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The Brains provide some good, gory fun on a Wednesday night

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 Montreal psychobilly trio the Brains are always a great draw in LethbriThe Brains playing, Nov 18 at Inferno. Photo by Richard Amerydge.

Rene De La Muerte Guitar / Vocals; Colin the Dead double bass and drummer Phil The Beast were a complete blur as they blasted through a devilishly good  set of short, fast paced psychobilly music with railroad track clattering upright bass, plenty of twang, a touch of rock and spooky vocals, at Inferno, Nov. 18.

 They sounded like a darker Reverend Horton Heat mixed with the Misfits. They played a lot of their new CD “Out In The Dark,” including the title track and “The Witch” and crowd favourites like “Screaming,” exploring all manner of serial killers, murderers, ghosts, ghoulies, wolfmen and assorted monsters and much more.Crowd Surfing with the Brains, Nov. 18. Photo  by Richard Amery

 They had a great crowd, especially for a Wednesday night.
“We love it when it is eight rows deep in chicks and guys in the back asking each other what we‘re doing right,” quipped upright bassist Colin the Dead.

 The audience danced and sang along with some. There was even crowd surfing as multi-coloured laser light flashed through the smoke in the air.

It was a solid night of punk and metal music.

While I missed Penitentz and The Spacewolves, I was pleased to catch local band Gender Bender, who I haven’t seen for a few years. They played a solid set of sleazy ’90s/ ’80s rock chock full of snarling guitar riffs and lyrics, which mostly appeared to be about drinking beer. I couldn’t really understand the frontman’s vocals, but he had some solid melodies. There were plenty of wah wah drenched guitar solos and some catchy songs in their tight set.

The Motherfuckers playing Nov. 18. Photo by Richard Amery
Calgary hardcore punks the Motherfuckers may as well be made honourary Lethbians as  they’ve played here a half dozen times in the past year. As always, they played their typical tight set. Tattooed frontman Dan Izzo screamed and howled, growled and grinned in the middle of the audience as he quickly stripped of off his shirt revealing a multitude of tattoos.

“Ordinary People”  was an immediate highlight of their “relentless” set, which included much of their last album of that name.Crowd surfing at the Brains, Nov. 18. Photo by Richard Amery

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 November 2015 16:06 )

Big Sugar and Triggerfinger Calling all the Youth by plugging in and playing it loud

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After playing a more sedate  tour of acoustic, mostly acoustic reggae in supporBig Sugar]s Gordie Johnson nd Mr. Chill Kelly Hoppe. Photo by Richard ameryt of their last CD Yard Style,”  back on Feb. 23,  Toronto rock reggae titans Big Sugar were back to doing that they do best proudly — turning things up loudly and proudly at Average Joes on a Sunday night, Nov. 15 with special guests Triggerfinger.

 The sharp dressed band abandoned the white jumpsuits of the acoustic show for suits and natty ties. Frontman Gordie Johnson, keyboards and saxophone/ harp man Kelly  “Mr. Chill” Hoppe, the always friendly Friendliness on percussion and keyboards, loud bassist Garry Lowe and new drummer Chris Gormley played a tight, hit filled set with quite a few songs from their new CD “Calling All The Youth.”

But Big Sugar began with a hit fueled bang, bringing out big guns early in the show like “Digging a Hole” and their big, brash cover of  “Dear Mr. Fantasy.” They followed those up with a touch of slower blues before bringing out the reggae.

Friendliness brought out a big cardboard megaphone graphic to rap on the title track of their new CD “Calling All the Youth” which included flashes of the Clash and a couple of time tempo changes.

“Natty Dread Rock” was another newer highlight as was “ Reckless and Dangerous.”
 Johnson finished “Calling All the Youth” by calling on the audience to support the youth in Africa by supporting World Vision, promising free Big Sugar merch in exchange for sponsoring a cFriendliness calling all the youth. Photo by Richard Ameryhild at the merch table.

Then it was back to the rock as they rejigged “Universal Vampire,”  into a loud, yet still laid back rocker with the catchy chorus “Gone is the Freedom Train” which they had turned into a laid back reggae jam on “Yard Style” and their Lethbridge acoustic tour stop.

They had most of the close to sold out audience dancing and singing along in front of the stage.
 The more laid back portion of the show also included “Nicotina” and “Roads Ahead.”
 They carried on through hits and a few older songs like “I’m A Ram,” going back to one of their earliest albums, 1993's  “Five Hundred Pounds.”
 They wound things down with a lot of crowd favourites including “Ride Like Hell” and “Turn the Lights On,” before ending things on  “All Hell For a Basement,” which had everyone in the room singing along before it segued into Gordie Johnson’s electrifying  cover of O Canada.
 That was it, but they were called for an encore, so they brought up two thirds of opening act Triggerfinger to jam on “The Scene.”

 The opening act, Belgian power trio Triggerfinger, showed why they are one of the biggest bands playing Europe right now with a big, old, heavy sometimes jammy set which showed their Big Sugar influence.
 They played a variety of big riffed rockers, slower blues jams, a long, slower, spooky, meandering jam on “My Baby’s Got A Gun” and some other darker, effects laden, noisy numbers. They played quite a few tracks off of their newest CD “By Absence of the Sun.”

Vocalist/ guitarist Ruben Block, frenetic drummer Mario Goossens and steadfast bassist Monsieur Paul showed plenty of solid and innovative musicianship. Goossens grabbed the crowd with his antics as he channeled the mischievous spirit of the Who’s Keith Moon as he grinned ear to ear, leaped up, licked his cymbals and his microphone as he hammered his kit home.

 Frontman Ruben Block sTriggerfinger play some European rock at Average Joes. Photo by Richard Ameryeemed pleasantly shocked that one enthusiastic audience member sang along with most of their set and called out for a few obscure requests.

Block wound down their hyperactive set  by kneeling down to the stage and tweaking effects knobs to emit shrieking waves of noise and feedback.

They finished  with their Big Sugarish  hit “All This Dancing Around,” which had a lot of the people doing just that by the end of the set.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Saturday, 28 November 2015 02:16 )

Motorleague crush it despite poor attendance

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Two competing rock shows made for tough competition for each other, Friday, Nov. 1The Motorleague winding up an energetic set at the Slice. Photo by Richard Amery3.

Unfortunately the long awaited return of the Motorleague at the Slice was the one that suffered. 

Though the real loser were the people who missed the show.

That included me, who missed most of their short, loud, entertaining set, but arrived back in time for an energetic rendition of  Cape Breton. There were plenty of catchy riffs, an exorbitant amount of energy and shouted along harmonies.

 I did catch the Lethbridge debut of Toronto noise rock band Dying Arts.

They played a loud, frenetic, feedback drenched set of alternative noise rock along the lines of the Pixies. They had  a lot of intensity, but their abrasive sound gave way to more melodic fare including “80s Radio Hit.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat EditorThe Dying Arts at the Slice, Nov. 13. Photo by Richard Amery
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 November 2015 15:25 )

Rockers gather for Western Death and Supervoid

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Most of the rockers were at the Owl Acoustic Lounge for some rock and roll and hard core punk music, Nov. 13.Western Death playing the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Nov. 13. Photo by Richard Amery
 I arrived in time to catch Medicine Hat pop punk band “Robertson Privilege.” They played  a tight set of addictively catchy and melodic pop punk music, which was mostly original material except for their last song which was a Teenage Bottle Rocket cover.

 Fellow Medicine Hat band Western Death rocked the Owl Acoustic Lounge Stage in support of their new self titled CD.
 They played a hyperactive set of raw, intense metal mixed with beer soaked, politically incorrect  punk and hardcore along the lines of The Dayglo Abortions mixed with Motorhead. It was the type of music that makes you want to rip off your shirt and break a chair over your head.

 The Supervoid, two thirds of whom were opening for Platinum Blonde at Soundgarden as part of melodic rock band the Dirti Speshuls, made their way over to the Owl in their other incarnation as local alternative rockers.

They played their usual strong set of  Smashing Pumpkins/ Foo Fighters influenced alternative rock. Much of the material  was music from their upcoming new CD. They even dedicated a song to local musician Randy Shaver.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 November 2015 15:14 )

Platinum Blonde still know how to rock the pop

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It is always great to see Canadian pop rock legends Platinum Blonde in the flesh. So a good sized crowd packed into Soundgarden, Friday, Nov. 13 to celebrate life with some ’80s rock and roll. 

Platinum Blonge guitarist Sergio Galli.  Photo by Richard AmeryThere were plenty of hits to be heard in the set including “Contact” and “Standing In The Dark” as frontman Mark Holmes, hidden behind a massive  stack of speakers quipped. “I wish I could see you. This is the weirdest stage we’ve played on.”

That didn’t stop him from wailing through a plethora of Platinum Blonde hits as well as newer hits from their 2012 CD. He thumped on the bass saying, “We started as a Police tribute band,” which you could hear in the band’s sound.Platinum Blonde's Mark Holmes at Soundgarden, Nov. 13. Photo by Rchard Amery

He asked the crowd if they minded him playing bass as he said after observing their original bassist Kenny MacLean passed away from a heart attack in 2008 and that they had a bass player who didn’t work out.

“So I hope you don’t mind if I play bass,” he asked the enthusiastic audience, who didn’t mind at all.

 Guitarist Segio Galli stood stoically playing  plenty of familiar Platinum Blonde riffs and guitar hooks. Drummer Dan Todd sat above the throngs and the band on his riser, hammering away at his kit, his arms a blur.
 Unfortunately I missed an excellent set from local rock band the Dirti Speshuls.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 November 2015 14:57 )
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