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L.A. Beat

Electric Eye Music Festival off to a smashing start

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The second annual Electric Eye Music Festival got off to an exciting start at the German Canadian Club, May 7. Most of Lethbridge’s rock and indie rock scene were at the sold out kick off show featuring  Fist City, Viet Cong and Chad VanGaalen.


 While I missed openers Fist CitChad VanGaalen tunes up. Photo by Richard Ameryy, I arrived to see a sold out crowd of at least 350 clustered in front of the stage for a set of psychedelic weirdness from Calgary’s Viet Cong, who are beginning to make waves, not to mention a lot of noise all over the country on the heels of their new self titled CD.


 They began a massive two month tour in Lethbridge, which will take them all over the United States and Europe before coming home for Sled Island in June.


 They played an enrapturing mix of psychedelic stoner rock only enhancing an entrancing night with a blinding,  multi coloured , flashing light show. They melted a few faces, not to mention minds and blew lot of eardrums in the process with waves of wild sound from throbbing bass, some 12 string guitar from Scott Munro, keyboards and weird effects. Vocalist/ bassist Matt Flegel added a lot of Pink Floyd influence.


 They started off their set slowly then built up the intensity into a crescendo of insanity and unhinged energy which sounded like Depeche Mode being tortured.


  They wound down their set with a crazy 10 some minute jam on their song Death which among other things featured guitarist Daniel Christiansen banging his head against the monitor in front of the stage then crouching down and twisting effects knobs for added waves of sound as his band mate writhed and twisted and  tossed their instruments in the air.


After that, Chad Vangaalen played a rare live show and gave his fans their money’s worth as he put his brand new band (guitarist/ bassist / keyboardist  Ryan  Bourne and drummer Chris Dadge) through their paces.

 They played everything from ambient indie rock, more experimental Afghan Whigs style strangeness, an electronicViet Cong’s Matt Flegel. photo by Richard Amerya set,  songs that wouldn’t  have been out of place in a trippy ’60s science fiction move along the lines of  2001: A Space Odyssey  and songs with a touch of ’90s grunge and alternative rock along the lines of the Pixies and Nirvana before ending with more straight forward catchy pop rock style song based music.

“This is our first show and Ryan already knows  my songs better than I do, VanGaalen quipped asking if the next song needed a capo.

 


“ We’re playing a bunch of new songs. I hope you like them,” he told the crowd, who were loving every minute of it. They called him back  to the stage for an encore so he invited  Viet Cong’s Scott Munro, gave him a hug and played the encore as Munro stood back and let him do his thing.

Weekday nights be damned, after the official opening  of the Electric Eye Music Festival with Fist City, Viet Cong and Chad Van Gaalen at the German Canadian Club, the audience weren’t ready to go home yet, so they trickled into thLiving Hour at the Owl Acoustic Lounge. Photo By Richard Amerye Owl Acoustic Lounge  at around 12:30 a.m. for more rock and roll.


 Winnipeg indie rock band Living Hour were waiting for the crowd to show up and when they did, hypnotized them with some multi-layered indie rock. There was organ, lots of percussion, lots of guitar and even trombone which drew a lot of applause.


 Unfortunately I wasn’t able to stay for Medicine Hat’s Terra who ended the first night of Electric Eye.

Things get started again today at Blueprint Records where Internet Love take the stage at 7:30 p.m. followed by Sparkle Blood at 8:15.


 After that show, three venues have stacked nights of entertainment. The Yeah Dads kick off the festivities at the Owl Acoustic Lounge  at 9 .m., followed by the Ruby Plumes then Edmonton garage rock band The Versions and Vancouver pop punk band Soft Serve.


 Over at the Slice, local electronic rock act Open Channels open the show at  approximately 9:30 p.m. followed by Edmonton based weird “puke-pop” band Physical Copies which features a couple members of Shout Out Out Out, local punk/ garage rock trio Advertisement and  Calgary punk/ shoegaze / noise rock band Dri Hiev closing things off beginning at 1 a.m..

Cory Fischer and Viet Cong's Matt Flegel. Photo by Richard Amery
 If you want to laugh, you will want to see the comedy showcase at Two Guys and A Pizza Place with Edmonton comedians Brett McCrindle,  Corina Lauren, Simon Gorsak and local comedian Solly. They begin at 10 p.m.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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