It’s hard to believe November is already here, so celebrate a new month with live music and send out the old month with Halloween.
While most places held their Halloween festivities on the weekend, Adequate send out October with an Adequate Halloween celebration on Wednesday, Oct. 31. The party starts at 9 p.m.
There is also a Halloween party at Theoretically Brewing on Oct. 31 from 8-11 featuring live music including Frege’s Puzzle. There will be a costume contest and a candy buffet. Admission is $15.
And the Slice features a special Halloween show with local folk musician Tyson Ray Borsboom and Biloxi Parish frontman Zach Passey on Oct. 31.
The Slice features a pre-Halloween party on Oct. 30. Pumpkin Funk features the music of Detroit soul musician Laura Rain and the Caesars. In the meantime everyone will get to carve their own pumpkin. There is a $15 cover for the event.
Across town, Birds of Chicago fly back to the Geomatic Attic Oct. 30 as well and begin at 8 p.m.
Cirque de Soleil open their show Corteo at the Enmax Centre on Oct. 31 as well. It runs at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31-Nov 3. There are also matinee performances at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3 and 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4. Tickets are $61, $97, $123 and $143.
November opens with some familiar faces returning to Lethbridge. Winnipeg folk and country musician Richard Inman plays the Slice with George Arsene, Nov. 2. Local artist Dela Mark will be displaying some of her new works.
Things get heavy with a big stoner rock show at the Slice, Nov. 3. So if you like bands like Kyuss, Fu Manchu and Queens of the Stone Age and Monster Magnet, then check out the return of Calgary’s Bazarabra, plus Siksika heavy rock band Iron Tusk, surf punk band Chief Mountain and Calgary-based fuzz rock trio Hypnopilot. There is a $10 cover.
The Slice goes mellow on Sunday with a new Industry night featuring jazz pianist Andrea Superstein, Nov. 4. They have another heavy show on Tuesday, Nov. 6 with Mexican metal band Piraña and local band Chernoff and Chief Mountain.
Over at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Edmonton-based indie folk duo F & M return to the stage, Nov. 3 with a brand new album and special guest Penelope Rose. Admission is by donation.
The Geomatic Attic hosts a big show on Nov, 3 as Calgary’s Reuben and the Dark return to perform evocative folk and soul music. The concert begins at 8 p.m. sharp. Tickets are $32.50.
Maggie Hall is always raising money for good causes by putting on concerts, but this one is personal. Her sister’s home in Rosentheath, Ontario burned down, Oct. 23. Luckily they are all all right, but they lost everything so Hall has organized a fundraising concert at KCs Pub in Coaldale. So far, Andi Roberts, local blues rock band Driving while Blind and local country band The Mark Hall band plus Bryan Horvat have volunteered to play. More acts will be announced. Admission is $10 there will also be a silent auction and more.
For country fans, Gord Bamford returns to Average Joe’s, Tuesday, Nov. 6 in support of his new single “Dive Bar.” Jo Jo Mason also returns to share the bill. Tickets are $40 in advance, $50 on the day of the show.
Theatre Outré opens their season with “Sapientia,” Oct. 30-Nov. 3 as well. “It’s perfect for Halloween,” said producer Jay Whitehead who performs in the play, written in the 10th century by Roswitha of Gandersheim.
Director Mia Van Leeuwen uses object theatre to tell the story of a woman who goes to Rome, preaching Christianity with her three daughters.
“The Emperor Hadrian tells her to stop, but she doesn’t so they torture and kill her daughters,” said Van Leeuwen, noting she has done the show in Edmonton in 2014, Winnipeg in 2015 and in Montreal this past summer.
“If you were to do this in a film or in stage form, it would be something like ‘Game of Thrones,’” said Whitehead, who plays Hadrian. So while actors Whitehead, Jordan Payne, Kathy Zaborsky and Erica Barr recite the lines, a mirror, espresso maker, flashlight and tea cups are the actual characters.
“It‘s like puppetry, except we make no secret of the fact that the actors are manipulating the puppets,” Whitehead said.
“It’s very dark, but we’ve also found a lot of humour in it,” he continued.
“It deals with religious extremism,” said Van Leeuwen. “I can’t imagine martyring a daughter or dying for a cause,” she said, adding she brought the play to fellow U of L drama prof Whitehead for consideration for Theatre Outré because she like the theme, the idea of doing it as object theatre and letting people know about the playwright who is the first known female playwright.
The production requires an extensive sound folio created by fourth-year U of L performance major Corey Ariss.
“We use objects like a toaster, a slide whistle and an Acme horn which sounds like a siren,” Ariss said, adding it has been a lot of fun finding out what sounds he can get from ordinary household objects.
“It’s been adapted to object theatre, so it’s been interesting seeing how everything has come together,” Ariss said.
“Sapientia” runs at Club Didi, Oct. 30-Nov.3 8-10 p.m. each night. Tickets are $20.
There is a new theatre space in town. Members of the local theatre community and investors group spearheaded by Vittorio Oliverio have been working hard to open the Blank Space theatre for the Nov. 1 opening gala.
“Blank Space (located at 1416 2 Ave S) is exactly what it sounds like — it’s a blank space available to local theatre groups, arts groups and artists who need a place to rehearse and perform in,” said Blank Space board member Karolyn Harker, who is organizing the gala.
There will be a 50-50 draw and a silent auction and live entertainment.
“There will be scenes explaining what the space can be used for. There will also be also be scenes from the Gin Game and “A Christmas Carol,” the first two production taking place here,” Harker said.
“The Gin Game Runs” Nov. 13-17. “A Christmas Carol” will be taking place during the first two weeks of December, Dec. 1-15 as the group needs to raise a lot of money to pay the mortgage and utilities bills. There will also be a bar and refreshments available.
“It is an opportunity for various groups to see this space and learn what it’s about and how it can be used,” Harker said.
There is no charge to attend the gala.
Edmonton indie pop and folk duo F & M return to Lethbridge to open November by playing their new CD “Lessons from Losers” at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Nov. 3.
“We were at the Owl Acoustic Lounge in February (Feb. 10). We were testing out some of the new songs. This time we have the album out, so we’re pretty excited to come back,” observed Rebecca Anderson, who makes up the duo with her husband Ryan.
Their last album, “At Sunset We Sing,” which was released in 2015, was inspired by visiting Portugal. They stayed closer to home for inspiration for the new one.
“There was a lot of red wine involved like for the last one. But this was inspired by the really long winter that we had,” she said, enjoying a balmy late Fall day on her balcony.
“The title I came up with, because I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness. Today it seems people’s happiness comes at the onus of other people and it doesn’t seem to matter at whose expense it comes from,” she observed.
“While other people do things that make them happy, just because they think it’s a worthwhile thing to do, which is what people like us who make music for a living, do. Because what we’re doing doesn’t seem to make financial sense,” she said.
The new CD is pretty laidback.
“But ‘Council of Misery’ and ‘Scribbles On a Sheet’ are more psychedelic with more screaming rather than singing,” she said.
The CD has already received positive response.
“We got a review in a little New York magazine ‘Atwood’ describing us as a ‘bold hail Mary awakening full of heavy hues and bittersweet emotive melodies,’ which we hadn’t planned, but it means it is resonating with our neighbours south of the border during these times of Trump,” she said.
“And it’s made a number of top 50 lists and number two on one of them. So it’s going great,” she said.
“We’ll do a bigger tour in the spring in November in B.C. And Saskatchewan, so we might save the new video to kick off that,” she said, adding they will be concentrating on the new CD, which, while it doesn’t have any accordion, which marks most of their works, it does have a lot of organ.
“There isn’t any accordion on this album, but we’ll be bringing it on the tour because people love the accordion and we’ll be playing some of the older songs.”
F & M and Penelope Rose play the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Nov. 3 at 9 p.m. Admission is by donation.
Murray McLauchlan at the Yates
It isn’t often you get to see a Canadian folk icon perform in the flesh, so I was pleased to make it Murray McLauchlan’s intimate show at the Yates Theatre, Thursday, Oct. 25. The show was like he invited you into his living room for a night.
Dressed casually in jeans, cowboy boots and vest, he sat perched on a stool and plucked his guitar next to a table loaded with various types of harmonicas and sang mellow melodies. Upright bassist Victor Bateman joined him and added a sustained bottom end and bowed his bass for a couple of the spookier numbers. McLauchlan told stories about growing up outside of Toronto, going to art school against the wishes of his stoic Scottish father and embracing hippie counter-culture, making his own clothes and learning to guitar in vain to impress a woman and his father, who he said didn’t come to see him play until he invited him to his first sold-out show at Toronto’s Massey Hall.
He played an early hit, “Child’s Song,” which he noted he wrote for his father and noted a cover of it was part of the hit TV show “This is Us.”
“So I said thank you Jesus and cashed the cheque,” he chuckled.
While in his interview, he promised the show would focus on his last two albums, the first set was all about his early hits, most of are on his 2007 Best of compilation. He opened strong with probably his best-known song, “Down by the Henry Moore.”
When the moment stuck him, he switched to grand piano, describing his show aptly as a mix of concert and music business tutorial, as he talked about co-writing some of his biggest hits and even getting the Jordanaires, who sang on a lot of great classic rock and roll records including many from Elvis Presley, to sing on one of his classic songs, “Whispering Rain.”
There were a lot of highlights including “Never Did Like That Train,” and several from his 2011 CD “Human Writes,” including “Run Away to Sea,” about Newfoundlanders moving to Alberta, for which he got the audience to try to sing along with him, and “Painting Floors,” which he noted was inspired by watching Road Runner cartoons, watching the Roadrunner paint an escape route when Wile E. Coyote was chasing him.
He ended his first set with “Farmer’s Song.”
The second set focused more on his jazzy latest album “Love Can‘t Tell Time,” opening with the title track, which he wrote with sportswriter Alison Gordon, who he spoke reverently of, noting she was one of the first female sportswriters to cover major league baseball.
He expressed his love for Rosemary Clooney and played “Hey There.”
The second set, featuring jazzy guitar and melodies, was a big departure from his country and pop roots, but the new music really seemed to appeal to the audience.
One of my favourites from set two was “Ambitious Life,” about “the joys of my favourite things, sloth and laziness,” which he played on the grand piano and which he described as being written whole considering what Tin Pan Alley songwriter Hoagie Carmichael would write today if he was still alive.
Another new song, “Martini,” he noted was inspired by his ambitious brother Calvin, who thought he could write songs and gave him some lyrics abut his favourite drink, the martini, and turned it around into one of his own songs.
After a few newer songs, he went back to his early career and chatted about his 36-year-old daughter, who is studying for her doctorate, and played a song he wrote before she was born called “Don’t Put Your Faith in Men.”
Cross border folk duo Big Little Lions returned to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Oct. 24.
The duo of Salt Spring Island-based vocalist/guitarist Helen Austin and Cincinnati-based drummer/keyboardist/vocalist Paul Otten sang delightful harmonies and told stories.
They had a good-sized crowd for a Wednesday night.
Otten multi-tasked on drums, keyboard and vocals, harmonizing beautifully with Helen Austin.
They even had a request for their single from a few years ago, “Unicorn,” which they relearned on the spot to play for their fans.
“Make It Up As You Go Along” was one of several high-spirited highlights, as was a slower, stalker song, “I’ll Find You.”
Though they sang up-beat pop folk-tinged melodies, their songs a had a serious side to them especially on a new song about gun control called “Going to Make it Out Alive.”
They ended their set with another older song and a request, “Find Your Tribe.”
Hey, hey, the blues is all right, even when played solo.
Red Deer’s Charlie Jacobson had a surprisingly good turnout on Tuesday, Oct. 23, for a solo set of electric blues music at the Slice.
I arrived in the middle of a couple subdued Stevie Ray Vaughan covers including “Cold Shot.”
He put on quite a show on his own, playing and writing and accompanying himself by pounding our the rhythm on a couple of old suitcases. He sat on the biggest one for a solid version of John Lee Hooker‘s “Boom, Boom, Boom.”
He played some originals and a couple other blues classics like “Stepping Stone,” played a couple more rockabilly flavoured numbers, then added a touch of funk and even some jazz music.
One of many highlights was a cover of Albert King’s “The Hunter.”
As expected, the Owl Acoustic Lounge was packed on Oct. 20 for the CD release party for Jesse and the Dandelions’ “Give Up the Gold.”
Unfortunately I missed an opening set from Amy van Keeken, but I caught the end of another solid set of upbeat indie rock from the Utilities first.
Jesse and the Dandelions played their usual super chill set of laidback indie rock. They focused on the new CD, playing the title track and several others, but also dug deep into their back catalogue. They looked and sounded like they stepped right out of the early ’70s easy-listening AM soft rock.
Frontman Jesse Northey mostly played guitar, but sat down to play the keyboards for a couple of songs including a cover of Crosby Stills and Nash’s “Our House,” which he played on his own.
The band returned to end their set with “Brother,” with Northey back on guitar.”
I was pleased to catch the second set of Colorado bluesman John O a.k.a. Johnny Ohnmacht’s first Lethbridge gig at the Slice, Saturday, Oct. 20. Blues shows can be a gamble as far as attendance, but organizer Keith Woodrow brought in a room full of unfamiliar faces of blues fans listening intently to Onmacht making his Les Paul sing, backed by a crack Calgary rhythm section of bassist Viktor Szuroczki and Hollywood Bob a.k.a. drummer Jimmy Lambretta.
I arrived in the middle of a jam on blues classic “Crosscut Saw.”
The rest of the set was nothing but well-played blues and funk music punctuated a by a comedian in the crowd who kept repeatedly yelling for a drum solo, even after multiple drum solos and during a solid bass solo.
They played a lot of Johnny O’s originals and choice covers including James Cotton’s “One More Mile” and “Big Boss Man.”
Johnny O soloed subtly and tastefully without overplaying. His rhythm section played in the pocket.
He ended with a beautiful version of Little Feat’s “Spanish Moon,” and promised to return to jam with host Keith Woodrow, though I missed that set.
I caught the end of an upbeat set of pop punk from Edmonton’s A Gentleman’s Pact at the Slice, Friday, Oct. 19. They sounded like a mix 0f ’90s pop punk along the lines of Sum -41 mixed with classic L.A. punk bands like the Vandals.
Edmonton’s Nicolas Rage played a loud, distorted detuned set of heavy ’90s-’00s alternative rock powered by a six string bass. They had a big, heavy alternative rock sound which verged on punk in a few spots.
I try to take things easy on Fridays, but wasn’t going to pass up a chance to see Major Love’s return to the Owl Acoustic Lounge. Major Love a.k.a. Edmonton musician Colleen Brown, backed by members of Scenic Route to Alaska, played a packed house Friday, Oct. 19.
I arrived early enough to catch most of local folk singer Tyson Ray Borsboom, who seemed to have just as many fans in attendance as Major Love. He sang in a big baritone voice reminiscent of the White Buffalo. He played on his own, accompanying himself on first acoustic guitar and then an electric.
Major Love were amazing as always. Colleen Brown sang beautiful almost operatic pop backed by a crack band of Trevor Mann, Murray Wood and Shea Connor from Scenic Route to Alaska and Elijah Abrams. They played several tracks from their self-titled debut album.
They played appealing pop and folk-tinged music of which “One Woman at the Gates” was a highlight. They sounded like a mix of Hannah Georgas and Metric.
They wound up a solid set with another highlight form the new album, which Brown wrote about her constantly feuding downstairs neighbours called “I Love All of You.”
Enmax — Cirque du Soleil Corteo
Beaches — open mic
Theoretically Brewing — Theorybrew halloween
Owl Acoustic Lounge — A Very Funky Halloween with Adequate
Enmax — Cirque du Soleil Corteo
Enmax — Cirque du Soleil Corteo Enmax — Cirque du Soleil Corteo
Slice — open mic
Blank Space Theatre — opening Gala
Enmax — Cirque du Soleil Corteo
Honker’s Pub — Open mic
Slice —Richard Inman with George Arsen and Dela mark art
Owl Acoustic Lounge
Southminster United Church — Reuben and the Dark
Enmax — Cirque du Soleil Corteo
Honker’s Pub — Afternoon open mic
Slice — Stoner Rock show with Bazaraba, Iron Tusk, Chief mountain, Chief mountain
Owl Acoustic Lounge — F and M
KCs Pub — Fundraiser for maggie hall’s sister
Enmax — Cirque du Soleil Corteo1 p.m. and 5 p.m
The Owl Acoustic Lounge—open mic
Onion — open mic
Average Joe’s — Gord Bamford with JoJo Mason 7:30p.m. $40 advance $50 day of show
The Slice — Piraña with Chief Mountain and guests $10 9:30 p.m
Enmax — Russell Peters 8 p.m.
Beaches — open mic