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Dirty Love band blow the blues away

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Sean Thomson blows a harp solo during the Dirty Love band’s set. Photo by Richard AmeryThere was a lot of really impressive and enjoyable music this past week,however, London, Ontario based Dirty Love band blew pretty much everybody away with  really cool and energetic blues/rock/ R and B sound at the Slice, Saturday.
I arrived in the middle of a frenzied piano and organ solo from Kent Merkley, Kent Merkley bangs out a keybaord solo. Photo by Rchard Amerywhile saxophonist Sean Thomson writhed and blew a crazy saxophone line which was drowned out by the rest of the band.
One of many highlights was “Love For Sale,” which though it wasn’t  the Talking Heads song,  did show off a strong Talking Heads influence, which  carried on throughout the sets especially in lead singer/ guitarist Dennis Habel’s voice. He played  some real tasteful blues solos alternating between touching and face melting.
What got me was a piano powered cover of Neil Young’s Needle and the Damage Done” which   bent my mind right around as it sounded like  Pink Floyd was covering it.
They played a slower blues number off their new CD called  “Dirty Man” which lead to the band to segue into a couple bars of “Hey Jude” and included a heart-wrenching harp solo played by Thomson who sat down in the midst of crowd to play it where he was joined by Habel.
They started their last  set of the night with a little bit of funk and a lot of material from their new CD “Generation Sex” which had a variety of sounds from upbeat rock, slower R and B and a touch of ’80s new wave with more Talking Heads influence. Fantastic.
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor
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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 14 April 2010 14:54 )
 

Tir Na N’og brings Celtic spirit to Wolf’s Den

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I  caught the end of the Lethbridge’s Folk Club’s Saturday night (April 10) presentation of Calgary Celtic band Tir Na N’og at the Wolf’s Den where a good sized crowd was enjoying outstanding musicianship on a variety of instruments.Tir na N’og wind down their set at the Wolf’s Den, April 10. Photo by Richard Amery
 I arrived in the middle of a touching version of Dolly Parton’s classic “Jolene” which featured some excellent mandolin playing from Brian Volke who shared lead vocals with Christie Simmons, who  showed her prowess on a variety of instruments including alternating between two sets of pipes during one song called Ronnie McCorkle. Colin Peters added some tasteful fiddle throughout. They also added some superb vocal harmonies.
 They ended with a laid back version of ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’  on which they tried to get the audience singing with them, and were called back for an upbeat encore of a song about whaling which gave them a chance to show off some superb vocal harmonies and more piping.
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor
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Alexander and Allen have Indigo Girls feel

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For something a lot more mellower than Helix on Friday but no less moving, I took in a great double bill with Jenny Allen and Leslie AlexJenny Allen and Leslie Alexander. Photo by Richard Ameryander at the Slice, who played my radio show earlier that night.
 They had a pleasant Indigo Girls feel  with a  Shawn Colvin pop feel with pretty vocal harmonies plus a washboard solo and a kazoo solo. They played until midnight for a good sized and appreciative crowd.
 One of my favourites from my show and from the Slice show was a new song by Leslie Alexander called ’Supergirl.’

They play together really well with really sweet vocal harmonies and appealing guitar playing.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 14 April 2010 14:35 )
 

Gunsmoke smokes with local rock bands

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I got a chance to check out a couple energetic Lethbridge bands I hadn’t seen before, April 7. Approximately 50 people were in the GCBC Lounge checking out local punk/ rock band Deathspot Radio to begin with. They were tight and put on a solid set of original music.Alleycat Blues went ninja turtle for a song, April 7. Photo By Richard Amery
Deathspot Radio rocks and olls. Photo by Richard AmeryBut Ottawa’s rockabilly/ garage rock band Gunsmoke were second with a lot of fleet fingered Gretsch picking and machine gun fast drumming which sounded like Duane Eddy meeting the Cramps in a dark alley.  The stand up bass player was totally digging in on his big white bass and the band played unbelievably tight. And before I knew it, their set was over.
Gunsmoke plaed some smoking rockabilly. Photo by Richard AmeryThe  crowd stayed on for Alley Cat Blues,  a local band who are neither a blues band nor have anything to do with alley cats. However they did prove themselves to be an adept garage/pop punk band with plenty of razor sharp power chords, some claw sharp guitar solos whoa whoa whoah shout along choruses and a dark sense of humour as they were singing about a variety of things like  the Grim Reaper, goalies and a  ghost at a party.
 Downstairs, Four of Winnipeg’s Magnificent 7s were hosting an open mic, but they played a couple sets of bluegrass and folk music including a great version of bluegrass standard ‘Rolling in My Sweet Baby’s Arms.”
— by Richard Amery L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 14 April 2010 14:21 )
 

Helix still knows how to R-O-C-K

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The second half of  Canadian classic metal band Helix’s set at Average Joes, April 9 blew me away and took me back to my ’80s headbanging days of yore
Helix vocalist Brian Vollmer still has an impressive voice. Photo by Richard AmerySeeing all of the original members together again was an amazing experience as they sound great.

Singer Brian Vollmer still hits those high notes like nobody else and original guitarist Brent Doerner still has a knife edge sharp solos.
 I arrived in the middle of “Here Comes the Night,” one of Helix’s beloved lower tempo numbers. They played songs from throughout their career right from the early days right up to today and their latest CD, “VaHelix guitarists Brent Doerner and Kaleb Duck harmonize on a solo.
 Photo by Richard Amerygabond Bones”.

Vollmer  took a break while guitarist  Doerner took lead vocals and spoke about almost getting fired from playing the Alec Arms Hotel for not knowing any covers. He also spoke about releasing their first album independently in 1977, then sang their big hit from it ‘ Billy Oxygen.’


‘Heavy Metal Cowboys’ was another upbeat highlight as Vollmer donned a cowboy hat for it.
Throughout Doerner and new lead guitarist Kaleb Duck trades solos and played some wicked harmonies including quite a bit of Eddie Van Halen style fretboard tapping.
 But the hands down highlight was  when they played a harmonized version of the fanfare you usually at horse races,  as bassist Daryl Gray cried “Gentlemen start your engines.” 

The guitarists took centre stage and blew the headbanging crowd away who shouted along as they launched into their big hit ’Rock You.’
They were called back for an encore of ‘Monday Morning Meltdown’ from the new CD.

— By Richard Amery L.A. Beat Editor

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