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Real McKenzies provide a beer fueled good night of Celtic punk

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The Real McKenzies’s annual pre-St. Patrick’s day party in Lethbridge is something I look forward to every year. I arrive late and missed the Lethbridge Firefighters  Pipes and Drums and just missed Edmonton horn powered punks the Raygun Cowboys.The Real McKenzies’ Paul McKenzie at Bully’s Entertainment Centre, March 15. Photo by Richard Amery

I usually rate live shows in terms of how many beers I drink during their set, the better the the band, the more beer I drink. The Real McKenzies are usually a four beer band, this time, they were five beers, even if one of them was a light beer.

The Real mcKenzies playing all of their favourites at Bully’s Entertainmnet Centre. Photo by Richard Amery
 This year they were a force of nature,  March 15 at Bully’s Entertainment Centre.

Bagpipes wailed and echoed through the room over a wall of power from three guitarists and a thundering bassist and drummer who shouted out harmonies as frontman Paul McKenzie bestrode the stage bellowing out music from throughout the McKenzies’ 25 plus year career, but mostly from their most recent CD “Two Devils Will Talk.”

 The singles “Due West,” “Seafarers” and “One Day” came early on in the set  and they went back to their Westwinds album” for one of my favourites “ I Do What I Want.”

“Scots Wh Ha’e” had most of the 100 or so people there shouting along and sparked a frenetic mosh pit.
 They dug deep into their catalogue, though because the room was so echoey, so it was difficult to tell which song was which.

 The McKenzies were super tight and played super fast as usual.

Paul McKenzie talked about Scotland and the Loch Ness monster, which segued into “Nessie.”
Another of my favourites “Drink Some More, was midway through the set, which  McKenzie introduced by talking about the dangers of fentanyl and observed his drug of choice was, of course, beer.

 McKenzie talked about all of the fantastic musicians who passed on in the past couple of years lead the band in a musical tribute to them.
 They ended their show with  the sassy “Fuck the Real McKenzies,” but were called back for an encore, of course.

They showed off just how talented of vocalists they are on a gorgeous a capella The real mcKenzies at Bully’s Entertainment Centre. photo by Richard Ameryversion of Stan Rogers’ “Barrett’s Privateers.”
 They  turned things up for the fast paced punk of a Turbonegro cover and called it a night with one more song just before 11 p.m.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 March 2018 13:58 )

Peter and the Wolves rock an extended Windy City Opry

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I couldn’t make it to Coaldale for Calgary rockabilly trio Peter and the Wolves on the weekend, but thankfully they returned to the Slice for a late announced Windy City Opry show at the Slice, Wednesday, March 14.Peter Cormier from Peter and the Wolves does his best Jerry Lee Lewis impression on piano at the Windy City Opry, March 14 at the Slice. photo by Richard Amery

I usually miss most of it due to being on the air, but this time they played an entire second set and outlasted promoter Shaela Miller, whose band opened the show and who had to leave to take care of her kids and even me.
 They always put on a great show for people who like rockabilly and ’50s rock and roll.

 Frontman Peter Cormier ended the first set by playing guitar behind his head and duckwalking across the stage for an audience full of swing dancers and people raucously applauding, before  ending the set with blues chestnut “St. James Infirmary.”Shalea Miller joins Peter and the Wolves, March 14. Photo by Richard Amery

 After a break, many of the audience had trickled away however Cormier began the second set by channelling Jerry Lee Lewis on piano.

 He played a variety of new music including “Sundae Monday blues”  from a new CD  due out  April 21 as well as rock and roll classics from the likes of Ray Charles and , of course, Jerry Lee Lewis.

“Girl Can’t Help it”  and “Jailbird Josephine” were highlights as was “Veronica.”
Shaela Miller joined them on stage for “Jackson” and another song.

— By Richard Amery, L.a. beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 March 2018 13:37 )

Ashley Hundred and Crooked Spies entertain with ambient rock and ’70s riffs

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Calgary indie rock band The Ashley Hundred are always an entertaining act to see, so it was great to see them back at the Slice, Saturday, March 10.

The Crooked Spies entertained  the Slice, March 10. Photo by Richard Amery
 They played appealing ambient indie rock with banjo and keyboards adding extra layers of sound. I only caught the very end of their set of music drenched in delay and chorus laden guitars plus ghostly vocals. Though they added a few interesting harmonized guitar.

They had approximately 50 -60  people listening.

 Fellow Calgarians Crooked Spies almost stole the show.

They played straight ahead rock and roll with big riffs, an even bigger beat and vocals reminiscent of Bachman Turner Overdrive with a touch of ”90s alternative rock. So they sounded like a mix of BTO meeting Spacehog.

 The Utilities played another strong set of music mostly from their new CD.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat EditorThe Ashley Hundred returned to Lethbridge, march 10. Photo by Richard Amery
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 March 2018 13:19 )

J Blissette releases new CD to enthusiastic audience

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There was a good sized audience out for local alternative rock band J Blissette’s CD release party at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, March 10.J Blissette releasing their new CD at the Owl Acoustic Lounge. Photo by Richard Amery
I arrived at the end of an energetic set from Slut Prophet.

 They sounded like a mix of alternative rock and jazz music as the lead singer screaming her head off over a backing band of noisy keyboards and a tight rhythm section playing experimental almost jazzy bass and drums.

J Blissette, who were releasing their new CD “Until I Go Blind” , featured Matthew Rederburg back on drums, joining Cory Fischer on guitar, bassist Arnaud Sparks and frontman Jackson Tiefenbach

They began their set with short bursts of punk fuelled energy before settling into a slightly more sedate experimental garage rock groove.

—By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat EditorSlut Phophet at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, March 10. photo by Richard Amery
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 March 2018 12:54 )

Sean Burns brings back classic country sounds

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Winnipeg country musician Sean Burns returned to the Slice in fine form with hot band in hand, Friday, March 9 in support of his new aptly named CD “Lost Country: Music For Taverns, Bars and Honky Tonks.

Sean Burns performing at the Slice,March 9. photo By Richard Amery
 But up first, Brooks born, Calgary based bluegrass/ roots trio the Wine Soaked Preachers tore things up country style with plenty of hot picking from frontman Jay B, upright bassist Miles C and drummer Mark A, all dressed in bright red cowboy shirts.

 They played an assortment of original music and country classics like Johnny Cash’s “ I’ve been Everywhere.” All three sang superb vocal harmonies together.

The Wine Soaked Preachers opening for San Burns at the Slice, March 9. Photo by Richard Amery
They played a couple brand new songs including “Green River,” which was definitely not the CCR song of the same name.

 Burns and his band including Corb Lund guitarist Grant Siemens, bassist Bern Thiessen, Drummer Joanna miller drummer and Lethbridge Ryan “Skinny” Dyck on steel guitar played a spirited set of twangy country music focusing on songs from the new album.

 Burns sounded like Ron Tabak of Prism singing ’70s style country music.

One of many highlights was “Don’t Let the Highway Get You Lost.”
In addition to originals they also played credible covers of country classics like “Swinging doors.”

— by Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 March 2018 12:37 )
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