January 16th, 2021

Enmax Centre deserves a standing O

By Lethbridge Herald on October 28, 2016.

Al Beeber
I may be an age when the hair is going grey, the body is aching more and I should be listening to CBC, but at 57, I have to admit I had more fun last week at the Slayer/Anthrax/Death Angel show at the Enmax Centre than a guy in the shade of 60 should.
Since the early 1970s, when my late buddy Doug Bassett bribed me with a free ticket so he could take his girlfriend to see The Bee Gees and Heart at what then was called the Sportsplex since he didn’t have a driver’s licence yet, I’ve seen a lot of shows at the venerable city venue.
And while I probably should have been more wowed two days later watching the acoustic magic of Ian MacLauchlan, Ian Thomas, Marc Jordan and Cindy Church — after all, they are more from my era — I’m still stunned at just how damn good those thrash metal monsters were.
Metal gets a bad rap by a lot of music fans, easily dismissed as low-brow and Neanderthal. But if the critics would actually take the time to learn about its history and listen, I think the genre — especially thrash — might be seen in a more positive light.
I personally believe there’s no such thing as bad music — just bad attitudes. Music, regardless of its genre or its genesis, connects people to their culture, touches our emotional core and sparks creativity. The same can be said of thrash just as it does any other form of music that inspires humanity.
The Enmax Centre deserves enormous credit for bringing Slayer and company to Lethbridge. Ditto for Flo Rida and Five Finger Death Punch. While the audience for Slayer was dreadfully sparse, at least southern Albertans had the chance — if they wanted — to see them.
The Enmax took a big risk with this show and it’s one that is going to help change perceptions of the type of city Lethbridge is with artists.
While the crowd was small last week for the thrash artists, their enthusiasm was out of this world and unbelievably contagious.
It’s a show which resonated with people who are used to seeing country and mainstream rock artists appearing on the stage here. One audience member from Fernie on the weekend wrote in an email to me, “when so many reviews of metal shows are cursory and dismissive, it was nice to see an honest and appreciative and deservedly positive critique.”
Another emailer said, “I did not attend the concert myself, but my partner did and said it was f—-ing epic!! His words not mine. Anyways in today’s paper the article you wrote made me wish I had gone even though that is not my cup of tea.”
This type of response speaks volumes about the relevance of this particular genre to southern Albertans. Concert-goers want variety, they want music that otherwise they’d have to spend hours in a car to hear, they want their tastes to be acknowledged.
The Enmax Centre courageously is taking away the need to drive any farther than the south end of the city for performances which may not be respected by many but are so badly desired by others.
What I witnessed on Oct. 17 wasn’t just a show — it was an sonic and visual explosion that left me speechless.
And as much as I respected the art and talent of those other performers at the Yates, part of me there wanted to stand up in the aisle and yell “Slayyerrr!!!”
That’s the impact of music. And what a powerful impact the thrash gods had.
Keep it up, Enmax Centre. You bleeping rock!

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