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Rotary Park knock the folk out of the park

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Calgary/ bluegrass/ folk/ jazz/ folk rock band Rotary Park always draw a crowd, even on a Wednesday. So they had an attentive audience paying attention and dancing to a solid set at the Windy City Opry show at the Slice, Wednesday, June 14.

Rotary Park entertain Windy City Opry. Photo by Richard Amery
 As usual, they sang stunning  four and five part vocal harmonies. NIcki McRae was busy, singing vocals and alternating  between mandolin, guitar and  box drum.

The quintet including Alex Ginella - Vocals/Guitar/Fiddle/Harmonica; Nicki McRae - Mandolin/Vocals; Liam Testa - Vocals/Guitar; Matt Coldwell - Vocals/Double Bass; Tanner Day - Vocals/Banjo, oozed talent from every pore. Ginella played fantastic fiddle  throughout. As always their Pink Floyd medley was a highlight as they turned “Time ” into a peppy bluegrass foot stomper, which began with a few bars of “Another Brick In the Wall”

 I didn’t want to miss Twin Peaks at the Owl, so sadly left after they wound down their set with a couple of upbeat folk infused originals including “Falling Again.”.

Unfortunately I missed Carter Felker’s opening set.

— By Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 June 2017 14:30 )

Lethbridge girls Rock Camp Band Swap a blast as usual

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A good sized crowd took in  the annual Lethbridge Girls Rock Band Swap fundraiser at the Slice, Saturday, June 9.Corinna Thiessen playing the saw during the Lethbridge Girls Rock band Swap fundraiser, June 9 at the Slice. Photo by Richard Amery

 The event mirrors the Lethbridge girls Rock camp (July 24-28 this year) in that  a group of musicians meet, rehearse a couple times, ideally write a song together and play a set of music at the end of the week. Usually the girlCrooked Smile play the Lethbridge Girls Rock band Swap fundraiser, June 9 at the Slice. Photo by Richard Amerys learn how to play an instrument during the week as well.

 For the fundraiser, several familiar faces formed bands with other experienced musicians and some talented newcomers.

 Even I got up on stage to play with Bente Hansen, Adrian Sutherland and Amberlea Parker.

 Input//output featuring Silvana Campus opened up the show playing bass and vocalizing.

 The Front Doors played an eclectic set of alternative rock and ’80s hits including Corinna Thiessen bowing a saw, playing accordion, keyboards and an omnichord. They covered a-ha’s ’80s hit “Take On me”  and INXS’s “Never Tear Us Apart”and  “I Put a Spell on You.

 Crooked Smile ended the show with a set of female driven covers (wither chosen by the females in the band or written by including some Tool and ended with some L7.

— By Richard Amery, L.a. Beat EditorSilvana Campus of  Input/Output  play the Lethbridge Girls Rock band Swap fundraiser, June 9 at the Slice. Photo by Richard Amery
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 June 2017 14:20 )

The 427s rock the surf at the Slice

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Calgary surf band the 427s made a long awaited return to Lethbridge, Friday, June 8 to play an awesome show of instrumental music inspired by surf music, cheesy ’50s of black and white films spy movies, showinChris Van Keir and Eve Hell of the 427s playing the Slice. Photo by Richard Ameryg on a screen behind them.

The band, dressed sharply in suits,  were tight and a lot of fun. Guitarists Rob Day and Chris van Keir, bassist Eve Hell and drummer Wrayne Ramone played a fun set of upbeat, catchy, twangy, instrumental music.

 Eve and Chris  Van Keir ended their first set by wandering onto the dance floor and stood on a couple of tables to play “Squad Car.”

 They started set two  on a slower, sultry note as Van Keir switched to a  gorgeous Gretsch guitar while Rob Day switched to an acoustic guitar,  but soon picked up the pace.

Local surf rock band the Atomicos opened the show, but I was unable to catch them.

The 427s playing excellent surf music at the Slice, June 8. photo by Richard Amery— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 June 2017 14:02 )

Rotary Dragon Boats all about camaraderie

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Dragons invade Henderson Lake, June 23-25 as the ATB Rotary Dragon Boat Festival gets ready to launch another fun filled weekend of live music, merchants, and dragon boat races.
 The annual event is an opportunity to enjoy some sunshine, music and camaraderie.
“It‘s Ashley McKenzie gets ready for Dragon boating. Photo by Richard Amerythe longest two and a half minutes of your life,” said Marcie Stork, who has been a member of the LFS  Brave Hearts team since 2008.

Rotary Dragon Boat festival Race chair Karen Johnson observed the festival has exploded in popularity since she first got involved with the first Rotary Dragon 16 years ago in 2002 paddling with the City Of Lethbridge Dragn’ R Butz crew.
“We had 17 teams the first year. This year we have 66,” Johnson said, noting the festival was inspired by long time Rotary member John Rayner.

“He always walked around Henderson saw the “Abreast of Bridge” breast cancer team paddling in an old Voyageur canoe that was full of holes and decided to raise money to buy them a boat,” Johnson said, adding the success of the first fundraiser in 2000 inspired the three Lethbridge Rotary Clubs to start the official festival in 2001.

 This year there are 66 teams, 33 from out of town  including Calgary, Edmonton, Okotoks, Nelson, B.C, Medicine Hat, Saskatoon, Regina and even as far away as Bozeman, Montana, coming to race. She agreed Dragon boat racing gets in the participants’ blood.The ATB Rotary Dragon Boats Festival is this weekend. Photo by Richard Amery
“I’m not a competitive person, but when I get in that boat with people I’ve trained with and socialized with, I just want to beat everyone. And there’s four boats in a row with 18 to 20 people in each of them waiting to start, and they’re all thinking the same thing,” said Johnson, who in between helping organize the event, is paddling with the Nauti Gals.

Johnson was assistant coach of Team ID for the 2007 and 2008 seasons. In 2008, the Rotary Festival decided to “beef up” the training provided to the festival teams so asked her to be one of the festival head coaches.

She completed the Level A of the National Coaching Certification Program in 2008, obtaining her Dragon Boat Canada Level One Coaching Certification in 2010. She has taken Dragon Boat Canada Officiating Level One in 2010, Critical Eye Coaching sessions, and several paddling technique workshops. Karen attended the Water’s Edge Dragon Boat Conference in Vancouver in April 2009 and 2010 and Dragon Boat Canada conferences in Toronto 2012 and Montreal 2013. Karen has officiated in Lethbridge, Edmonton, Vancouver and Regina.

She added there are opportunities to travel too.
“Pond Scum, from Regina went to Puerto Rico for the Pan American Dragon Boats championship in Ponce, Puerto Rico in March,” she said noting they medalled in every event they entered. So competition is stiff.
 She brought two dragon boat teams including the Canuck Cruisers and Coulee Classic Dragons to New Zealand in April for the World Masters Games.

“It was amazing. You don’t have to qualify to go there. We spent most of our time in Auckland. It’s such a beautiful country, I’d love to live there,” she said adding  Lethbridge teams will be going to Australia in November 2018.
“ It‘s so great to see. There were over 40 countries from all over the world participating in it. It‘s all about the sport, it’s not about politics or religion,” she said.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 June 2017 13:47 ) Read more...

Dragon Boats Festival and Pride week among the highlights of the week

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There is barely time to take a breath from a busy Lethbridge Jazz and Blues festival week. This week not only features several shows and dances for Pride week, but it is Dragon boat weekend over at Henderson Lake park, June 23-25.Alyssa McQuaid and Coyote Junction are among the local performers at the Rotary Dragon Boat Races this year. Photo by Richard Amery
This is also the week to welcome back long lost friends.

 Darryl Düus, who returned home from B.C. to play several blues festival shows with Papa King,   hosts the Slice open mic, June 22 with Taylor Ackerman, who returns from Halifax this week. Ackerman also premieres his new band Global Acid Reset at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, next week, on June 30.

This week though the Owl Acoustic lounge hosts a couple of pride week shows including Victoria pop band Smoke Eaters and Toronto garage rock/pop band Peeling with local band Wint on June 20.
The Owl also host a pride week show featuring Vancouver moody pop band Supermoon and local synth pop band Open Channels, June 21.

 The Owl features Megan Brown’s band Makiisma and Dempsey Bolton on June 23.
 And if you remember the ’90s and  the popular Big Shiny Tunes compilations, local musicians will be performing their favourite Big Shiny Tunes songs at  the Owl Acoustic Lounge, June 24.

 Club Didi has a pride week open mic on June 21.

 Coyote Joes also has their open mic with Dayan Delaney, June 23.
The Slice has a variety of music this week. Local singer songwriter The Cody Hall band are doing double duty on Saturday, June 24 with a 3 p.m. slot at the Dragon boat races and an evening show at the Slice at 9 p.m.
They will be playing with Ontario folk rock duo Artemis in the Summer (Justin Kennelly and Danica Sommer).

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 20 June 2017 10:40 ) Read more...
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