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Paul McKenzie keeps healthy on tour with Real McKenzies

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Vancouver based Celtic punk pioneers, the Real McKenzies’ tales of debauchery are legendary. Just read Chris Walters’ book “Under the Kilt The Real  McKenzies Exposed” for details.
  And, with dropping their latest CD “Two Devils Will Talk,”on the Fat Wreck Chords record label, are sure to become even more so.

Real mcKenzies frontman Paul McKenzie. Photo by Richard Amery
“We have a new band, with fresh livers. I love fresh meat,” said Real McKenzies frontman Paul McKenzie getting ready to  disembark a ferry on Vancouver Island to join his bandmates for their first tour stop in Victoria. They will be touring non stop until November including Canada, U.S.A., a club tour of Europe including a visit to Scotland, another North American tour and back to Europe for a festival tour.

“We are planning to go to Scotland again, though we never make any money there. We just love being there,” he said.
 The Real McKenzies, who include drummer Dan Stenning, Basque born piper Aspy Luison, return to Lethbridge, March 16 for what’s become their annual pre St. Patrick’s Day party, at Average Joes with baseball punks the Isotopes who share bassist Troy Jak and guitarist Dan Garrison with the Real McKenzies.
“They’re doing double duty, but they’re fit, they can handle it,” McKenzie said.

They are happy to be working with  Fat Wreck Chords in the U.S. and Stomp Records in Canada for the new CD.
“They’re pretty hands off. They’ve helped us prepare for the tour,” he said, noting they are most excited to play Punk Rock Bowling in Las Vegas.

“We’re really pleased with the CD,” he said.
McKenzie noted he likes to tease Fat Wreck Chords founder Fat Mike, who is also bassist/ vocalist for punk band NOFX.
“He’s a good guy. I’ll tell jokes he won’t get at first then three hours later he’ll call and say ‘I just got that,’” McKenzie chuckled.

Staying fit and healthy is an important part of surviving a Real McKenzies tour.

“I do one on and one off. And I only drink beer, wine and whiskey. Nobody’s going to put fentanyl in a beer. What they do is scary. They’re even putting it in marijuana now,” McKenzie observed, adding he doesn’t touch anything if he doesn’t know where it’s from, and encourages bandmates to exercise the same prudence, though he can’t control their behaviour.
“Beer, wine and whiskey are better and it’s legal,” he said.
 Eating healthy is important.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 14 March 2017 14:10 ) Read more...

Tin and the Toad releasing new CD at Windy City Opry

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Rural Alberta country combo Tin and the Toad are excited to have the official Cd release party for their sophomore CD “Out of the Wind” at this month’s Windy City Opry, March 15 at the Slice.Tin and the Toad return to lethbridge to play the Windy City Opry this week. Photo by Richzard Amery
 The show will begin early at 8 p.m. with Calgary roots songwriter Brooke Wylie.

“Things are going good,” said Tin and the Toad mandolinist/ guitarist and singer Justin (Tin) Smith,who is joined by guitarist/vocalist Cody (Toad) Shearer, bassist/ Vocalist Pete Loughlin, guitarist/steel guitarist Steve Loree and drummer Ryan Shearer.
“We had a big sold out CD release party in Calgary at and sold out the big room, the Ironwood and we sold a lot of merch,” he added.

“We were gearing up to do a CD release party in Lethbridge when Shaela (Miller) called us about playing the Windy City Opry. It’s a pretty cool thing she’s doing, setting up a night for country music at the Slice,” he said.
They were originally going to release  Out of the Wind on vinyl for this tour, but they suffered from the closure of Calgary vinyl pressing plant Canada Boy.

“We were going to release it in December and then Canada Boy went under,” Smith said.

They are pleased with their second CD.
“It’s our second album so we wanted to capture the feel of what it’s like when we‘re all sitting around the kitchen table singing with each other,” he said, adding that resulted in a mellower sounding Cd which was recorded live off the floor.
“We had enough songs for two CDs, but we chose the ones we felt worked best together,” he said.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 12 March 2017 11:21 ) Read more...

24th Street Wailers try our new blues at the Geomatic Attic

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 “The blues never hurt anybody on a Sunday,” said Steve Keenan of the Steve Keenan Band, who opened an excellent night of blues music at the Geomatic Attic, Feb. 26, opening for the 24th Street Wailers.24th Street Wailers' Mike Archer fixes Lindsay Beaver’s drum kit mid song, Feb. 26 at the Geomatic Attic. Photo by Richard Amery

I was pleased to see a sold out show for the 24th Street Wailers on Sunday as they’re a band I wanted to see live as soon as I heard their CD “Unshakeable,” And they did not disappoint even though they didn’t play anything off any of their albums, even the latest CD “ Where Evil Grows.”
 Lead singer/ drummer Lindsay Beaver had an immediately appealing, ragged, bluesy voice reminiscent of Janis Joplin.

 They have never been to Lethbridge, but played the Blues On the Bow, so some of the crowd had seen them before.

They dedicated their set to trying out b The 24th street Wailers saxophonist Jonny Wong takes a solo, Feb. 26 at the Geomatic Attic. photo by Richard Ameryrand new material on the receptive audience. The short Beaver also stood up while singing and playing drums, which was new for her as she observed she‘s so short nobody could see her behind her kit.

 It worked. Despite a few technical issues, she cracked jokes and grinned at her husband / upright bassist Michael Archer.
 Beaver and Archer looked like they just stepped out of the ’50s. The band  themselves played a whole lot of old time, piano and saxophone driven rock and roll, while playing with a little jazz, a little rockabilly and a a lot of blues, not to mention huge doses of horn driven ’50s and ’60 Stax pop, R and B and soul music and a touch of the Sadies-style country psychedelia.

 Saxophonist Jonny Wong stepped to the centre of  the stage to take upbeat solos, which drew applause from the audience. Archer placed his ear to the body of his upright bass and dug in, before changing to electric bass for a couple of the  faster songs. He even sang lead vocals on a song.

 Guitarist  Marc Doucet mostly kept to the back of the stage laying down rhythm, but also stepped to the front of the stage for a couple of perfectly formed solos.
Keyboardist Jesse Whiteley’s fingers were a blur as he did his best Jerry Lee Lewis impression,  short of setting his keyboard on fire.

Considering Archer and Beaver are based in Texas and their band mates are in Toronto, the band was on fire.
There were a lot of highlights including “Lowlife ”and “She‘ll be Gone.”

Another highlight was a cover of Irma Thomas’ ’60s pop rocker “Breakaway” which sounded like “The Isley Brothers’ “You Make me Want to Shout.”Steve Keenan band drummer Darwin Romanchuk focuses on Keenan as he solos, Feb. 26 at the Geomatic Attic. Photo by Richard Amery
They wound down the set with Archer picking up an electric bass for a smoking , rocking couple songs featuring Beaver taking an incendiary drum solo.

They were called back for an encore, which was a complete contrast to the rest of the set as it was a gorgeous  a capella number featuring everyone except Doucet, showing off their vocal harmonies.
The Steve Keenan band, an excellent blues rock band opened the show with a hit set of original blues/ rock and country music.

The band including Keenan on lead guitar and vocals, drummer Darwin Romanchuk, bassist David Popovitch and new lead guitarist Pete Watson played  a variety of songs including brand new songs, more country inspired songs and older blues rockers including my favourite Keenan original “Whiskey Drinking Blues,” and  their excellent, set ending cover of “Going Down.” At times Keenan sounded a little like Irish bluesman Rory Gallagher, especially on slower, more jammy numbers.

 “Going Down,” featured some sweet harmonized guitar leads between Keenan and Watson,  who, in addition to playing in unison, effortlessly traded leads, sometimes within the same song. A highlight was a slower countryish tribute to Keenan’s new daughter.
 They ended their set with their hot version of “Going Down” which drew enthusiastic applause and calls for an encore.

— By Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 08 March 2017 10:39 )

FUNdrive 2017 to show CKXU is more than just a radio station

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University of Lethbridge based radio station CKXU  is more than just a radio station. It‘s a place to not only hear music you won’t hear anywhere else according to their mandate to not play anything you hear on any other radio station, but it is also a place to hang out, blow off a little steam and stress, and make new friends in the process.  CKXU Station manager Aaron Trozzo is excited about FUNdrive 2017. Photo by Richard AmeryCKXU is also a  contributor to  in the community, helping out with events in and around Lethbridge as well as  big contributors to the local music scene, either by playing local musicians on the air, hosting and sponsoring concerts or actually being part of it as numerous CKXU personalities and volunteers are part of a variety of local bands.

This year‘s annual FUNdrive runs March 17- March 24. This year’s theme recognizes how CKXU is more than just a radio station.

“We’ve planned a pretty cool FUNdrive this year. I am legit excited about it,“ said CKXU station manager Aaron Trozzo.

“ FUNdrive is the time of year when CKXU actively solicits listeners, members, alumni, community members and students for donations to offset operating expenses and help fund special  projects,” Trozzo continued.
“This year’s theme is the things about CKXU that illustrate our involvement in the community and our contribution to the community,” he said.

“Whether that’s supporting the local music scene or in some capacity helping with other community organizations with projects and events on a more human resources level or local environmental initiatives like the Spring highway cleanup or the annual community clean up,” he continued, adding they are also planning to make the 2017 Love and Records festival in September 75 per cent waste free.

This year‘s FUNDrive goal is to raise $30,000 to cover station expenses and, if they beat the goal by $3,000, that extra money will be put towards an annual $1,000 scholarship for U of L students.

“A really cool thing we’re doing this year is implementing a ‘stretch goal.’ The $30,000 has already been earmarked for specific projects, but the other $3,000 will be for a scholarships — $1,000 a year for three years. If we don’t make it we’ll do it again next year. But we want to blow that $30,000 out of the water this year and improve student life,” he enthused.

Last Updated ( Monday, 13 March 2017 16:50 ) Read more...

Everything from modern dance to metal this week

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There is a variety of  fun things to check out  this week— everything from folk to metal, modern dance to  blues.

Miesha and the Spanks return to Lethbridge , March 10. Photo by Richard Amery
The week begins at the Slice, March 8 with Juno Award winning folk musician/ banjo picker Old Man Luedecke who returns to Lethbridge after two years. The last time he visited , he had a decent crowd, but not nearly as many as the affable folk singer deserves.The show will start early, at 8 p.m., so don’t be fashionably late.

Calgary punk/ alternative rock duo Miesha and the Spanks return to the Slice, March 10 with Calgary female powered grunge/blues band All Hands on Jane and local rock duo Cope.
 If you really want to bang your head, Detroit metal band I Prevail play Average Joes, with Assuming We Survive and Make War.The show was sold out  at Coyote joes, but has been moved to the larger venue. If there are any left, tickets cost $15 at the door.

 If you just want to mellow out, local bluesman Leon Barr returns to the Mocha Cabana, March 10 to play over the supper hours 6-9 p.m.. And country/ roots singer Mariel Buckley returns to Lethbridge to play  the Owl Acoustic Lounge.
There is a variety of fun on March 11.

 Down the road in Fort Macleod, Vancouver born, Toronto based jazz musician Tia Brazda performs at 7:30 p.m. She has toured all over the world and is working on her sophomore album. Tickets are $35.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 07 March 2017 09:27 ) Read more...
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