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State of Shock rocks it

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State of Shock’s celebrated “the only Monday of the week” by leaving  an almost  full Blarney Stone in a state of deafness, Nov. 30.Mark Belisle of Double Jack. Photo by Richard Amery
Local grunge rock band Double Jack, late additions to the bill, because of  health issues in the Latency camp, warmed up the audience with their energetic ’90s style detuned rock.  Guitarist/singer Mark Belisle showed he could sing glass shattering high notes like Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell as well as he could hit Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder’s  growling midrange, especially on  a song called Jesse Wainright of State of Shock. Photo by Richard Amery’Rise’ which also featuring some big guitar work.
They played tight and had the audience completely warmed  up and ready by the time State of Shock took the stage around 10:30 p.m. State of Shock singer Cam Melnyk observed the audience was ripe with attractive women, then launched into a  loud hit filled  set which had  the audience singing along with most  of the songs, the band bounded all over the stage through the riff filled numbers.
Guitarist Jesse Wainwright brought out a double necked Gibson for “Best I Ever Had,” as a taped keyboard accompaniment  blasted through the Blarney Stone for the first in what seemed like an endless stream of nauseating power ballads. They were well done , if rock ballads are your thing. Melnyk  had the voice for it in a Creed/ Pearl Jam way. They redeemed themselves by rocking it with an uptempo rocker  which sounded like it was called “Day After Day,” then another rocker called ‘Stupid’
They wound up their set  with  a version of Papa Roach’s ‘Last Resort‘ before ending  the show with, of course, their big hit, ‘Money Honey’ and had most of the crowd singing  the whole thing.
— By Richard Amery, L..A.Beat editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 02 December 2009 15:43 )

Plaid Tongued Devils tickets up for grabs

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There will be tough choices this week, especially on Friday, Dec. 4, with  one of the coolest bands to come out of Calgary — The Plaid Tongued Devils, who will be bringing back their unusual blend of  of gypsy/klezmer/ ska/reggae tinged chaos to Henotic. Cicala is also on the bill  for those who like their music Eastern European flavoured.Dean Wilson of the Phantom Creeps .
At the Slice, Smokestack Jacks with be playing with  the Phantom Creeps and Vancouver Celtic-punks, the Dreadnoughts. The Slice also has a good local rock show the next night with  The Void, Milk Tea and Mr.  Personal.
At the University of Lethbridge the Headbanger’s Society  finishes the year with  Akakor, Guruth, Pathogen and Parapsychotic in the U of L ballroom, Dec. 4.
To help make the decision  a little easier. L.A Beat is giving away two tickets to the Plaid Tongue Devils. Just be the first person to e-mail me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with the answer to this question.“Where is Plaid Tongued Devils lead singer Ty Semaka originally from?’
 Other cool shows this week include Ghostkeeper and the Sunparlour Players who play the Slice, Dec. 3. The Sunparlour Players are also doing an in store appearance at Blueprint Records from 6-8 p.m., Dec. 3.
 And Generation Landslide  helps Beaches Pub celebrate their fifth birthday, Dec. 5.
As always there are a lot of open mics  happening throughout the week.
 The 1010 Pub has moved their weekly open stage to Monday nights. Paul Kype and Texas Flood host the Slice’s open mic, Dec.8. Felipe Rodriguez hosts the open stage at Henotic on Wednesday, and Greg Gomola is hosting an open mic at Beaches Pub on Thursday night.
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 02 December 2009 11:08 )

Crazy klezmer with The Plaid Tongued Devils

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Calgary  klezmaniacs, The Plaid Tongued Devils have been keeping a low profile over the past few years with kids, wives and houses, but they are looking forward to playing again and writing again.
“I just recently separated from my wife, so I’ve been writing feverishly. I’ve got a lot to write about now. I just wrote a song last night. I’m pretty proud of it,” said singer Ty Semaka. They were to have played Henotic, tonight, Dec. 4, but canceled due to the weather. “We try to  play Lethbridge twice a year. Last time it was the Slice. We used to play the Zoo at the University of Lethbridge, then they started to get  in DJs and stuff. We used to play a place called Carole’s which became the Slice and I think it became something in between that,” the Taber born and raised Semaka remembered adding they will be bringing in both fiddle players, Roxanne Young and Jonathan Lewis to Henotic.
“Jonathan is a technical player and Roxanne is a showman, so we get to have the best of both worlds. They’re both electric, and they’re trading leads, so it’s like a rock show,” Semaka said.
So how does  someone  born and raised in Taber get into klezmer  music?

Last Updated ( Friday, 04 December 2009 15:53 ) Read more...

State of Shock shocked by success

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Having the song “Money Honey” explode all over the airwaves across North America over the past two years, has left a Vancouver band in a ‘state of shock,’ somewhat.
“When you sit down and write a song, you don’t expect it to become a hit. It just comes out. We just want to write something  you can bob your head to and sing along to,” said State of State of Shock play the Blarney Stone, Nov. 30.State of Shock guitarist,  Jesse  Wainright, whose band plays the Blarney Stone, Monday, Nov. 30 with Latency.
‘Money Honey,’ was only the first of  a string of hits  from their major label debut, “Life, Love and Lies” which was released in 2007.
“That whole record was based on two years of our lives. We had an independent album which we toured on before that and we all had relationships which fell apart,” he continued from the current tour’s third  date in Grande Prairie. He added the  band, including vocalist Cameron Melnyk, bassist Alison Toews, drummer John Philippon and guitarist Kadooh, is working on a new CD which is expected to  be released in March or April.
“We just finished demoing a few songs for it before the tour and we have been playing them. They have been going over very well. The new CD is based on the last three years of our lives. We’ve all being going through changes and people have changed around us. Our lives have changed, we’ve gone from touring in a tiny van to  a big bus. And that’s a big positive,” he continued.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 28 November 2009 11:57 ) Read more...

Good night for skiffle, storytelling and the blues

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Tuesday night was a good night for storytelling, a bit of skiffle and the blues at the Geomatic Attic.
A sold out show with Rod Davis as well as New York acoustic bluesman Guy Davis was  superb. They play again at the Geomatic Attic tonight at 8 p.m.. There are still tickets left for the show
 Rod  and Guy Davis play Can't Be Satisfied. Photo by Richard AmeryRod Davis, who used to play with John Lennon in skiffle group the  Quarrymen while at school began the set  on guitar with  “Freight Train,” whistling along to it , joking the song that started it all “ Rock Island Line” which was prefaced by a blow by blow account of  what it was like in the early days of rock and roll in Britain, hearing  Lonnie Donegan’s version of “Rock Island Line,” buying a banjo and joining the Quarrymen, meeting John Lennon and accidentally etching his place in British musical history.
 So there were a lot of entertaining stories, but even better, some impressive  guitar picking. Davis played everything from  “Rock Island Line” to Flatts and Scruggs bluegrass and even Ian Tyson’s Four Strong Winds.” He ended with  the Beatles’ “Day in My Life” and  “Midnight Special.”
Guy Davis was next with some impressive 12 string guitar slide and finger picking on some obscure acoustic blues. He cracked jokes, switched guitars, took his time tuning them, cracked a few more jokes and  introduced  one of his songs “Chocolate Man” which   made one fan exclaim it was her favourite, which in turn made him jump about a mile in his seat. And then he pulled out the harp, and his harp holder, which he said used to hold his sister’s braces on before he swiped it. He played impressive melodies on it, and harmonized with his guitar throughout.  His vocal melodies  also harmonized with a few of his guitar leads and got the audience to sing along with him.
He played a few selections from his most recent CD,  ”Sweetheart Like You,” as well as older material, which he interspersed between stories about being in Scotland.
 Turning serious for a brief moment he  told a story about visiting blues legend  Odetta in her last days in a New York hospital and playing  the song “Payback” for her, much to the chagrin of the hospital staff. He had the crowd singing along with that too, and then pulled out  the harp again for an impressive original song reminiscent of Sonny Terry, which included  the sounds of train whistles and live stock.
Impressive. Rod Davis joined him on stage for a version of Muddy Waters’“Can‘t Be Satisfied,” which drew the show to a close, after he stayed on stage for a couple encores.
 The Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $35. E-mail Mike Spencer at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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