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Johnson Crook play best show nobody saw at Slice

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An excellent candidate for  best show nobody saw this year would definitely be Toronto country rock band Johnson Crook’s July 13 show at the Slice, which they played en route to a show at the Calgary Stampede Coca Cola Stage on the weekend. Johnson Crook entertaining at the Slice, July 13. photo by Richard Amery

I haven’t been this impressed with a new band for a long time.
 I arrived early in the middle of a rollicking set of up tempo, hook filled country rock music.
 They displayed super tight musicianship with superb multi-part vocal harmonies, which sounded like a mix of the Eagles and High Valley with a touch of Washboard Union and just a little Blue Rodeo.

An early highlight was “Mr. Nobody,” from their new CD “The Album” to which Tom Cochrane lends his voice to for the recording.

They played pretty much all of “The Album,” including the catchy new single “Mining for Freedom.” They saved a slice of home “Minnedosa,” ( the home of guitarist Nathan Crook and drummer  Trevor Crook) for near the end of the set.

They slowed things down for a moment for a “sappy love song” but picked up the tempo right quickly for  “Old School Rock and Roll,” which included a verse of Bob Seger’s classic “Old Time Rock and Roll” in the middle of the song.

They kept the energy up with the blues rock of “Canada To Heartbreak.”

— By Richard Amery, L.a. beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 July 2018 13:02 )

Tara Warburton sings heartfelt songs

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 Tara Warburton gave both a review of her Lethbridge Girls Rock performance as well as a preview of her South Country Fair appearance, July 13 at the Owl Acoustic Lounge.Tara Warburton opening for makiisma at the owl Acoustic Lounge, July 13. photo by Richard Amery

 She sang a short, sweet set of plaintive, heartfelt original folk music opening for Megan Brown’s band Makiisma.

 Warburton told stories and cracked a few tender jokes in between singing highly personal songs including  “Want to Keep you Wild” and “Never Going to Find Me.”

She played tender folk and soul music while singing in a sultry jazz tinged voice.

 She ended with “Raise Up Your Spirits,” her song which won this year’s South Country Fair Songwriting Competition and which she performed at the Fair on Saturday night, July 22.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 July 2018 12:55 )

Citizen Rage bring punk and brotherhood for Dead Rats

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A Citizen Rage show is always an event, not to mention a contrast as the Calgary hardcore punk/ metal band’s music is straight ahead ear bleeding aggression along the lines of Black Flag, coupled with exhortations from frenetic frontmaCitizen Rage played a wild show at Smokehouse, July 13. photo by Richard Ameryn Mark Russell to the audience to build a community and hug each other in between mosh pits.

I missed opening acts Sessions, The Hockey Moms and Extrados.

So I was glad to catch their night ending set of local metal and punk bands at the Smokehouse, July 13, organized by Dead Rats Promotions.

They were tight, tight tight and loud ,loud, loud. Most of the 50 people in attendance were moshing in front of the stage.

Russell leaped among them and got them to shout along with some of their better known songs like “Struggle” and even a couple of new ones from their “Pink” Ep including the  exceptional “Silent Army.”with which they ended their set though they were called back for an encore.

— By Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 July 2018 12:50 )

Streets are alive with the sounds of cars and classic rock

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As usual Street Wheelers Weekend meant the streets were packed with custom cars racing up and down and all around down town for the annual Street Wheelers cruise night, Friday, July 13.

Rob Habetler of Old School playing for Street machine Weekend, July 13. photo by Richard Amery
And for classic cars, you need to have a classic rock soundtrack. 

This year’s Concert for a Cause for Big brothers and Sisters was pleased to provide it so they moved their beer gardens next to the road in Galt Gardens so a packed park full of patrons could enjoy a cool beverage while watching the cruise.

While I missed Alyssa McQuaid and Coyote Junction’s set, I was in time for a new band of old favourites called Old School who played pretty much what you hear on 94.1.

So there was a lot of ’70s and ’80s Can con pop music.

They featured keyboardist Rob Hebetler,  Doug Sokoloski on lead guitar, vocalist/drummer Jamie Kaufmann, bassist Scott Mezei. 

Anna McBryan filled in for extra vocals.

The Street Machine Weekend Cruise, July 13 outside of Galt Gardens. Photo by Richard Amery
 They opened with Prism’s “Spaceship Superstar after a false start and continued with Loverboy’s “Working for the Weekend, which Jamie Kaufman sang.

McBryan sang a credible version of the Black Crowes’ “Hard To Handle.”

 They also played a little INXS and Habetler killed it on keyboards for Burton Cummings’ “ My Own Way to Rock” while McBryan did her best Burton Cummings style vocals.

—by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Thursday, 26 July 2018 08:46 )

Wonderful music planned for Wide Skies Music Festival

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The second edition of the Wide Skies Music festival will be bigger and better, July 30-Aug, 1 at Southminster Church.Skinny Dyck and Frinds play the side stagefor Wide Skies Music Festival, July 31. Photo by Richard Amery
 Mike Spencer’s new, expanded Festival has grown to three days including two paid ticket concerts bookending a fantastic outdoor festival outside of Southminster United Church.
Spencer caught several bigger acts  who are also playing The Calgary Folk Festival and Kaslo Folk festival as well as the Kaslo Folk Festival.
The festival begins with with  Shovels and Rope and little Miss Higgins, Performing at the Southminster United Church, Monday, July 30; a big free outdoor show with Brooklyn born/Switzerland raised, Canadian based blues musician Shakura S’Aida, Vancouver blues duo Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer, The Weber Brothers and a south stage  with side stage organizer Skinny Dyck and Friends  plus Calgary songwriters Tom Phillips and Shaye Zadrevec; and  another big, ticketed big show at Southminster United Church, Wednesday, Aug. 1 with Frazey Ford and the Cave Singers.
“Getting Shovels and Rope and the Cave Singers was a real coup for us,” said Spencer.

 He is expecting a good turnout for this year’s festival, which will feature an expanded beer gardens for New west Theatre, artisans and food trucks plus Two Guys and  Tops Pizza.
“Last year, we had 1,100 people at the outdoor festival, this year we’re expecting 1,500,” he said.
“Our goal is to create an inclusive high impact, small footprint event that has really good music and shows off our local talent and artists and showcases our home town,” Spencer summarized adding a Heart of the City Grant helped partially fund the festival this year.

In addition to the music, local artists Eric Dyck and Carson Morton will be creating chalk art on the sidewalks during the festival.
“ Wow, we’re going to have to work our butts off,” said Shawn Hall, the Harpoonist (harmonica player and singer) of Vancouver blues/soul duo Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer upon being told that they will be headlining the free outside show, which opens wth a two piece Weber Brothers (Sam and Ryan Weber) , then Vancouver based, Swiss born, Brooklyn born blues musician Shakura S’Aida.

“We used to cross paths with the Weber brothers all the time. We haven’t seen them for years. They have such an interesting history with ‘The Hawk’  Ronnie Hawkins,“ Hall continued from his Nanaimo, who is excited about  the Wide Skies line up.
“We’re coming in a day early so we can see Shovels and Rope,” said Hall, who will be joined by “Axe  Murderer” Matthew Rogers and singer Dawn Pemberton.
“She’s the queen of B.C. Soul. She’s got her a whole bunch of things— her choirs and she’s in a funk band,” said Hall,“We’ll be playing a lot from their new album “Apocalipstick” and we‘re reimagining songs from the older albums like ‘Roll With The Punches,” which we did a video for years ago. And I’m experimenting things like a vocoder. I’m putting my voice through it as well as the harp. But there’s no laptops on stage,” he said.

 The Weber Brothers are excited to play Wide Skies Music Festival as a duo, which they have been doing a lot this summer.
They are touring a lot as a duo.
“ We used to play as a duo all the time when we started 15 years ago,” observed Ryan Weber, noting the full band still plays together.
“ The keyboards and the other guitar add a lot to the music, but playing as a duo is exciting. You can’t hide behind the band it’s more stripped down and intimate,” Sam Weber added.
“ I’m playing more guitar in the duo,” he continued.
 They are still touring in support of  the new CD “Patches,” which was released last November.
“It’s a collection of three or four groups of older songs that didn’t  fit in with the other albums. So it really is patches,” Ryan Weber described.
“And we can play most of them as a duo,” Sam Weber added.
 He said “Patches” incorporates a lot of the different musical styles the band listens to.
“We soak up everything we listen to, so it comes out in our music,” he continued.

“ It’s an honour to open for Shovels and Rope,” said Jolene Higgins of Little Miss Higgins, on her way back from a quick tour out west for the Vancouver Folk Festival. She will be performing as a trio with Patrick Alexandre Leclerc, her partner Eric Lemoine on banjo, guitar and steel guitar and Higgins playing guitar and baritone ukulele.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 July 2018 09:43 ) Read more...
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