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Killer Dwarfs and Kick Axe keep the spirit of the ’80s alive

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 A respectable crowd got “On the Road to Rock” by reliving the ’80s in Canada with an outstanding show at Average Joes, Thursday, June Kick Axe bassist Victor Langen at Average Joes. photo by Richard Amery14 from The Killer Dwarfs and  Kick Axe, who both charted a number of heavy metal hits throughout the ’80s.

 Average Joes shows start on time, so I arrived about four songs into the Killer Dwarfs set, of relentlessly upbeat ’80s metal.
 The crowd  knew most of the words and was singing along.

 Frontman Russ “Dwarf”  Graham, belted out the Dwarfs songs like the ’80s never left and bounced around the stage, and off it during guitar solos, reappearing in the middle of the audience to stand on tables to continue singing the songs without missing a beat.

He was all the more impressive, playing acoustic guitar for one  slightly slower number.
 The Killer Dwarfs are a long lost Canadian treasure so I feel I should have recognized more of their songs. Typical to ’80s metal, there were plenty of  big guitar riffs, scorching solos and plenty of good, vibes.
 I missed “Stand Tall,” which was early in the set, but was glad they saved their best known hit “Keep the Spirit Alive” for the end of their set around 9:10 p.m., but they were called back for an encore.

 After what seemed like an eternally long set break, Kick Axe took the stage at just after 10 p.m.

The killer Dwarfs Russ Graham at Average Joes, June 14. Photo by Richard Amery
Having been pretty much ostracized as a young teen in a small town in the ’80s for admitting I liked the cheesy ’80s video for Kick Axe’s “On the Road To Rock” video, I was pleasantly surprised by Kick Axe. They saved that for near the end of an energetic set drawing heavily from the new wave of British heavy metal, nodding and thrashing their hirsute heads to Iron Maiden and Judas Priest.

 An early highlight was “Hunger,” their contribution to the Transformers movie.

  Their music was built for arenas with huge shout along choruses , gang vocals and big guitars. Guitarists Larry Gillstrom, wielding a purple Gibson SG traded big riffs with Ray Harvey and even played some cool, subtle twin guitar leads.

 Having forgot my earplugs for a show where I really needed them, I sadly identified with their catchy song “ If it’s Too Loud, You’re Too old,” especially when,ears ringing,  I found them buried in a side Kick Axe playing Average Joes, June 14. pocket after the show.
Tiny, kIlted singer Daniel Nargang wore a tattered white Motorhead T—shirt and screamed his head of like the bastard child of Robert Plant and Bruce Dickensen, adopted by Rob Halford.

Killer Dwarfs drummer Darrell Millar. Photo by Richard Amery Kick Axe played an assortment of high octane hits like “ Welcome To The Club,”  “Hellraiser,” and “Vices.” Bassist Victor Langen  switched to his recognizable battle axe shaped bass for the last few songs of their set beginning with  “Rockin’ Daze.”
 They wound down the show with “On The Road To Rock”  and “ heavy metal Shuffle before ending with a couple of metalized Fleetwood Mac covers, “the Chain” and Peter Green era Fleetwood Mac’s “The Green Manalishi,” which Nargang noted they discovered while touring with Judas Priest, who also covered it.

— by Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 20 June 2018 11:10 )

Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra return with spirited show for Windy City Opry

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Usually Windy City Opry shows start early and consequently end early, and I’m lucky to catch even one song from the featured band performed, always coming from my  radio show on CKXU that ends at 10 p.m. This time, I was especially pleased The Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra were  in a jamming sort of mood and extended their show at the Slice, June 13.The Tequila Mockingbird orchestra playing the Windy City Opry. Photo by Richard Amery

 I haven’t seen them for years, but know they are always a good time as good sized, enthusiastically dancing crowd attested to. They sounded like a more eastern European influenced Old Crow Medicine Show with a touch of the Gipsy Kings, featuring plenty of French cabaret accordion and a whole lot of finger bleeding fiddle playing.

 Guitarist/ vocalist Kurt Loewen was lost in the shadows of the stage, emerging to sing a couple songs, but left most of the vocals to accordion player Ian Griffiths and  fiddle player Mack Shields.
 Immediately recognizable  were “Maria ” and apt set ending, foot stomper “Ciao Bella (Ciao, Baby Ciao.)”

They were called back for an encore of “End Of Days,” though I wasn’t  sure if they would return for an encore after using up all of the notes on “Ciao Bella.”
 The next Windy City Opry features Sean Burns at the Slice on July 11.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 20 June 2018 10:55 )

Galacticas meld pop culture and pop punk

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I keep missing punk shows, so made a point of catching Calgary pop punk trio The Galacticas, Saturday, June 9. I missed local punk band Sessions, who apparently played a loud set for a good sized crowd, most of whom departed by the time the Galacticas took the stage.

The Galacticas playing the Slice, June 10. Photo by Rchard Amery
 The Calgary trio were a whole lot of pop culture nerd inspired fun.

They are obviously children of the ’90s so drew a lot of inspiration from the likes of Green Day and Blink 182.

 They began with an spirited punk cover of Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” and played several songs from their new CD  “Diagnostics” including the title track and a song inspired by Star Wars, Spider Man and Carrie Fisher— “The Alderaan Song.”

 They grinned as they played a pretty spot on version of Wheatus’s 2000 chestnut ’Teenage Dirtbag.’
 To wind up the set, their frontman snickered as he said nobody will like this last cover unless you’re a girl,” before crashing into an impressive cover of Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi.”

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 20 June 2018 10:38 )

Uncovered expand with new members and songs

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I’m really enjoying the new line up of local acoustic cover band Uncovered with the addition of Allison Hawkins.Uncovered perform at Mojos, June 9. Photo by Richard Amery
 I only caught a couple of their songs due to a long set break at Mojos pub on the West side on Saturday, June 9.

 They opened their second set with a solid version of Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville,” which I thought was going to be “La Bamba ” for a moment. They also added an electric bassist for this show.

— By Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 20 June 2018 10:30 )

Local acts open Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival 2018 with thunder and sunshine

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I didn’t get to many Lethbridge Jazz and  Blues Festival shows this week, but stopped by the official kick off at Galt Gardens. Saturday afternoon, June 9.Paul Kype and Tyson Maiko of Texas Flood opening the Lethbrdge Jazz and blues Festival in Galt Gardens, Saturday, June 9. Photo by Richard amery
 I arrived in the middle of a solid set from local  Paul Kype and Texas Flood.

 Kype and the band, drummer Brady Valgardson, bassist Tyson Maiko and keyboardist  Mike Ayotte. They played several songs from their upcoming album, crowd favourites like “Heed The Call,” and heartfelt covers  of “Into the Mystic” and Blind Faith’s ‘Can’t Find My Way home.”

 They ended their set and brought down a thunderstorm with a cover of the Allman Brothers’  “Whipping Post.”

Hippodrome opening the Lethbrdge Jazz and blues Festival in Galt Gardens, Saturday, June 9. Photo by Richard amery
After some delay after the rain stopped and speakers and equipment were uncovered, local R and B/disco/R and B collective Hippodrome promised to bring back the sun.
And they did with a strong set of ’70s  R and B and soul music.

 Shawna Romolliwa, Erica Hunt and Juran Greene alternated on lead vocals. The horn section got the toes tapping and brought a good time for all.
Erica Hunt sang a beautiful version of “Valerie” and Greene belted out “Flip Flop and Fly.”

— By Richard Amery, L.a. beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 20 June 2018 10:30 )
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