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Unusual ’80s style indie rock with Focus People and Windigo

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Calgary indie rock band Windigo are always worth catching, but I unfortunately missed their set at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, July 9. I did arrive in time for a catchy set of funky pop music from funky Calgary band Focus People.Focus People playing the Owl Acoustic Lounge. Photo by Richard Amery
 they all wore freshly purchased sunglasses, which  still had the price tags attached.

 But their music was all about pleasant piano powered melodies.

Windigo returning to the Owl Acoustic Lounge. photo by Richard Amery
 The lead singer had an unusually high singing voice, so it was all the more surprising to hear him speak in a deep baritone when he addressed the enraptured audience.

 Their easily accessible earnest sound was reminiscent of the more carefree pop filled moments of the mid-’80s along the lines of bands like Duran Duran and Hall and Oates with a lot of R and B and modern pop added.

I only caught the last song of Windigo, which was the usual pleasant, ambient indie-rock.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 20 July 2016 12:50 )

Patrick LeClerc trio have a touch of the blues

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Winnipeg musician Patrick Alexandre Leclerc and his bandmates guitarist Dwayne Dueck and drummer Jeffrey Laird stopped by the Slice to play the blues and a little bit of jazz and a touch of gospel, July 8.Patrick Alexandre LeClerc playing the Slice. Photo by Richard Amery
 I expected more of an audience because of Streetwheelers, but they were nowhere to be seen— just a half dozen of the regulars. Fortunately they were playing three sets, as the audience had more or less tripled by the end of the show.

 They used the first set to try out some new material and  basically warm up for the next two sets.

 LeClerc thumped away on his upright bass and  howled out most of the vocals in his deep, gravelly voice. He stood back to let Dueck show his prowess on guitar. Dueck wound up the first set a  with a number that had the audience snapping their fingers in time to the jazzy feel of the song which, as expected had a hot guitar solo.

Several of the highlights of the rest of the show came from “Strange New World,” LeClerc’s new Cd especially “ Who’s Gonna Thank You when You’re Gone.”

 A slower song had a “16 Tons” groove. They ended the second set on a bluesy note with “I’m an Ice Cream Man.”

They continued with  more straight ahead blues in the third set. They ended on an upbeat note with “Burn Down The Town,” which featured a big drum solo and another face melting guitar solo.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 20 July 2016 12:21 )

Marina and the Specks play pleasant folk with operatic vocals

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Marina and the Specks (Speck?) aka Vancouver singer songwriter Marina Lagacé and John Kastelic on viola, played a pleasant set of folk and female powered songs at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, July 8. Laglacé sang earnest, quirky folk featuring some impressive operatic vocal breaks.

Marina  Lagacé and John Kastelic playing as Marina and the Specks. Photo by Richard Amery
 They still had  several fans of popular local band the Silkstones, who were opening the show still hanging out for Lagacé’s set. Lone Speck playing with her, John Kastelic, adding a gypsy flare on viola and background vocals.

 She played several songs from her CDs including  the latest “Six Sweet Summer Songs, and some well chosen covers including Corin Raymond’s   “If You’ve Got it, a Big Truck brought it,” which she dedicated to her truck driving dad. She also revamped Lady Gaga’s “Monster,” and quizzed the crowd about if they knew what the song was.

 She concluded her set with “Salty Peach”  a song from last year’s CD “Cosmic Mobile” by saying “ I wrote an ode to a part of the female anatomy” and sharing some fascinating facts about it.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 20 July 2016 12:12 )

Pop Evil returning to Lethbridge with new music and new drummer

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 Detroit based rock band Pop Evil have a lot of reasons to feel “Up” in 2016.

Pop Evil returns to Lethbridge, July 28. Photo by Richard Amery
 Their fourth CD,  fittingly titled “Up” has spawned hit singles “Footsteps,” “In Disarray” and “Ways to Get High.” And in May they welcomed a new drummer Haley Cramer to the fold.
They return to Lethbridge to play Average Joes, July 28 with Akron, Ohio’s Red Sun Rising.

“It’s been wonderful. We’ve enjoyed some time at home for the fourth of July, but we’re back on the road touring in a week,” said Kingston, Ontario born frontman Leigh Kakaty, who has called Detroit home for many years.

 “We’re road dogs. We’ll play anywhere people want to hear us ” Kakaty continued.

 Even a prison. In addition to several festivals,  a couple shows with Everlast and a big tour of Europe with Three Doors Down in August and September, they are playing the Ohio State Prison.

“We don’t know what to expect. So we’re pretty excited to see what will happen. Our booking agent booked that for us. But we would have played a prison anyway. It’s going to be exciting,” he said.

 He is excited to welcome drummer Haley Cramer aboard, even though it means extra paperwork in order for her to come over from the United Kingdom to play with the band.
“I never knew I wanted a sister and now I have one,” he said.
“It’s been great. She adds a different dynamic to the band.  It‘s been like she’s always been with us,” he continued, adding she fits in with the direction the band is going. When former drummer Josh “Chachi Riot”  Marunde decided to leave the band earlier this year to be closer to his family, they embarked on a search for a female drummer because they wanted to try one.
“We’ve definitely got a lot more more tame now. We’re more focussed on our careers and focusing on longevity,” he said.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 20 July 2016 09:31 ) Read more...

Lethbridge Music Festival features lots of local music and classic rock

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The Lethbridge  Music festival is more than just about reliving the favourite musical moments of your lives with Tom Cochrane, Triumph’s Rik Emmett and Kenny Shields and Streetheart at Spitz Stadium, July 23.Kenny Shields and Streetheart return to Lethbridge for the ethbridge Music Festival. Photo by Richard Amery
“ We have three headliners this year and we wanted more variety in our opening acts,” said organizer Broc Higginson who wanted to move the festival to the middle of summer this year in hopes of avoiding bad weather.

“ We wanted to find the right line up, and we’re working around the Bulls’ season and we were able to get Tom Cochrane with Red Rider so it worked out,” he said,
“I’m excited to see Rik Emmett play guitar and Kenny Shields and Streetheart are a fun band,” he enthused, adding while the festival features headliners Tom Cochrane, plus Kenny Shields of Streetheart, it also features a lot of local talent.

It ranges from the country pop stylings of Alyssa McQuaid and Coyote Junction, to Metallica tribute band Damage Inc., local metal band Tyrants of Chaos and possibly the last show of local blues band Zojo Black and up and coming talent the Cody Hall band.

“ Alyssa McQuaid and Coyote Junction are more on the side of pop and country and classic rock. Zojo Black is a great blues rock band. We have a couple of hard rock bands with Tyrants of Chaos and Damage Inc. and the Cody Hall band are a new band. He has a great voice. They have more of a classic rock sound but also contemporary,” Higginson said.

 He said tickets are selling well with pre-sales selling out. He is pleased to welcome local brewery Coulee Brewing as a major sponsor as well.
“And we have two extra hours of music this year and 11 bands,” he said.

Rik Emmett is excited to play his many solo hits and Triumph hits at the Lethbridge Music Festival.
“I always considered myself a songwriter first then a singer then a guitarist,” said Emmett, who brings his solo band of guitarist Dave Dunlop, drummer Paul Delong and bassist Steve Skingley to Lethbridge to play the Lethbridge Music festival at Spitz Stadium, July 23.

 Triumph had numerous hits in the ’70s and ’80s including “ Hold On,” “Fight The Good Fight,” “Lay It On The Line” and “Magic Power” to name a few.
 Since leaving Triumph in 1988, he released two popular power pop style solo albums including “ Absolutely,” which featured the  hits “ Saved By Love” and “ Big Lie”  and “ When A Heart Breaks.” After that another popular solo CD “Ipso Facto”  featured the  hits “ Bang On” and “ Out of the Blue.”

Since then, he took an about face to release a variety of CDs showcasing his love for jazz, fusion, swing and classical music.
“I had to get all of that out of my system,” said the loquacious Emmett, who also teaches songwriting and Music Business Directed Studies with the Humber College jazz program.
 He is currently working on a new solo CD, which goes back to his rock and roll roots and features a variety of special guests including Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson as well as his former  band mates in Triumph— drummer Gil Moore and bassist / keyboardist Mike Levine.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 23 July 2016 10:13 ) Read more...
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