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Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden opens for year with kites and sumo wrestling planned

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Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens opens for the season, Friday, May 3 with a lot of fun activities planned for the year including everything from Sumo Wrestling to kite flying and yoga.The Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden has opened for the season. Photo by Richard Amery
“Because it’s a federal and municipal park, we can’t make any physical changes, but what we have done is increased our programming and creative, collaborative, cultural experiences,” summarized executive director Michelle Day.

 There are many regular events including  the Yoga experience, Yukata Shimatsu on weekends, reflexology, Nodate open tea services, a special board game night Go Fridays,where participants play the popular Japanese game Go, Okinawa Doughnuts, Sunset Sake and specialty tours.

The first big event is this weekend, May 4 and 5. “Let’s Go Fly A Kite,” coincides with the popular Japanese Children’s day holiday.
 Participants will learn how to build their own kites and fly them.

 Local taiko drummers will open the day at 1 p.m. while kite expert Dan Guick shows off his kite collection and gives a flying demonstration.
 Locally made Okinawa donuts will be available in the visitors centre. And  after getting your fill, build and fly your own kite beginning at 2 p.m.
Next weekend, the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden  features a a special Mother’s Day Tea, May 16.

Last Updated ( Friday, 03 May 2019 16:27 ) Read more...

Heron and Bort bring the heavy to a Wednesday night

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Things got loud at the Slice, Wednesday, April 24.

A decent Wednesday night crowd was on hand for The Rainbow Patrol and Vancouver bands Heron and Bort. local band Monolith wasn’t able to make it.
 Heron borrowed Bort’s drum kit and amp stack. Bort playing the Slice, April 24. Photo by Richard Amery

There was nary a bassist in sight as the two guitarists, including one of them playing a seven string,  layed down super heavy, gloomy, Black Sabbathy, sludgy, massively detuned depressing riffs that could only come out of a depressing, endless rainy winter of their Vancouver home.
 The vocalist howled and growled his death metal best punctuating  it with the occasional blood curdling shriek.

He thanked the audience of approximately  30  for “coming out on a Wednesday to hear bands you’ve never heard of before,” before the band crashed into a song abut “ the  vastness of the universe and meaninglessness of life.” In addition to punishing riffs, they enhanced their set with sound effects of car crashes and news clips.

I was there to see Bort,whose CD I’d been playing on my radio show.

Heron playing the Slice, April 24. Photo by Richard Amery They had a more accessible, ’70s style heavy rock sound along the lines of Grand Funk Railroad and Foghat, with more modern influences like Monster Truck and Truckfighter, whose shirt the lead singer was sporting.

 They were a little more upbeat than Heron and even had a couple tasteful guitar solos to go along with the big riffs.
As a bonus, they even turned Tears For Fears’ ’80s pop classic “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” into a sludgy stoner rock anthem.

 They played behind a double stack of 4x20 cabinets, which were probably unnecessary for a room the size of the Slice, but surprisingly reined in the volume a little bit through their solid  set.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 01 May 2019 12:36 )

B.A. Johnston brings laughs and new songs on a Tuesday night

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There is something familiar and comforting about the unabashed weirdness that is Hamilton funnyman B.A. Johnston, who made his semi-annual return to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Tuesday, April 23.

B.A. Johnston ending his show in the bathroom, April 23. Photo by Richard Amery
 He was, as he usually is, consistently entertaining. He cracked jokes about Medicine Hat , jumping off chairs, wandering into the audience and feeding them their own drinks, wandering behind the bar as laughing fans leaped over his microphone cord to feed bartender Brae a bottle of something pink, rolled around the floor like a deranged leprechaun, and, as usual, stripped off layers of identical “What Are you looking At Dickhead?” shirts. He joked you can buy them in bulk back home in Hamilton.

He scampered around the stage, poking at a Discman,  two  keyboards and a  trashed acoustic guitar to play the usual array of crowd favourites and sing alongs like “ Deep Fryer in My Bedroom,” “ How Many T Bone Steaks Can I Fit in my Pants: Can’t Stop Stealing From Work,” “Jesus Lives In Hamilton,”  and GST Cheques,” for which he had the crowd shouting along “Gimmie Some Treats.” He also played a song about a bad cat sitter and the always popular “Drive Through Beef,” about getting unwanted mayo on his fast food.

B.A. Johnston gets ready to leap off a chair, April 23. Photo by Richard Amery
 He played  several songs from his last CD “Gremlins 3,” including IKEA and “Too Messed up To be  in This Canoe,” but didn’t play my new favourite “A Day Off is a Day off.” He did wander outside the side door though.

 But he played a couple from his brand new CD “ The Skid is Hot Tonight including  instant crowd favourite “ We’re All Going to jail (Except For Pete, he’s Gonna Die), and “Jesus take tttthe Wheel.”, about driving to Medicine Hat on black ice.

BA Johnston oin the floor of the Owl, April 23. Photo by Richard Amery
But he quickly returned to classics like “ My Roommate is a Couche Tard” and plugged his new BELL Vibe TV show about Hamilton called Ham Jam.

 He even played a birthday request  of “The Squirrel Song,” and followed up with “The Best Day Ever : McDonalds Coupon Day.”
As usual, he ended up playing his last, last encore in the bathroom “I Want to Drink in a bar surrounded by Aliens.”

A two piece J Blissette featuring Jackson Tiefenbach wielding a Gibson Flying V and drummer Matthew Rederberg opened the show with a solid set of punk related music.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 01 May 2019 09:17 )

Snake River and Shirley and the Pyramids celebrate 4-20

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I missed a lot of the Owl Acoustic Lounge’s 4-20 party, but caught the end of Snake River’s set, Saturday April 20. Snake River returned to The Owl Acoustic Lounge for a 4-20 party, April 20. Photo by Richard Amery

They had expanded their ranks including adding a violinist since I last saw them and she was in the middle of a big jam with a 12 string guitarist, which ended their set.

Saskatoon’s Shirley and the Pyramids played a loud set of heavily distorted and layered guitar with just a touch of Stratocaster twang.

Shirley and the Pyramids werre at The Owl Acousitc Lounge for a 4-20 party, April 20. Photo by Richard Amery
They sounded like a heavier Dandy Warhols style indie rock, which pretty much drowned out their lead singer.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 01 May 2019 09:06 )

Club Lime relives the ’80s with tributes to Def Leppard and Motley Crüe

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The ’80s returned in force  to Club Lime, Friday, April 19, with two excellent tribute bands dressed in their glam rock best and playing the hits.
 It’s always a lot of fun when a tribute band dresses the part.

Def Leppard Tribute Stage Fright at Club Lime April 19. Photo by Richard Amery
 Calgary based Motley Crüe tribute Live Wire, featuring  drummer Steve Jacobson dressed as Tommy Lee,  Vocalist/guitarist  Eric Paulin dressed as frontman Vince Neil, guitarist Bryan Berger as Mick Mars, and bassist SDave Chomiak and Paul Denton playing with Stage Fright, April 19. Photo by Richard Ameryhawn Tiedemann dressed as Nikki Sixx.

 They  wore full spandex, makeup and ’80s style wigs and even their instruments looked like Motley Crüe’s. Tiedemann was playing a B.C. Rich Warlock bass.
 The night was full of Crüe’s hits popular  like Dr. Feelgood, which they were playing as I arrived.

 And you couldn’t have an ’80s show without a big drum solo, so there was one of those as well.
They invited some of their female fans on stage to dance to “Girls, Girls, Girls.”
They tried to get the crowd to call and response to  “Ten Seconds To Love,” and they eventually did, when they realized what line they were supposed to sing.Motley Crüe tribute Live Wire at Club Lime, April 19. Photo by Richard Amery

 “Smokin’ In the Boys Room was  a highlight. They wound down with a tender version of  “Home Sweet Home,” featuring Tiedmann playing the intro keyboard riff and kicked things up a notch again with “Kickstart My Heart.” They were definitely a Motley Crüe experience and brought the audience back to a more ’80s frame of mind.

Stage Fright did the same for Def Leppard fans, though I only caught a few songs.
 They  dressed like ’80s Def Leppard and payed a lot of hits, starting with “Rock! Rock! Till You Drop.”
 Chevelles bassist Kitty Chevelle aka Dave Chomiak nailed Def Leppard vocalist Joe Elliott’s vocals and was able to strut around the stage like he was playing a stadium instead of Club Lime as Tyrants of Chaos bassist Paul Denton was handling bass duties.

Live Wire at Club Lime playing Motley Crüe's hits. photo by Richard Amery
They had the look down, with a massive Union Jack covering the drum kit before their set began and massive Stage Fright banners hanging behind the stage.

In between sets, Shawn Tiedemann switched from bass to guitar and dressed in what looked like colonel’s uniform with bright red ascot, the other guitarist pretty much nailed the Def Leppard guitar solos. They also nailed Leppard’s  gang vocals.
 I left for other shows during “Woman.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 01 May 2019 08:53 )
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