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L.A. Beat

Big John Bates brings new music and Brandy Bones back to Lethbridge

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A good sized Wednesday night crowd enjoyed the latest musical evolution of  Big John Bates at the Slice, Dec. 9.
Bates, wielding a tricked out Telecaster instead of his usual Gretsch, pretty much took a backseat to upright bassist Brandy Bones for this show, leaving her in charge of the lead vocals and eye-popping tricks. Bates supplied driving guitar and hot solos and sang a few of the show‘s highlights.Big John Bates and cellist Justine Echo. Photo By Rchard Amery

 While they have left behind their psychobilly, metal and punk roots of previous  years, those influences could still be heard in their exuberant show.

 They had a powerful impact as drummer Ty Ty the Saviour broke his snare drum three songs into the set. Slice owner Jesse Freed quickly found another snare to use.

The four piece including lead guitarist / vocalist Big John Bates, upright bassist  Brandy Bones, cellist Justine Echo and drummer Ty Ty the Saviour setting an ominous, bone chilling, hair raising tone from the start as Echo and Bones bowed their bass and cello, creating haunting sounds.

 Brandy Bones sang most of the lead vocals for the set, which focused on their latest CD “From the Bestiary to the Leathering Room.”

Brandy Bones playing upright bass on the bar. Photo by Richard AmeryBones’ bass resonated throughout the room. She brought out a magnificent bag of traditional rockabilly tricks, lifting her bass over her head, setting it on the floor and doing a few acrobatics while balancing on it’s side.

She lifted it over her head again and brought it over to the bar, not missing a note, jumped on top of it and played another bass solo while ordering a shot. Meanwhile Bates bowed at Justine Echo's feet as she sawed at her cello, smiling sweetly through black lipstick, dressed in black gothic garb.

Bones ’s voice alternated between blood curdling shrieks and haunting, country tinged vocals giving the band a sound similar to Southern Culture on the Skids.

 Bates sang “God Forgives, I Don’t,” which is a highlight of the new Cd, before delving into the band’s back catalogue.

 There was more spine chilling cello after that, which lead to a fun gospel tinged, groove filled re-arrangement of the EurythmicFireworks at Big John Bate]s Dec. 9 Lethbridge show. Photo by Richard Amerys’ ’80s hit “Missionary Man.”
 Bates wound down the show before 11:30 by wandering into the crowd for a solo and a shot while drummer Ty Ty used a grinder to send sparks shooting through the air as Brandy Bones ducked them.
 They were called back to play an encore of a couple songs.

Brandy Bones gave her bass to Justine Echo and took centre stage to sing lead vocals for a high octane cover of Iggy Pop’s “The Passenger.”
I missed opening act JJ Thomas, who apparently put on an excellent show.

 — By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 16 December 2015 13:32 )  
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