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Lots going on for Easter week

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If you are staying in Lethbridge for Easter weekend, there are a couple of cool shows happening. Romi Mayes, one of my favourite Winnipeg musicians, plays Henotic, Monday, April 5 with Matt Masters. Admission is $10. The show begins at 9 p.m. They sold out shows in Calgary and Edmonton this past week.
 Mayes’ latest CD “AcThe Phantom Creeps and Smokestack Jacks play the Slice, April 2. Photo by Richard Amery hin’ In Yer Bones” was nominated for a Juno award this year. And you have to love a woman who can name drop Kerouac in the middle of a blues song, check out the interview and video for “Not The Other Dame.’
Another cool Winnipeg duo, Captain Keenan consisting of  brothers Patrick and Tom will be playing the Slice, April 1.
They both have new CDs out and are looking forward to introducing them to the west.
Other cool shows this week include  B.A. Johnston, who returns to Henotic with his unusual poetry and music. Henotic also  brings in Seattle dance rockers Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head,  March 31. L.A. Beat is giving away two tickets to Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head. If you want to check out this show, just e- mail me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Also on Wednesday, March 31 the Slice is bringing back popular roots rockers Wax Mannequin and  the Burning Hell.
Local blues/rock duo Smokestack Jacks and the Phantom Creeps have a gig at the Slice, April 2. However, simultaneously, Shane Philip who makes unusual and catchy music on a variety of instruments including the didgeridoo, returns to Henotic the same night.
Classic rock fans will be at the New Coast Hotel for a show by classic rockers Kenny Shields and Streetheart, April 2.
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 30 March 2010 12:25 )

Mayes excited to play with new band

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If you‘ve got  an “Achin’ in Yer Bones” for some beautifully rendered roots and country music with a touch of the blues and a rock and roll edge for your Easter Monday, you won’t want to miss Romi Mayes at Henotic, April 5.
Her latest CD “Achin’ In Yer Bones” has  been nominated for a Juno award this year.
“It was really unexpected. You never know until you release it,” Mayes said, en route to a gig in Saskatoon.
“It’s juried by random people in the music industry. So it is really subjective. I had no expectations whatsoever, but it is great to see the CD has a lifespan longer than a year,” she said.Romi Mayes plays Henotic, April 5.
“It’s my first Juno nomination, so it’s pretty exciting,” she said adding she is even more excited about having her own band including Perpetrators’ guitarist/vocalist Jason Nowicki, drummer Ryan Voth and bassist David Landreth.
“I’m enjoying this band so much, I don’t think I’d ever want to play solo again especially when you get lucky and have these great guys. It’s a lot more exciting,” said Mayes.
“I really like to see the audience rocking, and it’s really frustrating as a duo or solo. But  it’s a lot more exciting playing with a band. It’s exhilarating to be able to watch the audience and watch their faces light up,” she said.
“ These guys free me up from stresses and they help with the driving,” Mayes enthused, adding she feels lucky to have Jason Nowicki on board.
“He’s been my best friend for 20 years. I’m a huge Perps fan. I was fortunate he had some time off from the Perpetrators, when he joined the band in September (Landreth also joined in September while Voth joined in December), that he was able to juggle between both. He still plans to dominate with maximum ‘perp’etration,” she enthused, adding the band works well together.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 30 March 2010 12:14 ) Read more...

Wild T shows Monday night spirit

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Wild T takes a bite out of his Strat. Photo by Richard AmeryIf Jimi Hendrix lived past age 27, he might have ended up sounding something like Wild T and the Spirit.
Wild T, aka Toney Springer and his crack band  left a good sized Monday night crowd at the Slice, with their jaws on the floor, March 29.
Bluesman Wild T pulled out all of the stops, playing guitar behind his back, between his legs and with his teeth, beaming ear to dreadlocked ear all the while.  Bassist Guenther Kappelle and  his drummer kept step with him. Kapelle was a marvel in himself, playing  effortlessly solid  intricate bass lines without looking like it was any trouble at all.Another guitar trick from Wild T. Photo by Richard  Amery
 But Wild T was a blur of energy and good vibes, playing about a dozen different guitar tricks sometimes in a single song including as lot  of Eddie Van Halen style fretboard tapping, but then would switch into Bob Marley’s  ‘Everything’s Going to be All Right’ then back into a crazy jazz inspired improvisational jam.

Open mics a great place to fight stage fright and play with others

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What with  downloading and  numerous ways to access music for free online, playing live is a musician’s bread and butter. But when you have horrible stage fright not to mention a notoriously bad memory  for my own lyrics and guitar licks, facing an audience is a challenge. So I made it my goal this year to play more in public.Some dude name Richard trying to play an open mic. Photo by Dean Wilson
So, being an up and coming performing musician trying to overcome stage fright, I thought I’d try to hit every single open mic in a week. Pretty much every day of the week open mics provide an opportunity for up and coming musicians to test their live chops and get over stage fright and experienced musicians looking to play with and meet other musicians. They come out in force and there is a completely different crowd out to each open mic.

 Sunday: My adventure started at the Sandman Inn with the very first open mic there at the lounge next to the Denny’s,  Feb. 9.
Jon Vornbrock, who plays guitar with the Void and the Phantom Creeps started this up.
“It’s something to do on a Sunday. They were looking for someone to host the open mic and approached me,” Vornbrock said, who knew management through his day job.
He has also played at Henotic’s Wednesday open mic a few times as well as the Slice’s Tuesday open mic.
“(Open mics) are a little more relaxed. And you’re a little more free to play what you want,” he continued adding playing with a band is a little more structured.  I played a pretty classical piece I wrote which I dug up for Henotic’s open mic the week before and try singing a couple others.

Monday: The 1010 Pub’s open mic this week is hosted by Taylor Ackerman and Ryan Dyck of Treeline. I played a couple of my own blues songs because Taylor offered to add some sweet pedal steel guitar to them. They went over well  as well as a complicated folk song and another which which I try to play at this open mic, every time I play it. Paul Kype and Greg Gomola, who often host this open mic were there , though don’t play this time, along with Jenn Pellerin and some other talented performers.  Performers usually get to play longer at the 1010 open mic  partially because there aren’t as many performers as some of the other ones.
Ackerman likes the fact that open mics give musicians a chance to play other musicians.
“The appeal of them is if you’re an up and coming musician, it gives you a chance to  play with other musicians. Plus you only need to know three or four songs. And the audiences are more forgiving,”  said Ackerman, who also hosts open stages at the Slice periodically.
This is something I’m starting to notice. So far nobody seems to mind if you forget your song and start again and they applaud  afterward.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 28 March 2010 17:41 ) Read more...

Phantom Creeps to host unplugged open mic Fridays

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The Phantom Creeps unlugged , March 19. Photo by Richard AmeryA unique gig featured local punk/psychobilly trip the Phantom Creeps playing an ‘unplugged’ gig at Bar One in the Sandman Inn, March 19. Several guests came up to play and surprisingly ‘unplugged’ Phantom Creeps sounded pretty good.

Guitarist Jon Vornbrock plugged his acoustic guitar into a distorted Fender amp, so the gig was unplugged, but not really. Their music translates well into an unplugged setting.

They are going to be hosting these Friday night open mics every Friday.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 24 March 2010 13:27 )
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