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L.A. Beat

From the Editor's Desk

Henotic will be missed

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Henotic will be mourned and missed May 2, after Mammoth Cave Fest 2, when they will be closing their doors forever.
The Facebook announcement, April 16, came as a huge shock to Lethbridge’s art and music community, who have embraced the latest bar to call the old firehall home. Henotic has become the home punks, students, indie rockers, artists and people who just want to have a nice meal out, have been seeking.The Hardtails  at Henotic. Photo by Richard Amery
Henotic owner Jason Beacock came a long way in just a year and a half by giving Lethbridge artists and musicians a location and opportunity to meet,  meld and commune. Combined with all of the amazing music the Slice has been bringing in regularly,  classic rock shows at Average Joes and dinner music at the Mocha Cabana, we had a veritable downtown scene happening.

Whenever people disparaging refer to Lethbridge as Deathbridge or complain there’s nothing to do in Lethbridge, you only had to point to Henotic as a microcosm of big city style culture and music with Lethbridge’s small town feel as an example to the contrary.
While a lot of venues are bringing in live music now, none of them have the unique character, not to mention variety  that Henotic offers. Henotic closing leaves local artists suitably bummed out, almost anchorless and leaves a void that is not easily filled.

Simply displaying local  artists’ work on the walls, mostly from the Burning Ground Studio in the basement of the old firehall building, gives artists priceless exposure. They also provided a home for organizations like the Most Vocal Poets and for a brand new Dr. Sketchy’s anti-art school.
Music wise, they embraced a variety of acts like no other venue embraced including garage rockers and punks, who don’t fit in anywhere else, but seem to fit in at Henotic.
There was also a lot of weirder, more dance orientated acts. Big acts like the Shout Out Out Out Outs and You Say Party, We Say Die plus soon to be big acts like Ridley Bent, renown bluesmen like Rod Davis, acts who should be bigger and more than likely will be like Romi Mayes, really cool acts like Calgary rockabilly band the Hardtails, crazy roots acts like the Schomberg Fair and numerous others.

Not to mention their Wednesday open mics which countless up and coming musicians including me, embraced as an opportunity to play out those live performance butterflies, road test new material and just actually get out in public. I’m looking forward to hosting the open mic tonight , April 21,  though very nervous.

They’ve also given local musicians the opportunity to open for a lot of these bigger names, which is a priceless opportunity for them.
Not to say the others don’t but it is a sad day anytime you lose a venue, let alone two (the GCBC Lounge upstairs as well as the downstairs)


The best of 2009 tough to choose

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What to choose, what to choose? This year has been a fantastic year for live music in Lethbridge. So what have  the most memorable  shows been? It’s a tough choice as there have been so many.
Because Oct. 10’s show at the Slice with Rich Hope, The Ramblin’ Ambassadors and the Manvils officially launched L.A. Beat, that one is definitely among my favourites. Rich Hope at the Slice, Oct. 10. Photo By Richard Amery
All three bands provided a lot of energy, a lot of diversity, some killer musicianship, a variety of styles of music from country fried instrumental rock to blues to rock and roll, some wild showmanship and I’ve been wanting to see Rich Hope live for years. Fantastic. You’ve got to love Rich Hope  jumping on a  table and howling the blues at the audience. Speaking of showmanship, any of the shows from Australia’s Mason Rack band were exceptional. At the end of the first set at both his shows this year at the Slice, including a packed one on Sept. 26, Mason Rack played some deadly slide guitar on “Who Do You Love’, then grabbed a pair of drumsticks and  did a drum solo on the drum kit, then crab crawled through the audience drumming on a beer keg, tables, chairs, the floor — anything  he could hit with a drum stick. He sounded amazing doing it. Quite a few people were there to see him playing with local blues trio Fat Baby Jake, though not a lot were there the previous couple times.
 A lot of great shows, namely a couple shows by Toronto rock band the Joys at the Slice ( April 8, Oct. 21) rank  near the top of the list, were really poorly attended. Ditto for 40 Sons at the Slice,  Nov. 25. I was delighted to see Moncton based psychedelic jam rock band, Chris Colepaugh and the Cosmic Crew make their first visit to Lethbridge at the Slice, July 23. Though there was scarcelThe Hardtails at Henotic, Aug. 28. Photo by Richard Ameryy a handful there to see it, they tore the place apart. I hope they come back here soon.
Some of them like Wild T and the Spirit, Aug. 2 at the Slice and The Mahones, paddy punk originators The Popes and The Delinquents Oct. 14 I expected to be sold out, but weren’t. But what never ceased to blow me away, was how the lack of numbers never swayed the performers whether they were playing for 15,000 fans or 15, they still put on great shows. They grinned a mile wide, like the Joys’ Sarah Smith did during her two hook filled classic rock style shows and in the case of the Popes’ Paul ‘Mad Dog’ McGuinness, balanced on  the railings.
Others have been just plain strange, like the Hank and Lily Show, who were a highlight  at the South Country Fair this year and played  a special Halloween show at Henotic, Oct. 29. They brought a zombie Michael Jackson to dance, drummer/saw player Lily Fawn was done up as a white faced, green haired zombie and Hank, emerging from headstones set on stage looked as ominous and masked as ever. They brought Edmonton’s Secretaries with them who were another  highlight of South Country Fair and were amazing opening for Hank and Lily, thanks to their outfits, some wild accordion playing and horn section which added an interesting twist to their Go Gos inspired garage rock.
Another weird and loud one was the Browns/Spastic Panthers  show at Henotic, Nov. 21. Clad in ski masks, the Browns played an almost too short set of high energy and extreme voltage punk which had band members rolling on the floor and jumping on tables.Henotic had a couple of the wildest shows of the year, particularly Calgary rockabilly greasers, the Hardtails, who blasted high octane rockabilly, Aug. 28, and capped off  a long set by setting  their stand up bass head on fire.


L.A. Beat helps fuel 2009 Stock Car Champ

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The L.A. Beat,  Lethbridge, Alberta’s arts and entertainment magazine is excited and proud to be part of the team which fueled a young Calgary, driver Chantal Ormon’s trip to the top of the 2009 Evolution Cupcar Racing Series, stock car racing championship.alt
 So congratulations to Chantal. L.A. Beat wishes her the greatest success in her racing career.
Look for the LA Beat colours on the championship #12 CodeWest Ford Fusion stock car on display at West Edmonton Mall on Saturday, Nov. 21 as part of the gala awards weekend for the Edmonton International Speedway.
The event begins at 5 p.m. on the Newcap Stage in the West Edmonton Mall and is open to the public.
The Evolution Cupcar Racing Series features the Minicup stock cars driven by youth aged 8 to 16 years in a touring series that visits asphalt oval race tracks in Western Canada including Penticton and Vernon in B.C., Regina and Saskatoon in Saskatchewan and Edmonton, Calgary and Medicine Hat in Alberta.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor


L.A. Beat launch a success thanks to great bands and great people

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I couldn’t have picked a better show to piggyback on for L.A. Beat’s official launch party at the the Slice, Oct. 10.The Ramblin’ Ambassadors. Photo By Richard Amery

Three smoking acts made the gig one of the hottest of the weekend if not the year. It began with Calgary surf/instrumental/rockabilly band the Ramblin’ Ambassadors who tore the place apart and just got better, making their set a tough act to follow.

There was a lots of big, bold Gretsch twang as the Ramblin’ Ambassadors showed the audience how to make an entirely instrumental sound work. Rich Hope and the Manvils were up to the challenge though.


Three Day novel contest a testament to creativity and sleep deprivation

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It is said everybody has a novel in them. Most people just never have time to sit down and actually altwrite it. This is the idea behind the  Three-Day Novel Contest which, through a conglomeration of  independent Vancouver writers, has been giving budding novelists the proper kick in the pants they need to start writing their masterpiece over the September long weekend since 1977.
This year, beginning  at 12:05 a.m. Sept. 4 and ending just before midnight Sept. 7, I joined writers from all around the world in a three day testament to creativity, sleep and food deprivation and dedication to the craft of writing.
After all, legend has it that Jack Kerouac wrote his classic “On the Road”  in a three week burst of creativity and coffee in April 1951 on one long sheet of taped together tracing paper.
I figured with modern technology I could write a novel in three days and not have to tape together paper. Besides mine is based loosely on Kerouac’s life as well as mine — particularly  my favourite passage in “On The Road” where the novel’s protagonist Sal Paradise has been abandoned by his inspiration Dean Moriarty and his girlfriend in San Francisco, he’s penniless, homeless and starting to starve when he stops in front of a shop and sees a woman there which gives him a vision of  a past life where she was his mother and he was her wayward son.
So I thought that might make an interesting novel about a 30 something who is looking for his purpose in the world and decides to find out who he is through examining all of his past lives including Kerouac, and numerous others. So several years ago I started researching past lives, Tarot cards  and various historical eras going back to the Crusades.  Not to mention near-death experiences, a little bit of Buddhism  and  a little bit of spirituality but I never got time to actually sit down and write the actual novel as life always seemed to get in the way.
 But  several months ago I did a story for the Lethbridge Herald on local artist and author Will Osler, who did really well in last year’s contest. He enters it every year and told me what an amazing experience it was, so I gave it a shot.
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