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The Dudes make sad songs sound happy

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A show by Calgary rock and roll band the Dudes is always a celebratory event.

The Dudes at the Owl Acoustic lounge , April 13. Photo by Richard Amery
 They were doing double duty, Friday, April 13 as they were also playing the last Class bash at the university earlier. I caught most of their show at the Owl Acoustic Lounge.

As expected they had an enthusiastically, sweaty sold out crowd for the special ticketed event, though it didn’t feel like a sellout. They played a solid set of catchy, crunchy rock and roll with a touch of soul and whole lot of late ’90s/ early 2000s indie rock flavour.

They had a lot of groove and were all about good vibes and happiness even though some of the songs like “Everybody Dies Too Soon” have darker lyrical themes. Nobody sounds quite as happy singing about death as frontman Dan Vacon does.

Jolene Draper dances to the Dudes, April 13, at the Owl Acoustic Lounge. Photo by Richard Amery
Vacon sang in an appealing adenoidal tenor drenched in soul.
 They played a lot of crowd favourites and several tracks from their apty titled latest album “East Side Good Times. One memorable number was “No. 1 Fan.”

They included plenty of older familiar crowd favourites like ‘Good Times” which summed up the show.
 Their tight set had most of the audience dancing in front of the stage throughout the night.

—By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 April 2018 10:44 )

Ken Whiteley winds up Lethbridge Folk club season with excellent show and singalong

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 I haven’t seen Canadian folk icon Ken Whiteley since I lived in Kenora and he was touring with Mose Scarlett and Jackie Washington, so Whiteley’s long awaited return to the Lethbridge Folk Club, April 14 at the Lethbridge College Cave, was a fitting end to another successful Folk Club season which brought back a lot of good memories.

Ken Whiteley plays the last show of the Lethbridge Folk Club Season, April 14 at the Lethbridge College Cave. Photo by Richard Amery
Whiteley is still hippyish in demeanour  and is all about telling stories and showing of some impressive guitar picking. Which he did with the help of some beautiful old guitars including an old acoustic , a 12-String and a white national steel guitar on which he played some beautiful slide guitar.

But he also played some fleet fingered folk and even a little jazz on a song “ I Won’t Be Happy Until I Make You happy ” which  “Canadian treasure, Jackie Washington taught me,” which he prefaced with a sweet story about the life of his old friend.

 Whiteley maintained a strong, resonant, slightly reedy voice and sang simple melodies which had the audience instinctively singing along.

 True to  the folk tradition, he lead the audience through a couple sing alongs of some of his favourite songs  including “It’s Golden” and chatted about touring and recording with children’s entertainers Raffi and Fred Penner.

“It’s way past my bedtime. I’ve been doing this for 50 years,” he observed close to 11 p.m. as he wound up the show by switching to  the 12-String and playing a couple  more songs including a Mahalia Jackson song and a couple of his own including a gospel tune and a newer song “  Friends All Over,” which was a great way to finish things.

 But he was called back for an encore anyway.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 April 2018 10:15 )

Bands as Bands celebrate ’90s Canadian music

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I only caught the end of Bands as bands 2:Can Con addition at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, April 14. I was looking forward to hearing MTBC covering Limblifter and Age of Electric, but missed  them and a ‘secret’ band also on the bill.Ryland Moranz, Mickey Heyward, Tyson Wiebe and Joel Stretch play their favourite Weakerthans’ songs. Photo by Richard Amery
 instead  I caught a band including guitarists Ryland Moranz and the Utilities’ Joel Stretch, bassist Tyson Wiebe and drummer  Mickey hayward, which made me nostalgic for late ’90s Winnipeg pop rock band the Weakerthans.

Wiebe chuckled “We’re playing these songs better than the Weakerthans are now,” laughing he didn’t think the band was actually together anymore.

 They definitely did a solid job of a variety of Weakerthans’ songs though I didn’t catch my favourite “I Hate Winnipeg.”

They played several other familiars ones including their ode to curling.

 I don’t know how many rehearsals they had for this show, but they sounded like they had been playing  Weakerthans songs forever, which they probably had as Moranz, Wiebe and Stretch each got to sing their favourites.

 All three a have similar tenor voices, so the transition between songs and lead vocalists was pretty much seamless.

— by Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 April 2018 10:07 )

Jester’s Court to bring different artists together

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Jeff Godin hopes his monthly show the Jesters Court  will bring together many different artists  who will hopefully begin collaborating.
 The third edition of the Jester‘s Court is at 7:30 p.m., April 28 at Casa.

Jeff Godin  is spreading the word about the Jester’s Court three, April 28 at Casa. Photo by Richard Amery
“We have a hip hop artist, one prose writer and maybe three poets. I might bring in another poet by Skype, if not, I’ll read some of my poetry,” Godin said, adding he will have Jester’s courts  in May and June, then take a break over the Summer months.
“Everybody is away then,” he said.

“I’d like to see these artists check out the other artists and maybe collaborate with each other,” he said.

“Though that hasn’t happened yet,” he said adding he hopes all of these diverse artists will stick around to watch some of the other artists they might not usually listen to.
“Last time we had poet Blaine Greenwood and  the (local rappers) Blood Rez Crew who were going to work together, but I haven’t heard if they have, he said.
 He was inspired by a similar  event in Calgary called PAROLE, back in the ’90s.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 April 2018 09:51 ) Read more...

Good causes and something to laugh about at the end of April

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Most of the best shows this week  feature local musicians playing for good causes.AMy Nelson is one of the performers at a FLIPfest Fundraiser this week. Photo by Richard Amery
The big event of the week is Heartbreak Hotel: A special Flipfest Fundraiser at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, April 28. Calgary based banjo picker and singer/ songwriter Amy Nelson returns to Lethbridge for the show.
Shaela Miller is also on the bill her band will also back Wanda Krein. There will be a raffle for prizes including a Dolly Parton prayer candle, country inspired pins by local artist Meghan MacWhirter, a selection of used country vinyl and more. Admission to the event is by donation. It begins at 9 p.m.

 It is competing with Maggie Hall’s annual day long fundraiser for Alzheimer’s. There will be a variety of different artists performing at Legends Pub, April 28. Bands include local country band the Mark Hall band, folk group Artemis in the Summer, electronica artist Tyler Vandendool, Calgary bluesman Eric Braun,local blues rock band Good Time Charlie, singer songwriter Bryan Horvat, local metal band Eons of Earth and 123Go. Admission is $10. The music begins at 4 p.m.

But the fun begins early in the week, April 24 with Vancouver classic rock inspired musician Terence Jack stopping by the Slice with local singer songwriter Tyson Borsboom. The early show begins at 8 p.m. Admission is $10.
The Slice has a busy week as the next night, April 25, they welcome back Moose Jaw based blues rockers Johnny 2 Fingers and the Deformities who will be playing with local alternative rock trio the Supervoid. There is a $10 cover for that show as well.

 The Slice features more alternative rock, April 27 with alternative rock band Fox Eyes, and Brooks based Celtic/punk/blues band My Tin hat and Friends. There is a minimum $5 donation for that show.
 As April draws to a close,  it means  get ready to laugh as the Owl Acoustic Lounge features their monthly stand up comedy open mic. You can also laugh at Average Joes, April 26 as local Rotarians return with 10 Rotarians and a microphone, presenting 10 different Rotary club members and stand up comedians.
Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. it is a fundraiser for Rotary Club of Lethbridge Mosaic. The giggles begin at 8 p.m.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 April 2018 08:42 ) Read more...
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