan on guitar and vocals, drummer Darwin Romanchuk, keyboardist Gary Drayton and bassist David Popovitch, played a strong, tight set of blues. And everybody got to solo, especially Drayton, tickling the ivories beautifully. They were also playing the dragon boat races on Sunday afternoon.
As usual, they showed a strong Stevie ray Vaughan influence. They played some brand new music and older favourites like “Whiskey Drinking Blues.”
They ended their first set with a spirited version of BB King’s “The Thrill is Gone.”
Papa King and TJ Waltho
I only caught the end of Papa King and keyboardist TJ Waltho’s first set at the Watertower Grill, Friday, June 21.
Waltho’s keyboards added a beautiful extra dimension to Papa King’s gravelly guttural acoustic delta blues based sound, so I was sad to have only caught the end of one song. Waltho played subtle lines never overpowering King’s voice and acoustic guitar.
The Owl featured some upbeat, dream pop and impassioned indie rock from Saskatoon’s Chasing Illusions. I couldn’t see them at all in the poorly lit room, but they played an addictively catchy and impassioned set of guitar driven pop rock music along the lines of the Gin Blossoms and Jimmy Eat World.
“This is the dopest room we‘ve ever played,” bubbled lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Dawson Wayne, who was happy to warm up the full house for what was sure to be a hot set from local favourites Biloxi Parish.
I was thinking of calling it a night after Steve Keenan and Papa King’s shows elsewhere, but was glad I stopped by for an enjoyable set.
21st Avenue at the Slice
I’m really starting to enjoy new local rock band 21st Avenue, so had to catch them at the Slice. They didn’t have the crowd they deserved, which was to be expected with so many other shows happening in town on a hectic Friday night, June 21.
They played an easy-going set of music spanning alternative rock and pop music from all over the ’90s including originals which referenced the Red Hot Chili Peppers. They as they did tackle the Pepper’s “Under the Bridge”
They also played a solid cover of Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle” and impressively tackled the Glorious Sons’ ”Mama.”
In between they bantered hilariously between themselves. They also covered Weezer’s “The Sweater Song,” and Marilyn Manson’s version of the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams.”
The Owl Acoustic Lounge featured some loud rock and roll on Saturday, June 22 courtesy of Molly the Boy Cat a.k.a. bassist/vocalist Sil Campus, guitarist/vocalist Rob Cooper, drummer Garwin Poff and guitarist Quint Viskup.
They played their usual set of late ’90s-style post-grunge abrasive stoner rock and alternative rock, touching on everything from the Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age and, most prominently, the Pixies, especially with Campus singing ghostly background vocals.
Their set was mostly original alternative rock, but they debut a couple new songs, including a Foo Fightersish number which they noted they had never played in front of anyone before.
I left early to catch Keith Woodrow’s blues show at the Slice, but arrived back in time for the last part of an upbeat set from Fawns, who were also playing new music, with Mercedes Fawns channeling her inner Alanis Morrisette and showing why they are one of my new favourite local bands. They just click with the rhythm section playing in the pocket, Richard Charlton bringing everybody together while Fawns leaped around the stage like a woman possessed.
Keith Catfish Woodrow is always a pleasure to see, so it is great to have another bluesman playing in town. He and his hot band, who I didn’t recognize, save for drummer Brad Brouwer. They featured a six-string bassist, a wicked harp player and Woodrow on guitar and vocals.
They worked their way through a set of solid blues classics including John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom Boom,” some sleepy John Estes, “Motherless Children” and well-known classics like “Hoochie Coochie Man” and “I Ain’t Superstitious.”
July 3
The Slice — Zinnia and Mombod
Beaches — open mic
July 4
Slice — open mic
Good Times — amateur night comedy open mic
July 5
Average Joe’s — yuk Yuks ComedyTodd ness, Lori Ferguson -Ford 8:30 p.m.
Twin Butte Store — Soulfest
Time: 5 p.m.
Tickets:$85 for weekend $40 for Friday
Carolyn Mark, Kyle Owen Band, Heather Blush and the Uppercuts, FleshXFur, Sean Burns, Kitty and the Rooster, Peter and the Wolves, Boots and The Hoots, Plaid Tongued Devils, plus a special children’s performance by Rattle and Strum.
Slice — Plaid Tongued Devils
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra $20 at door $15 in advance
Dwell Urban Venue — Adrian Chalifour
Honker’s Pub — open mic
Watertower Grill — Eric Braun
Casino Lethbridge — Adequate
July 6
Galt Gardens — Latin Fest 12-9 p.m.
Twin butte Store — Soulfest
Honker’s Pub — afternoon open mic
Slice — Latin Rev
Owl Acoustic Lounge — The Silkstones with Webb
Casino Lethbridge — Adequate
Watertower Grill — Eric Braun
July 7
Twin Butte Store — Soulfest
Theoretically Brewing — Dumb with joiner
July 8
Owl Acoustic Lounge — open mic
Onion — Open mic
July 9
Smokehouse — Randy and bubba’s unfiltered comedy open mic
Slice — A Slice of Blues jam with Keith Woodrow
July 10
The Slice — Windy City Opry with Carolyn Mark and Sean Burns 8 p.m. $10
Beaches — open mic
July 11
Galt Gardens — Street Machine Weekend Fast Times 7 p.m.
Average Joes — New Ground Celtic duo
Slice — open mic
Good Times — Amateur comedy night
July 12
Galt Gardens—Street Wheelers weekend.
1010 Pub — Good Time Charlie Dead Army 7-11 p.m.
Sound Garden — The Big Loud 9 p.m. $5
The Slice — Makiisma CD release party
July 13
Galt Gardens — Street machine weekend
Smokehouse — Black Saturday
July 14
Galt Garden — Cars and Guitars Street Machine Weekend with Good Time Charlie
Union Barbershop — Back Alley Bash
July 19
Fort Macleod — South Country Fair
July 20
Fort Macleod — South Country Fair
July 21
Fort Macleod — South Country Fair
July 23
Theoretically brewing — Mauno

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