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Clapping Monkeys play happy music

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The Clapping Monkeys playing the Owl. Photo by Richard AmeryThe Clapping Monkeys sure made an impression  during their brief, fourth place winning set at the Lethbridge Student’s Association Band Wars, Jan. 21, because they packed the Owl Acoustic Lounge full of their hooting , hollering and whistling fans, Jan 28.
It was standing room only for an upbeat evening beginning with folk pop singer Roderick Watt.

I only caught the last part of his set.
 But everyone was there to cheer for the Clapping Monkeys and started cheering even as they tuned up.

They showed some impressive musical diversity from more ’90s pop-rock to blues, folk, a touch of reggae some  “political folk rock” and a variety of cool things in between everything else.

Their music sounded relentlessly upbeat and positive. Even their “grunge” song sounded pretty happy.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor
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Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra’s gypsy rock keeps crowd on their feet

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Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra’s Ian Griffifths. Photo by Richard AmeryAs promised in last week’s interview, Tequila Mockingbird provided an upbeat, energetic dance party and  some very cool music at the Slice, Wednesday, Jan. 26.

 At the risk of coining a phrase, Tequila Mockingbird combined frenetic fiddle, magnificent mandolin, upbeat stand-up bass and even a little accordion and influences from all over the world into something new and original that I’m going to call gypsy rock.

They drummer laid down a hypnotic beat which had a good sized portion of a respectably sized  audience on the dance floor swaying and dancing to their Eastern European inspired music.
It was like South Country Fair all over again instead of the end of January in the dead of winter  in Lethbridge.

They started the second set with a slower song, and then gradually picked up the pace until they had the crowd captivated and back on the dance floor.

The infectious fiddle  and sense of humour kept the crowd hopping. They even added a few bars of “Devil Went Down the Georgia” to the end of one of their songs. They had some impressive vocal harmonies in a  skin tight set that everyone was loving.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Smokestack Jacks to become a trio

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Popular Lethbridge blues/ rock power duo Smokestack Jacks is about to become a power trio.Smokestack Jacks are adding a bassist. Photo by Richard Amery
 Smokestack Jacks, who won the Lethbridge College Students’ Association band Wars, Jan. 21 have welcomed aboard bassist Michael Kaye.
 Kaye will we making his official stage debut with Smokestack Jacks at the Tattoo Convention, April 23 opening for the Dayglo Abortions.
 But if the Smokestack Jacks choose to compete in the next edition of  Lethbridge College band Wars, March 1, He may make his debut early.

“We were pretty cocky going in, because we hadn’t heard of most of the other bands playing,” admitted Smokestack Jacks guitarist/vocalist Dave Bullied.
“Rather we thought we could win if we played a good show,” amended drummer Geoff McDonald.
“We felt  the other bands were really amazing, especially Caste of Shadows at the end, and Penny Fortune were really amazing and different too, so we were starting to sweat by 11:30 p.m., ” Bullied added, noting though they received an invite to compete again in March, they are undecided about it.

“We’d feel a little guilty about competing again,” he said.
“We wouldn’t have won if it wasn’t for our fans. Battle of the Bands is a popularity contest, so  it was really  flattering to find out that we are that popular. We couldn’t have done it without our fans,” Bullied said.

The duo met in high school and went their separate ways, McDonald returned to Vancouver  where he played in numerous different musical projects, then returned to Lethbridge and joined Jeremy Floyd Cowper and the Messenger band on bass.
Bullied stayed around Lethbridge and played in several bands including Red Wine Smile and the Windy City Blues Band.
 When Red Wine Smile broke up, he reconnected with McDonald, who had since learned  to play drums.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 03 February 2011 20:35 ) Read more...

February looks like a hot month for music

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Though there’s snow on the ground, February looks pretty hot on the concert scene.The Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra celebrates their fiftieth birthday this week. Photo by Richard Amery
 If you like bigger shows, there are a couple for you including a rescheduled Down With Webster show at Bully’s , Feb. 22. If you like country music, Emerson Drive will be in town at the Yates, Feb. 24 with special guest Ridley Bent. And the Geomatic Attic will be bringing in the Sadies this month as well,  Feb. 15.
 The Lethbridge Folk Club is bringing in Tim Hus for people who love storytelling singer-songwriter. He’ll be playing with special guest Dusty Dee, Feb. 19.

This week is another good one.  But it’s all about comedy this weekend. Pickle has a two day run at Cudos Lounge Friday and Saturday.
 Also on Saturday, after the UFC fight, The Blackjack Comedy Tour, featuring Matt Billon and Mike MacDonald, comes to Average Joes, Feb. 5.

The best show of the week will be the return of jazz/blues combo Little Miss Higgins, Feb. 2
Other excellent shows will be a two day run at Casino Lethbridge with Leeroy Stagger, Feb. 4-5. And if you missed the Prairie  To Oceans tour late last year, make sure you catch singer/songwriter Kelly Tschritter, who was part of that tour and who returns to the Mocha Cabana, Feb. 4.

 This week is especially special for the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra who will be celebrating their fiftieth birthday at Southminster United Church, Feb. 7. Musaeus as well as  the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra’s string quartet will all be performing former music director J-P Christopher Jackson’s  composition Badlands; a Tone Poem as well as Louis Spohr’s  Concerto For String Quartet, Leonard Berstein’s selections from West Side Story as well as Tchaikovsky’s Romeo And Juliet Overture, to get people prepared for Valentines Day. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

Little Miss Higgins begins a busy year in Southern Alberta

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Little Miss Higgins returns to the Slice, Feb. 2. Photo by Richard AmeryNokomis , Saskatchewan based jazz/ blues musician Little Miss Higgins is looking forward to being back on the road after a few weeks off.

“Yeah it was good to have some time off , but now we’re getting started with the new year,” said Little Miss Higgins, aka Jolene Higgins on the way to play the Tongue on the Post Festival in Medicine Hat. They played their their own show there as well as a couple workshops.

 She, guitarist Foy Taylor and bassist Joey Lorer will be returning to  Lethbridge, Feb. 2 to play the Slice.

“We’ll be playing lots of songs from ‘Across the Plains’ as well as from the other album,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to the good pizza and we’re looking forward to seeing a lot of our friends there,” she said adding they aren’t working on new material yet.

“We feel this album still has legs. It’s still relatively fresh, it just came out last spring. So we’ve still got time to work on new stuff,” she said adding she has been other with other creative projects.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 01 February 2011 11:52 ) Read more...
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