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Helix's Brian Vollmer dabbles in all kinds of art

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There is no dust on Helix frontman Brian Vollmer, who is excited to return to Lethbridge for Whoop Up Days, Aug. 25.
 In addition to touring all over the world with Helix, he released  a solo album “Vollmer,” teaches Bel Canto vocal style, toured with the Trailer Park Boys, appeared in a new animated version of the popular Canadian TV series and even voiced a video game “Concert Kings.”

Helix will R.O.C.K Whoop Up Days on Saturday. Photo by Richard Amery
“ When you’ve been in the business as long as I have, you get a reputation for being reliable and professional and that leads to opportunities, said Vollmer from his home in Kitchener.
 He formed Helix in 1974, and eventually found success in the ’80s. They independently released their first album in 1979, but didn’t hit it big until their third CD “No Rest For the Wicked,” which spawned the hits “Heavy Metal Love” and “Don’t Get Mad Get Even.”

 They are best known for their breakthrough hit “Rock You,” from their next album “Walking the Razor’s Edge” which was followed up by “Gimmie Gimmie Good Love’ and a cover of A Foot in Cold Water’s ’70s hit  “(Make Me Do) Anything You Want.”  They toured Canada  extensively including  some memorable shows  in Lethbridge at the Alec Arms.

“I remember the first time we played there we told them we were an original band but they weren’t interested. We convinced them to let us play, and said if the people don’t like it you don’t have to pay us. But they liked us a lot and we played for the rest of the shows there,” he said.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 21 August 2018 11:54 ) Read more...

Lee Aaron back to rock Whoop Up Days to a close

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“Metal Queen” Lee Aaron is back with a new CD of blues tinged hard rock album “Diamond Baby,” which she is excited to introduce to fans  at Whoop Up Days, Saturday, Aug. 25.Lee Aaron plays w Whoop up Days on Saturday. Photo by Richard Amery
“I’ve never been to Whoop up Days, but it sounds like a  lot of fun,” said Aaron who last played Lethbridge in 2015 at Average Joes,” she said, adding she is playing a few bigger fairs this year including several around her home of Vancouver.

“They‘re just so cool. It’s like you’re playing for your friends, she said.
She is touring in support of her new CD “Diamond Baby,” which takes her back to her blues roots but also is a nod to her metal side.
“It is important to record new music and the fans enjoy it,” she said.
She is best known for a couple early ’80s hits like “Metal Queen” and “What Cha Do With My body,” but embarked on a successful blues and jazz careers in the ’90s  before returning to her rock and roll roots  in the early 2000s.

“And I enjoy it. Fans seem to like the new record and the critics are enjoying it,” she continued, adding it is a nice mix of original music and her own take on  an assortment of covers.
“‘I’m a Woman’ is a Koko Taylor song,” she said adding she admires Koko Taylor  for being a strong woman.

Aaron  considers her self to be similar, in that she was marketed as a sex symbol and fought against it when she released her big hit “Metal Queen” in 1984.
 So she was drawn to songs with a female empowerment theme
 She has always like the classics “ Mistreated ” and “You’re No Good.”
“ I was playing them before I recorded them and they went over well,” she said.


Last Updated ( Tuesday, 21 August 2018 11:20 ) Read more...

FLIPFest and Whoop Up Days among this week's many highlights

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While Whoop Up Days dominates Lethbridge this week, there is a lot more happening throughout the week, which culminates with  FLIPfest  on Friday and Saturday.Cecile Doo Kingue returns to plum for two nights of blues music this week. Photo by Richard Amery
But Whoop-Up Days begins with Joey Landreth on the Gas King Stage at 7 p.m. plus The Sheepdogs, who kick off the big annual festival on a rocking note. It is a special ticketed event, which costs $35 and includes admission to all the other Whoop-Up Days attractions.
 Country night is  on Wednesday with the Road Hammers, who will be playing plenty of trucking songs and also have a new CD out. The rest of the week is all about classic rock with Prism playing all their hits like “Spaceship Superstar,” ” “Take Me to the Kaptain,” and “Armageddon” on Thursday.
 Harlequin plays  their many ’70s and ’80s hits including “Superstitious  Feeling, “Innocent” and “Thinking of You” on Friday.
Dust off your spandex and do your hair up big on Saturday with a killer bill of Lee Aaron, who has released an excellent new CD “Diamond Baby” but is known for her big hit “Metal Queen.” Helix will “R.O.C.K You” to close off Whoop Up Days. Those shows are free with Whoop up Days admission.

 But there is plenty more happening. Sam Weber and his band play the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Wednesday, Aug. 22 in support of their new single “Ain’t It Strange.”
 And Montreal blues musician Cecile Doo-Kingue returns to Lethbridge to play two nights at Plum, Aug. 22 and 23.
Vancouver punk band Clementine play the Slice, Aug. 22 with local bands Frege’s Puzzle and HoverKraft. Admission is $10.
 FLIPfest features several Fem positive and non binary acts performing Friday and Saturday night. Street Legal records features local bands Lolly Willowes and the Ugly Cry Club beginning at 7 p.m. They Owl Acoustic Lounge features heavier acts including HARSH, Mombod and Mulligrub.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 21 August 2018 10:51 ) Read more...

Sam Weber returns in support of single “Ain’t it Always”

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Sam Weber, not of the Weber Brothers, but the Saanich , B.C. solo artist, returns to Lethbridge to play the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Wednesday, Aug. 22 in support of his new single “Ain’t it Always.”
Weber is playing three U.S. dates in Washington before returning to Lethbridge.

Sam Weber returns to the Owl Acoustic lounge, Wednesday, Aug, 22. phboto by Richard Amery
“It’s probably been a year since I was in Lethbridge,” Weber said, adding he will be bringing his band with him including Tyler Chester on bass, Piano, Ace Tone and vocals,  vocalist  Jacob Weil and drummer Marshall Wildman and Weber on vocals and guitar.

“ I love playing the Owl, he said adding he always gets a good audience  there.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 21 August 2018 10:26 ) Read more...

Road Hammers ready to whoop it up at Whoop up Days

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The Road Hammers return to Lethbridge for Whoop Up Days, Aug. 22 at 8 p.m.The Road Hammers play Whoop up Days, Wednesday, Aug. 22. Photo submitted
“ I’m the worst guy to ask about timelines, but  it has been at least  five or six years. But I’ve been to Lethbridge a lot,” observed Road Hammers co frontman Jason McCoy en route to Nashville to record another Road Hammers album. The Kitchener  based country musician is joined by Albertan musicians Clayton Bellamy and Chris Byrne.

“I love Alberta. Whenever I come to Alberta, I always ask why I left. I lived in Camrose until I was about seven, so my first memories are of Alberta.  I grew up in Alberta though I live in Ontario,” he said.
 They released their most recent album, “the Squeeze” in May 2017 featuring several hit singles including “All Your Favourite Bands,” “the Squeeze,” “ Haulin’ Ass,” and “One Horse Town.”

The band’s sense of humour comes to the fore  on “ Haulin’ Ass,” which shows McCoy picking up “escaped convicts,” band mates Clayton Bellamy and Chris Byrne while transporting a donkey and “No, that was no fun at all,” McCoy laughed.
“We always like to have fun with videos,” he said, adding the Road Hammers  allows the members to blend their different musical tastes.

“ I’m more of a traditional country guy. Clayton is more of a rock guy,” he said, adding songs are chosen according to the best, so there are a few collaborations including with hit maker Jeffrey Steele.
“He basically wrote the top of the country charts. I’ve known Jeff for years,” McCoy continued.
 Gavin Brown produced the new CD.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 21 August 2018 10:01 ) Read more...
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