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Big Dave McLean plays the blues for Lethbridge Folk Club

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 I know live music has just returned, but is it too early to  call the best blues show of the year?

The Lethbridge Folk Club returned to the scene by bringing back Winnipeg‘s Big Dave McLean, the patron saint of prairie blues musicians, to Pavan Park on Sunday, July 11.

Big Dave McLean playing Pavan Park for the Lethbridge Folk Club, July 11. Photo by Richard Amery

 I took a couple passes before I found the gig, so I missed Keith Catfish Woodrow’s opening set, but arrived just in time for a quick visit with big Dave McLean.


 Multiple award winner McLean is a walking encyclopedia of the blues who has influenced everyone from the Perpetrators to Colin James, so it was great to sit in a thankfully covered picnic area and listen to him tell  stories and bellow out classic blues from Muddy Waters, Howlin wolf and Sleepy John Estes and more obscure blues musicians.

 He was seated on a carpet surrounded by a battered acoustic guitar and an ancient National steel resonator guitar.


 He chatted engagingly with the intimate audience of about 50 blues lovers as the skies darkened and  thunder rumbled  overhead. Some one called out “now you’ve got a rhythm section,” to which he replied “it’s got to keep in time though” as the rain started to sprinkle and everyone took cover under the shelter. The temperature was wreaking havoc on his finicky guitars’ tunings, but he sorted that out.

 He belted out the blues, played some  dark rhythms and occasionally slapped extra percussion on his guitars.


 He noted he had just recorded a CD with Calgary’s Tim Williams and drummer Kevin Belzner, but noted he left the CDs in Okotoks.


 A highlight was  “Pet Rabbit Blues,” written by one of Robert Johnson’s contemporaries, and noted it‘s not about pet rabbits.


 His first set included tracks by  Sleepy John Estes and Jimmy Rogers. Later he played some Robert Johnson and  Muddy Waters as he talked about opening for Muddy Waters and getting to know him.

 He added one of his own songs “Two Times Crying” and  blues classic “Hurt me Too,” before taking a quick break.


His second set featured a mournful version of the Mississippi Sheiks’ “ Sitting on Top of the World.”

 He played some new songs he had been learning including Barbecue Bob’s  “Atlanta Moan,” on the resonator guitar which featured a lot of slide and some beautiful harmonics.

Big Dave McLean and Keith Catfish Woodrow  playing Pavan Park for the Lethbridge Folk Club, July 11. Photo by Richard Amery


 The second set was exceptional. He played an original talking blues called Jimmy Bobby, more traditional Delta blues and more Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters.


 The highlight was a request from me for one of his songs “Muddy Waters For President,” which Muddy Waters was going to cut but provided a great excuse to bring Keith Catfish Woodrow on stage to play lead guitar so McLean could break out the harmonicas.


 They played Muddy Waters For President,” and Woodrow stayed on stage so McLean could play harp on  “Ride With Me” and Taj Mahal’s “ Learn to Love Yourself.”

 He brought the show to a close by bring the audience on board to song along with blues classic “You’ve Got to Love Somebody.”


The Folk Club”s next show is  a free Aug, 14 music festival at Legacy park with Junkman’s Quire, The Steve Keenan Band,Celtic Routes, Maggie Mae, Scott Cook and the Travelling Mabels.

—By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor

Last Updated ( Friday, 16 July 2021 16:16 )

The Chevelles rock the Place with the hits

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 The Chevelles were doing a double date , July 9 and 10 at the Place in the old Average Joes building. The new arcade bar isn’t  going to feature a lot of live music, but decided to go whole hog for the Chevelles’ shows with a great light show and impeccable sound.


The Chevelles’ Tim Carter at the Place, July 9. Photo by Richard Amery

 The popular long standing local classic rockers never fail to deliver all of  a good sized crowd’s  favourite hits.

 They ave also been working in covers I haven’t heard them play before including Dire Straits’“ Walk of Life”. 


 They added ELO’s Don”t Bring Me Down and even knocked off an impressive version of Prince’s “Lets Go Crazy.” I was hoping  newest Chevelle Seamus Chevelle, aka Joe Brewster would pull out the bagpipes for AC DC’s “ It’s a Long Way To The Top,” but I didn’t catch it.


 A buddy of mine had never seen the Chevelles in the dozen odd years he’s been in Lethbridge, so I joined him at the Place again on Saturday.


The Chevelles waited until the packed house was finished watching the fight and kept most of them with another set of hits that kept the dance floor hot with beautiful women dancing the night away.


Tim Carter is always an affable and charismatic frontman, but this set was pretty much Woody Chevelle aka Scott Kanashiro’s set, as he dominated on acoustic guitar and lead vocals for Chilliwack’s “Fly At Night,” Nitty Gritty Dirt band’s “ Fishing in the Dark” and added keyboards to a lot of others including doing triple duty on “Fly At Night.


 All of the hits were accounted for including Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” and a couple of Elton John songs. They played some more Dire Straits as  drummer Don Plettell and “Money For Nothing.”


The Chevelles’ Scott Kanashiro at the Place, July 10. Photo by Richard Amery

 Joe Brewster sang his always entertaini

ng cover of Billy Idol’s “White Wedding.”


“Real Wild Child” was a highlight as always and  they brought back “I Ran” before ending the set with “500 Miles.“

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 14 July 2021 14:23 )

Green Mind play menacing music after midnight at the Slice

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The Slice  was pretty much empty by the time I arrived late at night, July 10. But local alternative rock trio Green Mind played a second set anyway.

Green Mind playing the Slice, July 10. photo by Richard Amery


 They played a dark, gloomy, ominous set of  music which was a blend of grunge and stoner rock with a touch of ’80s gothic post punk a la  the Sisters of Mercy.


 They had grinding guitar riffs and some spooky arpeggios in on track which did sound like the Sisters of Mercy.

— BY Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 14 July 2021 14:08 )

Honkers Pub welcomes back regulars for weekend festival

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Honkers Pub’s patio was packed on a sweltering  Saturday afternoon, July 10 for  their day long music festival designed to give back to the core of musicians who always play there and who supported them through Covid.


Steve Keenan playing honkers Pub’s music festival, July 10. Photo by Richard Amery

 I missed Kelly Klimchuk’s new band Holy Roller and the Roller Coasters, and arrived at the end of the Trippy Hippys set.


 The Hippys, Laurie Wintoniak and Joy Pizzengrilli played  a pretty set emphasizing vocal harmonies including hits like “Me and Bobby McGee.”


 Local bluesman Steve Keenan, armed with his acoustic guitar, played a solo set of contemporary radio friendly hits from Blues Rodeo and Neil Young, and technically ended with his own “Whiskey Drinking Blues,” but was asked to play some more, so he did what he does the best– play the blues and did so.


Coda Lite aka Sheldon Shukaliak and Ben Lamb slapping a Kabron box drum also stuck with the hits. They also played some Blue Rodeo.“Riverboat Fantasy was a highlight as usual.


 Ben Lamb sang most of the set including Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.”


 The duo lead the crowd through a sing along of “Take Me Home Country Roads.”

Coda Lite (Sheldon Shukaliak and Ben Lamb) playing honkers Pub’s music festival, July 10. Photo by Richard Amery

 I had to leave before Dream Catcher, and the mark Hall band were scheduled to perform.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 14 July 2021 13:58 )

Adequate bring the party for CD release

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 The main gig I wanted to hit , July 9 was the long awaited CD release party for Adequate’s self titled CD on the Owl Acoustic Lounge’s beautiful new stage in their new Third Avenue location.


Josh Thorlakson of Adequate at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, July 9. Photo by Richard Amery

As always, Adequate stuck to the funky side of the ’60s and ’70s, but added a few new covers in addition to a handful of their originals.


  Scott Mezei, Keenan Pezderic and Josh Thorlakson were in their element as the audience spilled over onto the Owl’s patio.


 I arrived in time for their second set, which they opened with House of pain’s 1989 classic “Jump Sround” and the audience did just that.


 They trio  had a sound twice as big as they looked. They were all in their element and locked in a groove, especially guitarist  Josh Thorlakson who sung a hot version of Lou Reed’s “Take a Walk on the Wild Side.” “Brick House” was another easily recognizable highlight.


They played “Easy Peazy ” one  of the highlights of the new CD and wound down a hot, sweaty, hyper-energetic set with  “Let’s Get Funky.” another highlight from their CD.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 14 July 2021 13:42 )
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