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Poor attendance mars another great year of live music

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Last year was pretty amazing for live acts both touring and local.
Unfortunately poor attendance still remains a plague upon the scene. I’ve been at countless amazing shows this year which dSage McBride of Shred Kelly celebrating Halloween at Inferno. Photo by Richard Ameryrew very few people. We have amazing talent playing Lethbridge and more often than not — nobody there to hear it. Part of the problem is due to shows starting late. Maybe it’s because I’m getting more cranky the older I get, but I find it constantly frustrating when a show is advertised to begin at 9:30 p.m., and it doesn’t begin until an hour later or more, or as I call it — Lethbridge time. It is all the more frustrating on a week night. I imagine it is more frustrating for those who don’t set their own schedules like I do. Especially if you have to get up early for school or work. Not to mention if you paid for a babysitter to look after your kids so you can have a rare night out.

 One of the best poorly attended shows in 2013 was Bocephus King. Another great poorly attended show was Roger Marin, also at the Slice just to name a few. And not just at the Slice.

Poor attendance could be due to many other reasons. Lack of publicity is another. I do my part. I always let people know about shows on and through the Sun Times and on my radio shows on CKXU. There is a lot of legwork involved in it. I spend a lot of time reading musician’s facebook statuses, events listings and invites and looking for posters and signage and, of course, talking to people first hand to keep my listings up to date.

But you can tell people about shows as many times as you like but short of yelling from the rooftops or goinThee Attacks put on one of the best shows of the year. Photo By Richard Ameryg to people’s houses and physically dragging them of their couches and into their community to support live music, there is not much else you can do to actually get them to show up.

But as I said, there was a lot of excellent music coming though Lethbridge this year. Casino Lethbridge brought in some great classic rock acts plus bluesman Jack Semple who brought the house down. They also featured another of my favourites Doucette plus Helix, Doug and the Slugs and even country music.

 Average Joes was home to great Canadian ’90s rock including stellar shows from Matthew Good and Sloan, plus ’90s ‘supergroups’ like Crash Karma as well as excellent metal from the Cancer Bats.

 They also featured some experimental pop music with bands like Rykka and Dragonette.

 Bo Diddly’s have also hosted excellent shows with Vancouver ’90s punk band Gob,  another excellent St. Patrick’s Day themed show from the Real McKenzies and my favourite new discovery of the year — Thee Attacks. I predicted big things from the Sheepdogs a couple years ago just before they won the cover of the Rolling Stone contest. This year I’m predicting big things for Thee AttKeenan Harrison crowd surfing at Gob. Photo by Richard Ameryacks.

 This Danish band brought back the spirit of ’60 rock and roll with liberal dollops of the Who and brought more energy to the stage than I have seen in quite some time.

I’m also predicting big things for Saskatchewan born, Vancouver transplants One Bad Son who played a couple excellent shows in Lethbridge of neo-classic rock.


Lethbridge music scene rallies in face of a tough year

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I’m sure a lot of people will be glad to see the back of this mean, nasty, tumultuous and tragic schoolyard bully of a year that has been 2013.
 There have been floods, fireD.O.A.’s Joe Keithley kicks 2013 out the door. Photo by Richard Amerys, hailstorms and prominent deaths in the community. At times it seems like Armageddon is near.

This year the local music community community was rocked by the loss three of their prominent members — Salem Abraha in May and Randy Shaver and James DJ Booda Nishima with weeks of each other in August and September.

They will be missed, mourned, but more importantly — remembered. They may be gone, but their spirit lives on in the number of great musicians, promoters and personalities carrying on their work.

 Other members of the community have suffered serious car accidents (Bente Hansen and sound man Rod Minty) and illnesses which they are still recovering from.
 Chris Lipinski and his wife Courtney lost their house to a fire, Frank Dooley had a serious construction accident.

But the silver lining of these tragedies, should you choose to see it, is the community has rallied around them and others who need help.
 The community came together to organize well attended benefit for some of these folks including the Lipinski’s July 10 and other benefits for George Arsene and Murray Nelson. Two other groups of musicians stepped forward to raise money for victims of the floods in High River — one really great day long event at a new bar in town the Smokehouse and another at CASA.

Local artists came together to volunteer time, labour and materials to build a gorgeous new gallery for the Potemkin Gallery on the second  floor of the same building which houses the Owl Acoustic Lounge. Unfortunately, that gallery is no more due to the landlord deciding to rent the space out, leaving the local artists collective without a gallery.


Library closed early due to weather

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The Main Branch of the Lethbridge Public Library will be closing at 5:30 p.m. today, December 3, 2013 Please note that due to continuing weather conditions, the Main Branch of the Lethbridge Public Library will close at 5:30 p.m. today. The Crossings Branch and the Bookmobile remain closed throughout the day.

—  Submitted


Crossing Branch library closed early due to storm

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The Crossings Branch Library will be closed at 4:30 p.m. today  Please note that due to drifting snow and weather conditions, The Crossings Branch Library in West Lethbridge will be closing this evening, Monday, December 2 at 4:30 p.m.  The Main Branch downtown will remain open until 9 p.m., weather permitting.

 The Bookmobile is also not running today.

— Submitted


Remember the veterans always

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While some people look at this weekend as a long weekend, with Remembrance Day happening on Monday,  it is a day that should be dedicated to remembering our veterans past and present.
 It is a day in which we should count our blessings and be thankful for the freedom to say and do pretty much whatever we want to without fatal consequences.
Remembrance Day is not a day to glorify war, but to think about the consequences and costs of war not so much in money, but more importantly in blood — in young lives lost way too soon. It's not just lives lost, but lives impacted and irrevocably changed by injuries and trauma resulting from the experience.

 My dad is a Second World War veteran, so while he, at 90-years old, still attends one of the many Remembrance Day services in Calgary, I always go to Lethbridge’s Remembrance Day Service at Exhibition Park first thing in the morning on Nov. 11. My dad doesn’t talk much about his experience as a gunner in a Lancaster Bomber during the war. He will sometimes recall the cramped conditions thousands of Canadian soldiers endured on the ship they took over to Europe, but he doesn’t mention his friends who died in the war or any wartime experiences. When we visit the cemetery back home he’ll mention he knows more people there than he does people still living. There are faded gravestones of veterans there — their names slowly being ground away by time and the elements, but they should not be forgotten.

 Remembrance Day is a day to remember the ever dwindling number of Second World War veterans , as I don’t think there are any First World War veterans still surviving, but also veterans of the First World War, the Korean War, peacekeepers and veterans of ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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