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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...

Shotgun Jimmie plays original familiar future classics

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 I witnessed a slice of solid gold Canadian rock in the form of Sackville, New Brunswick’s Shotgun Jimmie, Jan. 25 at the newly Shotgun Jimmie with jay Baird on drums, at the NAAG gallery, Jan. 25. Photo by Richard Ameryrenovated NAAG (Fist City rehersal space/art gallery/show venue).
 Composed of Jim “Shotgun Jimmie” Kilpatrick on lead vocals, electric guitar, rhythm egg and Jay Baird on drums and saxophone, Shotgun Jimmie reaffirms the notion that Canadians can definitely still rock.

Reminiscent of the early 90’s grunge scene out of Seattle, Shotgun Jimmie sounds like a mixture of Pavement, Sloan and Modest Mouse with the sardonic, Canadian wit of The Barenaked Ladies.

 Songs like “One Trick Pony” pretty much capture the band’s mentality. (“I’ve got all I need, everything I see is as simple as can be, and I like it that way. You write simple songs and you all sing along.”)

Last Updated ( Sunday, 30 January 2011 16:38 ) Read more...

Lethbridge College Band Wars brings different audiences and bands together

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Smokestack Jacks won the Lethbridge College Band Wars, Jan. 21. Photo by Richard AmeryThe great thing about a band wars, like the  Jan. 21 event at the Lethbridge College Barn, is it not only brings together a variety of bands who may not have actually seen each other play before, but their fans as well, who may not have, and, in fact  had not, heard of a lot of the other bands.  Headbanging fun with Enceladus. Photo by Richard Amery

Not everybody hits as many different venues as I do every night , so I’d seen most of the performers before. But it helped to draw in a crowd, that each band was given tickets to sell to their own fans.

 But here’s the thing, there are so many different venues featuring live music in Lethbridge periodically, but there is barely any crossover in bands at the different venues, or for that matter their audiences, who barely ever set foot in any of the other venues, at least to my eye.Pilgrimage of the Lost played slower, grungier rock. Photo by Richard Amery

Which made it all the more  the pleasant surprise  for most of the sold out crowd to see the local talent they had never heard, but are playing in their own backyards.
I missed excellent sets by the Living Luca and  Matt Robinson,  who usually is a solo folk and blues music singer, but who had his own band this time including Leeroy Stagger.

I arrived in time to see a solid, though bass heavy set by local punk/ metal band Kenzi Kill, who I’d seen at an all ages gig on the north side a few months ago.

Blues rock duo Smokestack Jacks won the $800 grand prize and $25 equipment rental from Long and McQuade thanks to an energetic and inspired  set with guitarist/ vocalist Dave Bullied sporting a lone ranger mask and racing across the stage to sing out of all three mics on the stage, Geoff McDonald, also wearing a Lone Ranger mask kept the beat and played an impromptu drum solo while Bullied changed guitars and tuned  up. They played a set familiar to me and a lot of the crowd including “Fat Ass,” “Rocket Ship,” and  crowd favourite ”Whiskey.”

Another duo, Penny Fortune, took second place with a set of more laid back R and B and rap powered by keyboard, computer and guitar.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 27 January 2011 18:38 ) Read more...
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