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L.A. Beat

Jason and the Diatonics return home for a fun-filled show

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As the final stop on their short provincial tour, two great independent groups from Vancouver dropped into Lethbridge's Slice Bar & Grill on Friday evening, Aug. 24.

Steph Olson and Jason Poulsen  of Jason and the Diatonics play toa full house at the Slice. Photo by Richard Amery
Coldwater Road kicked off the night's musical fun. Mostly unknown to Lethbridge listeners, this five-piece alternative folk crew certainly got the audience's attention.

Lead by Patrick Spencer (born and raised in Vancouver) on vocals and guitar, Coldwater Road was a treat for the ears. With cello, keyboard, flute and harmonica on board, they delivered a full set of catchy, fun songs - some reminiscent of work by My Morning Jacket or Iron & Wine.

Most of their lyrics seemed to revolve around obsessing over women; but by alternating between more emotional ballads and higher energy numbers, the audience was constantly entertained. Even though their set included several covers of tunes by songwriters Tom Russell, Bill Monroe and Okkervil River - this group has a distinct sound of their own.

Their multi-part harmonies and obvious passion for their songs garnered this group plenty of applause from the Lethbridge crowd. Touring in support of their newest LP, "Four Years Apart," this strong performance made Coldwater Road many new fans, and I foresee a bright future ahead.
After a short intermission, the night's headliners took the stage.

Led by Jason Poulsen, a Vancouver musician and actor with strong ties to Lethbridge, Jason & The Diatonics were touring in support of their debut LP, "Million Miles of Trouble", this five-piece indie-pop act eventually had the crowd eating from the palm of their hands.
Opening quite softly with Poulsen delivering a solo acoustic number, his sweet voice and delicate guitar picking lay a hush over the small, packed house. As the Diatonics' set progressed however, their tunes got more and more upbeat until the tiny dance floor was crowded with bodies.

 Much of the audience included past and present members of New West Theatre who Poulsen used to perform with.

Incura’s Jim McLaren’s funky bass and an energetic keyboard player provided a strong backbone for the set, while great backing vocals and some pleasing ukulele and tambourine accompaniment added an interesting edge.

Hints of other Canadian troubadours like Danny Michel and Jeremy Fisher could be heard throughout their hour-long set. Their style is unabashedly poppy, but by integrating delicate, layered harmonies behind Poulsen's heartfelt lyrics, one could almost forget that it was night outside; daydreaming instead of sunny afternoons and romantic interludes.

Based on the number of crowd members singing and clapping along, it was obvious that many friends and family members had come out just to see this crew.
As the set progressed, the band broke into newer, more rockin' material. Complete with fat reggae-style basslines and some energetic drum work, the audience were soon clapping and whistling along with the band.

Whether Jason & The Diatonics were singing about life's little struggles, maintaining relationships, or just a cute little ditty about kitchen cutlery; by the number of bodies dancing it was clear that the crowd was enjoying the band's positive vibrations and good energy.

As their set wound down and the night came to an end, Poulsen returned to the stage for several encore songs after some gentle audience urging.
Set to return to their hometown of Vancouver the following day, these two bands made quite the impression. Lethbridge can only hope that they will both be back again sometime soon.

— By Chris Hibbard, Music Lover, special to L.A. Beat

Last Updated ( Sunday, 26 August 2012 16:47 )  
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