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Good music for great causes

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As always, there are a lot of really cool shows happening in Lethbridge this week.
One of the highlights is sure to be a long awaited return of psychobilly band  Big John Bates and the Voo Doo Dollz who will be playing  Henotic with the Phantom Creeps, April 14.Joel Butler and Evan Van Reekum of the Moby Dicks. Photo by Richard Amery
The Geomatic Attic, fresh off of two spectacular sold out weekend shows with Joel Plaskett, have another gig this week. Juno Award winning Canadian world/ African musician the Mighty Popo is also performing on April 14. Tickets cost $30 for members, $32.50 for non-members, $35 at the door. That’s going to be a tough night to choose which gigs to go to as Victoria bluegrass/country trio the Gruff’s last tour stops in Lethbridge at the Slice on Wednesday as well.
The Slice brings back Billy Manzik, April 15. The Thunder Bay blues/roots musician has a killer new CD out.
Henotic also has a couple huge shows this week. Garage rockers  will be digging Calgary legends, the Forbidden Dimension, the Von Zippers and the Radians, April 16. For something more exotic,  Raghu Lokanathan and Matt Robinson will be playing upstairs in the GCBC Lounge.
 And numerous local musicians will be joining forces to help raise money for a new roller derby team, the Deathbridge Derby Dames, April 17. On the bill are  the Phantom Creeps, Smokestack Jacks, Lustre Creame, the Bastards and Silenced Youth. Smokestack Jacks kick things off at 9 p.m., followed by the Bastards at 10 p.m., Lustre Creame at 11 p.m., Silenced Youth at midnight and the Phantom Creeps at 1 a.m. Tickets are $10 from Henotic and Blueprint Entertainment.

There will also be a silent auction. Blueprint Records, which is a huge supporter of local music, is having a special record store day from 11 a.m to 6 p.m. on Saturday as well. In addition to good deals, several local bands will be playing including Evan Van Reekum, The Moby Dicks, the Record Holder and Withiddenoise throughout the afternoon.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 13 April 2010 12:00 ) Read more...

Spoon River to reflect the spirit of the Band this week

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The west coast version of Spoon River will be making their first foray into Alberta, including an April 16 stop at the Slice.
Spoon river plays the Slice this week. Photo by  Susan MossThe roots of the band, who have just released their debut CD ‘Kingdom of the Burned’ lie in Montreal, where frontman Tavis Triance was part of a band called the Royal Mountain Band.
A difference in musical direction lead to Triance and his wife Rachel Horst striking out on their own and finding other musicians including crack rhythm section Jeff and Seamus Cowan, who shared their love of late ’60s early ’70s rock like  Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and  the Band.
“I just loved the sound of those late ’60s and early ’70s records,” Triance said, who splits time with the band with his day job as a substitute high school teacher and taking care of an autistic boy.
After recording the CD, he and his wife split for Vancouver where they have been playing with members of Rodney DeCroo’s band, Ed Goodine and guitarist John Wood along with bassist Chris Young and his wife, Rachel Horst on keyboards and vocals. This is the band who will be playing with Rodney DeCroo at the Slice, April 16.
“I guess I’ve got an east coast band and a west coast band. This band has more of a pscyh-country sound with a touch more  of a garage sound. I listen to a lot of things like the Thirteenth Floor Elevators. And I grew up with the music of Crosby, Stills and Nash and Young. It was always around the house,” he said adding by the time he and his wife moved to Vancouver, he already had enough songs to the CD, though one of them, ‘Emmanuel’  remains from his last days with the Royal Mountain Band.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 13 April 2010 11:52 ) Read more...

Plaskett’s show was fantastic

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The second sold out Joel Plaskett show at the Geomatic Attic, which drew a younger  university age crowd, April 10, was absolutely fantastic with great stories , humour and songs. The Dartmouth, Nova Scotia singer/songwriter started solo “chanelling that Billy Joel blue-eyed soul”  with “True Patriot Love’ from his 2001 CD ‘Down at the Kyber.’
Joel plaskett and Peter Elkas entertained two sold out crowds at the Geomatic Attic April 9 and 10. Photo by Richard AmeryHe played most of the tracks from his big 2005 album La De Da as well as several from his new triple CD ‘Three’
 And he took a lot of requests including ‘Fashionable People’ from his 2007 Cd “Ashtray Rock” which drew huge cheers.
 There’s not many people who can captivate a crowd  the way Plaskett did just by standing there with his guitar, cracking jokes and telling stories, but things got even better when he brought  his musical compadre Peter Elkas on stage to add guitar and  later some melodica solos.


Say good-bye to the Gruff

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Victoria roots/ bluegrass trio the Gruff  are calling it quits after  10 years with one last tour which comes to the Slice, April 14. The Gruff play April 14. Photo by Ariel Rubin
“It’s just time. It’s not the touring or the music, it’s just time to move on,” said drummer / vocalist and founding Gruff member Phaedra Kemp adding the trio has been together for 10 years — five including the current line up of bassist/ vocalist Terri Upton and guitarist/mandolinist/vocalist Jenny Ritter. Chris Herbst will be with them on dobro for this show.
“We just decided to quit on a high note while we still like each other,” Kemp laughed.
“We’ve grown apart musically. When we started we were an Irish/ Celtic band, now the closest thing to describe us is roots/country. There’s so many genres,” she added, noting the band has had a lot of highlights in their career.
“Getting to see Canada. Choosing a highlight is hard. We’ve got to meet so many people and musicians. We’ve got to see so many things we wouldn’t have got to see otherwise like small towns in northern Ontario,” she continued.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 11 April 2010 14:43 ) Read more...

Fish & Bird touring to prepare for new album

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Though the members of  Victoria/ Gulf Island based bluegrass/ roots band Fish & Bird are scattered all over the country, distance doesn’t matter — it’s the music that counts.
“For most of us,  music is the number one priority, so we do whatever it takes to make it happen,” said Fish & Bird singer Taylor Ashton, whose band plays the Henotic, Monday, April 12 with the Sure Things.Fish & Bird play Henotic, April 12.
Ashton lives in Winnipeg while  multi-instrumentalist Adam  Iredale-Gray lives in the Gulf Islands who grew up in the Gulf Islands  with bassist /vocalist Zoe Guigeno who now calls Toronto home. Guitarist Ryan Boeur completes the quartet.
“When we started, Adam and I were a duo, but we’ve expanded to a full band now,” he said adding they write as a complete band as well. They also connect musically online.
“It kind of looks like we’re a bluegrass band but we cover a lot of musical territory from  old time bluegrass to closer to an art rock sound with some jazz influence. We can play a variety of different kinds of music acoustically,” he continued.
They are about to embark on an intense two month tour then will be back in the studio to record their third CD.
Their last CD, ‘Left Brain  Blues’ came out in 2009.
“We’ve toured on it before. Part of the purpose for this tour is to get back together and lay solidly for a month or so and then go back into the studio fresh  from 25-30 shows,” he continued adding  the new songs are almost done. the band will work on final arrangements on the road and in Adam Iredale-Gray’s studio.
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