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Omega Croma a testament to hard work and heavy music

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Vancouver progressive metal band Omega Crom’s new CD “Blood Steel and Fire” is a testament to  hard work and to never giving up.
“I started recording this in 2009 and didn’t finish it until 2009,” said Omega Crom singer/guitarist Johnny Ketlo who not only had to deal with arranging pretty complex guitar solos, rhythms and tempo changes, but also had to cope with an ever-changing band line up including the departure of singer Stu Block.
“ I was almost ready to give it all up but some complete strangers at a Slayer concert came up and said you’ve got to keep that Omega Crom  shit going,” he continued. The band plays Scores North, Nov. 14. The current line up includes lead/rhythm guitarist Wayne Holden, bassist Ian Wilcke and drummer Dan LaPierre.
“Getting producer Rob Shallcross really helped out. He said you could either train someone else to sing like Stu did or learn to do it yourself. And Stu is into a lot of System of the Down and screamo. And it comes naturally to him. If it doesn’t  come naturally like that then you really have to work hard at it,” he continued adding he studied classical music in university and was in a choir for four years so he had a good idea of how to arrange music.Omega Crom
“So I studied a lot of Rob Halford and Iron Maiden and a lot of really cool singers and worked hard at it. I’m still learning how to do it and I’m still working at it,” he said adding learning to sing piercingly high notes while playing  complex leads simultaneously came surprisingly easy.
“I played a lot of Megadeth when I was a kid, so that comes pretty naturally and we practice a lot so it comes as a  second nature to us,” he said, adding translating  the CD to a live setting is essential.
“I don’t like it when bands don’t play what’s on the CD,” he said adding Omega Crom’s set will include music from the CD, a Judas Priest cover and some brand new  music from a CD to be recorded, hopefully in the Spring after they have toured extensively on this one.

Shanneyganock bringing the party to Lethbridge

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Shanneyganock, who is known as Newfoundland’s biggest party band,  is not the next Great Big Sea, though they don’t mind the comparisons.Shanneyganock Photo By Chris Smith
“They’re a completely different band. Great Big Sea is a rock band with traditional influences, we’re a trad band with many different influences,” said Shaneyganock singer/guitarist Chris Andrews from Grande Prairie getting ready to play three sold out shows in the northern Alberta city. They will be making their Lethbridge debut, Nov. 12 at the Blarney Stone.
 The quartet have been playing for 13 years and average 200 days a year on the road in a constant cycle of touring, time off, recording and touring. They have released seven CDs including their latest called “VII” which has been nominated for several Newfoundland music awards.
“The new CD  is really good. We try to make each CD better than the last and I think that we have here,” he said.
“We’re very lucky, but we also work very hard. We play everywhere. We played a little town called Ranier on the southern coast of Newfoundland. There are 300 people in the town but we had 800 people at the show. It was wicked. People all got in their boats and came to the show.  It was Newfoundlanders who brought all of their friends. They made an event of it. We’re hoping we’ll get the same sort of thing happening in Lethbridge,” he continued.
“The days of selling CDs in record stores are over. Now, if you don’t play live, you don’t sell CDs and you better be able to pull it off live because studio magic won’t help anymore if you can’t play it live,” he said.
“It’s no different whether we’re playing for two or 2,000, our main goal is to  turn the energy up to 11, keep everything rolling  and have a great party,” Andrews continued,” adding they have been touring out west for the past eight years, but have never made it down to Lethbridge.

Exciting week with Pack A.D and more

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This week in Lethbridge there are several exciting shows beginning tonight at Henotic where it will be duo night. Four duos including Austria, Amelia Earhart, Smoke Stack Jacks and  the triumphant return of Vancouver based garage/blues duo the Pack A.D will all be playing beginning at approximately 9 p.m.Papa King and the Darryl Düus Band are one of many cool shows this week. Photo by Richard Amery Tickets cost $15 at the door or $12 in advance from Blueprint Music.
 Also tonight, Paul Kype and Texas Flood host a blues jam and there is a popular open mic at the 1010 Pub. There are a couple other open mics this week including a Remembrance Day open mic at Henotic with Felipe Rodriguez as well as  the Lethbridge Folk Club’s open mic  on Friday, Nov. 13 at the Wolf’s Den. Though it’s a few weeks away, the Folk Club is bringing in one of my favourite folk groups. Tanglefoot, known for  singing energetic  bluegrass and folk infused songs featuring tidbits of Canadian history. Their farewell tour stops by the Wolf’s Den , Nov. 27. Tickets cost $20 for members, $25 for non-members.
Metalheads will be in their element, Nov. 14 at Scores North where progressive metal band Omega Crom will be playing. Read the interview with them in Music Beat.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 10 November 2009 14:09 ) Read more...

Halloween with Hurricane Felix

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Hurrican Felix put on an excellent Halloween.There was a lot of cool shows happening for Halloween, but because I was finishing a run of  the Lethbridge Playgoers’ dinner theatre  “A Key For Two,” I only caught the tail end of a high octane rockabilly set with Hurricane  Felix and the Southern Twisters at the Slice. The Calgary trio played a tight set of authentic old school rockabilly with the modern touch of Reverend Horton Heat. They were tight, had a heap of greased back energy and had everybody bouncing in front of the stage. There was scorching guitar playing and some tight stand up bass playing backed by some solid drumming.  They put on an impressive show.


Kirby and Blind Mule have unique take on music

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A small, but mighty audience took in an enjoyable show from John Kirby and Blind Mule  who were back in Lethbridge for the third time in a year, Oct. 29 at the Slice.

John Kirby and Blind Mule. John Kirby began with a heartfelt set of original  folk/ rock tinged songs with a little help from Blind Mule vocalist/guitarist Graham Peaceful who added some tasteful leads. Hamilton folk/ country band Blind Mule played a couple sets, the first originals and the second full of unique interpretations of covers including “Blister in the Sun,” “Bad Moon Rising,” and “the Joker” which utilized one member beatboxing (making drum sounds with his voice). Their arrangements were  different and added their own take on classic hits.

— By Richard Amery L.A. Beat Editor

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