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L.A. Beat

New CDs and live music returns in another trying year

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 Thanks to  Covid, we spent most of another year in a puritan hell of no music, no singing, no dancing, and no socializing outside of our bubbles at least until July when everything re-opened. Not that that helped as cases increased again in the fall.


 After Premier Jason Kenney  lifted all restrictions in July, it was all systems go on the local arts scene.

 We had a summer full of outdoor festivals while local venues cautiously  re-opened. A couple popular venues Sound Garden, Coco Vanilla, Average Joes and Beaches Pub closed, but new businesses opened as did a couple new venues reopened. The Place reopened in the space that was Average Joes.

Jack Semple playing the Coulee Blues Festival, Aug. 28. Photo By Richard Amery.


Though musicians  couldn’t play live or tour, a lot of them took the opportunity to record new music in the brief openings when we were allowed to meet in person.


 So we heard great new CDs from Adequate, Bailey Kate, Berserker, Fawns, Shaela Miller, John Wort Hannam, Queen of the Worms, Steve Keenan, Zojo Black and Tyler Brownfield’s new  project Hell Diablo and two from Taylor Ackerman’s Global Acid Reset, who released another CD at the end of 2020.


 New bands formed and other bands rejigged their line ups. Popular local singers Breanne Urban and Bridgette Yarwood both introduced new line-ups.

Luckily the weather co-operated this summer other than being excruciatingly hot and smoky as most summer events were outside.


Several local venues opted to do outdoor shows this year including Honkers Pub and Spectrum Ale Works.


We said good bye to some prominent members of the scene this year including Brent Sorge, who was always the life of the party, a huge supporter of the scene and always a joy to be around. He passed away on April 3.


The scene also lost Rick Maddeaux, July 8. He played bass for numerous local bands including Coda.  Another popular bassist Monte Swanson passed away on Dec. 20. He used to play with Driving While Blind and several other blues bands as well. 

 We also lost William , Ash’ Singer from the band Chief Mountain, who was a prominent part of the Lethbridge punk scene.


Covid is still concerning.

 New Years Eve shows are starting to be cancelled because of Covid. The Italian Canadian Club cancelled Their New Year’s Eve feast  with the Bamboo Guppies.

Biloxi Parish, Bailey Kate and Niku decided not to play New Year’s Eve at the Owl Acoustic Lounge because of Covid but DJ Penomenorm is still on deck 

Southern Comforts aka Jenn and Paul Kype, Zojo Black and special guest Shyloh Haberman play the Slice tonight at 7 p.m. There is a $15 cover.


James Oldenburg and Paul Holden are playing a late announced jazz show at the Firestone Lounge  from 7-9 p.m. Everything else is still a go as far as I know.


 I can’t get to everything and haven’t heard all the new CDs, but here’s are some of my highlights. May the best thing  that happened to you in 2021, be the worst thing that happens to you in 2022.


 Allan Roy Wilson released his CD “I Just Want You To Come home” at the end of 2020

 Taylor Ackerman’s Global Acid Reset was the first local musician to release a new CD Encephalon. He just released “Perfect Vision” a few months before.



Lethbridge Musical Theatre decided to try  doing Their Broadway open mics online



 March was tough on a personal note. Most of March was spent dealing with family matters and getting my dad into a senior’s home.

 Around the same time, I lost my freelance gig as the Lethbridge Sun Times shut down.

 And my big annual  winter treat  the Outlaw Country Cruise was cancelled.

 A lot of big festivals announced cancellations in March.

 The South Country Fair decided to cancel their July  festival for the second year in a row because of Covid.

 The ATB Dragon Boat Festival also announced  they were cancelling their popular June festival in Henderson Lake park.

Locally,  Steve Keenan released his new CD “In My Hands”,” one of several new local releases.


 Trevor Panczak ’s new single “Where I Go to Come back ” which he recorded pre-pandemic hit the Top 40 charts.

The Lethbridge And District Music and Speech Arts Festival  went online due to Covid as all participants had to submit their entries with a video.


 With no place to play other than home studios of living rooms, lots of local musicians released new music.

 Fawns released a new EP “Unsafe” in May, Funk trio Adequate dropped their self titled CD on June 11.


Everything reopened and the scene was going full bore as of July.

Peter and the Wolves  were the last band I covered  at the Slice before everything shut down, but returned to the Slice. July 2. 

Shakespeare in the Park returned to Galt Gardens, Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens and several other venues this summer, mostly outside.,  with their tenth anniversary production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Chevelles break in the new stage at the Place, July 9 and 10.

Honker’s has outdoor festival July 10 with lots of local bands

Adequate releases their debut CD at the Owl Acoustic lounge, July 9.

Street Machine Weekend returned in July, Coco Vanilla decided to do an outdoor festival, July 8-10 with numerous bands performing outside as well as an  acoustic stage inside.

Lethbridge Folk Club brings Winnipeg’s Big Dave mcLean to pavan park for an outdoor show, July 11, finished just before it started raining. It was an early  candidate for best blues show of the year, especially when  McLean called up Keith Catfish Woodrow, who opened the  show, to play a couple songs with him.

Berserker CD Release party at Slice, July 17.

Fernie Stoke Folk band Shred Kelly played a delayed and early CD release party art the Owl Acoustic Lounge. July 17.

Jolene Draper and the Inquisitive Few were among many acts playing the Arts in the park this Summer. Photo by Richard Amery

Latinfest returns on a hot July 17 at Southern Alberta Multi-cultural Centre with plenty of local Latin talent and food

LMT Broadway open mic returns for an outdoor event at Legacy park  for Arts in the park.

 Ben Lamb put on a couple big shows with his Volbeat Tribute Rebel Angels, had a big show at the Slice, July 23 with Twice the Storm, Fractures of Etalon, Tyrants of Chaos.

Music at relocated Coco Vanilla Cantina, which is now closed

Harpdog Brown and Papa King played the first of several local shows at Owl, July 24

Eamon McGrath got to be the first touring musician to return to Lethbridge, July 29, on Owl Acoustic lounge‘s  sidewalk patio while Shaela Miller was opening Upside Downtown at Casa.

 Geomatic Attic thought outside the box this year with a sweltering rooftop concert atop of the Park n Ride Downtown with Leeroy Stagger and Ryland Moranz and MonkeyJunk. Skinny Dyck and Evan Uschenko were playing the Bowman Arts centre parking lot, July 28 to open the evening.


Richard Inman  recently moved to Lethbridge and after a gig on the weekend, got all his equipment stolen, so The Owl Acoustic Lounge gathered local musicians together to play a fundraiser for him, Aug. 3

Rescheduled shows Tyrants of Chaos and Andi Roberts band  ’80s night at La Cité Des Prairies, Aug. 14.

CKXU Has successful fundrive in and their own mini-festival at Theoretically brewing, Aug. 14

Competing with Lethbridge Folk Club collaboration with Arts In the park, Aug. 14 in Legacy Park including Celtic Routes

Scott Cook and the Travelling Mabels.

 Even St. Patrick's Day got delayed because of covid. Junkman’s Quire returned to celebrate St. Patricks Day in August, Aug. 17.

Spectrum Ale Works turns two with live music from Steve Keenan band, Aug. 22.

The Coulee Blues festival was part of  the Geomatic Attic/New West Outdoor festival, Aug. 28. The show featured Saskatchewan bluesman Jack Semple so it was great to see him again, plus Rondell Roberts band, Satellite and the Harpoonist and Kat Danser, who I missed.

The biggest musical  surprise of the year Satellite and the Harpoonist and Rondell Roberts band, who were playing Coulee blues festival, showed up to jam at the Owl Acoustic Lounge after Joshua Beebe and the Forest orchestra’s set.

The Allied Arts Council  decided to take advantage of good weather and the expansive Casa courtyard, so they set up a weekly Thursday afternoon concert series  in August and September. Their new concert series , Upside Downtown, featured performances by local talent like Fawns, Biloxi Parish, Makiisma , Shaela Miller, Dave McCann.


 Whoop Up Days returned late  on Sept. 2 with limited live local music including Uncovered.

Geomatic Attic and New West Theatre collaborated on Arts in the Park every summer at four different parks in all quadrants of the city winds up with Hippodrome, Sept. 4.

There were also more covid cancellations in September.

Word on the Street was cancelled  but replaced with online event because of Covid. Couleefest also cancelled at Lethbridge College, Sept. 18. The University of Lethbridge’s Freshfest, decided to cancel Sept. 6 because of Covid.

Hamilton funnyman, B.A Johnston returned to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Sept. 7

 Makiisma plays delayed CD release party of Lady Misery at Owl, Sept. 10 which was released last year.

Creepy Hollows outside of Warner  built a stage and held the first ever Frankenfest, outdoor festival, Sept. 11.

Harpdog Brown playing with Morgan Davis and Papa King , Sept. 17. Photo by Richard Amery

A new band, Quit it, who formed out of Calgary’s River Jacks, played the Owl Acoustic lounge Sept. 13.

Morgan Davis Harpdog Brown returned to the Owl Acoustic lounge with Morgan Davis and papa King, Sept, 17

Winnipeg country musician Sean Burns returned to Casinio Lethbridge Sept. 17.

 Derina Harvey band rocked Celtic music at the Slice, Sept. 24

A New band The New Testaments plus several local rappers played the Canadian Brewhouse which started having music on their rooftop patio this summer.

Arts Days returned in September, but most events were outside including Makiisma, performing Sept. 24.

The Lethbridge electronic music Festival (LEMF) also returned to Galt Gardens this September, on Sept. 25, featuring a variety of Electronic music performers.

Bailey Kate released  her new CD Within/Without at Owl, Sept. 29.



Citizen Rage returns to Slice for proper show Oct. 1. They released a couple of new videos at the Slice last September, but didn’t play

Lethbridge Symphony opened a new season at at Southminster United Church, Oct. 2

 Shaela Miller had a fun CD release party, for Big hair small City at the Owl Acoustic lounge, Oct. 2

 Tin and the Toad return to owl , oct. 9

Edmonton co-punk pioneers Jr Gone Wild returned to Lethbridge to play the Owl Acoustic Lounge , Oct. 16 with new Cd “Still Got my jacket,” which is one of my favourite releases in 2021

Reality TV at  The Slice Rise Up! filmed an episode at the Slice,Oct. 26 featuring  a lot of Vancouver bands and Makiisma, Oct. 26.

 My timing was off, Oct. 29 so I missed most of Doc MacLean’s returned to the Slice, Oct. 29 as he ended up opening for Paul Kype and Texas Flood.

 Halloween was a doozie, which a couple of days of freaky fun As it was officially on A Sunday. But there were several great shows leading up to it including Misfits Tribute 138 and Biloxi parish  who played both the Slice and Owl, and Jolene Draper and the Inquisitive Few playing Halloween official on the Sunday. They played a lot as things opened up in July.

 Uncovered back at Pop’s Pub  for Halloween.


 Geomatic Attic downtown opens with  Elizabeth Shepherd and Michael Occhipini, Nov. 4.

The Slice celebrated their sweet 16 with live music, Nov. 5 including Starpainter, Shaela Miller and Queen of the Worms, playing one of several shows in support of their new CD.

 Del barber returns to Geomatic Attic main venue, Nov. 28

Gabe Thaine joined new local  Tragically Hip Tribute Hip aka Mark Hall band 

 Black mastiff returned to rock the stoner rock at the Owl, Nov. 20

Coda plays ’50s Sock hop with several other bands at Honkers, Nov. 13.

Harpdog Brown plays returned to the Owl Acoustic lounge, Nov 12, the third show here in as many months.

Drama finally returned to the stage in November with  Noel Cowards Design For Living at U of L, Playgoers of Lethbridge Evening of Theatre at Sterndale Bennett and Fran Rude’s  A Christmas Truce all happening  at beginning of November

 Theatre returned to Didi’s Playhaus with impromptu and several other shows too

Zojo Black released their third CD 

Peter and the Wolves played Lethbridge several times this year. Photo by Richard Amery

‘“Solstice”  at and of November.


We pretty much had three weekends in a row with Peter and the Wolves at the Owl, Casino and Slice.

 Calgary punk band Belvedere returned to Owl Dec. 11 after cancelling October show due to Covid.

 New West Theatre finally returned to the Yates Theatre with a mostly new show “Ode To Joy.” running until Dec. 31. It‘s been more than a year since they were on the Yates Theatre Stage, opting for online and outdoor shows.

Bridgette Yarwood band back played numerous  shows in December

 TJ Waltho, Brad Brouwer Paul Holden brought their expanded Charlie brown Christmas  show to Spectrum, Owl and Slice.

Rob Ursel returned to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Dec. 18  following up  A Charlie brown Christmas Special, with Waltho, Brouwer and Holden backing him.

Honkers Pub helped out  Captain Morgan Dyck  with a successful  fundraiser, Dec. 18.

 Shakespeare meets Dickens returns to Casa this year 

 Shaela Millers Windy City Opry returned to Slice, Dec. 11. it is now a bi monthly event but was cancelled in September.


— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor 


Last Updated ( Tuesday, 04 January 2022 09:46 )  
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