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Coco Vanilla provides soundtrack for street machines

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Musicians and music lovers were making up for a year- and-a-half of lost time this weekend.

Dusty Dee Litchfield at the Coco Vanilla Galactic Cantina, July. 9 Photo by Richard Amery

 There were three music festivals happening , July 8-10.


The Coco Vanilla Galactic Cantina picked up the banner that Backstreet South left behind by hosting a three day musical soundtrack to Street Machine weekend.


While there was no official cruise, that didn’t stop a cornucopia of flashy cars, motorcycles, hot rods and street machines driving up and down Mayor Magrath and most of third avenue, though part of that was blocked by construction.


Friday night was the best attended of the three days at the Coco Vanilla Galactic Cantina. Their Sunday afternoon ended up being rained out. Saturday was not as busy as Friday.


 I caught a handful of bands on Friday, all of who were dusting off their live chops.


I arrived in time to catch a trimmed down Dead Army. Rob Morrison’s original modern rock act played with a drummer as they worked through a heavily distorted, multi-layered set of energetic detuned original rock reminiscent of late ’90s, early 2000s acts like Buck Cherry.


Dead Army at the Coco Vanilla Galactic Cantina, July. 9 Photo by Richard Amery

The inside was  a complete contrast as local country singer Dusty Dee Litchfield held court with   an intimate set  set of classic country and rock and roll songs including “Tulsa Time,” “Hard to be Humble and an acoustic version of  Johnny B Goode.


After Dead Army, El B


Esparkalo (Sparkle Donkey, named after a brand of tequila) brought an ’80s party to the stage. They feature  most of frontman Dave Chomiak’s  Def Leppard and Whitesnake tribute acts.


They took a while  setting up and getting their sound  just right.

 I stuck around for a few ’70s and ’80s hits including Trooper’s “Raise a Little Hell” and the apt “Boys in the bright White Sports Car,” and Autograph’s “ Turn up the Radio,” before I had to go to other shows.

Sparkle Donkey at the Coco Vanilla Galactic Cantina, July. 9 Photo by Richard Amery

— By Richard Amery, L.A.  Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 14 July 2021 13:30 )

Shred Kelly ready to rock the Owl with belated all ages CD release party for “Like A Rising Sun”

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Fernie stoke/folk band Shred Kelly are psyched to be back in Lethbridge  to play an all ages show at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Saturday, July 17.

A lot has changed since they last played Lethbridge in 2018. Keyboardist/ vocalist Sage McBride and her husband, banjo player/guitarist/ singer Tim Newton have a new child together and their latest album “Like A Rising Sun has been nominated for  a Western Canadian Music Award for best rock artist.


 Sage McBride of Shred Kelly is excited to play Lethbridge again. Photo by Richard Amery

“We have a new baby, though she’s two-and-a-half now. She’s already walking and talking,” said McBride adding they have been bringing their daughter on the road with them.


“We have a road nanny with us. Though it’s been nice to spend a year at home with her instead of always touring,” she continued.


“It was difficult times during the pandemic when we didn’t have any other support in our bubble. Now we’re touring again, we’re loading in at 4 or 5 p.m.  and can spend some time with her and she’s usually asleep while we’re playing,” she continued, noting they are concentrating on smaller weekend tours and staying close to home.


“We‘re doing 15 shows in 24 days. But because we didn’t know what was going to happen or even if live music was going to be allowed, we’re staying close to home,” she said, adding fans are really enjoying the shows.


“I find a lot of people really appreciate seeing live music now that they haven’t been able to see any live music for a year and a half. So I hope it continues. People took it for granted, because there was something every week and then there wasn’t anything and they realized how much they missed it,” she observed.


“We don’t play a lot of all ages shows other than events like Love and Records. It’s great to play all ages shows, watching  three generations  watching the shows,” she said.


“This is the belated CD release party. This is the first chance we’ve had to play these new songs live. so we‘re playing five or six songs from the new CD. We‘re playing for an hour and a half. We start early and try to be done by 10 p.m. so the minors don’t get kicked out,” she said.


The new CD “Like A Rising Sun” has more of a rock edge than their previous CDs.


“We still come from a folk background, but Tim has been writing more on acoustic guitar rather than banjo, so when we go into the studio, they either become folk songs or we can amplify everything and they become rock songs. This time they turned into rock songs. We’re writing new songs but they aren’t ready to play them live yet so we have no idea which direction they’ll go,” she said adding the new CD has been well received.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 17 July 2021 08:59 ) Read more...

Punk, metal, laughs and Latino culture this week

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Live music was back in force this past weekend and it continues taking off this week, with  a lot of sweet shows happening.

 The Owl Acoustic Lounge has an open mic tonight as they do every Tuesday.


Tyrants of Chaos rock the Slice this weekend. Photo by Richard Amery

 The Slice  has an eclectic week planned beginning with Rock and Pop alumni night , Wednesday, July 16, featuring Scot Davidson“s music students. The show begins at 7 p.m.

 The Slice goes metal on Friday and Saturday nights.


 Local power metal band Tyrants of Chaos are excited to show some of the new music they have been working on at the Slice, July 16 with special guests SI. There is a $10 cover for that show, and the Slice continues in the heavy vein on Saturday, July 15 with  Berserker’s debut CD release party beginning at 9 p.m. with  local pop punk band the Youngbloods and  Revanchist. there is a $10 cover for that show as well.

The Owl Acoustic Lounge kicks things up a notch with a couple great shows.


Local Favourites Biloxi parish and Starpainter take the big stage on Friday night, July 16. Admission is donation.

 The Owl Acoustic Lounge has a special ticketed event on Saturday, as Fernie Stoke folk band Shred Kelly make their long awaited Lethbridge  return in support of their latest CD Like A Rising Sun. Their Tiny Concert Series is an all ages show which begins at  7 p.m. Tickets are $20.


The big festival of the weekend is Latin Fest 2021 at the Southern Alberta Ethnic Association (421 6 Ave South), on Saturday, July 17.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 14 July 2021 09:59 ) Read more...

Hip Trip bring spirit of the Tragically Hip back to life

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Even with Gord Downie gone since 2017, there is still a hankering for the music of the Tragically Hip, so guitarist Mark Hall, drummer Raz Bruce, bassist Jack Horne and vocalist Darryl  Watanabe  were happy to resurrect the Hip’s spirit by introducing their new Tragically Hip tribute The Hip Trip by playing all of the Hip’s hits and a lot more at the Slice, July 3.


Mark Hall and Darryl Watanabe of the Hip Trip at the Slice, July 3. Photo by Richard Amery

Horne’s bass was excruciatingly, bowel shakingly loud, but it didn’t matter to the packed house, who, beers in hand, were happy to dance and sing along to their favourite Hip Hits. They partied on even when they blew a fuse mid set during “Poets,”  but Slice owner Derek Hoyle and the band quickly resolved the issue.


 Local acousitc duo the Trippy Hippys aka Laurie Wintoniak Joy Pizzengrilli opened the show. I only caught a few of their beautiful harmony laden covers, coming in from doing a live Hotrock Blues Beat on CKXU 88.3 f.m. They usually perform at Honker’s Pub.


 The Hip Trip were solid, Mark Hall had the Hip’s big, beefy heavily distorted guitar sound down.

But it was vocalist Watanabe who made the show. He was a dead ringer for Downie and even looked a little like the beloved Tragically Hip frontman.


“50 Mission Cap” was an early highlight and the Hip hits took off from there, with an equal balance of slower more introspective numbers like “ Bobacaygeon,” “Fully Completely” and “Wheat Kings,” to the flat out rockers like “Twist My Arm” “Little Bones,” “Poets” and “Three Pistols.”

 “ 38 years Old” was a highlight that came near the end of the set.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor

Last Updated ( Thursday, 08 July 2021 13:36 )

Peter and the Wolves bring the party back to the Slice

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 It ’s fitting that Calgary’s Peter and the Wolves, who were the last band  I covered at the Slice before everything shut down 

Peter Cormier Crushing it on keyboards at Peter and the Wolves’ July 2 show at the Slice. Photo by Richard Amery

because of Covid, would be the first band  I covered once everything reopened.


The Calgary rock and roll/ rockabilly quartet returned to a packed Slice, July 2.

There is a lot of pent up post Covid energy. Music is life and people have missed being able to dance, sing, hug and groove together so the party was in full swing after their first set. I arrived just in time for their second.


Frontman Peter Cormier has his sets down to science. He tickles the ivories for the first half, lets his band mates bassist, Pedro,  drummer Willie Garcia and new saxophonist/ vocalist Meg  Thompson solo and  sing, then switches to guitar mid-way through blues classic “ St. James Infirmary.”


 “Jailbird Josephine” was an early highlight as Cormier kicked things into high gear on keyboards, blasting through a variety of piano powered rock and roll favourites , including selections from Ray Charles and lots of original music.


“ Jump , Jive and Wail ” was another early highlight.


 Saxophonist Meg Thompson did a hair-raisingly good job of belting out blues classic “ I Just Want to make Love To You.”

Meg Thompson belting out I Just Want to Make Love To You with Peter and the Wolves, July. 2. Photo by Richard Amery

 At the mid point of the set, Cormier  began “St. James Infirmary” on piano and switched to guitar mid song, for some rock and roll.


A newer song, “Take A Look” was first in a series of more mournful odes to broken hearts including “That’s the Trouble with Love.”


 But he picked up the tempo and energy for the rest of the set, featuring more of Meg Thompson’s saxophone, ending with another new song “Be In Love With You.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Thursday, 08 July 2021 13:03 )
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