Monday, April 22, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Random Killing) & West Of Hell Concert Videos!!

Here's a new news post to check out on this Monday night, which is divided between two topics: New videos from a recent death metal concert, and a big LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for this summer that should get punk fans very excited, so here's what you should know!

Toronto hardcore punk legends Random Killing will return to Sault Ste. Marie when they hit The Rockstar Bar on Friday, July 5th! Fans packed the same venue back in September 2014 when Random Killing (led by Sault native Andrew "Drool" Kiteley) headlined the Hardcore Homecoming concert, and another huge night of fan favourite originals should be in store for this opening stop on their 35th anniversary tour. After an almost 5 year wait, it's awesome to welcome Random Killing back to town, and this should be another can't miss concert for punk fans of any stripe! Local support will include two bands who opened Hardcore Homecoming, including punk/metal quintet Jack Spades, who are joining Random Killing for the entire tour in July, including their annual stop in Spiderfest in Meyersburg, so keep that in mind if you attend that festival! As well, hardcore punk veterans Destroilet will play their second show of the year, and they're a perfect fit at a show of this magnitude, so don't miss them either!

A local band named "The Filthy Dadicals" are also advertised as opening, who will reportedly feature Bankshot alum Lucas "Sal Velinus" Schmiedendorf in their lineup, but is this a new (one-off?) band, or are they a reworking of his late 2017 punk supergroup The HTs? We'll let you know if anything comes out! Note that the above poster credits reunited Toronto hardcore punk rockers Armed & Hammered as also playing on this tour, but they are not part of the Northern Ontario leg. Also, the Facebook event page did briefly list Sudbury groove metal quintet Archelon as opening earlier today in their local return, but they have quietly been removed since then. Admission for this 19+ concert is $15 via advance tickets which go on sale this Friday, while admission at the door jumps to $20, and one would assume that a 9:00 PM start time is in effect. This should be one of the summer concert season highlights locally in the punk scene, so visit the above links for much more details!

We'll close tonight's post with some videos from Wednesday's West of Hell-headlined concert at The New American Pub, courtesy of live streams from promoters Six, Two, Oh.'s Facebook page that same night! There's more videos to come from this show, including of the local openers, so stay tuned for them this week. Surprisingly the first Facebook videos from Six, Two, Oh. since their live in-studio series from 2016, the guys filmed five videos of the touring Vancouver death metal bands, albeit all on the vertical cell phone camera angle, and only one exceeding a minute in length. I'm not having a lot of luck of identifying these songs from the fragments filmed, but Six, Two, Oh. filmed two of West of Hell's songs, one embedded below, and one linked here. Showcasing some nice dramatic clean singing throughout, the mosh pit looks active and lively on the former, and the overall audio quality holds up! Give these West of Hell snippets a look above & below!



Finally, Six, Two, Oh. also filmed three videos of thrash metal quintet Expain's supporting set, including clips linked here & here, and the 1:45-long video embedded below. Capturing a faster and more ferocious portion of the night on these uploads, Expain look like they won over lots of fans, even if the pit wasn't as active yet, and hopefully their technical intensity will resurface out here! Give their videos a look, and stay tuned for more video footage from this concert in the coming days!



That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates on the site soon! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (The River Jacks), A "New" Local Band, And The Faps Concert Preview!

Here's a new news post for your Sunday evening reading, and it covers a few big topics, including a preview of a special Tuesday night concert and a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for this summer, but first, let's formally (and very belatedly) roll a prolific local band into our links on the site!

We have a "new" band to add to our active Sault Ontario band links, they being reunited ska-punk/hard rock band Tripod The Dog! An official band page has not been launched (that I know of) since their return gig earlier this month, but I recently discovered this Facebook group that was actively maintained by the band in 2007 & 2008 before their prior break-up, so we can belatedly list them here. When this group was regularly used, Tripod the Dog were comprised of founding singer/guitarist Mark Oliverio (later of Thin Ice), alongside Billy Bastards guitarist Greg Beharriel & ex-Role Models/Comedics drummer Phil Greco. Bass was supplied at the time by Sean Berlinguette (later a bandmate of Mark's in Glitch), though he was replaced in late 2007 by future Skeyes of Seven bassist Mike Mannarino. Mark and Sean returned for Tripod the Dog's reunion set at Rotaryfest last year alongside ex-Ground Zero drummer Brian Egglesfield.

1990s-2006 lineups are not well publicized online, but on 1998's "Local Steel" compilation, Mark & Greg were joined in Tripod The Dog by bassist Matt Miller and drummer Tracey Hilderley (a future bandmate of Mark's in Boogie Fever), and postings heavily imply that Scott Aultman and Kevin Becker were also prior band members. Updates on the Facebook group largely concern shows played by Tripod The Dog in their last active year of this era, including multiple dates at Foggy Notions (now Coch's Corner) and Stir (later The Vibe Lounge), though some reminiscing also occurs there from past gigs, as well some loose hints & suggestions for tour dates and new studio material. Apparently, Tripod The Dog were transitioning from their ska punk/alternative leaning set to one more based in hard rock after Mike joined the group, but given Sean's involvement in their reunion last year, one assumes that the new Tripod the Dog reverted to their old sound.

As Greg (who I don't believe is back in the band) was the primary administrator of this group, I doubt it'll receive new updates, but fans of Tripod the Dog's mid-2000s incarnaton should be interested in checking it out. Tripod the Dog were a skilled and fan favourite band in their original run, and it'll be interesting to see what comes next now that Mark has brought them back, so visit the above links for more on their work a decade+ ago!

Next up, here's that LOCAL CONCERT ALERT, as Calgary punk quintet The River Jacks will return to Sault Ste. Marie for a headlining concert on Monday, June 3rd at The New American Pub! This will be The River Jacks' third local concert appearance (at least), following their set opening for The Old Wives at The New A two years ago, and a prior Algonquin Pub headlining gig in 2015. This stop on their spring tour should bring another entertaining night full of message-laden, well influenced punk rock, and genre fans would be well served to check this show out, whether you saw them locally before or not! Local openers have not been confirmed at press time, but for reference, Stegadeth opened for The River Jacks locally the last time out, while the now-defunct Gnaeus and Stereo North did so in 2015. Presented by Six, Two, Oh. like in 2017, this 19+ show as an early 8:00 PM start time, and while a cover charge isn't publicized, prior local dates were both $5.

There are some unknowns yet regarding this concert, but The River Jacks' skilled and familiar brand of original punk action should attract a solid audience at The New A in June! It's just a shame this is a Monday nighter. Visit the official Facebook event page for continuing updates!

Finally for today, here's our preview of a special mid-week concert, as Saskatchewan trash-punk duo The Faps will return to Sault Ste. Marie for a headlining show at the aforementioned New American Pub THIS TUESDAY NIGHT! Unusually being held in the spring after four prior autumn concerts locally, this will be The Faps' first local concert appearance in six months, and their first at The New A since 2017. Blair & Skylar's high impact & irreverent stage show should be welcomed back by many local fans for this stop of their No Name, No Fame Tour, but what music will they bring to the table, and what will they be wearing? Believe me, that's a valid question! Openers will include new local indie rock quartet Dusty Hazelwood (featuring Lion Ride, AlgomA, Dynowaves, and Fever Tops alumni), as well as singer/bassist Brenton Ellis' online page-less acoustic solo project Slumshine, in their first SMS-covered concert since 2017. Nicely varied lineup, there should be something for everyone!

Also promoted by Six, Two, Oh. (who are partly led by Dusty Hazelwood's own Jamie Vincent), this 19+ show has a 9:00 PM start time and a $5 cover charge. The Tuesday night scheduling is unfortunate for anyone with work and school commitments the next morning, but if you can make it to The New A for all of this action, you'll get a wide array of talented musicians, including a ferocious and unpredictable Faps set, so visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here are The Faps live!



That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates on the site this week! Thanks everyone!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Last Month's Poll Results & This Month's New Poll!!

I hope everyone's having a great long weekend! Here's the belated close to last month's poll and the launch of our newest poll on the SMS, so to start, recall that we posed this question on the site last month: What was the biggest local metal, hard rock, or punk news story of 2018? Sadly, we only got 10 votes in this poll, but there is a clear result in the final tally, so thanks to everyone who did vote, and here are the final results!

Oh!No festival in Leeburn returns for bigger second year (4 votes, 40%)
I Mother Earth & Finger Eleven return to Sault Ontario (2 votes, 20%)
Steel Panther performs in Sault Michigan in December (1 vote, 10%)
Seether and 10 Years rock Kewadin Casino in August (1 vote, 10%)
Re:Born debuts in local scene in early 2019 (1 vote, 10%)
The Din posthumously release "Suburban Sendoff" (1 vote, 10%)
The Bear Hunters release their debut music video (0 votes)
Big Wreck plays at The Machine Shop in February (0 votes)
Chuck Ayotte of Fistmagnet passes away (0 votes)
Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide return with new lineup (0 votes)
The Essar Centre becomes GFL Memorial Gardens (0 votes)
Gliss Restaurant moves to Spring Street (0 votes)
The Gore Street Cafe permanently closes (0 votes)
The Halloween Party launches new local tribute bands (0 votes)
Highway 63 returns to the stage after a lengthy hiatus (0 votes)
Michale Graves concert cancelled due to inclement weather (0 votes)
Mike Haggith fully resumes solo career in Thompson, Manitoba (0 votes)
Pop Evil returns to Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino in February (0 votes)
Redundant play at the final Vans Warped Tour stop in Toronto (0 votes)
Rotaryfest celebrates anniversary with Rewind lineup (0 votes)
Scott McLurg retires from drumming in local bands (0 votes)
Shit Liver tour Canada to support new record "Hitting The Fan" (0 votes)
The Soo's Got Talent competition debuts at The Tech (0 votes)
Stiffler's Mom quietly fall inactive after lengthy local run (0 votes)
Theatre of Night hold their second Christmas tour (0 votes)
Other (0 votes)

What do you guys think? Well, regarding the options that got no votes, I am surprised that many received no love here, particularly the Big Wreck and Pop Evil concerts and any new studio album releases, but it's all in who votes! Of the single-voted options, this does prove how big the Seether and Steel Panther shows were last year, and Re:Born were the biggest debuting hard rock band of 2018 locally in a lean year for band debuts, but I am surprised that The Din's posthumous live album squeaked into what you could call the top 3 (with ties.) Second place went to last year's huge I Mother Earth/Finger Eleven concert, which was a great night for fans of late 1990s/early 2000s Canadian alt rock, and hopefully it helped encourage more hard rock events at The Machine Shop! The winner of the poll was last year's Oh!No concert festival in Leeburn, which brought over a dozen diverse acts to the church for a full day of entertainment, and I know year #3 will bring more high profile action this September from local and touring bands alike!

Thanks to everyone who voted! As for this month's poll, we are winding down our "favourite _____ of 2018" polls by asking this question: What was your favourite local metal, hard rock, or punk concert of the second half of 2018? Following up on it's sister poll from last summer, I have grouped 15 high profile concerts for you guys to pick from during this eventful 6 month stretch, with shows receiving votes joining concerts from January-June 2018 in next month's poll on shows from the whole year. To make the poll, concerts must have taken place in the Sault Ontario area between July 1st and December 31st (so no Tea Party, for example), while concerts in the poll must have a lineup comprised of at least 50% metal, hard rock, and punk acts. This eliminates such events as Toystock, the Downtown Street Parties, the Northern Vibe Festival, and Rotaryfest Stage 2, but you can vote for those by selecting "Other" if you want. Now, here are your choices!

Bands: Rivers of Nihil, Alterbeast, Inferi, and Pillory
Venue: The Rockstar Bar
Date: July 6th
Info:
One of the heaviest shows of last year saw a trifecta of American death metal bands make their way to The Rockstar Bar last July, with Reading, Pennsylvania's own Rivers of Nihil inciting a huge circle pit for their brutal original headlining attack! Alterbeast and Inferi were more than up to the challenge as openers, while local death/thrash metal trio Pillory impressed in their only public show in the past 18 months. Was this extreme metal blast your preferred choice?

Bands: Treble Charger, Mustang Heart, Turner Up, Road Fever, and Tripod The Dog
Venue: Clergue Park (Rotaryfest Stage 1)
Date: July 20th
Info:
As part of their "Rotaryfest Rewind" theme of band reunions at the covers-centric main stage last year, our local summer festival loaded up the schedule each night, with a very SMS-friendly Friday lineup to boot! Featuring prominent indie/punk quartet Treble Charger, a one-off Turner Up reunion, and the return of Tripod the Dog alongside festival regulars Mustang Heart and a reunited Road Fever, fans ate up this day's roster, but would you vote for it in this month's poll?

Bands: Id Iota & Great Chamberlain
Venue: LopLops Lounge
Date: July 20th
Info:
Continuing with LopLops Lounge's tradition of booking Rotaryfest Stage 2 acts for nighttime concerts that same weekend, they played host to local indie/hard rock quartet Id Iota and the now-on-hiatus "unorthodox stadium rock" band Great Chamberlain for this concert, held at an unusually late time so as to not conflict with Treble Charger's set. Surprisingly the last Id Iota show to date, this was a well recieved concert, but can you vouch for it?

Bands: The Din & A Dire Setback
Venue: LopLops Lounge
Date:
July 21st
Info:
The second post-Rotaryfest show from LopLops last year saw a surprise reunion set from defunct alt-hard rock trio The Din, marking their first local concert appearance since their "Suburban Sendoff" at the same venue last fall! Also featuring their friends in pop punk trio A Dire Setback fresh off of their own Stage 2 set, this "Dinunion" reminded LopLops patrons how big of an attraction The Din were in their heyday, but was it your favourite late-2019 show featured here?

Bands: The Costanzas, Stegadeth, and Winkstinger
Venue: The Rockstar Bar
Date: August 4th
Info:
Presented by Six, Two, Oh. and the mysterious "Killenials", The Rockstar Bar played host to Montreal ska/jazz punk quartet The Costanzas on this August night, with their edgy yet amusing brand of originals attracting more fans in the process! Featuring local punk trio Stegadeth and the 2018 debut of extreme death metal veterans Winkstinger, this song delivered for a nice range of sounds, but did you like it the most of all of these concerts?

Bands: Garbageface, Cross Dog, The Therapists, The Franquilizers, Lightmares, Beaver Slap, Fat Cop, Forest City Aurora, Planet Rock, Pointless, The Dynowaves, Jack Spades, Mik & Steve, Winkstinger, A Dire Setback, The Elements, Jackson Reed, and Shae Tull
Venue: Robbie Adamson's Church in Leeburn
Date: September 8th
Info:
The aforementioned Six, Two, Oh. brought back their Oh!No concert festival to the familiar church locale in nearby Leeburn on September 8th, and delivered with an even bigger day of music than in 2017! Featuring the long awaited local return of Mark Rand's Cross Dog, the Soo debut of The Therapists, fan favourite returnees from Oh!No I, Beaver Slap karaoke, and even a piano bonfire, would you vote for this fast-rising festival?

Bands: The Gabba Heys, The Cover-Up, and Amy Gabba
Venue: LopLops Lounge
Date:
September 22nd
Info:
After an almost 2 year hiatus from fronting bands locally, veteran local punk musician Mikey Hawdon returned home in September with his new Ramones tribute band The Gabba Heys (not the same band as the former Merves), with his AMY/DC bandmate Amy Zucchetto breaking out a Joan Jett tribute set for good measure! Also featuring the online page-less Cover-Up for a set of their own punk classics, was this punk rock lineup your preferred show out of all others in the poll?

Bands: Ten Foot Pole, Jack Spades, and Redundant
Venue: The Rockstar Bar
Date: October 25th
Info:
Helping kick off another big Halloween concert season from Jack Spades frontman J.D. Pearce, his punk/metal quintet helped open for California skate punk veterans Ten Foot Pole last October, with fans over the past couple of decades flocking to The Rockstar Bar to see these cult favourites in person! Also featuring the first local concert set from punk trio Redundant following their EP release in July, was this your favourite show over all of the rest?

Bands: The Elements, Coral Fang, and Poison Girl
Venue: The Rockstar Bar
Date: October 27th

Info:
The first of two Halloween Party concerts at The Rockstar Bar last year from promoter J.D. Pearce, costumed fans bore witness to a Red Hot Chili Peppers tribute set from funk/hard rock quartet The Elements (now known as Higher Ground when under this guise), while Stegadeth bandmates Tiffany Stocco and Johnny Belanger pulled double duty in debuting Distillers and H.I.M. tribute bands. Did the first night of tribute action pique your interest?

Bands: Frightlight, Parabol, and Redundant
Venue: The Rockstar Bar
Date: October 28th
Info:
The aformentioned Halloween party continued the following night with a (largely) Weezer tribute set by Redundant and guest bassist Andrew MacDonald, the live debut of new local Tool tribute supergroup Parabol (who arguably stole the show with their proficient set), and a one-off(?) reunion set by horror punk quintet Frightlight, sans St. Mayhem. Each band delivered with their own explosive brand of music, but did this top late 2018 to you?

Bands: Shit Liver, The Therapists, and The Bear Hunters
Venue: The New American Pub
Date: November 22nd
Info:
Local/St. Catharine's grindcore trio Shit Liver returned home for their second hometown date of 2018 at The New A last fall, and they were up to their usual tricks at this well recieved concert! Also featuring Oh!No fan favourites The Therapists (props & costumes in tow) and the first Bear Hunters concert set in over a year, this well recieved Thursday nighter rekindled memories of Rosie metal nights gone by, but would you vote for it?

Bands: Parabol & The Elements (as "Scar Tissue")
Venue: The Rockstar Bar
Date: December 14th
Info:
An encore of sorts from the two night Halloween Party at the same venue, new Tool tribute band Parabol and their friends The Elements (then using the temporary tribute name "Scar Tissue") joined forces for a one night blast of progressive metal and funk rock, rekindling the same good feelings and strong fan responses that made their sets highlights at the end of October! Can you concur and pick for this show in this poll?

Bands: The Cover-Up & Coral Fang
Venue: LopLops Lounge
Date: December 21st
Info:
A busy Christmas season for Tidal Records included a headlining set from label head Dustin Jones' online page-less punk band The Cover-Up, as flanked by new Distillers tribute Coral Fang in their sophomore outing. Fans at LopLops surely enjoyed this double bill of established local names tackling classic punk songs, and there was more to come from them in 2019, but did you like this show the most among the 15 presented here?

Bands: Northwest & K.I.C.K.
Venue: LopLops Lounge
Date: December 22nd
Info:
The good times for local punk fans continued just a day later at LopLops, as indie/punk quintet Northwest launched their sophomore EP "Songs From 2015-2017" to a receptive audience, with their new and old originals alike bolstering their name and reputation among local fans! Also featuring returning indie rock openers K.I.C.K. after a year+ hiatus, was this your absolute favourite concert in the Soo in late 2018?

Bands: Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide and The Steeletown Girls
Venue: LopLops Lounge
Date: December 28th
Info:
After a big return to the local scene following their lengthy hiatus since mid-2016, Celtic punk veterans Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide capped off an eventful year with a big headlining concert at LopLops on December 28th, with support by Din guitarist Tammy Hill's country pop duo The Steeletown Girls. This was a big post-Christmas platform for fans to check out The Tide's established and newer originals, but would you vote for it?

Other: Did we miss a preferred concert that you saw locally last year? For reference, metal, hard rock, or punk bands like Carried Away, Chase Wigmore, Crucify the Whore, The Faps, Fluid 5ive, Handsome Sandwich, James Watterworth, Re:Born, Soundcheck, The Suicide Kings, That's Chester, The Truth Of All Death, Tym Morrison, and The Wyld Stallyns all played live last year, not to mention shows from Sault Michigan-area acts, and un-listed concerts featuring bands already in the poll. If, for whatever reason, the show you want to vote for isn't here, vote for "Other"!

VOTE TODAY! You guys have until around May 18th to cast your votes, and I'm interested to see how things shake out here, especially if there's a decent vote total! Stay tuned for more updates, and for a new news post soon! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Soundcheck Concert Previews, New Videos, And Much More!!

So as to focus on our (delayed) close to last month's poll and newly launched poll tomorrow, here's a second post on this Thursday, and it includes some assorted recent news, a new video and related apology, a music video from a prominent solo artist, and leading off, the last of our Easter weekend concert previews. Here's what you should know!

First, let's wrap up this weekend's hard rock concert previews with local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck's previously announced shows at The Esquire Club TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! After playing their last few concert weekends outside of their 2019 schedule posting, they're back with another pair of dates that had lots of advance notice, marking their first announced gigs there in two months. This frequently seen veteran group should have another solid weekend of hard rocking covers in store for fans at this west end venue this weekend, so keep Terry, Travis, Paul, and Glen's shows there in mind for your Easter weekend plans! As usual, these shows should have 19+ age limits, no cover charges, and 10:00 PM start times. Visit the Facebook event page for more details, and here's Soundcheck live!



Next up, here's the third and final music video from Kinross/Mount Pleasant, Michigan solo artist Alex Traynor's debut EP "Crazy World", as posted to his YouTube channel on Monday! This is for his (somewhat) softer original song "What Everything Is Like (High Life)", which was also third on the EP, and the video was shot by Eric Cairns at Third Cinema Productions, a long-time collaborator of Alex's for solo and Banned projects. The video features Alex waking up on a playground carousel, before roaming through a park in the wintertime, singing in front of forest settings and a brick wall (even playing guitar at the end.) Many of the visuals mimic an older 8mm film camera, complete with letterboxing and pillarboxing to simulate smaller aspect ratios, so there's a nostalgic quality in some ways. Well shot and edited, this is a nice way to round out Alex's music video trilogy, and it'll be interesting to see where his original solo work goes from here! Check the video out below!



Also today, here's our belated first video look at Sault Ontario classic/hard rock cover quintet Fluid 5ive, courtesy of a show that they played on Friday, February 8th at... Room 21?! I profusely apologize for missing that concert on the site, the venue's coverage completely slipped us by at the time, though as best as I can tell, it had under a week's notice upon it's announcement, and the band's Facebook page never acknowledged it publically. I will definitely try and stay on top of Fluid 5ive bookings more in the future, but at least we have a video out of it! Live-streamed by the venue that same day, this is of Fluid 5ive covering Radiohead's "Creep", less than 3 months after indie rockers Man Feelings covered it in a prior live-stream. Fluid 5ive have a good handle on this song, though frontman Colin Nelson's vocals almost sound too casual, if that makes any sense, and you see a lot more of the bar's strip lighting than you do of drummer Jeff Pennett for the duration.

The vertical camera angle is unfortunate on the whole, but it's great to have a video of Fluid 5ive at long last, and as you can see in the video and the above image from the show, they definitely weren't lying about having a saxophone in their repertoire! Hopefully there's more videos and updates of Fluid 5ive down the line, but give their Radiohead cover a look below, and I apologize again for missing their Room 21 show in February!



Finally for today, here's three assorted shorter news stories from the last while, and as usual, these are in alphabetical order by artist or website name:

  • Last week, defunct local horror punk quintet Frightlight posted on their Facebook page to say that "it's been too long" and that they "have booked a show", details forthcoming. In case this is another one-off like at Halloween, I'll wait before making a change to their status, but what does this apparent return show entail? Stay tuned!
  • The Internet Archive recently posted what they call the MySpace Dragon Hoard, a 1.3+ terabyte batch of songs downloaded from MySpace as part of an anonymous research study from 2008-2010. This is by no means comprehensive for what used to be on MySpace before last year's song deletions, but it's nice to see hundreds of thousands of songs saved! The mechanism for the Dragon Hoard is a horrendous RAM hog, so make sure your device isn't lacking for RAM, and copy & paste your search inquiries for best results. I have found Woods of Ypres, Treble Charger, and Clownsack songs, and there's likely more local acts.
  • Despite his announced retirement from live bands last summer, former Soundcheck/Turner Up drummer Scott McLurg posted on the Musicians Wanted Facebook group on April 1st to say that he was looking to play live once or twice a month, and to private message him at this link for details. I waited to mention this here in case it was an April Fools joke, but the posting is still up, so it looks serious. If Scott's able to play live again with some regularity, I'd be glad to see him back out there, and message him above for more details!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for last month's poll results and our new poll next! Thanks everyone!

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (The Wyld Stallyns), Easter Weekend Concert Previews, And More!!

Despite this being Easter weekend, there's still lots of live hard rock and punk action to take in over the coming days, if mostly of the unplugged variety! Yes, this includes Good Friday, surprisingly busier for bands we actively cover than Saturday will be. Due to the amount of content in this post, I have opted to hold our preview of Friday & Saturday night's Soundcheck concerts for our next post, but don't worry, they are coming! Now, let's begin this post with some LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS, mostly on SHORT NOTICE!

Local acoustic hard rock trio The Wyld Stallyns have a busy holiday weekend ahead with their apparent debuts at two downtown venues, namely at LopLops Lounge TONIGHT and at The Whiskey Barrel at 113 Gore Street TOMORROW, with a return to the latter pub also taking place on Tuesday, April 30th! Apologies for the short notice on the prior two shows, they were only announced via the band's Facebook page on Monday. While we have seen The Elements at LopLops in the past, TOMORROW'S show is the first on record for The Wyld Stallyns' unplugged cover-centric live attack, though they're not the sole attraction, as they're playing during the return of LopLops' "Bad Idea Thursday" and it's related pint & a pizza deal. Keep that in mind if you're up for some supper and craft beer with your music! As for TOMORROW'S show, this is the first hard rock-leaning concert we've ever covered at The Whiskey Barrel, so what should you know about it?

Opening last November in the old Konoba Tapas & Vino location, The Whiskey Barrel is a Scottish-themed restaurant and nightclub that has sporadically hosted concerts and open mic nights in recent months, and they're definitely serious about the Scottish theme, as the Tuesday, April 30th gig is during "Kilt Night", where attendees wearing kilts will get drink and food discounts! Both of The Wyld Stallyns' shows there this month are part of a larger array of live musicians this month, all playing matinee sets unless they're on Saturday nights. It's great to see a new concert venue open on Gore Street, and with an intriguing theme that should appeal to Saulties with Scottish heritage, so visit the above links for more on The Whiskey Barrel! TONIGHT's LopLops show is at 7:00 PM, TOMORROW'S and April 30th's Wyld Stallyns shows are at 6:00 PM, and none have advertised start times, but remember, these are dinner-time/evening concerts, and the atmosphere for these nights & events should reflect that.

The Wyld Stallyns and their easily-adaptable live set can fit well at many familiar and unfamiliar venues, and they should deliver solid sets at LopLops TONIGHT and The Whiskey Barrel TOMORROW, and at month's end, so see above for more details, and here they are live!



Moving to previously announced concerts, here's another Thursday nighter TOMORROW NIGHT, as Hamilton outsider folk/punk solo musician B.A. Johnston will return to Sault Ste. Marie as the headline act at The New American Pub! Making his second live appearance here following a Cafe Natura show in 2015 (apologies for missing that), you may have seen James Hopkin's interview with B.A. on SooToday from last week, an given it's wildly varying and self-deprecating tone, you know you're in for a unique night tomorrow! B.A.'s irreverent, comedic, and unpredictable acoustic originals are hard enough to describe, but give him a listen and see what you think! Sault Michigan folk musician Magnet Moslov (from the Downtown Street Party in September) will open this concert, as per the official Facebook event page yesterday, and he should attract some fans in his own right at The New A! This concert is a presentation of Girl Friday Productions.

A $10 cover charge is in effect for this 19+ show, which is slated to begin at 9:00 PM. For more details, visit the above links, and for a preview, here's a long overdue look at the episode of the defunct SooToday webseries Tuned with Donna Hopper that spotlighted B.A.'s last local show! Featuring live clips from Cafe Natura, you'll see Donna interviewing B.A. about his stand-up comedy prospects, his creativity, what take-aways he wants fans to get from his shows, and his then-new album, among other topics. This is an amusing yet detailed cross section of what you might expect tomorrow, but who knows what will happen? Be there to find out!



Finally for today's concert previews, let's round things out with one more acoustic performer, namely local hard rock singer guitarist Tym Morrison, who is slated to return to Gliss Restaurant on Spring Street for two more matinee shows TOMORROW & SATURDAY, while he will also have a traditional nighttime concert at Room 21 TOMORROW NIGHT sandwiched in between them! Fans of Tym's unplugged hard and classic rock hits should have a very good Friday tomorrow with two shows at two popular downtown venues, with Saturday patrons sure to get more of the same, so don't miss the former Caveman Morrison frontman's extensive live sets at any of these three gigs! Both of his Gliss shows have 6:00 PM start times, no cover charges, and no age limits (but mind the locale), while tomorrow's Room 21 show is at 10:00 PM and is 19+. Visit the Facebook event pages linked here & here for more details, and here's Tym live in concert at Room 21!



That's all for today, but stay tuned for our Soundcheck preview and more tomorrow, plus last month's poll results also! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Body Lens), West Of Hell Concert Preview, And Much More!!

Here's a new news post to check out on this Tuesday evening, and it includes a new concert video of sorts, a new compilation album release, and a preview of a special Wednesday night metal concert, but let's lead off with a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for next month at an unexpected locale!

Lethbridge, Alberta post-punk/art rock quintet Body Lens will make their local concert debut on Wednesday, May 8th when they play at local concert promotion agency Dryer Fire's new summer pop-up venue at 128 Bruce Street! A throwback in ways to Gnaeus with their indie-tinged post punk sound, Body Lens' sound isn't too aggressive, but it has enough punk attitude to go around while also harbouring some darker goth influences, and they should be a good fit for a Dryer Fire-hosted event! A new local "dungeon synth" project named Hot Goblin will open this concert, who I know nothing on, hopefully we can fill in some blanks at some point. In lieu of the former Gore Street Cafe and the soon-to-be moved M.S. Norgoma, Dryer Fire owner Nicole Dyble will open her own temporary venue near The Farmhouse Collective on Saturday, May 4th, and there are more concerts coming there over the summer season, while vendors like Oosik Records will be on hand for events.

I like the idea of the temporary summer space for Dryer Fire events, and while they only infrequently book punk and hard rock concerts, this should be an interesting run to see if this leads to a longer stay and/or permanent location elsewhere! Click here for details on the grand opening. As for May 8th's Body Lens show, it has a $10 cover and a 7:00 PM start time, and it is an ALL AGES event (no word on what "notaflof" means though.) Visit the official Facebook event page and the above links for more details!

Next up, here's our preview of a special mid-week metal concert TOMORROW NIGHT, as Vancouver death metal quintet West of Hell will return to the Soo when they headline at The New American Pub! This will be West of Hell's third concert appearance in Sault Ste. Marie, and their first in over 5 years, so their brutal and melodic originals have been a long time coming for their fans, and they should be ready to melt lots of faces at The New A tomorrow! Fellow Vancouver metal quintet Expain will bring their own thrash-laden brand of original music to the stage in their own local debut as the direct openers, and extreme metal fans should take to them nicely in the lead-up! A diverse local opening roster will include the apparent live debut of Blood Shed Productions cybergrind solo project Malignant Neoplasm, who were previously known for their studio demo output. I'm very surprised they're playing rather than C.T.W., but this should be an interesting set!

Despite event advertising saying that this show has "1,000% Metal", the opening act is local rapper Conika, who's no stranger to being a musical outlier on an otherwise rap-free concert. She's a skilled MC and should set the tone well tomorrow! Promoted by Six, Two, Oh. in their first concert booking of 2019, tomorrow's concert has a 19+ age limit, $5 cover charge, and 9:00 PM start time. Visit the official Facebook event page for more on this extreme metal Wednesday night blast, and here's West of Hell live!



Also today, we have a new compilation album release to take note of from a prominent artist, namely local/Thompson, Manitoba solo musician Mike Haggith, though in this case, it's the soundtrack to the film he contributed to! As you'll recall, songs from Mike and his old local band The Din comprised the official soundtrack to the Windsor-shot independent film Ashes of K, with Mike's involvement announced in 2017, preceding it's premiere last year, but the soundtrack was only released through Mike's Bandcamp page yesterday. The 11 song soundtrack features all of the tracks from his 2015 solo album "The Warinside" except "The Snake", "Candy Is A Hooker's Name", and "Of Cars & Criminals", plus 4 songs from The Din's 2016 debut CD "Give In To The Din" This does include both the solo and Din versions of "A Drive Through The Peninsula", as both are in the movie. The Ashes of K soundtrack is available at the above links on a "name your price" model.

As this is a compilation, it does not jump Mike's unreviewed & future studio albums in line for CD review consideration on the SMS, but if you really want to see our thoughts on the 11 songs, check out our reviews of "The Warinside" & "Give In To The Din", both written shortly their initial releases. It's great to see the soundtrack finally on sale/to stream, but might Ashes of K get a local screening at some point? See above for much more, and stay tuned for updates on his new album "Bridges"!

Finally for today, let's close up our coverage of Soundcheck drummer Glen Thomas' new live videos from his YouTube channel, as the last of the 11 recent uploads is the 15 minute compilation of live clips that he has (mostly) posted to YouTube already. As such, you get a lot of bang for your buck here, but if you prefer full videos, visit Glen's channel. The compilation begins with Soundcheck and then-drummer Scott McLurg at the Wawa drag races last August, with the 2nd-5th songs from their regular cover medley, including Journey's "Don't Stop Believing", Metallica's "Enter Sandman", Boston's "Foreplay/Long Time", and Bon Jovi's "Livin' On A Prayer", albeit cut off. The compilation continues elsewhere with concerts featuring Glen behind the kit, including covers of Alanis Morissette's "Ironic" at The Esquire Club, Kenny Loggins' "Footloose", Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", and John Mellencamp's "Wild Night" at Toystock, and Keith Urban's "Somebody To Love" at Reggie's West.

The big scoop here is a previously unseen clip of Soundcheck covering Def Leppard's "Hysteria" (with Travis on lead vocals) at The Esquire Club, courtesy of a vertical cell phone camera angle at a crooked angle. Visuals aside, the cover is well done and melodic, if a little slow, and it's worth a special look! The video closes with their previously seen cover of Greta Van Fleet's "Highway Tune" at the Reggievelt. There's a lot to take in here, so if you want a sampling of Soundcheck at the top of their game, give this video a look below, and see most covers in full on Glen's channel!



That's all for today, but stay tuned for weekend concert previews and last month's poll results soon! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Soundcheck Concert Video Showcase!!

Today's post is entirely devoted to a bunch of new videos from local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck, all courtesy of drummer Glen Thomas' YouTube channel in the past two weeks! Glen posted 11 new videos in this span, adding up to over an hour of new content from this talented veteran group, and with things being spread across multiple different venues, it only makes sense to give each concert's videos their own write-ups! Two of these videos were previously shared to Soundcheck's Facebook page and subsequently featured here already (this Alanis Morisette cover at The Esquire Club & their classic rock medley at The Machine Shop in February), so I won't rehash them in this post. Also, one video is a sampler of scattered clips from various shows of theirs, and I'll approach it at a later date. Going in rough chronological order, we'll start with Soundcheck's set at a drag racing event in Wawa in August, oddly not featuring Glen on drums.

Prior to his addition to the band, this was filmed during Scott McLurg's brief stint behind the drumkit last year. The video is of Soundcheck's aforementioned 12-13 minute classic rock medley, where they cover David Wilcox's "Riverboat Fantasy", Journey's "Don't Stop Believing", Metallica's "Enter Sandman", Boston's "Foreplay/Long Time", Bon Jovi's "Livin' On A Prayer", Van Halen's "Jamie's Cryin'", and a reprise of "Riverboat Fantasy". This is the third video of this medley that I've seen, and it still has a nice balance of tunes, if with fuzzy visuals, so give it a look below!



Next up, here's Soundcheck (now with Glen on drums) covering REO Speedwagon's "Take It On The Run" at what I believe to be their Rockstar Bar show on November 15th. Featuring guitarist Terry Eaton on lead vocals, the performance seems to be solid, especially on the guitar solo, but the vertical camera angle, green lighting, abbreviated run-time and even fuzzier visual quality don't help matters. If you can look past the above points, there's good stuff to take in below!



Moving to another Christmas-season concert, Glen posted three more videos of their Toystock VII set at the Northern Grand Gardens later that month to his YouTube channel as well, all featuring Travis Sharpe on vocals only, not even playing guitar here. These include covers of Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", Kenny Loggins' "Footloose" (complete with overlaid cell phone footage of attendees dancing), and as embedded below, John Mellencamp's "Wild Night". Filmed on the same strong camera & angle from their prior-posted medley video, these are largely well done covers, but attendee heads remain in the foreground. Give these a look above & below!



The other three videos are from two (maybe three) different concerts at Reggie's West over the past few months, all again with Travis singing lead. One undated video (possibly from the November show mentioned in a minute) is a very blurry and distant clip of them covering Keith Urban's "Somebody To Love", which is a fitting choice for either Reggie's branch, and the audio here holds up far better than the visuals! This is the only one of the three where Travis plays guitar too. Another video from the Reggievelt features Soundcheck covering Greta Van Fleet's "Highway Tune" in February, distinct from their Esquire Club cover of the same song from November. Solid rendition of this recent rock radio hit with much improved visuals, and the vertical camera angle better frames the band here! Embedded below is this set-ending cover of Ozzy Osbourne's "Bark At The Moon" at Reggie's West in November, which happens to feature guest guitarist Tym Morrison!

Nice to see him back with his old Hollow and Carbon Black bandmates for a brief spell, and it's a shame we don't see his proficient guitar work in an electric setting as much anymore! Travis' vocals strike me as a little soft for this cover, but everyone performs well, and Tym fits in like a glove, so give Soundcheck's Ozzy cover a look below as well!



That's all for today, but thanks to Glen for sharing all of these videos, and stay tuned for more news and updates on the site soon! Thanks everyone!