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Mahones have a blast in Lethbridge

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Toronto based Irish punk band The Mahones made a long awaited and triumphant return to Lethbridge to play a packed Slice, Wednesday, May 17. They have been playing their own brand of intense Irish punk music for the past 27 years, but haven’t been to Lethbridge since 2015  when they were playing their official 25th anniversary tour in support of their new CD “The Hunger and the Fight Parts 1 and 2.Jared Albright and Finny McConnell of the Mahones at the Slice, May 17. Photo by Richard Amery
The have always been one of my top three favourite live acts to see and did not disappoint.

 Unfortunately Katie McConnell  was back home undergoing surgery so wasn’t able to play the show, but long standing  Mahones multi-instrumentalist Michael O’Grady, who usually plays tin whistle, added some wild accordion playing in her stead, though he also got to show off his whistle playing to introduce a song.

 Calgary multi-instrumentalist Jared Albright joined the Mahones for his third show on fiddle.
Finny McConnell, was a friendly and energetic frontman while fiddler Jared Albright gave the Mahones more of a folk flavour along with accordion player Michael O’Grady. Bassist Sean Riot Ryan and drummer Guillaume Lauzon were a lethal rhythm section together as Lauzon spun his sticks and thrashed away behind the kit.

I arrived early into the first set and the dance floor was already  bouncing with energetic dancers out for a good time.

 The Mahones always equal a good time. The first set included huge Celtic punk anthems like “Angels and Devils” and “Give it All you Got ( Or Forget About it),” older  fan favourites like “Down The Boozer” as well as slightly slower fare like “Stars (Oscar Wilde)  and “Paddy on the Railway” from the “Hunger and Fight Part One.”
The highlight of the night  for me was a hyperactive version of “One Last Shot” which I haven’t heard them play in years. I missed Katie “Kaboom” McConnell’s  background vocals and accordion, but  Michael O’Grade still blew me away on accordion.
 They end the first set with a great version of “Is This Bar Open Tomorrow?”

The second set featured plenty of  old favourites including the always amazing “Draggin’ the Days.”

They amped things up with one of my favourites from “the Hunger and the Fight Part 2, ” “Punk Rock Saved my Life,” then went back in time for “Across the U.S.A.”

Michael O’Grady got to take centre stage to sing an almost a capella version of traditional Irish classic “Danny Boy,” for which he showed off his voice as well as pipe playing.
They ended their show on a straight ahead punk note with a Celtic infused cover of the Ramones “I Want To Be Sedated.”

They ended the night just after midnight with the crowd pleasing signature song “Drunken Lazy Bastard.”

— By Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 24 May 2017 11:04 )

George Canyon plays early show of hits and hot covers

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Early starting shows can be a blessing and a curse. A blessing for people who have to get up early to go to work, and a curse for people like me, who rushed back from Calgary to catch some upbeat country fun with George Canyon at Average Joes, Sunday, May 14.

George Canyon returned to Average Joes, May 14. photo by Richard Amery
 The show was pretty much over by the time I arrived to a packed bar, with most of the crowd gleefully  two stepping.

 Canyon was telling the story behind his hit  “Good Day To  Ride,” when I got settled in and played a hot version of it.

 I also arrived in time for a couple of newer hits including “I Got This” and “Daughters of the Sun.”

He dedicated “Somebody Wrote Love” to his wife before introducing his next single “Better Off in Love,” which he described as “a great two stepping song” and which is the one I really wanted to hear after hearing him talk about it during my interview with him last week.

He is known for playing excellent covers and wound the show down with his hit cover of Crowded House’s ’80s hit “Better Be Home Soon” from back in the day when “I wanted to be the lead singer of an ’80s rock band.”
He was called back for an encore after “I Got This,” and showed he is a pretty good guitarist by picking up an electric guitar and playing the lead on Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight.”

He ended the show at 10:20 p.m. with a great cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire,” which showed off keyboardist Mike Little’s prowess on accordion, who was a blur behind three keyboards and backing vocals throughout the show.

  — by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 24 May 2017 10:56 )

Eamon McGrath plays intense set of punk infused rock

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Edmonton born, Toronto based folk punk musician Eamon McGrath and his band bassist Lee Klippenstein who also plays in the Slates; pedal steel/ electric guitarist Darrek Anderson - who also plays in The Dungarees, and The Guaranteed and drummer Jerf Sebastian who played in early-2000s Vancouver punk band The Doers, played a hot show at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, May 13 which was heavy on the punk, with just a touch of folk.

Eamon McGrath rocking the Owl, May 13. Photo by Richard Amery
Mickey Hayward of the Mormon Girls and Cope opened the show with a set of loud, electrified rock punctuated by his plaintive voice and lyrics.

 Eamon McGrath began their set with straight ahead, amplified punk rock sound which sounded like  Neil Young jamming with Husker Du and Bob Mould.

McGrath donned an acoustic guitar and a harmonica for  a couple slower songs like “Cold Alberta Nights,” which were more like Jr. Gone Wild meets Tom Petty.

 He switched back to electric guitar after that  for more punk before calling it a night with the rocking “I Am The Deer, which he quickly followed with a cover of Neil Young’s “Fucking Up.”
 That got the band calls for an encore.

— By Richard Amery,L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 24 May 2017 10:49 )

Boogie Patrol heat up the Slice wth “Man on Fire”

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Edmonton based blues/ funk band the Boogie Patrol always bring the party with them wherever they go. So they already had a hot, sweaty and frothing dance floor by the time I arrived to their show at the Slice, Friday, May 12. I arrived in the middle of a whole lot of funk filled jamming on “Whole Lotta Gravy” from their new Cd “Man on Fire,” just in time for them to take a set break. Long, funk fuelled jams were the hallmark of the show.

Cutline: Yuji Ihara and Rott’n Dan Shinann of the Boogie Patrol at the Slice, May 12. Photo by Richard Amery
The band, frontman / harp wizard Rott’n Dan Shinnan, guitarists Yuji Ihara and Chad Holtzman , bassist Nigel Gale and drummer Emmet Van Etten were tight, tight , tight, effortlessly switching time tempos mid song. Holtzman and Ihara seamlessly took turns playing hot leads and funky breakdowns VanEtten and Gale  were locked in with each other whole Rott’n Dan blew mind and ear bending harps while howling like he was alternately possessed by the spirits of James Brown and Joe Cocker.

I’ve been looking forward to this show for weeks ever since getting a copy of their new CD “Man on Fire,” and I was not disappointed. I caught most of their three set though they seemed like they were ready and willing to play until dawn.

 They ended set two with an extended jam of “Shaker Down Below” from the new Cd, which had most of the room shaking what their mama’s gave them.

 Their sets included much of the new Cd, some old favourites and funky covers including a medley of James Brown in set three including “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.” They also played a funky version of blues classic “Shake Your Moneymaker.”

—by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 24 May 2017 10:37 )

Amos Garrett among highlights of slower week

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Another slower week also features some very cool shows. Amos Garrett plays Lethbridge on Wednesday. Photo by Richard Amery
Blues legend Amos Garrett plays a special show at the Mocha Cabana, Wednesday, May 24 with Julian Kerr from 5:30-10:30 p.m. The $78.75 tickets also include at three course dinner.

That same night, Peterborough musician Kayla Howran returns to Lethbridge  to introduce the Slice to her new CD.

The Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra features “Feel The Beat,” Thursday, May 25. They will be introducing young folks to children with four shows during the day and finish it up with a public performance at the Southminster United Church at7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults, nine dollars for children.

 If you want to laugh, Rotary Mosaic  are hosting a fundraiser at Average Joes featuring Rotary members doing improv. The show begins at 6 p.m. There is a $20 cover.
It is a good week to rock out.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 23 May 2017 09:50 ) Read more...
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