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Lots of good times to remember in 2018

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It seems like Lethbridge spent a lot of the year covered in either snow, which didn’t leave until April or smoke, which doCorb Lund stopped by to sing with Geoff Berner at one of his shows this year. Photo by Richard Ameryminated the summer, or surrounded by howling wind, but it was still an exceptional year for live music in the city. On a sad note, CKXU’s Love and Records festival took a break from Galt Gardens this year due to volunteer burnout and the staff being focused on getting the new 2,900 watt transmitter operational, which happened at the beginning of December.
University of Lethbridge based radio station CKXU 88.3 f.m.’s new transmitter was a major highlight for those people looking for music you can’t hear anywhere else.

This year, lots of excellent live music came to the Slice, Owl Acoustic Lounge and Average Joes and the Smokehouse, to name a few. There were lots of afternoon shows this year including the LGRC family jam at the Owl  who also hosted The Folk Road show for a matinee during the summer and other assorted afternoon shows.  The Smokehouse also started a matinee series featuring folk and roots music.

Blueprint Records also closed after 12 years supporting the local scene. Before handing the torch over to new owners Street Legal Records, they held a big farewell bash at the Slice, June 1 featuring lots of local acts Biloxi Parish, Sparkle Blood, Open Channels and Mombod. The next night Street Legal held a grand opening bash featuring rap and hip hop.
The Geomatic Attic had an excellent season full of blues with shows from Steve Dawson, Dawson playing with Kat Danser as well as Birds of Chicago and Joey Landreth, Nov. 25 who was also a hit opening for the Sheepdogs at Whoop Up Days. MonkeyJunk returned to the Geomatic Attic to slay on May 24. They had an excellent run of shows in May,  featuring a beautiful show of folk with Fionn and Royal Wood, May. 22. Earlier in the year, they had the White Buffalo, March 6. He is best known for writing several songs for the TV Show Sons of Anarchy, and Tri-Continental brought their cross-cultural music right before that.
Honker’s Pub celebrated 21 years with a lot of live music on March 17.

 The Enmax Centre had a lot of big shows  this year including Shinedown, Johnny Reid and a lot more but I only made it to George Thorogood and the Destroyers, who rocked the joint,  May 5.
 There were also several alternative rock shows this year downstairs in the old Firehall hosted by the Terrific Kids Collective, who held shows for Halloween and other shows throughout the year.
As always there are new bands forming and playing, it seems every day. Some of the highlights this year were up and comers Hoverkraft, Gabe Thaine in his many incarnations like the Crooked Creek Warblers or solo, Silkstones and Biloxi Parish.

New albums came from a variety of local bands and musicians including J Blissette, Body Lens, Gabe Thaine’s “Alone in This World.” In Cahoots, Cope, MTBC,Shaela Miller who had a great year participating in the project Wild. She released her new CD “Bad Ideas.”, Paul Kype also released a new CD with Chilliwack drummer Jerry Adolphe called “Blues For Rosie.” Other new local Cds included The Utilities, Mind Merge with Craig Baceda and Chris Snelgrove and John Wort Hannam’s “Acres of “Elbow Room.” Jesse and the Dandelions, who is based out of Edmonton, but spent his formative playing years here also released a new CD “Give Up the Gold.”


Good Times opens with some of Canada's best stand-up comedians

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 It’s all in the name— good times. Good Times provides a new venue for live comedy and in the process provides owner John Pogorzelski  a chance to fulfil his life’s ambition of being his own boss by doing something he is passionate about. John and his brother are old hands at creating entertainment opportunities, as their company Pogo bros can call Lethbridge  Oktoberfest celebrations among the feathers in their caps. John Pogorzelski is excited to open Good Times. photo by Richard Amery
“We’re still going to do Pogo Brothers, John Pogorzelski said, adding he and his brother Roy run karaoke and games nights all over the city. But now they have started their own venue to focus on games and regular live comedy.
 The new 30 seat capacity club, located at (317 3rd Street South) in the basement had their official opening, Jan. 5 with a showcase of professional stand-up comedians  touring comedians including Cory Mack, Mike “Pickle” Dambra, Charles Andrew, Adam Ruby Payne, Renee Manners, Alex Biron and Shawn Gramiak.
The opening night showcases were pretty much all sold out and give the public a preview of the comedy to come in the next two months as all of the comedians will be performing their own solo shows in the coming weeks.

 They have a few kinks to work out, with sound and lighting but the essence of a really cool, underground comedy club.
I caught  the very first showcase at 5 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 5.

 The first comedian Alex Biron, who will be back Feb. 9, joked about the different kinds of homeless people in larger and smaller cities. He  had a funny bit comparing what $80 million means to a CEO compared to what $80 means to an ordinary, poorer person.

 Surrey, B.C. born, Fort McMurray based comedian Renne Manners, who returns Feb. 16,  opened her set by opening an oversized list of jokes  “so I won’t forget them”  and joked about being a single mom and how her seven-year-old son also writes jokes as well as a funny bit about the number of teen moms in her high school in Surrey.

Charles Payne, who returns on Jan. 26, observed how “white the room” was and joked about how disgusting and confusing dick pics are, and online dating over 40.
I couldn’t see much of Adam Ruby’s manic  set as he stayed mostly at the back of the stage and out of my eyesight from my seat at the side of the stage. He  joked abut parenting now compared to in the ’70s and ’80s when he grew up. He returns to Good Times, Jan. 19.

 New York born comedian  Mike Dambra performs in Lethbridge about once a year. He was more in your face than the other comedians. He joked about spending a SaturdShawn Gremiak performing at Good Times. photo by Richard Amery, jShawn Gremiak performing at Good Times. photo by Richard Amery, Jan. 5. Photo by Richard Ameryan. 5. Photo by Richard Ameryay night performing  comedy in a basement, laughing “ I have another show at a pizza lace after this.” He joked about how Canadians are annoyingly over polite compared to New Yorkers, but spent about half of his set teasing a front row patron about selling furniture for a living. He received quite a bit of applause for his set. Dambra returns to Good Times, Feb. 2.

Cory Mack was the comedian I was waiting to see as she is the sister of my former boss. I even booked her for Fringe Festival back in Kenora, several years ago. Her routine was about growing up on a farm in rural Saskatchewan and  about how to get older kids to move out of the house by having louder sex. She also had a funny bit comparing how people, namely her husband, stroke their smart smart phones compared to  pleasuring a woman. She is back at Good Times this Saturday.


Ryan McMahon returns to the Flat for house concert with sixth CD

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Ladysmith/Vancouver Island based folk musician Ryan McMahon returns to Lethbridge in support of his brand new, sixth CD “In Line For A Smile. He plays a special house concert at the Flat, Tuesday, Jan. 22.Ryan mcMahon returns to Lethbridge, Jan. 22. Photo by Ashley Marston
“ It’s great. I’ve played there a couple of times. They’re super nice kids. They cram 40-50 people in to their basement,” he said, adding he enjoys playing house concerts.

“I play about 70 of them a year. When you have  gigs, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and you’re in the same area sitting in the hotel  spending money and food, you might as well play. I’ve played in coffee shops, community halls, churches. I’ll play anywhere you want me too,” he said.

“ Craig Cardiff plays the Flat, that’s probably where I got their contact information,” he said.

He is excited about the new album.
“I’ll be playing about seven of the new songs. They’ve all been road tested a lot. And I’ll be playing some older songs. Tom Petty may even make an appearance,” he said, adding the CD reflects his many influences like  City and Colour and Jackson Browne.


A whole lot of local rock and laughter this week

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Ease into January with a whole lot of local music.Rainbow Patrol have  Cd release party this week at the Slice. photo by Richard Amery
 The fun begins as Gabriel Thaine brings back his High Level Variety Show to the Slice, Tuesday, Jan. 15.
 It is a variety show so  anything can happen — music, comedy, juggling, dance, whatever springs to mind. Doors open with the sign up at 8 pm. The show begins at 8:30 p.m. There is a five dollar cover.

Jazz jams return to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Wednesday, Jan. 16 with hosts HBO3.
 Corduroy Brown hosts the open mic at the Slice, Jan. 17.

The SAAG is doing something cool, Thursday, Jan. 17 — they are hosting a Bauhaus themed birthday party for art with local music.

 Local alternative rock band Body Lens open the show at 8:30, followed by Rhythm of Cruelty aka the duo of Brandi Strauss and Ian Rowley .

After that, Sean Warkentine and Adrian Sutherland host  the CKXU  dance party at 10:30 p.m. Admission is  $2.

If you want to laugh, Good Times features hypnotist  J.R. Mathew on Friday , Jan 18. He performs two shows at 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.  Admission is $15.

Good Times brings back comedian Adam Ruby for two shows, Saturday, Jan. 19 at 6 and 9:30 p.m.. Admission is $10 for that show.

There is a whole lot of rock this weekend. The Smokehouse hosts an excellent local punk show on Friday, Jan. 18 featuring Calgary Celtic punks the RiverJacks and local bands The Hockey Moms and 13toGo. The music begins at 8:30 p.m. There is a $10 cover.


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About L.A. Beat

L.A. Beat is Lethbridge, Alberta's only online arts and entertainment magazine.

It is designed to support music, art, drama and other cultural endeavours in and around the city.

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