The big event this week is actually not in Lethbridge, it’s in Fort Macleod for the annual South Country Fair.
Lethbridge‘s major music venues, The Slice and The Owl Acoustic Lounge, are shut down July 19-21 as their staff and most of their regulars head west for a weekend of fun, frivolity and a lot of live music.
Some highlights in Lethbridge this week include several shows from James Oldenburg. He is playing the Mocha Cabana on July 19 and July 20 and booked for Ric’s Grill July 19.
Moxies is going to start bringing in live music as well.
Local country/pop singer Alyssa McQuaid plays their patio July 21 at 5 p.m.
Scott Kanashiro and Sheldon Arvay play Ric’s Grill on Wednesday.
If you aren’t going to the South Country Fair this year, get a taste of it with one of the weekend‘s highlights, Ben Caplan, who plays a free show at the Owl Acoustic Lounge July 17. The east coast musician blends bar room stomp with gypsy, folk and soul music.
Gypsy and the Rose play Casino Lethbridge this weekend.
And the Slice is taking a break with a bang on July 17 as well.
Fred Eaglesmith and his travelling show come to the Slice to entertain what is likely to be a good sized crowd with songs about gritty, world wearied characters and lots of jokes. They have been raising money for flood relief by auctioning off home made pies at the show, which their fans bring. The show begins at 9 p.m.
The Slice also comes back with a bang with a show from Danny Michel and his Afro -Amerindian Belize based band the Garifuna Collective who played on his last CD. It takes place on July 23 at 9 p.m. Tickets are $20.
If you want to rock, Average Joes brings back Nazareth July 22. They are sure to play a string of their ’70s and ’80s hits including “Razamanaz,“ “This Flight Tonight,”“Love Hurts,” and “Hair of the Dog.” Advance tickets for that show are $30.
Kiss/ Shinedown wed
A good friend is the biggest Kiss fan in the world so he was so shocked to hear I had never seen the classic glam rockers before that he bought my $110 ticket. I was blown away, literally as I probably got a suntan from all of the fireworks going off in a sweltering Enmax Centre July 10 where Kiss held court to a capacity crowd.
Nobody goes into a Kiss show expecting to learn about the meaning of life or the solutions to the world’s problems; you go to escape from your problems into a world of fantasy, sex, drugs, rock and roll, massive riffs, pyrotechnics, flashing lights and shout along choruses. In which case, Kiss delivered in spades. They know what their fans want and gleefully give it to them.
After an energetic set by popular Jacksonville, Florida alternative rockers Shinedown, Kiss guitarist/lead vocalist Paul Stanley bellowed “ You want the best, well you’ve got the best,” then crashed into “Psycho Circus,” the title track from a CD of the same name they released a few years back.
Eric Singer bashed away on his double bass drum kit, each emblazoned with “Kiss” in flashing lights and sang “Black Diamond” to bring the show to a thunderous close.
Lead guitarist Tommy Thayer nailed Ace Frehley’s bluesy solos and shot fireworks out of the end of his guitar. Hulking bassist Gene Simmons looked menacing, wagged his massive tongue at the audience and spat blood.
Their set included most of their big hits, some gritty obscurities from the ’70s, and touched on their more inspirational ’80s moments with a sparkling “Heaven’s On Fire,” which, of course featured fireworks blowing up in time to Singer’s massive drum beats.
Some of the highlights were “God of Thunder ” featuring Gene being taken up to the rafters on a jump harness, dripping with sweat and fake blood to growl out the song.
“Love Gun” featured Paul Stanley flying over the audience to sing on a platform set high about the sound board. I enjoyed the new single. “Hell or Hallelujah.
” which was full of big riffs from their latest CD “Monster,” as well as “Sonic Boom,” from another recent CD.
“You aren’t ready to go home yet are you,” Stanley shouted, after their big hit “Rock and Roll All Night,” which featured a forest’s worth of confetti being shot onto the crowd from cannons, as they crashed into the first encore song “I Was Made For Loving You” which featured one of several beautiful moments of harmonized guitar leads.
Everybody got to solo. Thayer knocked off a few bars of “O Canada” in the midst of his bluesy solo.
Singer’s drum solo was short and sweet,” while Simmons shone on “God of Thunder,” featuring rumbling, cacophonic bass.
They ended the show with Singer singing “Black Diamond,” and the night was over. “Kiss Loves You Lethbridge” flashed in 50-foot lights across a massive video screen, which had been focusing on close ups of band members and exciting fans, many of them decked out in KIss merch and makeup throughout the show. And though the screen probably read the same thing in every other city they played, you got the feeling they meant it.
Shinedown opened up with a close to an hour-long set heavy on the hits (most of which the DJs never name) and way too heavy on the bass.
They sounded like a cross between Econoline Crush and Buckcherry and played like they’ve been filling arenas for years, which they have.
This is your show,” shouted lead singer Brent Smith.
Their music was heavy on the angst, but also on hard rocking riffs, searing solos and impressive vocal melodies.
They slowed things down by taking a brief break before the lead guitarist and singer wound things down with a pretty acoustic version of Lynard Skynard’s “Simple Man,” which had the audience singing along.
“I’ll Follow You,” was one of the quieter tracks, which is only comparatively speaking as the song was heavy on eardrum shattering, thundering bass.
The bassist was impressive though, alternating between bass, acoustic guitar and keyboards, while jumping across the massive stage while trying not to crash into the rest of the band doing the same.
A sign of a good music community is when they come out to support one of their own in trouble. So a good- sized crowd came to the Slice, on a Wednesday night, July 10 to listen to great bands and support Chris Lipinski and Courtney Rode, who lost their house to a fire several weeks ago. I missed Planet Telex and most of Lipinski’s band Lustre Creame, but caught an inspirational set of a psychedelic set from local band the Bohemian Cause featured Brenna Lowrie adding organ complementing the psychedelic ’60s feel. They played experimental rock music which highlighted the organ.
The New Weather Machine was up next with another set of energetic, ear blistering experimental rock. Jon Martin, Jesse Northey, Clayton Smith and Jason Oakes played a solid set as usual.
New Orleans songwriter Mary Gauthier, showed you don’t need to blow out eardrums with extreme volume to blow out the audiences minds.
She along with multi-instrumentalist Scott Nolan and drummer Joanna Miller played an intense set at the Slice, Tuesday, July 9 for an enraptured audience of approximately 50 people. She played a couple Fred Eaglesmith songs including Cigarette machine and your Sister Club and advised the audience to go see FEaglesmith this week. She didn’t say a lot to the crowd and barely cracked a smile, other than to tell Nolan the next song. She shifted from side to side while singing, in her smoke and whiskey tempered voice, harrowing stories of down and outers and the seedy underbelly most people don’t usually think about. She created captivating word pictures and I could see why cats like Ray Wylie Hubbard and Fred Eaglesmith rave about her. Each of her songs had about the same effect as taking a shot of straight whiskey.
A song based on the book of Ezekiel, “Wheel Inside the Wheel” was another more upbeat highlight. She cracked a smile as she told Nolan what to play next. Nolan was lost in the moment, alternating between a battered acoustic guitar and a piano.
She spoke briefly about New Orleans and sang a great song “Sugar Cane.” Other highlights included “Last of the Hobo Kings.” “Lady of the Shooting Stars,” and the very moving “Christmas in Paradise.”
The audience gave her rousing ovation, so she returned to the stage for a couple of powerful numbers “God Damned HIV,” then her signature song “Mercy Now”
As usual the Rotary Dragon Boat Races provided a variety of music. I only caught a few of the acts while volunteering. I arrived at the Henderson lake Park, Saturday, July 6 in time to see another hot set by teenaged rock/pop band The Juarez band. As usual they sang catchy vocal harmonies and traded lead vocals among themselves.
The Hibiyaki drummers played a thunderous set on the wooded dance floor after that as a variety of their drum beats resonated and thundered through the park.
After an extended break, Alyssa McQuaid took the stage, guitar in hand and played some of the highlights off her three CDs.
She dedicated a sweet song for her dad’s birthday, her cover of the traditional spiritual “ The Water is Wide.” She also sung popular country covers like “Stuck on You,” and “Better Dig Too.” As usual she ended with her sweet cover os “Sweet Child O Mine.”
Unzipped turned this s up next with “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and a variety of hard rock and metal hits including Poison’s “Nothing but a Good Time,” as well as some Rolling Stones.
They also amped up a cover of the Beatles’ “ Twist And Shout,” a hot cover of “Rocking In The Free World” and even some more modern rock in “Stacy’s Mom.”
Bridgette yarwood and Jason Eveleigh turned thing down for their set of acoustic folk and jazz music.
They played several of Yarwood’s originals and some smooth, jazz fuelled covers like Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy”. She ended with a cover of Adele’s “ Rolling in the Deep.”
The Raw Dogs were a definite highlight of Saturday at the Dragon Boats as they covered all of the bases— amping up covers of country like “ Ain‘t Going Down Until the Sun Comes Up.”
They covered everything from Sam Roberts to Poison’s ”Talk Dirty To Me.”
While there wasmusic on Sunday at the races, I only caught the closing set from Paul Kype and Texas Flood.
As usual they played hot blues and southern rock as well as one of guitarist Greg Gomola’s songs from Zojo Black.
Flying Fox and the Hunter Gatherers returned to rock the Owl Acoustic Lounge with horns, Friday, July 5.
They played a lot of jazz music as expected mixed with a little gypsy music.
“Dragonfly,” from their new CD was one of many highlights that had a Plaid Tongued Devils’ feel.
The lead singer alternated playing guitar and trombone. Together the horns echoed through the room and got a quite a few people dancing.
They ended their energetic set with “Styling.”