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Blues, jazz and Beatlemania this week

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This week is all about singing the blues and jazzing it up.Billie Vegas are among the many bands playing the Galt Gardens Bike relay show, June 16. Photo by Richard Amery
The week begins on Wednesday, June 13 at the Slice with one of my  favourite bluesmen, Ross Neilsen and his band the Suffering Bastards. who play  with Miss Quincy and her hot trio the Showdown opening the show.

They have been touring for several months and have just released a new CD  they recorded with Calgary bluesman Tim Williams, “ Like The Devil Does,” which was released in April.

The Lethbridge Jazz Festival begins June 14 at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery with the Lethbridge Big Band. There will be several events happening all over the city including a massive street party with Medicine Hat band Cool Ray and the Hip Cats, June 16 on sixth street south between third and fourth avenue.
In addition to  lots of Lethbridge talent, it also features some pretty big names including former Lethbridge resident Vern Dorge and  trumpet player Marvin Stamm.

Vern Dorge is glad to be back home to play the 2012 Lethbridge Jazz Festival, June 16 at the Sterndale Bennett -Theatre. He will be playing a variety of jazz backed by the Alberta All-star Quartet, Saturday, June 16 at the yates-Sterndale Bennett Theatre and and will be stepping in with the Contemporary Works  Jazz Orchestra who will be playing with trumpeter Marvin Stamm, on June 15.


Tickets for each show are $20 for Jazz Society members and $25 for non-members.
And that is just the tip of what is happening for the jazz festival all over town. Events even include a street party Saturday afternoon with Cool Ray and the Hip Cats from Medicine Hat.

If you aren’t into jazz music, there is a rocking  gig at the Boys and Girls Club, June 15 with Shocked Standards, The Dream Within, Amplified and Tobin Pearson. It begins at 7 p.m.
 Also  on June 15,  Brenna Lowrie, Astral Swans (Mike Swann from Extra Happy Ghost) and Gold perform at the NAAG Gallery (255 12C St N). The show begins at  8 p.m.

There is also music in the Galt Gardens, June 16 for the bike rally. Bands include Billie Vegas, The New Weather Machine, Rex, Steve Keenan, the GS Lakie Middle school pop music program, Payton Hansen and Shocked Standards. The music begins at 11:30 a.m.
 And Lethbridge metal band the Void are going, wait for it, unplugged at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, June 16.  They are releasing a 12 song acoustic album and will be playing some of it live. There will be an eight song  acoustic set followed by an eight song plugged in rock set. The show begins at 9 p.m. There is no cover.


Last but not least, 20 extra tickets have benn released for Beatlemania at the Yates Theatre, June 15.


 I was blown away by the June 11 show. For a casual Beatles fan like myself, it gave me new appreciation for them. In a  fast moving, two hour and some long show, they covered the Beatles’  career from their early days, dressed in leather playing American rock and roll for enthusiastic Hamburg audiences with original drummer Pete Best, through to the loveable suit wearing mop tops playing for  hordes of screaming girls, the crazy psychedelia of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Band to their last days.
 They changed costumes , hairstyles and  even instruments  to reflect their evolving sound. Their vocal harmonies were  so spot on, I couldn’t help  but to look for lip synching and found none. They looked the part too,  right down to subtle mannerisms and Paul McCartney’s (played expertly by Joe Kane) screams.


 Snippets of dialogue between band members reflected their changing attitudes and a the issues they were dealing with at the time.  John Lennon noted George had been talking his ear off to let him play one of his songs before letting him play a pretty version of “Here Comes the Sun. Craig McGown, who played George Harrison, nailed all of Harrison’s leads on several guitars from an old Gretsch at the beginning, to the 12 string Rickenbacker, a psychedelic Stratocster for the Sgt. Pepper set to a cherry red Telecaster for the last couple songs.


 Both John and Paul took turns on a piano during the second half of the show. George played bass for a song.  The John Lennon character also played a lot of harmonica throughout the show.

 Behind them, three massive movie screens reflected the times a changing, with images of ticket stubs,  club backdrops in Hamburg, the Cavern and Shea Stadium, as well as a plethora of headlines and news clippings about them.
 During “Revolution,” the screens showed images of anti- war protest and hippies painting peace signs on the wall.
 But the music is what mattered and is what had a couple people, dancing in the aisles.


 They just barely touched on the Beatles’ vast catalogue of hits, but all of the highlights were there, focusing on Paul McCartney’s pretty pop hits like “Please, Please Me,” and I Want to Hold Your Hand.”


“The Hamburg set included one I hadn’t heard before “I’m a Loser” which the John Lennon character, played by Clark Gilmour dedicated to Pete Best (Grahame Critcher), who doubled as Ringo Starr and Pete Best. Ringo got to sing a couple including “Yellow Submarine”


 Each of them sang lead and all of them sang beautiful harmonies.
 They wound down their set with “Revolution,”  and “Come Together,” then left the stage to prepare for the replication of their infamous rooftop concert. John delivered his famous line “On Behalf of the Band, I hope we passed the audition,” then got the crowd singing along  with “Hey Jude,” before calling it a night.
 If you can get tickets for  Beatlemania  I definitely would recommend it. Tickets cost $54.

 Tonight, June 12, Toques and Beards host the open mic at the Slice and Steve Earle  plays the Yates. Unfortunately the show is sold out.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 12 June 2012 10:39 )  
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