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Saving Abel rock the Stone

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The Stone  on Mayor Magrath was packed,  March 26 for Mississippi rock band Saving Abel and Toronto’s Desperate Union.

I arrived mid-set Saving Abel rocking the Stone. Photo by Richard Ameryas Saving Abel crashed into one of their big hits ‘New Tattoo,’ which they followed with an outstanding version of ‘Stupid Girl (Only In Hollywood),’ which had a lot of the enthusiastic audience singing along.
 They followed that with a  new song called ‘Potatoes.’

Then the grinning lead singer Jared Weeks affably talked about growing up in Mississippi, close to Tupelo where Elvis was born,  listening to classic and southern rock and  thanked the audience  for showing up, supporting them and buying their CD, giving them a career other than working at Wal Mart. 

“Not that there’s anything wrong with Wal Mart,” Weeks said.

 They showed their classic rock roots  by sitting down, grabbing acoustic guitars and playing a upbeat version of Saving Abel. Photo by Richard AmeryCreedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Who Will Stop the Rain.’
 They combined modern rock with classic rock influences, wearing their southern roots on their sleeves especially during several searing guitar solos.

 The fans were impressed with the show.

“Jared Weeks engaged good interaction with the audience and was literally reaching out to us from the stage. Afterwards the band stayed to have a meet and greet which was awesome to get to chat with each one of them and see how friendly they were off stage, just like regular people and not like the rock stars you see on TV with that sort of image. They have a real Southern down-to-earth charm and mannerisms about them that made me appreciate the band even more,” described Amanda Michalezki, one of the many enthusiastic fans in the audience.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Blackberry Woods party by playing polkas on speed

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Blackberry Woods brought the party  to the Slice, March 24. Photo by Richard AmeryWhile I was judging  the open for the band contest at Average Joes, I was afraid I’d miss Vancouver’s Blackberry  Woods’ return to the Slice, March 24.

Luckily I didn’t as they looked ready to bring the party on into daybreak.

 I don’t quite know how to describe what I heard  and saw other than to call it polkas on Blackberry Woods put on a show. Photo by Richard Ameryspeed.

 It was a great show. They had the entire crowd of 30 or so frenetically dancing in front of the stage, had them lie on the floor doing the bicycle for a song, and  got them chanting ‘oh vagina,’  on one of several encores,which gives you an indication of of their wicked sense of humour.

 Vocalist Kris sported a top hat and was dressed as a skeleton while the rest of the band dressed in cabaret kitsch black and white.

The muck bucket bassist dug in and grooved and new fiddler Melissa Bandura was a delight to watch and listen to.Blackberry Woods’ Melissa Bandura. Photo by Richard Amery

 The percussionist sang beautiful harmonies, added a fake lip whistle and tapped rhythm on an array of instruments including something that looked like a novelty sized stick of dynamite.
 Basically, Blackberry Wood knows how to bring a party home.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 March 2011 10:43 )

Netherlands jazz comes to Lethbridge

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NOA brought a taste of Netherlands jazz and lounge to the Tongue N Groove. Photo by Richard AmeryThe Tongue and Groove got a taste of Netherlands, March 23 with the help of N.O.A.

 The Netherlands based band played pleasant jazz tinged pop music with a lot of pretty piano playing some grooving stand-up bass and lounge style vocals.

They didn’t have  a lot of people, about 20 of them, in the audience, but made an impression.

The lead singer opened up the second set doing a duet with his piano player and did some pretty impressive scatting. The band joined in for a set  that just flew by, with more  jazzy piano and lounge style vocals.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Keith Price and Michael Peters play ambient rock

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Michael Peters and  Keith Price played the Slice, March 23. Photo by Richard Amery I caught the tail end of  Keith Price and  Michael Peters’ excellent concert at the Slice, March 23.

While Keith Price is basically known as a jazz man, his band was backing the more upbeat alt- country tinged ambient rock stylings of  Winnipeg singer-songwriter Michael Peters.

 They put on an excellent show for a handful of fans, playing a variety of styles, but their ambient indie-rock stylings reminded me of New Brunswick’s Grand Theft Bus, with enjoyable melodies and a pleasant groove.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 March 2011 10:29 )

Record labels all over Lethbridge

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You don’t have to leave town to find a record label. There are at least four of them, right here, all catering to different styles of music. Jesse Northey  on bass with the New Weather Machine. Photo by Richard AmeryWhile some of them are based around studios others are  groups of friends who hang around and play together sometimes even sharing band members.

The latest one, Esper Records, is not so much a record company as a musician’s collective. Jon Martin of the New Weather Machine and Jesse Northey from Jesse Northey and the Dandelions formed the label to share their knowledge and trade tips about all aspects of the music business  from gigs to recording to promotions. They met through the University of Lethbridge’s music program.

Jon Martin  playing a guitar solo. Photo by Richard Amery“We realized we were doing a lot of the same things,” said Martin of the label adding Leigh Doerksen and his duo Church are  the only other band on the label other than their own bands.

“We thought it would be more effective and efficient if we had a brand of our own,” he continued adding, for example,  they can cut costs by mailing out CDs to radio stations and media together rather than on their own and by booking shows together, which helps as Martin and Northey play in each other’s bands.

“We’re all benefitting from sharing our knowledge,” Northey said adding that can stop the other members of this ‘artistic collective’ from making similar the same mistakes.
“It’s so they don’t have to start from scratch,” Northey continued.
“We’ve all had our pitfalls recording our first albums and they’ve been a learning experience for our next albums,” said Martin.

“It is artists helping artists,” he added, noting while he and Northey have their own home studios, the studios aren’t part of the day-to-day workings of the label.

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