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Jojo Mason exudes joy singing country pop music

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I can’t stand modern pop country, but Vancouver based Jojo Mason always puts a smile on my face, as he did for an enthusiastic crowd consisting most of screaming young women at Average Joes, Thursday, May 16.
 Mason has been to Lethbridge several times with Gord Bamford and the James Patrick band, but was excited to play his first headlining show at Average Joes. I wish I could be half as happy as he looks on JoJo Mason singing his heart out at Average Joes, Thursday, May 16. Photo by Richard Amery. stage. He couldn’t stop thanking his fans enough, noting he was excited to meet each and every one of them.

 I missed opening act Lauren Mayell, who had Lethbridge’s Mike Gnandt as part of her band, but was in time for a hit powered, 60 minute set from Jojo Mason. He was in the middle of his latest hit “The Future,” beaming beneath a baseball hat pulled low over his eyes. He eventually dropped the hat and mopped the sweat off his sweaty brow with a white towel in between raving about how happy he was to be there.

 He sang in a liquid, velvety tenor voice  seamlessly blending pop, R and B and soul with barely a touch of country music.

His tight band played plenty of subtly saccharine riffs to go with his gorgeous voice. He worked his way through his popular hits like Red Dress and “Edge of the Night,” and “It’s All Good,” which featured a freestyle rap breakdown in the middle of it, and had the enthusiastic audience singing along with the rest of it. A lot of them remembered him from his last show with Gord Bamford, including me. I was glad to see him break out on his own, adding a few pop covers as well which I didn’t recognize, but which had the audience singing along.

He road tested the upcoming single “Better On You.” which got a lot of applause as he raved about working with songwriter Mitchell Tenpenny, who also wrote “the Future.”
 As did “Good Kind of love,” one of his earlier cuts.
His voice reminded me a lot of ’80s pop stars the Fine Young Cannibals.
He ended his set with “It’s All Good.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 May 2019 10:24 )

Montgomery String band burn through bluegrass and Celtic licks

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Fredericton,New Brunswick’s Montgomery Street band (Patrick Gushue (mandolin/fiddle), Liam Keith-Jacques (guitar/dobro)The Montgomery Street Band at the Slice, May 16. Photo by Richard Amery, Scott Michaud (banjo/guitar)) opened up the Thursday open mic at the Slice, May 16 with a full set of quick picked finger bleeding bluegrass and traditional country music which also touched on Celtic music for a couple songs.

A relatively new bassist noted he stepped in for this tour as he plucked a beautiful oversized Mariachi style acoustic bass.

 They played a set of Doc Watson covers,  beautiful originals featuring some excellent mandolin playing and some beautiful vocal harmonies.

Near the end, Patrick Gushue traded his mandolin for a fiddle to wind down their exuberant set with  guitarist C.A. Jackson, who played an opening set.

— By Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 May 2019 10:15 )

Sold out Piggystock features a variety of music

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I was pleased to see Sheldon Shukaliak’s event Piggy Stock was sold out at the Polish Canadian Club, Saturday, May 11.

Eric Braun playing Piggystock with Continuum at the polish Canadian Club, May 11. Photo by Richard Amery And while most of the audience had cleared out after Dory Rossiter’ s band Horizon had finished, I was even more pleasantly surprised to learn Continuum was really just a rebranded Eric Braun band and settled in  for some energetic blues and jam rock music.

 Braun, as usual, showed some excellent guitar playing chops, and having a keyboardist, drummer and bassist to back him up, gave him a lot more room to move, play and experiment.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 May 2019 10:05 )

Concrete Funeral plays hot death metal

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The Slice was all about loud, head banging rock with groove metal band Concrete Funeral, Saturday, May 11.

Concrete Funeral at the Slice, May 11. Photo by Richard Amery
I missed the Hockey Moms and Crimson Caliber, but caught Calgary death metal band Concrete Funeral’s hot set and heavy set. They were all playing loud, crushingly heavy doom laden riffs on vintage ’80s headless guitars and basses.

 They reminded me of a blend of White Zombie and more modern metal like the Cancer bats, but added two-handed tapping shred style licks as well.

—  By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 May 2019 09:58 )

Half Sandwich cobbles together a set of hits

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Experimental jazz/rock band Sandwich had to experiment at the Owl Acoustic lounge as guitarist Arlen Wutch came down ill and Ryan Heseltine couldn’t make it to the gig so they recruited Jon Martin to add guitar to Kyle Harmon’s drumming and Paul Holden’s bass to cobble together a set of covers. Sandwich improvise a quick set. Photo by Richard Amery

They also added another guitarist/ vocalist to play a pretty cool version of ”90s gem, the Refreshments’ “Bandidos.”

—By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 May 2019 09:44 )
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