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MonkeyJunk's return a highlight of the week

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I’ve been busier than a one armed paper hanger  with Hatrix’s production of a Comedy of Tenors this past few months,  so I haven’t made it to all of the shows I wanted to, especially last week.

However my timing was on after our opening night,Thursday as the play ended in time for me to catch all of the second set of Ottawa blues rock trio MonkeyJunk at the Geomatic Attic, May 24.

MonkeyJunk’s Tony D and Steve Marriner at the Geomatic Attic, May 24. photo by Richard Amery
 The good sized crowd was already hot and sweaty as Mike Spencer had cleared away a couple rows of chairs to create an improvised dance floor for several of the patrons to enjoy.
 I always look forward  to MonkeyJunk’s blend of blues, rock, soul and the inimitable sound of lead singer Steve Marriner’s baritone guitar and harp.

 They began the second set with “Light it Up,” and kept the energy and good vibes high and the dancers bodies moving throughout.

Lead guitarist Tony D drew many a burst of applause for short sweet and effective guitar solos and catchy riffs. Marriner told stories and jokes. He introduced “Pray For Rain” by talking about performing with Mic Mac traditional dancers in Ottawa.

 They played several familiar tacks including tracks from their first Juno award Winning album “To Behold,” including their cover of Hank Williams’ “You’re Gonna Change or I’m Gonna Go.”
Matt Sobb held a steady beat and got to show his skill at the end of the show as they played “Gone” from their second Juno Award winning album “Time to Roll.”

Marriner put down his guitar and picked up a harp and wandered through the crowd while playing to much applause.

They were called back for an encore of a spirited version of Chubby Checker’s  ’50s hit ‘ The Twist.” and wound things up with another, slower ‘50 sounding doo wop number “Lonely Heart.”

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 May 2018 14:24 )

Royal Wood and Fionn play beautiful folk and pop at the Geomatic Attic.

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 I caught one of two sold out shows at the Geomatic Attic with Royal Wood and White Rock, B.C duo Fionn, Tuesday, May 22 they had a great week with the two sold out shows and a close to sold out MonkeyJunk show.

Royal Wood made a long awaited return to the Geomatic Attic, May 22. photo by Richard Amery
 I was impressed by twin sisters Alanna and Brianne Finn-Morris aka Fionn who harmonized like they shared a brain and a set of vocal chords. They sounded like twin Jane Siberries with a touch of the Indigo Girls, singing a variety of original femme positive folk/pop music including  “Tell me I’m Pretty,” and “Magazine Face” though I was disappointed not to hear their catchy new  earworm of a single “Skeletons.”

 Mandolin wielding Alanna sang lead for the first half of the set as her guitar picking sister sang  effortless harmonies. I enjoyed their song “Sad Boys, and especially enjoyed listening to  Brianne taking over on lead vocals  as they explored their Irish roots and Celtic musical background on “Pagan March” and giggled  as she sang about her first love “Robert.”

 Royal Wood has had an interesting couple  years of upheaval since he last played here, at the Southminster United Church with the Good Lovelies in 2014— his father died of Alzheimer’s and he met and married his wife. So he had a lot of life experiences to draw from. He joked he wasn’t used to  singing happy songs, but played a couple of new ones anyway.

 He started out slowly, solo on the piano before being joined by two back up singers, a drummer and a bassist who alternated between upright bass and electric bass. He reminded me of a young Julian Lennon, especially on piano.

 he asked the audience to applaud for “those talented kids” Fionn before getting started on “ I’m Going to be Your Lover.”Fionn aka Alanna and Brianne Finn-Morris, opened for Royal Wood in Lethbridge, May 22 and 23. Photo by Richard Amery
 He  played a new song he wrote while recording his new CD “Ever After the Farewell” about being single, noting “I wrote it right before meeting my wife.” He introduced his talented backup singers, who added a l touch of gospel and soul as he switched to a 12 string guitar for a song.

Then it was time for the crowd to sing the “Hey Hey hey Forever and ever” chorus of one of his more  popular songs “Hey Hey hey, Forever and Ever.”

The affable  Royal Wood, laughed and joked and tried to play matchmaker for his single bassist Steve Sirai.
 After that he dug deep for a song he wrote in 2001.

 He ended an enjoyable set with “ Not Giving Up,” on piano and was, of course called back for an encore, which he played solo.

 He called back his band for a peppy cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “ Dancing in the Dark.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 May 2018 14:00 )

Indie rock and alternative meets with MTBC and Astral Swans

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A good sized crowd caught a diverse bill at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, May 19.

Astral Swans returned to Lethbridge last week. Photo by Richard Amery
 I caught the end of Conversations With Bears aka Calgary musician Lucien Lahey’s set.

He strummed dirty electric guitar and sang haunting indie rock in a spooky falsetto, which was well suited to fellow Calgarians Astral Swans set.

 But before them, local alternative rock band sounded a little out of place with their noisy, ’90s style alternative rock. Conversations with bears, aka Lucien Lahey, at the Owl Acoustic Lounge. photo by Richard Amery

The band including Quint Viskup on guitar, drummer Garwin Poff, Sil Campus on bass and trading vocals with guitarist Rob Cooper, who was seated for this show, having injured his back. As usual, their loud set had a very strong Pixies influence with Sil Campus’ haunting background vocals.

I hadn’t seen Astral Swans for a few years .

They delivered a strong set of spooky, indie rock. They playing an appealing set of really relaxing , multi layered, introspective ambient indie rock punctuated by bursts of microphone feedback.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 May 2018 13:47 )

Wildwood combines country and alt country with a few choice covers

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 I was looking forward to Edmonton alternative country quartet  Wildwood, featuring Tanyss Nixi and The Fuzz Kings’ David Johnston plus bassist Mitch Diesel and drummer Scott Lingley, but only caught half of their May 18 show at the Owl Acoustic lounge.

I arrived just in time for  a great cover of Chris Knight/ Cross Canadian Ragweed’s “ Cry Lonely,” sung by Nixi, who followed that up with “Rich People” from Tanyss Nixi and David Johnston of Wildwood. photo by Richard AmeryWildwood’s new Cd “Laverne.”

She traded lead vocals with Johnston, who sang the more Neil Young and Crazy Horse tinged alternative country, while she  sang the more classic country  songs including an upbeat cover of Johnny Cash’s “Cry,Cry, Cry” which wound down their first set.

Dave Johnston sang another highlight from the CD in the second set “ half As Rich As You Are Lonely,” with Bruce Springsteen swagger.

They traded vocals on a couple songs and Nixi turned things totally country on “Lonely All The Time.”

 They made things a little more rock and Roll with “Let the Juke Box Keep on Playing.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 May 2018 11:42 )

Gabriel Thaine and Megan Rourke play country and roots music

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The Slice has a decent sized audience for l a last minute show featuring Gabriel Thaine and  Megan Rourke, May 18.

Megan Rourke at the Slice. photo by Richard Amery
 Thaine sang a few country and blues songs and turned the  Beatles “All My Loving” into a country song.

 I hadn’t heard Megan Rourke perform for a while so it was great to hear her sing a more simple folk / roots stylings than her usual more experimental folk music. A Gillian Welch song was among the songs she played.

— by Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 May 2018 11:37 )
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