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Apollo Suns bring horn powered cheer to Lethbridge to open tour

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 Winnipeg band Apollo Suns provided a cavalcade of horns to kick of their new tour at the Slice, Thursday, May 11. I rushed over as soon as I got off stage from Hatrix Theatre’s production of the Foreigner.


Apollo Suns rocking the horns at the Slice, May 11. photo by Richard Amery

 So I missed Makiisma’s set, but arrived in the middle of the sweaty as promised set from Apollo Suns who were caught in the groove and a chorus of cheerful saxophone and trombone.


 They’re an all instrumental band, so they just let the music flow with guitarist Ed Durocher a saying a few words to the sweatily dancing crowd in front of the stage.

I arrived as he was introducing their new single “ Pluto.”


 They sounded like a trimmed down Five Alarm Funk minus lyrics and  one drummer and the crazy costumes. But they  had a few moves.


 The six piece band featured alto saxophone player Aaron Bartel and trombonist  Benjamin Hill on trombone, Ed Durocher on guitar, keyboardist Anatol Rennie , bassist Fred Warner and drummer Tim Iskierski.

 Durocher grinned as he set down wah wah soaked rhythms and the occasional solo letting the horns shine. 


The band knelt down to build tension and leaped up wave style.


 Anatol Rennie set down Herbie Hancock style avant jazz textures on keyboards. 


 Durochers ended the show by saying ‘ this is a new song, so be kind,” as they ended with another upbeat number which had some ’70s style funky bass and sounded like the theme to a spy thriller movie. 


They were called back for an encore.


Rennie broke out a keytar to take centre stage. 


He danced on top of one of the speakers and lead most of the band, other than bassist Fred Warner and drummer Tim Iskierski who were keeping the rhythm on stage into the middle of the dancing crowd as if they were in New Orleans  in the French Quarter on a Friday night instead of the Slice oin a Thursday, to wind down their hot and tight show.


 They opened their Tour  in Lethbridge and are going to tour the West coast of the United States. 

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Friday, 12 May 2023 12:04 )

Kimberley MacGregor plays solo set of soulful new songs

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Vancouver Island based, Edmonton raised singer/ songwriter Kimberley MacGregor made a long awaited return to Lethbridge to play the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Tuesday, May 2.

Megan Brown and Kimberley MacGregor playing the Owl Acoustic Lounge, May 2. Photo by Richard Amery


 I missed half of your set but I arrived right in the middle of “ I Liked You,” one of my favourite songs from her latest album “Sitting with Uncomfortable Feelings,” which she was playing on acoustic guitar. She switched to her red Gibson style hollowbody electric guitar for the rest of her set


MacGregor was backed by Megan Brown on fiddle. But the show showcased MacGregor’s massive voice, dripping with soul and   blues.


She reminded me a lot of Rita Chiarelli .


 She dedicated “ Fill My Cup Up” to her strong female  friends.


 The hard copy of the new CD includes some B sides so she played them including “ the latest single “ Say You’ll Wait.”


 She wound  up her set and opened the stage to the Owl Acoustic Lounge’s open mic with another one of my older favourites “ Trouble.”

—By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Friday, 12 May 2023 11:58 )

Country singer Brayden King living the dream on tour and on American Idol

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Rising country star Brayden King is “living the dream’ with a new single getting play on many major radio stations and playing up to 200 tour dates a year including placing 55 on American idol.

In between all that, the 22-year-old musician, originally from Weyburn, Saskatchewan, hangs his hat in Lethbridge.

 he returns to the Slice on Tuesday, May 16 to open a western Canadian tour, which goes all over Alberta and B.C, and ends in Regina on June 3 and including a visit back home the night before.

Brayden King opens his latest tour in Lethbridge, May 16. photo Submitted

“ I’m a rocking country singer originally from Weyburn , Saskatchewan. I started my solo career about two years ago and just been hitting the road really hard, playing a lot of  shows and putting some new music out there . It’s been a fun ride so far, said King, who se single “ Living the Dream” is getting play on mainstream radio.


“‘It is one of the coolest things in the world, honestly. I never expected this song to do anything like it has been. So It a real blessing and I’m very thankful,” he said.

“ Living the Dream was written about a hangover and it’s kind of funny how it comes out with a positive sounding feel with but a bit of darker undertones in the lyrics. But it is definitely an anthemic sing-a-long song and people have been loving it. I wrote it with a couple of buddies of mine, Drew Shalka and Mark Maclure out of Edmonton just super stoked with how it turned out and people have been loving this one, so it’s a real blessing the have such a great response” he said.

King is planning to release a new single every eight week probably for the next two years.


“No real plans for  a larger project. We just want to get a bunch of content out there. Just testing the waters to see what people like. So we have a bunch of songs ready to go and we]re just going to throw them out there,” he said, adding music has always come naturally to him.

“ It’s always been  an automatic thing for me. I always just loved music. Ever since I could talk, I’ve been singing, so it’s kind of a no-brainer for me to do this because I’ve always just had a love for music and performing in my blood. So it’s my first choice and I’m loving it,” he said adding his mom always enjoyed singing and could play piano by ear but his dad isn’t very musical.


“But they both love music and there was always a lot of music going on around the hous . So it was definitely a very supportive upbringing for myself wanting to be a musician,” he said adding he took guitar lessons for a number of years and some vocal and piano lessons.

“Lots of self teaching as well but I wouldn’t be able to do that part without the base of lessons I had when I was younger,” he said.


 Brayden King placed 55th in American Idol this year. He noted one of American Idol’s  casting directors reached out to him about participating in the show after seeing his videos on Tik Tok. So he went to Las Vegas to participate and got thumbs up from judges Luke Bryan, Katie Perry and Katy Perry.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 20 May 2023 14:46 ) Read more...

Karen Romanchuk excited about stripped down fifth CD ‘Is It Just Me?’

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Lethbridge singer songwriter Karen Romanchuk’s fifth CD “ Is It Just Me” is stripped down to the basics.


It has been quite a few years since Romanchuk’s last CD, so she figured it was about time she recorded 10 of her newer original songs.


Karen Romanchuk has released her fifth CD ‘ Is it Just Me?’ By Richard Amery

Romanchuk recorded  two songs a week on weekends over five  or six weeks in January and February with Jason Gibson in his  home studio, Double Creek.


“It’s just me and my acoustic guitar,” she said adding though she doesn’t play live often, she has been getting audience requests for a CD of her new music.

“These are all some of my most recent songs,” she said.


“I had at least 20 going into the studio. But it’s all part of my history, she said.


“ The goal was to show the songs I was feeling that showed my improvement. I looked at the set lists from past shows and wanted to record the songs I’m still playing,” she said.

“ I’m really pleased with it,”she said.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 10 May 2023 14:33 ) Read more...

Casa tenth anniversary plus peals of laughter and a whole lot of rock this week

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After a relatively slower week, things pick up and then some.

The Dayglo Abortions return to Lethbridge, May 13. photo by Richard Amery

 The biggest event this week is casa’s tenth anniversary celebrations on May 13.


 Doors open at 11 a.m. for gallery and facility tours, studio demonstrations and fun for the family in the atrium including face painting, community painting, button making and chalk drawing demonstrations.

 There will be min- art classes and much more.


 After that Oscar Lopez, who played the inaugural opening of casa 10 years ago returns to  Rotary square to perform a free show. Admission is free, but you need to get a ticket on line through Eventbrite.

A hard rocking week begins on a mellower note tonight, (Monday, May 8), with a special Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra collaboration with the Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society for Brilliance of the Bard- an evening of  Shakespeare related music.

 The concert begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25-80.


Keith Woodrow returns to the Slice, Tuesday to host a blues jam.


The Owl Acoustic Lounge’s open mic is also on Tuesday.

Wednesday is all about jazz music as HBO3  and Ryan Heseltine host the jazz jam at the  Owl Acoustic Lounge.


Standard Time with Don Robb and Randy Epp also play jazz at the Watertower from 6-8p.m. on Wednesday, May 10.


 For more jazz infused  experimental rock, don’t miss Winnipeg based Apollo Suns and Makiisma at the Slice on Thursday, May 11.

 Apollo Suns play Lethbridge before embarking on a West coast U.S Tour. Tickets are $14.95 online.

Last Updated ( Monday, 08 May 2023 15:53 ) Read more...
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