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D-Rangers play wicked show of wild bluegrass rock

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Winnipeg bluegrass band  The D-Rangers  returned with a vengeance to the Slice, April 28.  Watching them grow and develop in Kenora/ Winnipeg  in the late ’90s and early 2000, they always captured my imagination as being The D-Rangers Jaxon Haldane and Aaron Goss. Photo by Richard Amerymore than a bluegrass band.

Aaron Goss’s crazed mandolin playing  inspired me to buy a mandolin. I didn’t know a mandolin could sound so— cool.


Their shows were always  crazy amalgamation of greasy, sweaty punk mixed with fleet fingered bluegrass chops mixed with rock and roll and a generous helping of assorted weirdness.


After a seven years hiatus including band members Jaxon Haldane going to Oklahoma to study and playing solo as well as accompanying Gordie Tentrees and mandolinist Aaron Goss, guitarist Chris Saywell going on to play with assorted hard rock and punk bands, muckbucket bassist Tom Fodey playing with dozens of Winnipeg bands and fiddle Don Zueff just being amazing, they have only got better with age.


Fodey’s muckbucket bass— a home made creation built of two by fours, rope and a plastic muck bucket immediately caught the eye and the ear, especially considering what a great, big resonant sound he got from it holding down a steady rhythm.


They played  a variety of songs from their new CD “Barbaric Cultural Practices ” including the exotic/ gypsy/ Cuban flavoured title track as well as  a solid Bluegrass version of Townes Van Zant’s “ Pancho and Lefty” as well as crowd favourites, as the audience, who made up for  their lack of numbers with tons of enthusiasm, remembered them from playing the Tongue N’ Groove years ago.
They dedicated one of my favourite D-Rangers’ songs, “Trois Rivieres” to George Arsene, who always plays it when he performs.


A good sized crowd ended up showing up but I expected the show to be standing room only.


The D Rangers never fail to please, there was plenty of finger-bleeding mandolin, banjo and guitar picking throughout and subtle fiddle, all of which  was showcased on a great cover of Del Shannon’s “Runaway.”
 The first big dose of weirdness, apart from the muckbucket bass, came courtesy of a wicked and wild cover of Devo’s “Are We Not Man? We Are Devo,” which showed how in tune the band members are with each other, nailing multiple time tempo changes of the song while giving it a bluegrass makeover.


Usually bluegrass bands are known for massive vocal harmonies, but Jaxon Haldane sang all of the  vocals while Zeuff and Fodey’s harmonies were a lot more subtle.

They ended their first set with an apt Bob Wills cover of “Stay All Night, Stay A Little longer,” which was when the crowd started to show up as the rest of the crowd did as the song bid.
A highlight of set two was Jaxon Haldane’s saw solo. I always love that bit, watching him wreak eerie theremin-like sounds out of a saw and a bow.
 “ Til the Knife Gets Hot,” was another highlight of the second set.

They wound down the show with a very cool bluegrass take on AC DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.” before being called back for an encore which I hoped would include their incredible Dead Kennedys cover of “Too Drunk To Fuck.”. But I was denied. Next time.


I missed an opening set by Okay Mann, but caught most of an impressive set from Edmonton based roots/folk trio  Postscript featuring lead singer Steph Blais, who reminded me of Keri McTighe of Winnipeg roots quartet of Nathan, backed by upright bassist Paul Cournoyer and guitarist Brayden Treble.Postscript opening for The D Rangers. Photo by Richard Amery, L.a. beat Editor
 They played an upbeat set of twangy roots and folk music which immediately caressed the ears and captured the heart.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 03 May 2017 10:40 )
 

Zojo Black lets special guests strut their stuff

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I missed local blues trio Zojo Black’s weekend shows  so made a point of being at the Slice, April 26, for a show which  ended up being  an unplugged, freewheeling showcase of local talent.

Greg Gomola and Paul Kype playing an acoustic Zojo Black set. Photo by Richard Amery
 I arrived as Jenn Pellerin, Paul Kype and Steve Keenan were winding up a set of classic rock covers including “Me and Bobby McGee.”


 After that, the audience was treated to a performance of gorgeous classic/ instrumental guitar playing by Tim Mulgrew, who  played beautiful melodies and plenty of chiming harmonics.


 I could only stay for a couple of Zojo Black songs when Greg Gomola rejoined Kype and Keenan.

Tim mulgrew playing  acoustic music. Photo by Richard Amery
 They played a sweet Tragically Hip cover and followed it up with a solid version of CCR’s “ Have You Ever Seen the Rain.”


 Kype sang an amazing version of the Allman Brothers/ Govt. Mule’s “Soulshine” and were just launching in to “Hotel California,” by the time I left.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 03 May 2017 10:28 )
 

Juno winner Paul Reddick plays beautiful blues from throughout his career

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I expected a show from Juno Award winning bluesman Paul Reddick to be sold out and standing room only. But it was not to be at the Geomatic Attic, Tuesday, April 25.

Paul Reddick playing the Geomatic Attic, April 25. Photo by Richard Amery
 Instead, Reddick and his hot band including MonkeyJunk’s Steve Marriner on guitar, captivated a decent sized , attentive crowd of approximately 75, who were dancing in their seats and enthusiastically applauding Reddick’s impressive harp playing and Marriner’s incendiary guitar solos.


 The first set included several highlights from his Juno award winning CD “Ride The One,“ but he also included several selections from previous works including a show highlight from “Sugarbird.”

which was a highlight of the show.

Another  highlight was an older upbeat blues stomper “Trouble Again” which he noted was produced by Colin Linden who beat out Reddick for the Juno award in 2001 with his own CD.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 03 May 2017 10:20 )
 

Matinee and Fast Romantics play stupendous show of rocking pop music

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A great candidate for best show of the year that nobody saw came  courtesy of the Matinee and the Fast Romantics, who rocked an intimate audience, Tuesday, April 25 at the Slice.
 A handful of folks were blown away by fantastic vocal harmonies and a whole lot of fun.


 I  arrived in the middle of the MatineeThe Fast Romantics playing the Slice, April 25. Photo by Richard Amery’s set. The Vancouver based indie rock/ folk/pop band were in a rootsy mood, putting a country twist on songs from their more pop oriented new album “Dancing On Your Grave.”
 I didn’t get to hear the catchy title track, but caught a lot of the great tunes from the album and some older numbers.


 The band, frontman Matt Layzell, guitarist/banjo player/ mandolinist Matt Rose, drummer Pete Lemon and guitarist  Geoff percussionist Geoff Petrie as a well as an organist
sang upbeat melodies .

Layzell’s voice made me think of Elliott Brood mixed with Tom Cochrane.


They switched to acoustic instruments as Matt Rose switched to banjo for the last few songs of their set.

The Matinee playing the Slice, April 25. Photo by Richard Amery
They wound down their set by countrifying Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time.”
Staying in that vein, the Fast Romantics played a very much upbeat and enjoyable ’80s pop inspired set.


Frontman Matthew Angus was charismatic, strumming guitar then exchanging it for a microphone which he crooned into while wandering into the nearly empty room and climbing onto the pool table. The band was backed by a massive ’60s sounding drum beat.
Kirty stood at front of the stage, added keyboards, extra guitar and percussion as well as supplying sweet vocal harmonies. She made “Radio Waves” sing.


Lisa Lorenz, hidden at the back of the stage added more keyboard and another layer of beautiful vocal harmonies as did bassist Jeffrey Lewis and Kevin Black and Nick McKinlay.


The band‘s sound was reminiscent of ’80s pop bands like Roxy Music, Depeche Mode and Rick Astley with a touch of 50s and 60s doo wop and just a smattering of Elvis Costello.

 The singles “Julia” and “Why We Fight” were definitely highlights of the set which showcased those vocal harmonies as was the new single “Alberta”. I particularly enjoyed an older song “Young & Lazy.”

—By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 03 May 2017 10:12 )
 

Cope release EP with energetic show

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The Owl Acoustic Lounge hosted a solid EP release party for local noise rock/punk duo Cope, Saturday, April 22.Cope’s Tyson Wiebe and Micky Hayward release their CD. Photo by Richard Amery
 There weren’t as many people as I expected.
 but Tyson Wiebe and Mickey Hayward played an energetic set of mostly instrumental punk/ metal and noise rock with plenty of big riffs and weird, off the cuff song titles which appeared to be made on the spot off the top of frontman Tyson Wiebe’s head.
 Hayward supplied thunderous drums  and Wiebe was an affable and hilarious frontman, banging away huge riffs on guitar.
Unfortunately I missed an opening set from local surf rock band the Atomicos, which also features Wiebe.
— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 03 May 2017 09:52 )
 
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