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Bend Sinister bring ’70s arena rock to a small bar

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It is beyond me why Vancouver rock band Bend Sinister aren’t huge. They have stunning four and five part vocal harmonies any crappy boy band would kill to have and musical chops that would have topped the charts 30 years ago.Bend Sinister playing the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Sept. 18. Photo by Richard Amery
 They put it all on display at the Owl Acoustic Lounge for a special paid show which attracted approximately 60 people, Wednesday, Sept.19.
 As expected they focused on their new album “Foolish Games.”


 They kicked it off with a couple uptempo singles from the CD including “Show My How To Love,” which sounded like the Dudes even without Dan Vacon adding vocals as he does on the CD. “ Heard it all before” was another early highlight as was the too catchy for it’s own good “Shannon, as frontman Dan Moxon cried,” hey operator, I’ve got a quarter, get Shanon on the phone.”


 In addition to principle members, keyboardist/vocalist Dan Moxon, guitarist Joseph Blood, hyperactive bassist Matt Rhode in his usual Daniel Boone hat and drummer Nick Petrowitz, who made enough catchy noise on their own, they were joined by a fifth member adding extra keyboards, percussion and guitar and vocal harmonies when needed.


They had a huge ’70s  and ’80s style arena rock sound referencing progressive rock. pop rock bands like Supertramp,  Styx and Elton John which blasted through the Owl.

They went back a couple albuBend Sinister playing the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Sept. 18. Photo by Richard Ameryms for “Feeling Fine” and “Got You on my Mind.” They had audience members singing along with most of the songs including the new one, but especially “Walk Away.”


 As the show drew to a close they teased the audience  with a few bars of Elton John”s “Tiny Dancer,” for one of their older songs before Moxon confessed he didn’t know the whole song, but brought a few bars back in the middle of their own song. He advised the crowd to wait until the end for something really special.


 But first they played some of their more popular older songs including my favourite “Teacher” and “Rock and Roll” from their last CD.


 The something special was really special— a high spirited take on Van Halen’s hit “Jump,” which they managed to make their own. Blood even nailed most of Eddie Van Halen’s guitar solo.

—by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 26 September 2018 10:41 )
 

Three birds in the round sing together beautifully

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A couple of my favourite performers and a pleasant new surprise stopped by the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Saturday, Sept. 15 after they stopped by my blues show on CKXU.. Three Birds in a round aka Edmonton musician Kimberley MacGregor, Calgary‘s Jenny Allen and the Lethbridge debut of October Poppy (Eryn Kleyh and banjo player/violinist Meagan May) played a beautiful folk festival styled workshop show for a shamefully small crowd.

Jenny allen, Kimberley MacGregor and october Poppy singing in the round. photo by Richard amery
 I arrived in time for their second set. The three took turns performing songs, while the others added harmonies and occasionally extra guitar, percussion and violin and banjo where needed.


They played well together especially considering this was the first time Jenny Allen and Kimberley MacGregor met October Poppy.


They all had their distinctive styles. Allen sang more heartfelt folk while MacGregor sang more soul and blues. October Poppy played more upbeat indie rock and folk. Meagan May plucked her fiddle and strummed her banjo, accompanying the spirited vocals of Eryn Kleyh.


 Allen strapped on a washboard to add extra percussion and rhythm while MacGregor added subtle solos on her acoustic guitar.
Allen played a wistfully happy love song called “These Eyes,” explaining it was not the Burton Cummings song.


 MacGregor played several new songs including a highlight — a jazz tinged more exotic number and another one about dating “ I Liked You Past Tense.” And she saved  my favourite “Trouble” for me.


 As always, it is always a beautiful thing to hear Jenny Allen sing “So Sad” from her solo record “Blanket” as well as from her previous band the Fates. She played several from her CD including “Bigger Fish.”

— by Richard Amery, L.a. beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 26 September 2018 10:27 )
 

Peter and the Wolves bring back old style rock and roll to the Casino

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Calgary rockabilly trio Peter and the Wolves always play a great show as they did Friday, Sept. 14 at Casino Lethbridge — the first of a two night party at the Casino.

Peter Cormier of Peter and the Wolves at Casino Lethbridge, Sept. 14. photo by Richard AmeryAnd they managed to do something I’ve seen few bands pull off there — pack not only the room, but the entire dance floor by playing mostly original music.


 I was pleasantly surprised. As I arrived, sweaty frontman Peter Cormier was busy brushing his pompadour out of his eyes, occasionally whipping out his comb to brush his hair back while tearing it up on the keyboards.

He played a few rock and roll classics as dancer whirled in front of the stage, but most of their set focused on music from their latest CD “Howlin’ and Prowlin’.


Some of the new highlights were “Hot Foot Woman,” “Beatrice”and Sundae Monday Blues.”


They played pure, old school rock and roll though  “Lonely Man” had a Stray Cats feel.

He switched to electric guitar mid-way though the set.


They played a few older songs including “Rock it Back in Time” from their first album which ended the set.

— by Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 26 September 2018 10:16 )
 

Papa King and the Düus play the blues for me and youse

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Papa King and Darryl Düus had a busy weekend playing the blues for fans who wanted to catch up with Düus who was  home from B.C. visiting family and frPapa King and Darryl Düus playing the blues at Coulee Brew. Photo by Richard Ameryiends .

I knew I wouldn’t be able to catch their Saturday show at the Slice, so I made a point of catching them at Coulee Brew, Sept. 14 after Peter and the Wolves took a set break at the Casino.


 The duo had a really full, gritty sound, with Papa King on vocals, guitar and drums as Düus added hot lead guitar and growled out background vocals.


 They mostly focussed on original music  from King’s  CD “Gutted to the Studs” including “Sugar Babe” and one of my favourites “500 Horses, ” King’s song about being a long distance trucker. They played a few blues classics including St. James Infirmary, which King also recorded for his CD.


“Let’s let the Düus loose,” growled King as Düus let loose on one of many solos. He played some sick slide guitar on a three string cigar box guitar and writhed and wandered up to the bar, as far as his patch cord would let him.
 King took a break on vocals as Düus howled out a couple numbers including “ How Many More Years.”
 Düus plays one last Lethbridge show, Sept. 28 at the Owl Acoustic Lounge before heading home to B.C.

— By Richard Amery, L.a. beat Editor

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 26 September 2018 10:05 )
 

Bazaraba play detuned heaviness

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I caught the end of a big, loud rock show at the Slice, Friday, Sept. 14. I missed opening sets from the Rainbow Patrol and Iron Tusk, a metal project including mBazaraba playing the Slice, Sept. 14. photo by Richard Ameryembers from punk band No More Moments.

But I was in time for the bone crushing detuned,  alternative rock/stoner rock and punk of Calgary power trio Bazaraba and was kicking myself for forgetting to bring my earplugs.


The guitarist/vocalist sported a Black Thunder  T shirt,  so I knew to expect a that sort of massive sound.

They channelled the power of Black Sabbath with more modern influences like Kyuss, Monster Truck and  the aforementioned Black Thunder.


 They had plenty of massive, detuned riffs, a solid  groove and gang vocals. Most of their set was mid tempo sludge rock, but picked up  the pace in places for a more punk influenced sound.

— by Richard Amery, L.a. beat Editor


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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 26 September 2018 09:57 )
 
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