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L.A. Beat

B.A. Johnston brings the laughs back to Lethbridge

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In a world that seems like it’s going to hell in a handbasket more every day, we need a little more B.A Johnston.



 The Hamilton based musician and funnyman returned  to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Sept. 7 for an enthusiastic and mostly masked Tuesday night crowd.


 He pretty much plays the same show every time including cracking the same self deprecating jokes and jokes about Medicine Hat to open his set.  


“This is going to be the longest 40 minutes of your life,” he cackled.

B.A. Johnston is a guaranteed good time, especially now, when people really need a laugh, even if you have seen it before.


 It is always a hoot to see him strip off identical sweatshirts and see him jumping off chairs wielding a baton, until he was shirtless and only wearing spandex with ’80s bulge.

 His manic energy was contageous as he dashed around the room like a crazed clurichaun.


 He had the audiences singing along with old favourites  “GST Cheques (Give Me Some Treats)” and  “Deep Fryer in my Bedroom,” and had people grinning with new favourites like “ We’re All Going to Jail (Except for Pete, He’s Gonna Die) about seeing Van Halen while on drugs.


 He played a couple from that CD “ The Skid is Hot Tonight.” I thought I recognized “ I Miss ’90s Hash.”


As usual he cursed his keyboard while trying to play it with his nose on another song.


He also played an older one I didn’t know called “Old And Lame” and another from “Shit Sucks,” the same 2015 album “I Don’t Want to Go To The No Frills” which was one of several of his food themed favourites which he blasted out including crowd Ha Favourite “How Many T Bone Steaks Can I Fit in my Pants.”


 All the while he switched between his battered acoustic guitar and a couple of keyboards and played backing tracks on a Discman, while he was bouncing around the crowd, tangling them up in his mic chord, or  jumping up and singing from the top of the bar or various tables, or wandering outside while serenading the people on the patio. He did the splits and rolled around on the floor, bellowing “ I can’t believe how clean this is.”


BA Johnston conducting his encore outside. Photo by Richard Amery

 He adjusted his time tested trick of feeding people their own  beer, (perhaps to socially distance) by using a grabber, which he also used to unbutton a few of the audience members’ shirts.


We wound down his show with a sing along of “McDonald’s Coupon Day” and was called back for on encore, so he wandered outside again, with the audience following him there instead of into the washrooms as usual. 

He jumped on a garbage can to lead the crowd in an acoustic singalong of “ I Want to Drink in a Bar Filled With Aliens.”


Local garage rock band Open Channels made a long awaited return to the stage to open the show with a heartfelt set of new wave tinged garage rock powered by a masked Jane Edmundson’s keyboard organ.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Open Channels’ Jane Edmundson playing the Owl, Sept. 7. Photo by Richard Amery
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 08 September 2021 15:03 )  
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