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The L.A. Beat

Lots of laughs, stoner rock, blues and new art this week

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April has just flown by. And as usual, at the end of the month, there is comedy.Papa King plays one of several blues shows happening this weekend. Photo by Richard Amery


 The Owl Acoustic Lounge hosts their monthly stand up comedy open mic, Wednesday beginning at 9 p.m. Good Times features their regular  amateur comedy night on Thursday, April 26. Good Times welcomes Bronx based, Dominican comic Vlad Caamano for a special show on April 26  beginning at 7 p.m. He has performed at just For laughs, was part of the CW Comedy Gala with  Howie Mandel and is working on a pilot for a new TV show with Undateable writer Adam Styzikiel. He has also been named on of the top 10 comics to watch by Variety magazine in 2016. He has also played roles on Brooklyn 99, Superstore and Marvel’s Runaways. Tickets are $25.
Comedy veteran Lori Ferguson performs two shows at Good Times, At 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Saturday, April 27. Tickets are $10. Good Times even has a Monday show with comedian and magician Wes Barker, performing at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 for that show.
 And Club Didi features Drunk Improv, Friday,  April 26 as well beginning at 8:30 p.m. There is $10 cover.


 The Owl Acoustic Lounge welcomes local poets with a poetry open mic on April 25 with host Teri Petz.
 Down the street at the Slice, bang your head desert rock style with the Decibel Worship tour featuring Vancouver atmospheric sludge band Heron,  fellow Vancouver desert rock band Bort, plus Lethbridge’s own Monolith and Rainbow Patrol. The music begins at 9 p.m. There is a $10 cover charge.


Stoner rock seems to be the order of the week as Vancouver islands Wise Youngblood share the stage with Red Deer’s King Bull on Friday, April 26.
 Down the street, Blazed Gringo and the Man return to the Owl Acoustic Lounge with a  touch of jazz, plus Eat your Vegetables. Admission is by donation.


 Local jazz trio HBO3 featuring Paul Holden, Brad Brouwer and James Oldenburg will be at the Watertower Grill, Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27.
 Get your dose of the blues at Casino Lethbridge with Zojo Black, Friday and Saturday, April 26 and 27.


 And delta blues fans or just fans of fleet fingered guitar picking should not miss Forget, Saskatchewan based  bluesman Ken Hamm’s long awaited return to Lethbridge in support of his equally  long awaited new CD Mokoman, which he released last year. He plays a Lethbridge Folk Club show at the Lethbridge College Cave, Saturday, April 27 at 8 p.m. sharp with the Karen Romanchuk 3 opening the show. Tickets are $30.” There is a lot of blues happening this week, as competing with that, Papa King Cole and the Boogiemen return to the Slice, April 27. King will be joined by lead guitarist Steve Keenan and keyboardist T.J Waltho will be playing all the blues you can use. Down the road from that show, Galiano Island country/ blues musician Jack Garton and the Demon Squadron will be playing the Owl Acoustic Lounge. They will be joined by  The Dark Wrangler aka Don Cassell and Dil Jopp from in Cahoots.

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Ken Hamm taking his time to release new music with “Mokomon”

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Forget, Saskatchewan based delta bluesman Ken Hamm  is never in a hurry to put out  new material.
 He released his latest CD “Mokomon” in 2018. Before that his last releases was a double CD set in 2006 called “Live in 05.”
 So he is excited to return to the Lethbridge College Cave to play for the Lethbridge Folk Club, Saturday, April 27.

Ken Hamm plays the Lethbridge College Cave for the Lethbridge Folk Club, April 27. Photo By Richard Amery
“I have a lot of die hard fans there who have been listening to me for 40 years and I hate to let them down,” said Hamm, from his home in Forget, Saskatchewan, where he has called home for the past 15 years and has been keeping busy chopping wood and  enjoying  the thriving music  community.


“ There’s only 40 people here and there are five bands who play a lot,” he said.
He is excited to finally have a new CD out, which includes old blues, folk, classical music and even gospel, which he was excited to record in the comfort of his own home.


“I have a friend, Tom Richards, who has a small computer studio. So we meet every Sunday to work on songs. We started working on several of his songs, which I hope to have on the next album and then we started recording my songs,” he said, adding he enjoyed the no pressure circumstances.
“It was very liberating. Usually when you’re renting a studio, you have 20 songs. But we started doing this for fun,” he said, adding he plays most of the instruments himself.
“That’s me playing guitar, banjo, dobro, foot stomps, hand claps,” he said.


“Really this whole CD was an experiment to see what it would be like to record at home,” he said, adding it has drawn a really positive response from fans and critics, though he didn’t really  do a lot of promo on it.


  The title track “Mokomon,” was written by his neighbour.
“She wrote a poem about Mokomon, which is a little town in Ontario where my grandparents settled. She’s from there, so I put music to her poem. I’ve been playing it a lot. I even played it  at her wedding because she got married since I wrote it,” he said.
 Hamm has been playing a lot of festivals and house concerts from everywhere from Kakabeka Falls, Ontario  to Horsefly, B.C. since He was last in Lethbridge in 2015.

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The Tea Party enjoying second wind with Black River

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Windsor, Ontario born ’90s rockers the Tea Party are enjoying a second life after taking a break in 2005 after scoring a string of exotic flavoured hard rock hits in the late ’90s including “the Bazaar,” “the Messenger,“ “Temptation” and “Heaven Coming Down.”The Tea Party play a sold out show at the Yates Theatre, May. 1. Photo submitted.
 But they came back with a vengeance with a live album Live From Australia in 2012, and released a full length  CD “The Ocean at the End” and are enjoying more success from their new single. “Black River,” which they named their tour after.


“It’s been on the charts for several months at number 5 and hasn’t really shifted. It’s a pretty nice accomplishment,“ noted drummer Jeff Burrows, who is excited excited to embark on a new tour with band mates, bassist Stuart Chatwood and frontman Jeff Martin, who now lives in Australia.
“He’s been there for awhile now. So when we want to work on new material, we book a tour there and arrive a couple of weeks in advance. We’re going to stay there for a couple of weeks after the next tour,” he observed, adding that will be in June.


“Not to compare ourselves to the Rolling Stones, but they don’t live anywhere near each other either,” he said. The tour comes to Lethbridge for a sold out show at the Yates Theatre/ Sterndale Theatre with Proud Sons, May 1.
“A lot of them are sold out, and a lot of the others are already 90 per cent sold out,” observed Burrows.
 A lot of the shows are in theatre like the Yates Sterndale Bennett Theatre.


“We’re playing a lot of bigger clubs and theatres. It’s great and it’s a lot of fun being able to play theatres we weren’t privy to when we were young. You just roll in and there’s this nice big stage for you. We’re used to playing cramped clubs were it’s really loud and you can feel the drums beating against your chest,” he said, adding they don’t change the style of the show for a theatre.

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B.A. Johnston back with The Skid is Hot Tonight and Van Halen parody video

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Pete isn’t dead or in jail, according to Hamilton funnyman B.A, Johnston, who  returns to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Tuesday, April 23 with J Blissette in  support of his new CD “The Skid is Hot Tonight.”B.A. Johnston returns to The Owl Acoustic Lounge, Tuesday, April 23. Photo by Richard Amery
“Pete loves that song,” chuckled Johnston of the first single from the CD “We’re All Going to Jail (Except Pete, He’s Gonna Die), which also inspired a frame by frame re-creation of Van Halen’s “Jump” video.


“It’s not as good, because they have more money and we‘re older. But we painstakingly re-created every frame, but cut most of it,” he said.


“ But it features they guy who does my beats and the guy who does my album artwork, so it is nice to feature them,” he said, adding the song is partially based on a true story.


“Pete took too many magic mushrooms and thought security was chasing him. We lost him for a half hour. And he still thought security was chasing him, though I don’t think  they were,” he said.


It is a follow up to his last CD Gremlins 3.
“ That was like two years ago. Time flies. I have like 12 CDs out now,” he said, adding they will  probably only be playing three songs from the CD.
“I have a lot of ‘hits’ and people want to hear them. I know when I go see Iron Maiden and they mostly  play their new album, I don’t really like that,” he said, adding he is always writing.

“It’s a long CD. It’s 12 songs and 42 minutes long. So it‘s like a Grateful Dead album,” Johnston chuckled.

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

It is designed to support music, art, drama and other cultural endeavours in and around the city.

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