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Lethbridge arts groups embracing Arts Days 2016

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Get ready to get your art on as the “artumnal” season begins  Sept. 24- Oct. 2 with ArtsDays takes over Casa and much of downtown.Muffy McKay puts a poster up outide the Allied Arts Council. Photo by Richard Amery

There will be  numerous artistic endeavours happening during that time beginning with Word On the Street outside the Lethbridge Public Library, Saturday, Sept. 24.
 The next 10 days will be filled with music, art, drama and a whole lot of fun.

“ArtsDays usually starts with  Word on the Street, but they moved it to Saturday, so the event is longer,” said Allied Arts Council project co-ordinator Muffy McKay.
“We‘re doing activities beginning  on Tuesday. But a lot of groups  have booked activities during ArtsDays, so we’re happy to promote them,” added Allied Arts Council communications coordinator Kelaine Devine.
“We need to support each other,” she continued.

“An idea that came from the SOAR festival is we’re having an arts workers meet up at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Sept. 27, which gives a chance for people who work in the arts to come and meet and have a drink together. It’s right after work. And the Owl’s Drink and Draw is right after that which is great because I always want to go, but  when I get home, it‘s difficult to leave my house again,” Devine said, noting a lot of other community groups and arts  organizations have planned events  to happen alongside ArtsDays.

 The Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra opens their season on Monday, Sept. 26 with Finlandia at the Southminster United Church.

 The big event of the week is the annual Art Walk, happening Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 around the downtown. But before that, the Geomatic Attic brings Big Dave McLean and Tim Williams to sing the Blues at the Geomatic attic, Sept. 25.
Two dramatic productions continue throughout the week— New West Theatre’s presentation of Cowboy: A Cowboy Story at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, Sept. 27-Oct. 1 and University of Lethbridge’s Theatre Xtra has their first presentation of the season at the Dr. Penny Foster building downtown— Alexa Elser’s “Let Me Eat Cake” runs Sept. 29-Oct. 1.


Tokyo Police Club returning with Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness parts 1 and 2

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 Newmarket, Ontario born pop rock/ indie rock band Tokyo Police Club sure know how to write an ear-worm.

Tokyo Police Club return to Lethbridge, Sept. 30. Photo Submitted
 You can hear a couple of songs from their new EPs “Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness on the Radio like “Not My Girl” “PCH” and their latest from part 2 of Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness “ My House,” and older hits “Hot Tonight,” “ Breakneck Speed and “Argentina.”

 They will be playing those and a lot more at Studio, Sept. 30 with The Elwins and the Born Ruffians, both who the band has known when they started out.

“I don’t think there will be anything people don’t want to hear. You won’t go away wishing you heard something you didn’t. We’ll cover all of the albums,” said drummer Greg Alsop from the depth of a “bunker-like” storage unit in Chicago where he and bandmates, frontman/bassist Dave Monks, keyboardist/ guitarist Graham Wright and guitarist Josh Hook are sorting out the last minute details for  a long tour including both American and Canadian dates.

 They are excited to return to Lethbridge.
“I remember the last time it was really cold and we really didn’t want to leave the bus or the hotel room. So we’re just excited to tour in the fall, so we can actually get out and see some of the places we’re going,” he said.

 The band members are living all over the continent pursuing creative projects outside the band.
Monks moved to New York City and put out a solo record, while Alsop moved to Los Angeles to produce records with other artists, Wright stayed in Toronto to work on a film and Hook settled in rural Ontario on a patch of land.

 That meant they had to be more focused when it came time to record the two new Eps “Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness Part 1, which was released in the spring and part 2 which will be released in a week.

“We literally put the final nail in the Eps a month ago,” he said, adding it is way too early to start thinking about their next project.


Festivals, fundraisers and much more this week

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Other than festivals, the Owl Acoustic Lounge is the place to go for original live music this week.

Trevor Panczak plays a Lethbridge Interfaith Food Bank fundraiser this week. Photo by Richard Amery
  The Owl Acoustic Lounge features a variety of touring acts this week beginning with  Calgary based folk/ punk trio Ghost Factory who play the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Wednesday, Sept. 21 with local old school rock band JJ Thomas.
The Owl has a busy week as the next night they feature Vancouver indie rock band Goodwood Atoms.
 And they go country with Calgary honky tonk country quartet the Mike Fury 4.

And last but not least, they have an excellent blues show on Saturday, Sept. 24 with Edmonton’s Kimberley MacGregor, who will be joined by Sean Hamilton and Megan Brown.
There is a lot of local country music happening this week.

Earlier in the week, Floyd Sillito will be playing some old school, traditional country at the Galt Museum at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 21.
Local country star Trevor Panczak will be playing a fundraiser for the Lethbridge Interfaith Food Bank at the Italian Canadian Club , Sept, 23. Tickets are $65 including dinner or $650 for a table of 10, . It begins at  6 p.m.
 Also in the country vein, Breanne Urban and Southern Flyer will be playing Casino Lethbridge, Sept. 23 and 24.
And the Mark Hall Band plays the 1010 Pub, Sept. 24.

A special event happens at the Galt Museum, Sept. 24 when recent U of L graduate  Ellen Ortega will be playing Piano and Pie at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are  $35 for adults, $20 for students and youth.
Jazz aficionados won’t want to miss Herb Hicks at the Mocha Cabana, Sept. 23.


Big Dave McLean to play a night of blues with Tim Williams

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Winnipeg based bluesman Big Dave McLean is excited to return to Lethbridge to play the Geomatic Attic, Sept. 25 with old friend and fellow walking encyclopedia of the blues, Tim Williams.

Big Dave McLean  returns to Lethbridge this week. Photo by Richard Amery
“ He’s probably  more of an encyclopedia than I am. Whenever someone asks me a question, I tell them to ask Tim. He’ll be able  to tell you what kind of suit the guy was wearing and what the weather was like outside,” McLean rumbled.
“ He’s a good friend and an excellent guitarist. So I look forward to the opportunity to play with him,” he said, adding they will be sharing a rhythm section for the show.
 He recorded a CD with Williams back in 1998 called “ Fellow Travellers,” which is something he’d like to do again.

“it was a straight ahead blues album. We had a lot of fun doing it. I’d love to do it again. you never   know,” he said
McLean has played with his share of blues legends.

“My favourite would be Muddy Waters. I wrote a song for him called Muddy Waters For President.’ But I’ve played with Pinetop Perkins and Roosevelt Sykes and Bukka White. But my second favourite would be John Hammond. He gave me my first guitar lesson,” he said.

McLean will release “ Better the Devil You Know,” his second album with Steve Dawson’s record company Black Hen Records on Oct. 27, but won’t be playing any of it until it is released.
“I don’t want people to hear something  I’ve thrown together with a band who have never heard the songs before.,” he said, adding he is planning a CD release party and possibly a tour in support of it in October.

“But we‘re going to be playing a lot of good blues music in Lethbridge. I’ve never been to the Geomatic Attic before,“ he said.
He enjoys working with Dawson. He released “Faded But Not Gone,” in 2014 with Black Hen.


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