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Sean Burns returns to Casino to play twangy country

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Sean Burns is playing a lot in Lethbridge recently in support of his new CD “Lost Country: Music for Taverns, Bars , and Honky Tonks.
 He played three times this week, at the Owl Acoustic Lounge on Thursday, April12 and at Casino Lethbridge  April 13 and 14.

Sean Burns and Skinny Dyck at Casino Lethbridge. photo by Richard Amery
 I caught the most excellent first set on Friday, and despite being Friday the 13 it was lucky I did with so much happening on the weekend.

The Winnipeg musician was in his element on stage as he had a good sized crowd listening and a good number of them two stepping the night away to a variety of classic country as well as several tracks from his new CD.
 He brought fellow Winnipeger Grant Siemens with him to play tasteful leads. They were backed by local musicians ‘Skinny’ Dyck on steel guitar,  drummer Tyler Bird and bassist Paul Holden.

 They opened with a couple of capable covers of Bob Dylan’ ‘ Be My Baby Tonight’ and well worn cover of Johnny Cash’s “ Folsom Prison Blues,” plus country classic “Luckenbach , Texas” and “ The Streets of Bakersfield.”
 They sprinkled a few originals form the new Cd which fit into the set perfectly including “Lonesome Again” and ‘Farewell Parties,” which Burns laughingly described as a ‘belly rubber.’
They wound up their tight, first set with another country classic “Swinging Doors.”

— By Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 April 2018 10:59 )

Terrific Kids bring in chaotic show by Dri Hiev

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Local arts collective Terrific Kids turned the downstairs of the old firehall into a loud, sweaty, noisy venue, April 13.

 Dri Hiev playing the old firehall, April 13. photo by Richard Amery
 I missed the first gig from local noise rock duo Touching God (Sean Warkentin and Adrian Sutherland).

But arrived in time for the return of Calgary noise rock band Dri Hiev.

The last time I saw them was at the first Electric Eye Music Festival in 2015. They were just as crazy as I remembered them, though they were trimmed down to a bassist/keyboardist, guitarist/drum machine operator and a frenetic lead singer , bouncing all over the tiny stage, emerging though the smoke surrounding the stage.

 They were all about  loud, dissonant noise which had a heavy techno and industrial style music feel to it.

 Dri Hiev playing the old firehall, April 13. photo by Richard Amery
 It was a chaotic scene in the darkened brick basement with the frontman howling and hissing, spilling beer on the stage trying to mop it up mid song before jumping into the audience and writhing on the floor.

A disturbing black and white movie played behind the band. It felt like they were sure to anger the spirits hiding in the shadows.

I only lasted a few songs, mainly because I didn’t want to miss fellow Calgarians the Dudes.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 April 2018 10:51 )

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 )
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