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Arctic look forward to a cool rocking show

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Hearing can be misleading.
 If you listen to the four EPs that Vancouver  indie rock trio Arctic have released, you might expect them to sound like a Arctic plays the Slice, April 22. Photo by Kim Spencer-Nairnmellower, more laid back and ambient Radiohead or U2. But the band’s sound has evolved since growing into a trio from guitarist / vocalist Marcus Martin’s solo show.
“People come in and have heard the music from the site expecting us to have an ambient and hypnotic groove. They expect us to put them to sleep when actually we rock out,” said Arctic’s bassist/keyboardist Kirsten Starcher who plays the Slice, April 22. She joined  the band about four years ago while she was doing  some PR work when Marcus received some requests for gigs and needed a band for them.
“We played one and then another and people  seemed to like the music, so we kept playing,” she said.
“The sound of Marcus’s solo music was very different and ambient. So when Arctic formed, we wanted to keep the music as close to that sound as possible. I added a lot of different layers and textures on bass and keyboards as the song needed it,” she said adding the band’s latest live CD, recorded at Zaphod Beeblebrox’s in Ottawa is the best representation of Arctic’s live show.
“We found the more we played the songs live, the more we realized how much we enjoyed watching people dance. And we were surprised at what they danced to,” she said.
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Last Updated ( Sunday, 25 April 2010 15:50 ) Read more...
 

Big John Bates plays scorching show

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Henotic rocked out on April 14 with a packed house who came to see Vancouver psychobilly/rockabilly/ blues rock bandBrandi Batter and Big John Bates. Photo by Richard Amery  Big John Bates and the Voodoo Dollz. Big John Bates was playing to the crowd with scorching rockabilly influenced riffs. His burlesque dancers had a couple new outfits including Victorian dresses as well as a variety of familiar moves.
Brandy Battery has joined the band the band on stand up bass and does a solid job.

 Bates knows how to put on a show to go with some really fun, loud and raucous music. He wandered through the jumping crowd while soloing, picked up a handful of shots and brought them back to the stage for the band, then took  massive solos while his dances changed costumes and returned to  drag an audience member on stage and feed him Jaagermeister during “Take Your Medicine”, one of them pulled out a chainsaw so it looked like there might be a bloodletting, but she didn’t actually fire it up.

 There was a huge drum solo which included some impressive drumming, the fireman’s pole and Bates adding an extra pair of drumsticks.

 

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor
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Gruff say goodbye

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One of the saddest shows of the week was the last one ever from Victoria bluegrass/country/folk trio the Gruff on April Terri Upton and Jenny Ritter of the Gruff at the Slice, April 14. Photo by Richard Amery14 at the Slice
 The girls — Phaedra Kemp, Terri Upton and Jenny Ritter were personable, cute and monstrously talented as always, sounding  a little like the Dixie Chicks if they’d stayed a bluegrass band. Chris Herbst added some beautiful dobro.

The Crooked Brothers and The Gruff sing together. Photo By Richard AmeryThey had beautifully spine tingling vocal harmonies, great melodies and folksy songs. They told stories and opened their  second set with a country version of Enter Sandman.
Winnipeg country band the Crooked Brothers opened with a  strong set of laid back original country rock music. The trio switched between a variety of instruments including banjo, dobro and mandolin and joined the Gruff on stage for a last song to add some harmony vocals.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor

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Necessities sound filled out with full band

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 The Necessities fill out their sound with a full band. Photo by Richard AmeryI couldn’t pass up a chance to see a full band version of local folk/rock act the Necessities, who had a full house moving at Henotic, April 9. They played a typically tight set full of some pretty intricate musical parts.

Devin Gergel played about a dozen instruments and singer/guitarist Steven Foord sounded uncannily like Rob Thomas.They work well together, trading vocals and adding harmonies. Having a drummer and Matt Robinson on bass fills out their sound really well.

—By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 15 April 2010 16:31 )
 

Dirty Love band blow the blues away

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Sean Thomson blows a harp solo during the Dirty Love band’s set. Photo by Richard AmeryThere was a lot of really impressive and enjoyable music this past week,however, London, Ontario based Dirty Love band blew pretty much everybody away with  really cool and energetic blues/rock/ R and B sound at the Slice, Saturday.
I arrived in the middle of a frenzied piano and organ solo from Kent Merkley, Kent Merkley bangs out a keybaord solo. Photo by Rchard Amerywhile saxophonist Sean Thomson writhed and blew a crazy saxophone line which was drowned out by the rest of the band.
One of many highlights was “Love For Sale,” which though it wasn’t  the Talking Heads song,  did show off a strong Talking Heads influence, which  carried on throughout the sets especially in lead singer/ guitarist Dennis Habel’s voice. He played  some real tasteful blues solos alternating between touching and face melting.
What got me was a piano powered cover of Neil Young’s Needle and the Damage Done” which   bent my mind right around as it sounded like  Pink Floyd was covering it.
They played a slower blues number off their new CD called  “Dirty Man” which lead to the band to segue into a couple bars of “Hey Jude” and included a heart-wrenching harp solo played by Thomson who sat down in the midst of crowd to play it where he was joined by Habel.
They started their last  set of the night with a little bit of funk and a lot of material from their new CD “Generation Sex” which had a variety of sounds from upbeat rock, slower R and B and a touch of ’80s new wave with more Talking Heads influence. Fantastic.
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor
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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 14 April 2010 14:54 )
 
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