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Barney Bentall and the Grand Cariboo Express returning to Lethbridge this week

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Barney Bentall is excited to bring back the Grand Cariboo Express show to Southminster United Church  for a special Geomatic Attic show, Thursday,  Nov. 7.
“ We’re thinking of alternating years between Fort Macleod (where they played the Empress Theatre last year) and Lethbridge, because the Fort Macleod show was so much fun. It’s a wonderful theatre,” observed Bentall from VancouvBarney Bentall and the Grand Cariboo Express return to Lethbridge this week. PHoto by Richard Amery er, getting ready to rehearse with a motley crew of talent in Calgary, before opening the tour there, Nov. 1.

“ I guess we’ll figure out what we’re doing during rehearsal. Everyone rehearses on their own,” said Bentall, Bentall has assembled a steady stable of talent mover the past 14 years, though the line up changes slightly every year and sometimes every show.
This year Barney and co-host Matt Masters will be joined by friends Wendy Bird, Leeroy Stagger, Ridley Bent, Dustin Bentall, Kirby Barber, Stephanie Cadman and the Gold Rush All Stars. Usually they show is a fundraiser for a local  charity. This year, Barney Bentall  and the Cariboo Express are lending a hand to Youth One.

“This year the shows are half and half. When we do a show for charity it means a lot more script writing for Matt (Masters, co-host) and I because it is set up like the Grand Ole Opry where each song is sponsored and we introduce each one,” he said, adding they have fun with that aspect of it.
“For example, If a law firm sponsors  a song, then we have fun with that and make a joke,” he said.

“Leeroy can ’t do the whole tour with us this time, but he will be playing the Lethbridge show. And my son, Dustin is coming with us on this tour. And Mariel Buckley will be with us for the Calgary show,” Bentall said, noting each artist gets to play their own song or the cover of their choice and can ask the other musicians to join in if they wish
“ Some songs, like Ridley Bent’s ‘Suicidewinder,’ we wouldn’t think of doing a show without playing it,” he said.

Last Updated ( Friday, 01 November 2019 21:46 ) Read more...

U of L Opera Workshop celebrates Italy

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The University of Lethbridge celebrates Italy with their nineteenth annual Opera Workshop, Viva Italia, happening, Nov. 1 and 2 in University Theatre.

 Patrick Davis and Krysia Ferguson rehearsae a scene for the u of L opera Workshop, Nov. 1 and 2 in University Theatre. Photo by Richard Amery
 The two hour performance will feature excerpts from a variety of well known operas including Verdi’s La Traviata, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, and Mozart’s Italian opera masterpiece, The Marriage of Figaro. The 25 cast members will also be part of the University of Lethbridge’s annual collaboration with the Symphony Orchestra, when they perform Gilbert and Sullivan’s “ The Gondoliers, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.
Director Dr. Blaine Hendsbee chose the Italian theme for the show for several reasons, not the least of which there is a lot of material to choose from. He noted the operas are either written in Italy, sung in Italian or set in Italy.

There is a minimal set and props in this production.

“They’re all dressed formal. We’re saving  the props and costumes for ‘The Gondolier,”” Hendsbee said.

“Opera in other countries ebbs and flows, but in Italy, it is always growing. So there is lots to choose from” Hendsbee observed, adding the show includes a lot of familiar pieces, whether fans know a lot about opera or just recognize the Barber of Seville from watching Bugs Bunny cartoons. There will also be an excerpt from “Kiss Me Kate, and much more.

“ It can be a long two-hour show if people don’t recognize any of the music, so we chose material that is well known.  So we’re performing the Barber of  Seville and the drinking song from La Traviata. We’re also performing music from the oldest  known completed opera ‘Coronation of Poppea.’ We’re also performing music from Mozart,  Handel and Pucinni,” he continued, adding he chose pieces that were best suited to his students’ voices.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 29 October 2019 11:59 ) Read more...

Lots of laughs for Halloween week

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Halloween week ends with a roar and an eclectic selection of music and comedy in Lethbridge.Sean Burns returns to Casino Lethbridge this weekend. photo by Richard Amery
After this election and the Alberta budget announcement. Everyone could use a little laughter. So take a break from bellyaching on social media by taking advantage of  one of several options to let loose and laugh.
 Good Times has their regular comedy open mic on Tuesday night. And The Owl Acoustic Lounge has their monthly comedy open mic on Wednesday, Oct. 30.

 Good Times brings in comedian Sunee Dhaliwal for two shows, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
The next night, Nov. 2 Chris Gordon takes the stage at Good Times at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for each show.
 Impromptu is back with a band new improvised soap opera. America Gomorrah Story, ideal for Halloween, hits Didi’s Playhaus’s stage, Nov 1 at 8:30 p.m. with the show, beginning at 9 p.m. Admission is $10.

 But Halloween events dominate the week as expected.

 October Poppy’s Eryn Kleyh, plus Vancouver musicians Nixie and Elle Wolf plus Calgary’s Adrian Chalifour play a pre-Halloween party at the Slice, Oct. 30.

For actual Halloween, Kelowna rock band the Wild! return to Lethbridge to play an intimate show at the Slice, Oct. 31. Tickets are going fast at $10 a pop. Local band 21st Avenue will be opening. The Junkman’s Quire play Halloween at the Owl Acoustic Lounge. And Theoretically Brewing celebrate Halloween by closing their patio with a haunted Halloween party with Winnipeg ant-rock band Trampoline, Calgary hard rock duo Johnnor and local band Fawns. The music begins at 8 p.m. Admission is $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 29 October 2019 11:55 ) Read more...

Johnny O band bring the blues back to the Slice

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There are only so many blues fans in Lethbridge, so when two blues shows are competing with each other, one is bound to suffer, as was the case for Colorado bluesman’ Johnny O’s show at the Slice, Oct. 19.

Johnny O at the Slice, Oct. 19. Photo by Richard Amery
 They were competing with Tri-Continental at the Lethbridge College Cave. I was hoping the last starting show would get some spill over from the Folk Club, but it was not to be.

 The trio still played an outstanding set of R and B tinged, soulful blues music. And , of, course, I  caught them going on a set break. But knowing how good they are, had to stick around for a beer or three.

They had a dedicated audience clustered together to watch them.

 Johnny O was just here with an acoustic quartet about a month ago but this time he had the hot Calgary rhythm section of bassist Viktor Szuroczki and drummer Hollywood Bob, who usually play with the show’s host Keith Catfish Woodrow.

 They laid down some sweet grooves for Johnny O to sing and play over.

 Tenor voices seem to be the in thing and Johnny O had a great one, only matched by his tasteful guitar playing.
 They played  original music and blues classics and even a Little Feat cover, which was pretty sweet.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Friday, 25 October 2019 19:17 )

Tri-Continental hypnotize with world music blended blues

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It is always a hypnotic and psychedelic experience to have Tri-Continental back in Lethbridge.Tri-Continental enrapturing the Lethbridge Folk Club, Oct, 19. Photo by Richard Amery
 They played to a good sized, quiescent crowd at the Lethbridge College Cave for the Lethbridge Folk Club, Oct 19.

 The three, Madagascar Slim, Bill Bourne and Lester Quitzau, combine their unique styles  to make a veritable melting pot  of blues tinged world music. So it turns into a really intense experience, as their Oct 19 show showed. Though I only caught the last half of it and missed Steve Keenan’s opening set.

They each took turns singing lead  vocals, harmonizing and playing unique solos, leading to some ecstatic jams.
 Madagascar Slim played the most blues of the trio, through his  tender touch on electric guitar, lent it a more exotic flair as expected. Meanwhile Bill Bourne add the acoustic rhythms, the folk and some fleet fingered finger picking. He also had the most hypnotic and haunting voice of the trio voice. Quitzau’s sultry, yet subtle slide guitar brought it all together, sounding like a blend of The Northern Pikes’ Jay Semko and Sonny Landreth.

 They focussed on music from their new CD “Dust Dancer ” but   a couple older songs were highlights. Quitzau lead the band through a rousing jam of “Pray for the Fool,” which had the audience singing along.

 Bourne tricked his drummer,  who was all  set to play one of Bourne’s older hits, but instead leaned into a big sing along of “We All Live Together.”
 Madagascar Slim lead them through  one of the new songs. Of course they were called back for an encore.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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