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Electric Eye 3 will be an “arts explosion” this week

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The Electric Eye Music Festival is back  and bigger and better for their third crack at the cat this week.
“It will be an arts explosion,” enthused James Phelan, who co-organized the third annual festival with Eric Sharp.
 The festival features over 60 bands playing at several venues downtown from May 11-15.Matthew Wilkinson and Electric Eye Mascot Mike Hell Bolt-On  paint giant hands decorations designed by Crystal Bouman, Fayla Vedres, Brittany Griffiths, Matthew Wilkinson, with the help of Eric Sharp and Daniel Moxon. Photo by Richard Amery

 In addition to cutting edge music, this year’s festival features a comedy night, May 11 at Two Guys and A Pizza Place, a fashion show at SAAG on Saturday, May 15 and an art installation at Attainable Records. And throughout the week, Castrati: An Electro Drag Opera will be running at 8 p.m. each night at Club Didi. Also coinciding with  the Electric Eye, though not directly connected to it, the Lethbridge Boys and Girls Club (1405 8th Ave N) present an anarchist book fair, May 14.
“It (The Electric Eye) features the very best of emerging artists,” Phelan said noting they sifted through 300 submissions to choose this year’s line  up.

“The Yeah Dads ( Phelan’s band) didn’t get selected this year. We were really overwhelmed by the number of submissions. We tried to pick bands who applied last year but weren’t able to play. We balanced local acts with really good touring acts and all of that allowed us to choose the best. It was a difficult process,” he said.

“We have excellent representation from Medicine Hat this year and a lot of bands from Edmonton and Saskatchewan. We also have a lot of Vancouver bands playing,“ he said, adding it is tough to pick a personal favourite show to see.
But he is excited about a Friday night show at the Slice featuring Calgary rock band Napalmpom plus Physical Copies ( who played Electric Eye last year) and pop punk band Thick Lines.

The Electric Eye opens with a whole lot of rock and roll at the Slice on May 11 with Edmonton metal band Striker, who have just been nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award for best metal/ hard rock band plus Calgary based rock and roll knights Outlaws of Ravenhurst and local bands Lustre Creame and  Rainbow Patrol.

 Before the show, the Outlaws of Ravenhurst will be playing special unplugged show at  Kapow Comics.
 There are also special showcases from Sled Island and Shake Records. The Shake Records showcase is at Attainable Records beginning at midnight with Durban Poison, Blü Shorts and Power Buddies. Attainable also has a dinner time show featuring Medicine Hat band Terra and the final show of the Ruby Plumes.

 There is a special Weird Canada showcase for drone music day showcasing drone and electronica music featuring repetitive tones on Sunday, May 15.

“It’s called the Slow Hell Melt Down, Valiska, Yankee Yankee,  An Ant and an Atom and Pyramid Indigo will be performing.
 Two of the shows have become fundraisers for Fort McMurray, with proceeds being donated to the Red Cross.
The five dollar cover from the May 12 show at Blueprint with U of L Students Loïc Zev and Crack Cloud will be donated to the Red Cross.

The other fundraiser is an afternoon show at the Owl Acoustic Lounge May 15 with  Pancake, Tyler Vanden Dool and CKXU Tuneful Tangle winner Living an Aeon. Half of the proceeds from that show will be donated to the Red Cross.
 Other special events include a Saturday afternoon fashion show at  the Southern Alberta Art Gallery.
“Music and art have always been very much connected to fashion,” said Phelan, observing he passing of Prince and David Bowie this year emphasized that connection.

“So we’re putting together the very best barbers and salons like Catwalk and Bad Apple. And clothing will be supplied by Boarderline and the Drunken Sailor,” he said. We totally want people to dress up for this event,” he said, adding Edmonton DJ Oddbear will be performing  at the event.
An art show will be running at Attainable records ( 314 7th St South)which is being organized by Mechaela Marr.
“We’re really excited to see what the community has created for this show,” Phelan said.
Local comedian Jonathan Grant has a comedy night planned for May 11 at Two Guys and a Pizza Place featuring  Fernie comedian  lance Taylor. and local comedians Niek Theelan, Winnipeg comedian Alana Fischer and Saskatchewan comedian Serena Shane.


Drummer Chris Dadge is excited to return to Lethbridge to play The Electric Eye Music festival, this time with his band Lab Coast  at Attainable Records, May 12.
 He played last year’s Electric Eye Music Festival  as part of fellow Calgarian Chad Van Gaalen’s band.
“It was an in an out thing. And we were playing the big stage and we weren’t able to stick around and check out the other stages. This time I’m playing another venue, I’m familiar with it, but it isn’t the Slice,” said Dadge, who is excited to kick off the Calgary band’s big tour in support of their fourth CD “ Remember the Moon.”
“Everyone was super nice,” he said.
Striker guitarist  Tim Brown is excited to return to Lethbridge to open Electric Eye at the Slice, May 11.
He is glad the band will be able to make it back to  Southern Alberta en route to several   American concert dates. He noted their tour schedule meant they had to play on the Wednesday to open  the Electric Eye.
“We’ve played Coaldale a couple of times. We’re playing Portland after the Lethbridge show, so that gives us an extra day to drive,” he said.

While all of the shows have cover charges, Phelan recommended people purchase a festival pass, which includes admission to all of the shows up to capacity, plus an array of coupons from local businesses and even a compilation cassette from last year’s Electric Eye.
“Cory Fischer did an incredible job on that. Those are performances from the festival of some of the best bands,’ Phelan said, adding they are setting up  many of the venues to record another compilation of this year’s festival.

“The $60 is an amazing deal. It’s like a dollar per band and five days of entertainment, plus the gift certificates,” he said.
“We really want people to come out this year and enjoy everything and make good decisions. Last year a lot of the venues reached capacity, so please show respect  to the volunteers working the doors and make sure people are comfortable,” Phelan advised.

“We really want to keep doing these. We are a not for profit festival,” he said.
“But if people want to see events like this to continue, they need to come out and support live music,” he said adding last year they sold out  of the 150 festival passes and are on pace to sell out passes again.
 Passes can be purchased at Blueprint, The Drunken Sailor, Attainable Records and various Gas King locations.

 A version of this story appears in the May  11, 2016 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times.
— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 May 2016 11:18 )  
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