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Prism still has the ’70s rock chops

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 Prism’s Al Harlow blazes away on a slide guitar solo. Photo by Richard AmeryLone original member of Canadian ’70s rockers Prism, Al Harlow is a monster of a talent. They have always been one of my favourite ’70s  rock bands. Espeically because of a strong  Who influence which was evident in Prism’s Feb. 27 show at Average Joes. Judging by an almost full house, they’re  a favourite of a lot of other people too.
 I arrived at the tail end of one of the band’s newer songs, just in time to catch Harlow, who also  handles lead vocal duties, launch into his trademark screeching blues based slide guitar solo. I’m always impressed by that every time I see him play it. This time he wandered into the audience, borrowed a beer bottle and played slide with it then jumped on a table then off again, playing all the while. He grinned ear to ear while doing Pete Townshend windmills and chords
there were some superb newer songs like the exotic ‘Tangiers,’ for which he played a sitar line on his guitar as well as plenty of Prism hits like ‘Young and Restless,’ which had the crowd dancing and singing along, as well as ‘See Forever Eyes,’  plus original  singer Ron Tabak’s favourite ‘Take Me Away,’ on which  Harlow did his dearly departed friend’s memory justice by hitting all of his high notes almost note perfect and lighter-worthy ballad ‘Night to Remember.’ My favourites ‘See Forever Eyes,’ Take Me To The Captain,’ and the talk box solo on ‘Mirror Man’ stood out for me. Of course they ended with ‘Armageddon’ and were called back for an encore of ‘Trouble,’ and crowd pleaser ‘Spaceship Superstar.’

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 03 March 2010 16:27 )
 

Kobra and the Lotus melt the metal

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Brittany Paige rocks with Kobra and the Lotus. Photo by Richard AmeryA deafening show at the Slice, Feb. 27 saw Lustre Creame tearing up the place with a typically strong set of finger bleeding progressive rock. Calgary power metal band  Kobra and the Lotus brought back the spirit of the ’80s  by starting their second set with a very cool version of Christmas carol, ‘ Silver Bells.’ as well as some Metallica and a few of their high energy, riff heavy originals.
 Singer Brittany Paige is a pint sized powerhouse  who constantly  had me wondering how this classically trained vocalist could emit such a huge voice from such a tiny frame.  She had the crowd banging their heads in front of the stage as the guitarists kept the metal riffs coming.

— By Richard Amery, L.A Beat Editor

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 03 March 2010 16:16 )
 

Hallett a blues highlight on a Monday

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 Keith Hallett  played to a sparse audience at the Slice, March 1. Photo by Richard Amery Even I can’t make it to every gig going on in Lethbridge. I usually try to take a night or two off, but I couldn’t pass up a chance to see Fredericton, New Brunswick bluesman Keith Hallett, March 1 at the Slice.
 I was one of about  three who caught a wicked show on Monday.
Looking like John Popper from Blues Traveller, Hallett’s voice was similar to  the JW Jones  of the JW Jones Blues Band and popper, while his slide playing was reminiscent of Sonny Landreth. He was picking every note with his fingers, nary a pick was to be found.  He displayed superb feel and control for his instrument, making his guitar, shriek, moan and whisper. He even proved to be an adept swing player on a couple upbeat instrumentals and dabbled in a little finger picked  rockabilly.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

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Blues bands raise $2,000 for Haiti relief

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A fundraiser for Haiti at the Slice Feb. 26, raised over $2,000 which will be donated to Partners in Health and the Humanitarian Coalition which are dedicated to providing earthquake relief and medical care in Haiti. Steve Ferzacca of Blues Sen-Sa-Shun. Photo by Richard AmeryA couple of new blues bands with lots of familiar faces were on the bill beginning with Blues Sen Sa Shun featuring Pat Ackerman on bass as well as University of Lethbridge Anthropology professor Dr. Steve Ferzacca. They played a variety of familiar songs, beginning with a laid back version of ‘Voodoo Chile,’ as well as  ‘Can’t You See,’ and ‘the Sky is Crying,’ and displayed  excellent musicanship throughout their tight set.Shawna Romillowa Band. Photo by Richard Amery
The Shawna Romillowa  band were a highlight as well.Shawna is usually singing back up with local funk/disco band Hippodrome. Her band plays a similar style of R and B. They performed exceptional versions of ‘Hound Dog,’ and ‘I Can Change For You.’ They added a touch of reggae which had much of the full house cheering and dancing. The Dave Renter Quartet finished off the night with some upbeat jazz.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 02 March 2010 20:37 )
 

Hills and Lemelin play to a sparse crowd

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Calgary acoustic blues duo Bill Hills and Ray Lemelin returned to the Slice to play for another sparse audience, Feb. 24.Bill Hills and Ray Lemelin at the Slice. Photo by Richard Amery
 Bill Hills blew an upbeat harp solo to kick off the show, while Ray Lemelin added some sweet acoustic guitar, then launched into the blues classic ‘Easy Rider,” which sounded like it was being sung by Elvis.
Hills was a bundle of energy throughout, slapping his knees, snapping his fingers, dancing in his seat while stomping his feet.
 what the audience lacked in numbers, they made up for in enthusiasm. They played a lot of their latest CD ‘Neither Here nor There,’  blues standards including a really laid back version of ‘Bring it on Home,’ and a really cool song about the music business called ‘Frogs to Snakes.’
They will be beginning work on a new CD  this summer including four or five songs in French.
“The first side will be in English and the second side will be in French. We’ll see how it goes,” said Hills adding  they are planning this project because Lemelin is from Quebec and also they home to get more exposure in Quebec from it. Tim Williams is set to produce this CD , as he did the previous CD.
“The last one came out in March, so it’s about time for another one,” he continued adding they are taking part  in Calgary’s winter blues festival, where they were opening a show for slide guitar master Sonny Landreth.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

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