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L.A. Beat

Geoff Berner and Richard Inman entertain attentive weekday crowd with special guest

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There’s a good reason to always stay for the encore even on a weekday show, because you never know when Corb Lund will show up to sing.Corb Lund joins Geoff Berner on Stage during his encore at the owl Acoustic lounge, March 29. Photo by Richard Amery
Vancouver based folk/ punk/ comedian Geoff Berner has a new song called “Never Play Cards For money with Corby Lund,” on his new CD “ Canadiana Grotesquica,” so it was only fitting Corb Lund himself would show up at the Owl Acoustic Lounge , March 29.

 Corb Lund is usually touring or recording and when he returns home to Lethbridge he generally keeps a low profile, so it is always fun to see him.
Berner played to an attentive full house , probably the quietest audience I’ve ever seen at the Owl Acoustic Lounge.

 Berner was somewhat humbled by the guitar playing and insightful, heartfelt songwriting of opening act Richard Inman.
 Inman made a room full of instant fans with his big, resonant baritone voice and pretty guitar picking. He played a strong set of mostly original and always thought provoking folk music.
Inman told stories and played several new songs to open the show and noted he would be back in Lethbridge with a band in June. I arrived as he was telling a story about Anne Murray and noted his song “Snowbird” wasn’t the same as her song.
He ended his set with an Adam Carroll cover “Rough Side,” noting there was accordion on the original and asked Berner if he’d like to play with him, who joked there might be too many chords in it so nothing came of it.
Inman ended his set with the apt “Hasta la Vista.”

Berner was equally parts folk singer, activist and stand up comedian, wielding his accordion and telling stories and cracking jokes.
 He opened with a couple of new songs including the Ghost of Terry Fox from his new CD. He joked Terry Fox is what Canadians  aspire to be  while Steve Fonyo is who Canadians really are.
 He called back to a line in one of  Inman’s songs about a John Wayne western, noting he also had a line about John Wayne in one of his new satirical songs about survivalists.

Berner wore his left leaning politics on his sleeve, conveying it with liberal doses of humour. What was especially prevalent on “Super Subtle Folk Song” from his new Cd, one of several tracks he played from it including “Gino Odjick” about his favourite ’90s Vancouver Canucks enforcer.

 He went back a few albums with “We Are Going to Breman to be Musicians,” and cracked up the room with “Half German Girlfriend,” about his relationship as a Jewish man and his actual half German girlfriend and their respective families.
“Never Play Cards For Money with Corby Lund” was a highlight as Lund yelled ‘You’re cutting into my action, buddy.” Berner prefaced that with a story about the smalls touring with a Norwegian band and Corb teaching them to play poker for toothpicks.
 He was winding down his set, but there were plenty of  audience  requests, provoking Berner to quip “ Don’t you all have to work in the morning? I shouldn’t have played all of the new stuff first.”
 So he lead the audience in a singalong of crowd favourite “ Dalloy Polizei.”
 And “left” but was called back for an encore request of “ The Rich will move to the High Ground,” his “funny song about climate change.”

 Richard  Inman was going to join him on guitar but was a little too inebriated to  play the C, Am and G chords of the song and had to be helped off the  stage. That inspired Corb Lund to get up on stage and sing the second verse with Berner.
 He officially ended the set with “Rule of the Road,” the last track off the CD, inspired by Country Dick Montana, who observed everything you bring on tour comes back broken.

—by Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor

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