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L.A. Beat


The L.A. Beat

Festivals in Galt Gardens mark slow start to September

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 This week is a little slower, as expected as everybody recovers from a busy Whoop Up Days week and big shows like the Last Slice an Bigwood 9.

Adequate are one of several local bands playing the Tour of Alberta in Galt Gardens, Sept. 1. Photo by Richard Amery
 But not much. All sorts of things happen in Galt Gardens this week.

 The tour of Alberta returns to Lethbridge this week.

 The tour culminates with a big festival in Galt Gardens, Sept. 1.

 The fun begins at 11 a.m. with the Lethbridge Community Taiko Association, followed by young up and coming band Diversified, county and pop musician Alyssa McQuaid, energetic jazz rock band the Groove Apostles, Red River jigging, The Shaela Miller band,  comedy from John Pogorzelski, local funk rock trio Adequate, roots and country musician Ryland Moranz, Steve Foord and pop/ soul singer Mwansa Mwansa at 6 p.m. who returns home from spending the summer touring with Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar.  There is no charge to attend the festival.


Second Annual Lethbridge Fringe Festival features local acts

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 The second Lethbridge Fringe festival is set to go, Sept. 15–18.David Gabert will be performing in the Lethbridge Fringe Festival in No Way Out with  Theatre Outré. Photo by Richard Amery
“We have seven really different shows happening at Casa, Theatre Outre and the Gate,” said organizer Michele Gallant.

 She noted the shows were not curated. Shows were chosen through a random draw from over a dozen applicants including submissions from San Francisco and Brooklyn.
There are two local productions. Lethbridge stand -up comedian Mavic Adecer will be performing “Enlightened Swinger”  and Theatre Outré will be performing “No Way Out.”
Several female oriented works are also on the bill including Wendy Froberg’s “ Archetype,”  Judith Belle’s mime act “Belle Paris,” “ Commencing,”  “No Allegiances,” and “Nothing is Enough.”
“Wendy Froberg is from Calgary and her piece is really comedic.

 She noted the The Lethbridge Fringe Festival is part of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals, which is part of a bigger organizations of Fringe festivals which is why they are getting applicants from the United States.
“There are 28 members from all over the U.S. like Orlando, San Diego and San Francisco. The producers get together every year and discuss what worked and what didn’t,” she said.
“ The festival isn’t curated. There are only two rules- be upfront about what their show is about so the audiences know what to expect and don’t break the law, other than that, anything goes,” she said.
“And 100 percent of the ticket sales go to the artists.”

Tickets for the Fringe just went on sale online and tickets for individual shows and $55 festival passes, which allows admission to all seven shows, will be available at Casa when the Fringe begins.

“The festival pass is new this year. It will be a business card which has all seven shows on it and you get them checked off when you attend,” she said.
“I’m excited for year two,” she said.

Theatre Outre is excited to be part of the Lethbridge Festival with “No Way Out”- an a hour long improvised show about siblings attending a family gathering.

“That was the one thing we could all agree on that there was no way out of,” said Club Didi/ Theatre Outre artistic director David Gabert, who will be joined on stage by Drama Nutz and Theatre Outre veterans Erica Barr, Greg Wilson, Connor Christmas, Camille Pavlenko and Brandon Eyck.
He said there will be four performers for each performance, Sept. 15 at 8 p.m., Sept. 16 at 6 p.m., Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 18 at 6 p.m.

“We have a group of siblings trapped at an obligatory family gathering, which is something there is no way out of. All we know is we are siblings. It is about the stories that enrich the characters which is what we’re putting on stage,” he said.
“It is a character study about what makes people tick,” he continued.


Eleven years of great memories with the Slice

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I never thought I’d be writing a eulogy for my favourite hangout — the Slice, which officially closed its doors, Aug. 22 after 11 amazing years. There was also one final, final bash on Saturday, Aug. 27 which was a blast which brought back a lot of my favourite familiar faces including a tweener from Megan Rourke, Shaela Miller and a rejigged Tin and The Toad with special guest Dave McCann and Rancho Deluxe and several others which I missed due to trying to catch parts of all the other shows happening on Saturday.Shaela Miller playing the Last Slice. Photo by Richard Amety

There were hugs, handshakes and high fives aplenty and more than a few tears at the four wakes for the Slice last week (including the Saturday, Aug. 27 show)  including Petunia and the Vipers, a spontaneous last minute Saturday, Aug. 20 open stage and the Moon Runner/ Moon Tan/ Rainbow Patrol show on Aug. 22.

Is it wrong to shed tears for a bar like so many did during the Petunia and the Vipers’ Aug. 19 show? I don’t think so. The Slice was more than a just a bar, it has been a godsend and a second home for the Lethbridge music community, especially since the Tongue N’ Groove closed it’s doors about the same time the Slice started taking off and Henotic was just beginning in the old firehall.

Petunia and the Vipers at the Slice, Aug. 19. Photo by Richard Amery
When I arrived, everybody I talked to raved about their adventures and misadventures at the Tongue N’ Groove, but I only arrived in time to catch the last couple of shows there so I never really understood the magic people seemed to find there until I learned the Slice was closing.
 In 2007, I had just moved back to Lethbridge from Kenora, Ontario where I spent a lot of time in Winnipeg, hanging out at the Times Changed. When I found the Slice, which reminded me a lot of Times Changed, I thought I found my home away from home. And as soon as I had their pizza, I knew I had.

They brought in some of my favourite Winnipeg performers like the Perpetrators and Romi Mayes, Manitoba Hal, the D Rangers and Scott Nolan (who also frequently played Kenora) which made the transition of a big move to a new community (though I went to school here back in the day) a lot easier.

 Like a lot of people, I always figured The Slice would always be there. They’ve outlasted a lot of local watering holes which featured music or bars that have moved away from live music because people don’t come out for it.
It’s easy to take an institution like the Slice for granted. If you were too tired, too poor or feeling too lazy to go out and see a show there, you always assumed you’d be able to catch the next one. All good things come to an end. I guess.

But to actually see it go is a devastating blow to everybody in Lethbridge’s burgeoning counter-culture community who was looking for a place to listen to live music you wouldn’t hear anywhere else; people who didn’t want to go a bar and watch a dozen TVs showing sports ( the one tiny TV in the Slice set unobtrusively in a quiet corner above the bar and kitchen usually featured a cooking show and sometimes a Flames game); people looking for a place to belong and perhaps meet other people a little bit off the mainstream. The troublemakers, sloppy drunks, scrappers and pick up artists who always seem to flock to bars, seldom found their way to the Slice. Not to say it didn’t happen, but it was the exception rather than the rule.

Was it a dirty, dingy, dive bar? Some people might saFireworks at the Slice. Photo by Richard Ameryy so, but so was CBGBs. More importantly the people at the Slice were always friendly and welcoming and the pizza was always delicious and the music was always excellent and often mind expanding.

The Slice has been a cornerstone of the Lethbridge independent music community since I arrived back here and was indeed one of the first bars I discovered while wandering the desolate, downtown streets simply looking for a quick supper during a few moments off at the Lethbridge Herald. I found a lot more, I found a place I felt I fit in. Because of the Slice I got to interview and write about and photograph bands I may not have otherwise given a second glance to.

 Everybody has their favourite memories of the Slice. Do you remember the time the Sheepdogs stopped by the Slice’s beloved Tuesday open mic and were convinced to jam after their Whoop Up Days show, last year? That was just one of many magical moments there. I’ve seen some of my favourite performers there like Shred Kelly, more unusual shows like Delhi 2 Dublin, which I might not otherwise have given a chance.Jesse Freed manning the bar. Photo by Richard Amery

Countless local bands formed there, broke up there, formed new bands there, had their first and last gigs there, formed bands just for special events for CKXU and fundraisers for the Girls Rock Camp and other worthwhile causes, and had plenty of adventures and misadventures there in between a lot of great music and occasionally way too many beers. People met their mates there and some have since married and had kids.

Over the past 11 years, The Slice has basically been the CKUA of bars, showcasing music you just wouldn’t hear anywhere else. You never knew what you’d get, but you knew it would be good, even if it wasn’t a style of music you’d usually listen to and you knew you would have a great time. You’d always find good people, good pizza and a lot of good vibes.

 I remember a lot of late nights and consequently long mornings due to late starting shows there. I’ve seen roots shows, country shows, rock shows and punk and metal shows and plenty of ambient indie-rock shows and other weirder shows which are more difficult to describe. Even a couple of rap shows. They have all been entertaining and have given me something new to appreciate.

 In addition to their own shows, they opened their doors to popular local music festivals including the South Country Fair, Electric Eye, Lethbridge Jazz Festival and CKXU Love and Records afterparties. There have been wakes there for beloved regulars like Frank Dooley and Murray Nelson who have passed on and fundraisers for other regulars fallen on hard times.

 The Slice was more than a bar, it was a community. A damned fine community of people who care about each other and care about supporting live music.
I got to see and support some of my very favourite Lethbridge musicians there. I couldn’t possibly list all of them. Somebody would be missed. I met some of my favourite people in this city at the Slice.



Royal Tusk returning for Bigwood 9

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Edmonton  rock band Royal Tusk returns to Lethbridge for the ever expanding  Bigwood 9 festival, Aug. 27.Royal Tusk’s Daniel Carriere. Photo by Richard Amery

Saskatoon band Fancy Diamonds, Lethbridge alternative rock duo Sparkle Blood and local rock bands The Silkstones, surf rock band the Atomicos , 90s rock trio the Supervoid and the Dirti Speshuls will be performing just off Research Centre Road beginning at 6 p.m.
Royal Tusk were just here a few months ago, on May 27, winding up a tour in support of their most recent CD “Dealbreaker” which just passed a million listens on Spotify.

 They have had an eventful summer.

“It’s been really exciting,” said frontman Daniel Carriere.

“ We played the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver. And we played some festivals with the Eagle of Death Metal and the Arkells,” he said.
“That was so gnarly. It was so much fun. We loved it,” he enthused.


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

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