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Lots of long weekend laughter this week

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There is a whole lot of laughter going on in Lethbridge this week. The yuks begin with the return of So You Think you Can Comic at the Owl acoustic lounge featuring Calgary based comedian Austin Lonneberg, Wednesday, May 18. This Game show style  comedy battle features local comics competing against each other in a battle of wits and humour.  The laughs begin at 9 p.m.  Admission is $10.


The Bridgette Yarwood band hosts Honkers Pub’s open mic on Friday. Photo by Richard Amery

There are a lot of laughs on Thursday. The Canadian Brewhouse has a comedy night every Thursday.


 Good Times features pro-amateur night on Thursday, May 19. Professionals will be practicing new jokes and newcomers will test their stage legs as well. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.m with the laughs starting at 7 p.m. Admission is five dollars through showpass.

 This week’s hosts are Megan Windle and Nicolas Maximiliano plus  Michael Moses, who performed at Good Times on May 14 plus Brian Dawydiuk  performing feature spots.


Even the Slice is dabbling in comedy as they host the Southern Alberta Pagan Association (SAPA)  fundraiser, May 19. The fun event features local comedians Randy Webb, Lakshjit Singh Gill, Angus Fraser and Eden Rodriguez performing plus many more. Tickets are $25 in Advance, from Purple Hippo, $30 at the door.


Winnipeg based comedian  Scott Porteous returns to Good Times on Saturday, May 21 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $16.67.


 As usual there are open mics almost every night of the week. The Owl Acoustic Lounge’s open mic is tonight, May 17.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 17 May 2022 11:50 ) Read more...

Michael Charles plays marathon set of all kinds of blues

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Chicago  via Melbourne blues musician Michael Charles  came with in three minutes of breaking the longest uninterrupted set of music at the Slice, playing for close to three straight hours, Thursday, April 12.

 If he didn’t break longest uninterrupted set, he probably broke the record for longest uninterrupted set for the fewest people, because the turnout was dismal.


Michael Charles playing the Slice, May 12. Photo by Richard Amery

 That may be understandable due to NHL playoffs, a sold out Corb Lund show at the Owl a down the street and the Covid, luckily it didn’t seem to bother  Charles, and his new trio, drummer Ryder Ollie and bassist Luke Gill, plucking a fretless bass while alternating sitting and standing due to a back injury.


 Charles started by playing a couple songs on his own acoustically including a pretty version of “Key To The Highway,” after which his band joined him.Charles, who has played with numerous blues legends including Buddy Guy and is part of the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame, mostly focused on his own music. The underlying theme was time slipping away and growing up playing guitar, which was the common thread through several of his originals.

 The small but enthusiastic audience cheered on Charles and his band.


 After a few wah wah soaked solos on his acoustic, he soon switched to  one of three different Stratocasters.

 He had a strong Rory Gallagher sound on the electric.


Michael Charles playing the Slice, May 12. Photo by Richard Amery

 The music ranged from straight ahead classic blues, more psychedelic experimental jams and big riffed rockers.  Charles played a lot of tasteful, yet restrained guitar, embracing a variety of different musical styles.

 A couple of the highlights was a laid back jam on JJ Cale’s “After Midnight” and another on “ The Thrill Is Gone.”


 A couple of original highlights included the heartfelt. “ The Tune (The Chords My Daddy Taught Me) and “ MC Shuffle” as well as “ Hey Lady, one of several big, beefy rockers.


 Charles, who has been playing professionally since the ’80s, has a couple of excellent new projects out including a box set “19 plus” featuring music he recorded during the pandemic plus the soundtrack to  a documentary about his life, which he released in 2019. Most of his set came from the documentary soundtrack.


 He didn’t  say much to the audience, other than to  introduce everyone to his band midway through the marathon set after playing another highlight “Nobody’s Fool.”

 “ Blues With Soul” felt like Chris Isaak’s ’90s hit “ Wicked Game.” That jam featured a groovy fretless bass solo.


After that, he switched to the third Strat, a  battered blue axe to play some vintage Otis Rush.”  


 The band took a quick breather while Charles switched to  the acoustic again.They returned for “Before You Accuse Me.” and launched into another long jam on  “MC Shuffle,” one of my favourites.

 The show became an endurance test. It started late so a few people there left before it began and by the end, most of the audience left  as midnight dawned.


 The trio closed off with some  classics  including “ Every Day I Have the Blues” and a soulful version of “ The Sky Is Crying,” which ended the show a scant three minutes before  breaking the record. There was no encore for the remaining patrons and staff who had started to drown out the band with their chattering.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Friday, 13 May 2022 15:14 )

Slicefest and blues and more this week

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Slice is where it’s at this week as they have several special events.

 The first big show is on Thursday, May 12 when they welcome back Chicago via Melbourne bluesman  Michael Charles.

 Charles played the Slice back in 2013. Charles has received multiple Grammy elections (the level below nominations) and has even been inducted into the Chicago Blues Hall of fame. He has been in Chicago since the mid ’80s and has released 37 records over the past 38 years. Admission to the show is by donation.

Amy Nelson plays the Owl Acoustic Lounge with Biloxi Parish and  Kassi Valazza, May 14. Photo by Richard Amery

It is all about the blues at the Slice this week, as things begin with a  blues jam at the Slice tonight, Tuesday, May 10.

 But the big event is a three day , musical extravaganza featuring three big days of music at Slicefest.


 Slicefest begins on Friday with Bailey Kate, Edmonton’s St. Arnaud and Adequate.

 Saturday is a lot heavier with Hell Diablo, Berserker, North Sound and  Suit Jacket Society. Slicefest ends on a more folky note with Chris Drew’s band The Wicked Grins, plus the Decadent Phase and more blues with bluesman Eric Braun. Admission is $30 for all three shows or $10 in advance for individual show or $15 at the door.


Things are hopping all over town all week. But first, in addition to the blues jam at  the Slice, May 10,  Night Moves: The Essential Bob Seger tribute starring Bob Hare is at the Yates Theatre. That show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $70.

 Jazz night is always on Wednesday night from 6-8 p.m.


 The Owl Acoustic Lounge always has an interesting week.

Walt Hamburger hosts the open mic at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, May 10.


The Owl has an eclectic show on  May 14 with local roots rock band Biloxi Parish, Calgary country singer Amy Nelson and Edmonton pop musician Kassi Valazzai. Admission is by donation.

 This week, Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans stop by  the Owl for two stops on their Back to the Bar rooms tour, May 12 and 13. Both shows sold out almost immediately though.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 10 May 2022 12:36 ) Read more...

L’omelette add a touch of jazz to hits from all ages

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Calgary jazz/ rock/ pop band l’omelette returned to the Slice, Saturday, April 30 to add some sexy sax juice to a set of  well worn covers.


Meg Thompson and Pete Cormier play with l’omelette at the Slice, April 30. Photo by Richard Amery

 I only caught the last set of the Calgary band featuring Howlin’ Pete Cormier  And Meg “Megs Benedict” Thompson of peter and the Wolves and their new band, showing a different side to their multi-faceted musical  jewelry box.

 Thos time the band was dressed in jungle print tights except Meg in a glittering black pants and jacket which she eventually got rid of.


Heart, interesting sax powered arrangements of classic rock and pop and originals of everything from classic Heart’s “Magic Man’ to Amy Winehouse’s “Cherry Wine.” to jazzing up Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.”

Everything songs better slathered in saxophone, so Thompson was pleased to drench this  musical smorgasbord with plenty of  it.


 When she wasn’t showing her powerful pipes from belting out blues classics like “ I Just Want to Make Love to you,” she was crooning out contemporary pop hits.


 Thompson and Cormier did a quick duet with Cormier on acoustic  for an audience birthday request. Overall the show was an evening of decades spanning psychedelic  experimental saxophone powered music.

 No Doubt’s “spiderwebs” was a highlight near the end as was “ I Just Want to make Love to You.”

— By  Richard Amery, L.A Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 May 2022 17:02 )

Papa King Cole family and friends provide great music to help a much missed friend

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I caught the end of a hot memorial concert for Harpdog Brown at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Saturday, April 30. Harpdog Brown passed away of a heart attack, Jan. 7.  So local musician  Papa King Cole put together a big  fundraising concert for Brown’s family.

I missed the main acts, including the Cole Harbour Boys but caught a big jam at the end of it.


Charlie Jacobson shows his best moves at the Harpdog Brown Fundraiser at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, April 30. Photo by Richard Amery

 Charlie Jacobson, with a little help from Steve Martin on bass and backup singer Jolene Draper and drummer Tony McBride, did every trick in the blues performer playbook. He played guitar with his teeth, played behind his back and did a few Pete Townsend windmills, teetered on the edge of the stage and sat on his amp for a few bars of slower blues, while somehow losing his shirt in the process.

 Jacobson really cut loose for his solo show. He was a lot more sedate when he was playing with Harpdog brown at the owl back in November. 


 He played  some impressive licks and really put on a show.


 The jam continued with Papa King, who had Tony mcBride behind the kit this time and special guests including bassist Doug Freeman.


Papa King Cole playing the Harpdog Brown Fundraiser at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, April 30. Photo by Richard Amery

 It was a family affair for the Cole family, as King’s sons and daughters both , jumped on stage to sing and play.

 Charlie Jacobson returned to play drums for a song. But as King usually does triple duty on vocals, percussion and guitar, it was nice to see him take centre stage and just sing and play rhythm guitar on a  set  of mostly original  blues music including my favourite “ Busy Boy Blues.”


 He and the band started with a long jam on “Mellow Down Easy,” and took off from there, playing plenty of greasy riffs and growling vocals like   he was channelling the spirit of Dr. John.

“Busy Boy Blues was a highlight as was “Surprise.” 

  King topped off the night’s donations including that from a silent auction for a cool print of Harpdog Brown, to make a $2,000 donation to Harpdog Brown’s family.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 May 2022 17:07 )
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