Monday, January 23, 2017

The January Jam Concert Review!!

At last, here's my review of Saturday night's January Jam concert from Live705 at The Canadian Nightclub! Good turnout, if uneven, and the venue had it's usual fine layout, with the night's three final bands all selling merchandise at the door, including brand new buttons from A Dire Setback (including some that just said "Support Local Music", which is always a good message!)

After a 15 minute delay, the opening band on Saturday was indie/acoustic trio The Autumn Roots in their first show of the year, wherein the band debuted new second guitarist Chase Wigmore (Coyote Speedfreaks), who was a former bandmate of frontman Jeremy Hannah's in The North Shore. Solid addition, and even unplugged, you got a sense of Chase's guitar abilities, and it's nice to see him back on stage! The band also parted ways with drummer Travis St. Amour last month, and have not (yet?) replaced him, though for what it's worth, the band interestingly noted that last night was their first "official" concert. Well, I saw them on Halloween, and while the lack of a drummer was noticeable, they kept things going from last fall with a solid set of folk rock originals like "The North", "Falling Down", and "The Sink". Jeremy's well-suited vocals complimented the music, he and Chase continue to mesh well on guitar, and Greg Carscadden was solid on bass, if somewhat reserved. Look for much more from The Autumn Roots in 2017!

Next up was the local debut of Ottawa electronic solo project Sleepwellcity, featuring former local punk/alternative bassist Nathan Bouliane in his long awaited homecoming. It was great to see Jonna Maximilian himself back on a local stage, but how did Sleepwellcity sound? Well, they are truly a one man band, with Nathan playing keyboard, drum machine, and bass throughout their set, not to mention utilizing a computer throughout, and also singing, so he had a lot on his plate! Nathan is multi-talented, as fans of his local and recent music will attest, but the Sleepwellcity set had some glitches. Early in the set, there was some type of computer malfunction that ground everything to a halt for a whike, and the timing and clarity of some musical elements could have been polished better. As well, vocals were very low in the mix, so it was hard to get a full idea of how he is as a singer. Sleepwellcity are an intriguing project with something of a dreamlike quality at times, and it'd be interesting to see Nathan bring this project back home!

Third was newer punk/metal trio Stegadeth in their Canadian Nightclub debut, and they continued in their upward momentum from late last year with another well received set! Along with covers of the likes of The Ramones, Blink-182, Nirvana, and their predecessor band T-Rex Manning, this power trio unveiled their first true original song, entitled "Kingdom of Ashes", which sounded good and fits in with their sound! As well, the band dedicated their cover of SNFU's "Fate" to late local punk frontman Guy Thiffault, which was a nice touch! If you saw Stegadeth at Guy's tribute show over the holidays, then you'll be glad to know that they were on form from that concert, with Tiffany Stocco gaining more confidence as a singer, Daniel MacDonald keeping the energy going on drums, and Bill Bennett delivering a forceful presence of his own (his vocals are channeling Nate Olp from Demiricous a bit, just in a punk style.) Stegadeth are building things nicely so far, and here's to more!

Fourth on the night was local alternative/hard rock trio The Din, who were still riding high from their Toronto gig a few weeks back, and they were in their usual fine form! Alongside established hits like "Potato" & "Out Of My League", The Din covered The Tragically Hip's "Blow At High Dough" and played a handful of newer songs, like "High Park" and "Suburban Dream", which got a good reception from fans, who were increasingly starting to crowd the floor by the stage. Mike Haggith continues to showcase a fine ease as frontman, and even joined fans mid-song as if often seen, while Tammy Hill and Brandan Glew handled the guitar and drums as well as you'd expect! I did notice that there wasn't as much on-stage banter as we have seen at recent Din shows, but musically, their alt-hard rock originals sounded as good as ever, and it'll be interesting to see how things shape up this year!

Co-headlining were new local punk quartet A Dire Setback in their second Canadian gig, and they delivered a fun set of their own! Showcasing a lot of energy (especially on the part of guitarist Chris Nielsen), A.D.S. played original songs like "Wasting Away" and "Kicking & Screaming" alongside their punk version of OneRepublic, and with the night's peak crowd, they played it up and delivered a solid attack of alt-punk action! Vocals could be hard to hear at times for both Chris and frontman Larry Babic, but they have a good command of the stage, as fans of members' old bands can attest, and Nick Kainula's drumming was on point as well! A Dire Setback have sure accomplished a lot in a short time, already hosting two big concerts and performing a number of originals, and if they can keep this up, they'll be a force this year!

And finally, your headliners were local post-punk/garage rock quartet Gnaeus, and despite a drop-off in crowd numbers following A Dire Setback's set, they sent remaining fans home happy with their skilled originals! Starting with an extended improvised instrumental jam, Gnaeus soon launched into established originals like "The Sound", "Electricity", and "Fire", plus a lengthy new song named "È La Vita" (Italian for "That's Life") that visibly got a good reception! Heisenberg... I mean, Aaron Alessandrini was his usually reliable self on vocals and guitar, with Brad Irwin complimenting him well on the synth, Matt Fronzi was a positive and skilled presence on bass, and Alex Proulx is fitting in more & more on drums! It's a shame that so many fans left before their set, but alas, things did get delayed a half hour from advertised set times, but if you stayed, you weren't disappointed

Overall, The January Jam was a solid concert for fans of alternative and punk music, complete with new and familiar faces in equal measure, and kudos to Live705 for putting this one on! As you no doubt noticed, Shaw TV was on hand filming bands all night for a presumed future On Stage episode and perhaps interview features, while Josh Pace Photography was on hand taking pictures of the bands, and we will give Josh a proper feature on the site in the next while, I promise! I did get photos myself, which you can see at this link or via our Facebook page, but due to a combination of those reflective paint road signs on the stage's back wall and not wanting to get in the road of the Shaw cameras, the quality of mine is mixed. As for our videos, here's The Autumn Roots playing "Means & Circumstance", Sleepwellcity playing "Bombs", Stegadeth covering The Rebel Spell's "All We Want Is To Be Left Alone", The Din playing their new song "Up In The Air", A Dire Setback playing their new original "Faded", and Gnaeus playing their new song "È La Vita"!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Banned), New Videos, And Much More!!

Make it 7 in 11 for our run of posts largely geared towards the Sault Michigan area, which is very nice to see, and hopefully the E.U.P. scene continues to grow in the coming months! Today on the SMS, we're tackling some assorted recent notes, new videos from each side of the border, and first, LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS for next month, so here's what you need to know!

Kinross, Michigan classic/hard rock trio Banned will rock The Rapids Lounge at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino over the I-500 weekend on Friday, February 3rd & Saturday, February 4th! Announced yesterday on Banned's Facebook page (the venue has yet to publically confirm 2017 shows online), the shows are great timing to coincide with the annual snowmobile race, with Banned having also played last year at both Kewadin and inside the beer tent at the race proper, so hopefully there's some great crowds next weekend to take in Banned's varied but often heavy originals! No word yet on who'll be playing in the beer tent this year, or on if these shows will officially be a part of the annual I-500 pub crawl. Aside from the I-500 timing, next weekend's shows have 21+ age limits, no announced cover charge, and 21+ age limits. For more details, check the above links, and stay tuned for more updates on their 2017 concerts soon!

Next up, here's some new videos from Sault Ontario death/thrash metal trio Pillory! Drummer Bret Shuttleworth (under the name "Bret Martin") has launched his own YouTube channel featuring 6 Pillory videos, and while four are re-postings of videos from their Facebook page, one of those is new on either source, and there's also two exclusive concert videos too! The new clip is of a new "song" entitled "Juicebox", though the video is just of Bret playing a drum solo with his shirt over his head. Considering he's playing blind, the solo works out even better! Of the re-uploads, their drum-cam performance of their newer original "Exhaustive Incarnation" is especially worth mentioning as it's angle has been fixed (remember how it was sideways when posted on Facebook originally?) As for the concert videos, those were quietly uploaded on Halloween, as filmed by an attendee when Pillory opened for Norilsk at The Oddfellows Hall on October 28th, so what should you know on them?

The videos feature Pillory playing their originals "The Passing" and, as embedded below, "Abhorred Apprehension", but the video quality of these leaves something to be desired. The audio is alright, but the picture is grainy, the venue lighting gives odd tints with this camera, and the filmer switches from portrait to landscape view during the songs (halfway through the former, a minute into the latter.) Still, it's nice to see some new Pillory live footage, and the audio works, so give these a look above & below!

Also today, here's a new video from Sault Michigan classical metal band Theatre of Night's YouTube channel, that being a rough draft of a new original song named "Break Down These Walls". Uniquely filmed at a top-down angle with only Craig Harrison's hands showing (and shot in black and white), the song is apparently "about those you are trying so hard to help", so I'd have to assume there's a personal meaning here. The song (so far) is somewhat morose, yet also orchestral, and it's true to that side of Theatre of Night, so check it out below!

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

  • Sault Michigan concert promoters Allstar Promotions asked on their Facebook page yesterday what people thought of Orlando hard rock quartet Alter Bridge, best known for hit songs like "Isolation", "Open Your Eyes", and "Rise Today". They didn't firmly say if they were considering booking Alter Bridge for a show here or not, but it'd be huge if they did, so comment above if you're interested in voicing support! For reference, Alter Bridge are playing a couple of midwestern U.S. gigs in May.
  • Former Fitswitch/Sense of Truth bassist Curtis Beauchamp is looking for a singer for a new metal band that he's working on, and they play heavier stuff than we've previously seen him in, like All That Remains, Children of Bodom, and Trivium. It's great to see Curtis back in the scene, but if you're interested in trying out on vocals, message him at this link or via his Musicians Wanted Facebook group post from yesterday!
  • Shaw TV Sault Ste. Marie will premiere a new series TONIGHT at 9:00 PM called On Stage, which is intended to be a weekly series featuring full local concert performances. The premiere episode will feature The Din's CD release concert at The Tech on August 12th with openers Gnaeus, so if you're wondering what would become of Christian Lemay's full footage of that event, here's your answer. Ironically, the premiere comes during tonight's January Jam at The Canadian (which both The Din & Gnaeus are playing, and I'm attending), so I can't watch the premiere live, but I'll try and tape it so I can give it a review!

That's all for today, but again, I'll see you guys at The Canadian TONIGHT! Thanks everyone!

Friday, January 20, 2017

New Karstens Videos, A New Solo Cover Video, And Much More!!

Today's news post continues our recent increase in Sault Michigan-area coverage, so make that 6 posts in 10 to touch on at least 50% E.U.P. stories! Along with lots of assorted news stories and a new cover video, we have lots of new videos from a recent band discovery, so here's what you should know!

Though still lacking a formal band page, newer Sault Michigan alt-metal group The Karstens have launched their own YouTube channel! Already five videos strong and including our first public glance at original material, it's great to get so much new material so soon, but what's here? The channel includes a cover of The Animals' "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place" live at Pickles Bar & Grill in Brimley (from the same filmer of their earlier Flipper cover), a guitar-less audio recording of their original "Indian Money", and this amusing clip showcasing The Karstens working "behind the scenes" of music video shoots. Yes, I meant music videos, as they have two posted there, namely "Indian Money" in full, and as embedded below, "Dissatisfaction". The former contrasts the slower & more deliberate song with a light, tongue-in-cheek video featuring the band happily playing instruments in & outdoors, and even tracking a song with a joystick?!

As for "Dissatisfaction", it's more of a lo-fi original (the band jokingly noted that it was "recorded with a potato") and features the core three members playing outside in various locales, even if not always seemingly to the track in question, though this video's filming was the source of the "behind the scenes" clip. The Karstens' originals (as presented here, at least) lack the spontaniety and aggression of their live covers, but they're a nice change of pace and a welcome addition to the Sault Michigan-area scene, so give their new YouTube videos a look above & below!

Next up, here's the newest solo guitar cover video from Stegadeth guitarist Tiffany Stocco's YouTube channel! A cover of "Fate" by SNFU (who she has opened for with Jack Spades), the cover is visibly well performed, but the audio quality isn't great, with her playing sounding tinny through this camera. Check out Tiffany's newest cover below, and don't miss Stegadeth TOMORROW NIGHT at Live705's January Jam at The Canadian!

Finally for today, here's six assorted shorter news items from the last while, half from Sault Ontario and half from Sault Michigan! As usual, these are in alphabetical order by artist, event, or company name:

  • Local doom metal trio AlgomA acknowledged on their Facebook page on New Year's Day that their upcoming split vinyl EP with Hooded Menace has been delayed, and while they didn't elaborate on why, they did note that "2017 is going to be savage." The status also plugged an article by the metal website No Clean Singing that same day where contributor "Islander" praised the cover art and the teased songs so far, and it's worth a look in the meantime!
  • Inactive Strongs, Michigan metal solo project East Branch is back in our band links! Their Facebook page was quietly de-activated in late 2014, but it was restored and made public again earlier this month, complete with a new post linking to a song posted on YouTube in January of that year. As a result, that's not truly a "new" update, so they'll stay in our inactive band links for now, but might J.R. have some new music up his sleeves? Stay tuned!
  • In a minor update to our links section, we have changed the link for local music instruments/lessons store Grooves Music from their website (whose domain name has expired) to their Facebook page. Grooves is the only music instruments store in Sault Michigan, and one of few places there that carry local musicians' CDs, so don't miss it at 540 Ashmun Street! Also, note that Tantrym Tyme's Jacob Hotlen is teaching guitar there again.
  • Local classic/hard rock cover quartet Highway 63 clarified their break from the stage this month on their Facebook page last week, with frontman Henry Switzer (I believe) noting that the break is to allow him to heal up from a heart infarction that he had a few weeks ago. This is the first we've heard about it, but his health comes first, so hopefully he rests up and comes back even stronger next month!
  • Gates of Winter bassist Steve Furgiuele is featured in this new SooToday article by Darren Taylor about his growing culinary career and current work in Edmonton as owner of his own cured meat company Fuge Fine Meat. The article also briefly mentions his Gates of Winter work, noting that he and his wife Mariana first met because she was a Gates fan. Great read, and it's awesome to see that Steve has found so much personal success! For what it's worth, he's quoted there noting that he was in Gates of Winter. Does the past tense mean anything?
  • A third annual chili cook-off in support of the Ride For Sight blindness charity motorcycle rally will be held at The Garden River Community Centre on February 25th, but this year, Stiffler's Mom will not be the evening's musical performers for the first time. Instead, singer/drummer Greg Simpson's country cover band Bone Yard will step in, but at least Greg is still playing, and hopefully Bone Yard keep things hot like the chili next month! For reference, Redundant frontman Justin Langlois & his wife Monique are back this year among the competitors.

That's all for today, but in case there's not a new post tomorrow, we'll see you guys at The Canadian for The January Jam! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Mourning Wood & The 3 Day Millionaires) And Weekend Concert Previews!!

(Updated at 8:17 PM) Another weekend of concerts is nigh, so let's tackle that on this Thursday afternoon! Nothing in Sault Michigan on the hard rock side that we've heard about, but there's a nice amount in Sault Ontario, so let's kick things off with SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS!!

Local classic/hard rock cover quartet Mourning Wood will hit the stage for the first time this year with shows at The Esquire Club TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, we only heard about the shows via drummer Glen Thomas' personal Facebook page earlier this week, and the band has yet to acknowledge them publically. Fresh off of an extended week-long run at Reggie's Place by their new country rock side project The Jukebox Junkies (Glen & Terry alongside Lucky 13's Robin Lee), this will mark Mourning Wood's return to The Esquire Club after three months away from the Second Line West venue, though with guitarist Steven Flint on vacation, Robin will fill in on guitar, with our source for that info again being Glen's personal Facebook page.

Members have been busy in recent weeks with side projects (including Nameus/Soundcheck), but it's good to see that Mourning Wood proper are still alive and kicking, despite the lack of public notice for these gigs, not to mention Steven's absence, but don't miss out TOMORROW and/or SATURDAY! As usual for Mourning Wood dates in the area, expect 10:00 PM-ish start times, no announced cover charges, and 19+ age limits. For more details, visit the above links, and here they are live last year!

Next up, fellow local classic/hard rock cover quartet The 3 Day Millionaires will play their first show of 2017 when they return to The Rockstar Bar THIS SATURDAY NIGHT! Apologies again for the short notice, the show was only announced earlier this week via the official Facebook event page. A one nighter due to (or resulting in) tomorrow's show by classic rock veterans Obsession, this will mark The Millionaires' first show since rocking the same venue for their New Year's Eve party. This talented quartet should be in fine form to kick off the new year, so don't miss this union of Havadder, Cleveland Steamer, Sneaky Pete, and Wishbone alumni on SATURDAY! As usual for their frequent Rockstar Bar gigs, look for a 10:30 PM start time, no announced cover charge, and a 19+ age limit. See the above links for more details, and here's The 3 Day Millionaires' current lineup last fall!

Moving to previously announced concerts, prolific local singer/guitarist Tym Morrison returns to Gliss Steak & Seafood for three more solo acoustic shows in his long-term run there TOMORROW and SATURDAY! One week removed from a two-date weekend at Gliss (he got the night off on Thursday the 12th, apologies for missing that), Tym will again not be playing tonight for a second straight week, as per his personal Facebook page. Still, he should be ready and primed for another weekend of acoustic hard rock covers at The Quality Inn's house restaurant, so don't miss out on these next two matinees! As usual for Tym's lengthy arrangement at Gliss, expect 6:00 PM start times each night, no announced cover charges, and no age limits, but remember that this is a sit-down restaurant, not a typical nightclub or bar. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page, and for a preview, here's Tym live!

Finally for this weekend's known concert previews is the first big multi-band hard rock/punk show of 2017, as Live705 are hosting their second ever concert THIS SATURDAY NIGHT at The Canadian Nightclub! Now entitled "The January Jam", this show will unite 5 local bands and 1 local-featured out of town act for a night of varied original talent, much in the same vein as Live705's debut show in November, but who all is playing? In listed order on the Facebook event page (a performance order isn't public yet), bands will include local post-punk quartet Gnaeus, alternative hard rock trio The Din, Live705's flagship alt-punk quartet A Dire Setback, new acoustic/indie trio The Autumn Roots, and new punk/metal trio Stegadeth, while former local punk/alternative bassist Nathan Bouliane will bring his Ottawa electronic project Sleepwellcity home for the first time on Saturday as well. Strong lineup, including four punk or hard rock acts, so don't bypass this one!

Note that the show was moved from The Oddfellows Hall last month, presumably following A Dire Setback's well received set at The Canadian's YouTube party, while an earlier posting on A.D.S.' Facebook page noting that they were playing "pending the condition" of singer Larry Babic has had no public follow-through, so unless something new is said, don't worry. Tickets are $8 in advance at Case's Music, The Rad Zone, or through band members, while admission will jump to $10 at the door. This is a 19+ event, and doors open at 8:00 PM. For more details on what should be a great night of local music action, check the above links, and here's Gnaeus live last year!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes in the coming days! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

This Month's Poll On Your Favourite New Bands Of 2016!!

After a few months' hiatus due to declining vote totals, our monthly polls are back! Well, for at least a few months, as I promised to bring them back for our "favourite _____ of the year" polls, as has been an annual tradition around here, so we'll kick off the (temporary?) return of our polls with this question: What was your favourite new local metal, hard rock, or punk band of 2016? Last year saw a sizable number of new additions to our full coverage, even if many are still going without an online page or website, and it's always interesting to see which new band comes out with the most year-end support! With that said, to be included as a choice, the band had to both debut publically AND play their first show in the 2016 calendar year. This excludes bands like Exploring Detritus (the former Kaepora Gaebora launched in 2015), Stoned Ape Evolution (who played live as early as 2014), and Kraken Mara (who have yet to play live at all), but you can vote for "Other"!!

And as usual, I ask that readers and performers not stuff the vote or launch public campaigns to drive up the tallies in favour of any specific band, as I don't intend for these polls to be popularity contests, and I hope to see something or a representative sample reflected in the totals. Now, here are your final 12 choices in the poll (plus "Other"!)

A Dire Setback: Launching alongside their own promotion agency Live705 last fall, punk quartet A Dire Setback immediately made a big impression with their self-promoted Oddfellows Hall concert in November, which they've followed with more big sets since, the next coming this Saturday! With A Fall From Innocence and State of Misery alumni within, are your A.D.S your favourite new band?

The Band Camp Rejects: A surprise debuting band at The Rednecks Saloon's relaunch party in the spring, this online page-less quartet succeeded Under The Influence to become a fan favourite sight at Toystock, Ride For ARCH, and even a solo concert or two later in the year. Featuring alumni of Mourning Wood, Havadder, and The Issues, have The Band Camp Rejects outshone other 2016 newcomers?

Bizotic: The latest to debut on stage among this month's choices, this creative quartet brought a trumpet & keytar to the fray when they opened for The OM Sound at The New American Pub on December 30th. Bizotic's experimental but heavy sound is brought to life by alumni of No Arrow, Gates of Winter, and Sounds From The Green Room, but is one show enough to put them over here?

Electric Church: This modern tribute to classic rock (Jimi Hendrix in particular) first entered our radar when they opened for The Pixo Control at last year's Sky's The Limit mental health fundraiser, and later returned to the public stage at Live705's inaugural concert. Though Electric Church are also sans a known online page, they have made positive waves since debuting, but are you among them?

Gianni Gagoots: Another very creative new band, Gianni Gagoots debuted at The New American Pub last summer when their instrumental punk and funk rock jams opened for Cocaine Moustache, and they've since followed up with more creative, conga-infused concerts that always promise something new! Featuring Redefined, Rising Tide, and Sailor's Tongue alumni, will the Gagoots win your vote?

Heavy Head: This sporadically seen quartet are definitely something of a local supergroup, with Suicide Kings, Haggith, and Winkstinger alumni uniting to play hard and pop rock covers and originals at a handful of notable concerts in early-mid 2016. Despite a mixed reception to their VM Radio Battle of the Bands set, they have loads of potential, but were they your #1 new band?

The Karstens: One of last year's more promising new heavier bands in the Sault Michigan area, online page-less quartet The Karstens were notably seen at last year's Bay Mills Bands Together fundraiser and Downtown Days, plus a well received Back Bay Grill set in between. Their Buckethead-influenced covers and unique approach are served well, but would you vote for them?

Nameus/Soundcheck: Listed under two names due to their January name change to Soundcheck, this Mourning Wood side project reunited Carbon Black's Travis Sharpe and Terry Eaton last fall in a new classic/hard rock cover act that notably pays tribute to the 1980s. No online pages or media yet from this band (or the similar new side-act The Jukebox Junkies), but did they impress you the most?

Project 906: Arguably the most visible of last year's freshman hard rock crop in Sault Michigan, Ten Kings successors Project 906 have delivered a blend of hard rock and blues to fans across the E.U.P. since debuting last March, playing many rarely covered venues in the process. Their chemistry and talents are very clear, but were they your favourite new local hard rock band of the year?

Stegadeth: Belated successors to local punk/metal favourites T-Rex Manning (and Pools of Booze), this power trio debuted at last fall's Live705 local show, and have since became a promising sight in the local scene with their hard hitting covers and one original! Also featuring Jack Spades and Stereo North alumni, fans have taken to Stegadeth in recent months, but are you among them in this poll?

The 3 Day Millionaires: Debuting in early 2016 as a Havadder side project, The 3 Day Millionaires have since carved out a nice spot for themselves in the cover bands circuit locally with their classic & hard rock renditions reliably getting a solid reception! With Turner Up, Lucky 13, Boxcar Junction, and Sneaky Pete alumni, you know the talent's there, but do The Millionaires have your vote?

Twistory: Last year's new entry in the two man metal band sweepstakes, Twistory united former Pillory bandmates Josh Amendola and Robert Sartini into a hard hitting minimalist death metal outfit, notably playing at last year's two Metal Massacre house parties before opening for Foam in June. Twistory haven't been seen since, and don't have an online page, but did you enjoy them the most?

Other: Did we miss a band you'd rather vote for? Perhaps your favourite new band of 2016 was a non-metal or hard rock band? Was there a debuting band that we forgot entirely? Would you count the former Kaepora Gaebora despite their public launch coming in 2015? If, for whatever readon, your preferred choice isn't listed above, vote for "Other"!

VOTE TODAY!! You guys have until February 18th (as usual) to cast your ballots, and hopefully the return of our polls can get higher results after our polls' hiatus, which the vote total drop indicated was very much needed. The poll widget is in the top left of the SMS main page, so vote A.S.A.P., and stay tuned for more news and concert previews soon! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Rudyard Musicians Festival Videos, Plus More From Sault Ontario!!

Before we kick things off, I wanted to acknowledge that the Sault Music News Letter Facebook page (a blues/classic rock-leaning concert calendar source) advertised a Havadder concert on December 26th at The Rockstar Bar. Neither the band nor venue ever plugged such a show, and I doubt it occurred, but if we somehow missed it, our apologies! Now, this is our 5th post in the last 7 where most content comes from the Sault Michigan area, with videos from a recent concert leading off, but we also have some new clips from this side to round things out! Now, here's what you need to know!

Remember how Rudyard, Michigan hosted a Musicians Festival at the Rudyard Township Park in August? Well, videos from the first annual event went online via their Facebook page last fall, and we only just came across them! Uploaded by an uncredited attendee, the videos (15 total, plus 2 repeated videos) confirm that the visibly well-attended festival was held indoors in a barn-styled building on the park grounds, and the performers even had a smoke machine to work with, which is a nice touch! This show was one of many recent multi-band E.U.P. events that had a lineup full of bands with minimal to zero online pages or media, but most were filmed for the channel, including the likes of Bob & Robert Malaski, Denny Verrett, Jimmy Williams, Hayley Malaska, and Traverse City's Neighbourhood Dogs, though the other videos are uncredited and often hard to discern given the portrait orientation and distance in some. That said, almost all of these videos are of country music covers, with the exception of The Neighbourhood Dogs (experimental), Hayley Malaska (pop), and the two videos below!

One video is our first public video glance at masked local metal band Stoned Ape Evolution, whose video sees them covering Megadeth's "Sweating Bullets". Musically, they sound good, especially on guitar, but the spoken word-heavy vocals don't give me enough of a gauge as to the singer's ability, though he does almost death growl at times. Perhaps the portrait orientation and smoke help continue the mystery about their identity and full sound, and it'll be interesting to see what Stoned Ape Evolution have in store for 2017, as they have promise! Give their video a look below!

The other heavier video from the Rudyard Musicians Festival page is of local hard/blues rock cover quartet Project 906 covering The Black Crowes' "Hard to Handle". Sadly on the same orientation from a further distance, the guys still sound good, and Billy Bernier sounds really good on vocals for this track! There seemed to be some timing issues late though. Check out Project 906's video below, see more of the festival's talented acts above, and click here for details on next month's initial meeting on this year's installment! And yes, the Rudyard Musicians Festival is now in our Sault Michigan festival links!

Also, here's some new Facebook videos from a pair of Sault Ontario bands, starting with a new clip from local hard rockers Skeyes of Seven! Posted to their Facebook page last week, this is of the guys covering "From Can To Can't", a Corey Taylor-sung track from the "Real to Reel" soundtrack of Dave Grohl's documentary Sound City. The video is filmed on a handicam held by frontman Cory Murchison during the performance, which isn't in full, but the band promised a commenting fan that it would be posted in full in the future in some form. Similarly to the band's quiet reveal of new guitarist Kyle Sweet last fall (who wasn't publically confirmed as a new member for months), this video features a drummer in studio that isn't identified by name. I don't know if he's a new band member or not, as guitarist Ron Baxter told me they were still looking for one after this video went online, but if we get any clarification, we'll let you know!

It's great to see a new video of Skeyes of Seven with a live drummer (permanent or not) for the first time since 2014, and with the songs from their yet-released debut EP now available to stream, hopefully a return to the stage will be close at hand too! The guys sound good on the cover too, tight and heavy, though it's a shame the video doesn't run beyond 90 seconds. Give it a look below, and see more from Skeyes of Seven at the above links, and stay tuned for updates!

Finally, local thrash/death metal trio Pillory reemerged for the first time in 2 months with three new videos on their Facebook page over the past day or so! Each is of Pillory playing an original song from a recent jam session, including this video where the camera slowly tilts it's position upward mid-song (bassist Jordan Leach fixes it), and this video which focuses on drummer Bret Shuttleworth in action, but it's sadly uploaded sideways. I know the introduction (Jordan drinking Coca Cola Life) needs the portrait orientation, but nothing else does, why not fix the angle? Embedded below is Pillory playing their song "The Passing", though like the first video, the camera angle goes awry again, this time by completely falling onto the floor late, though there's only 35 seconds left in the video anyway. Pillory sound nice and brutal in these videos, even if the camera positions aren't always ideal, so check out their newest death metal onslaughts above & below!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for much more on the site next week! Thanks everyone!

Friday, January 13, 2017

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Peril & Scarkazm), A New Band, And Friday The 13th New Music On Werehold Records (Part 11!!)

Three of our last five posts had at least half Sault Michigan content, and we're doubling down with a fully American post on this Friday the 13th! Hopefully the date's not a bad omen. Below, you'll find the newest content from a local metal label, and some video discoveries of a newer local band, but first, here's some LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS for mid-2017!

Following up on their first gigs of 2017 TONIGHT & TOMORROW in St. Ignace, comment replies on this photo of veteran Traverse City classic metal trio Peril have confirmed some new gigs from both them and their sister metal band Scarkazm for later this year! Typically, I don't condense separate new show announcements into one paragraph, but given Peril & Scarkazm's shared band members and the fact that only one weekend from each was confirmed (in the same post, no less), a combined feature in this instance was appropriate. First, Scarkazm will hit the E.U.P. for the first time this year with rare stops at The Rapids Lounge at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino on Friday, May 21st & Saturday, May 22nd, so keep those in mind for some hard hitting metal action! Meanwhile, Peril will play at the Soo Kewadin for the first times this year on Friday, June 16th & Saturday, June 17th.

If you can't make Peril's St. Ignace shows this weekend or in March, here are your presumable next chances, so circle mid-June on your calendars! Both Scarkazm & Peril's May/June weekends have 9:00 PM start times, 21+ age limits, and no announced cover charges, as usual. It's great to see both of Jeff & Adam's bands powering into 2017 with some more gigs for Yooper fans, so check the above links for full details on these and other currently announced dates in our area!

Next up, you may be familiar from our coverage of some recent multi-band events in the Sault Michigan area that bands without an online presence have been a fairly common sight, so unless you see them live, find a fan video, or find personal account references, they'll be something of a mystery. One such band was The Karstens, who played the Bay Mills Bands Together fundraiser concert in Brimley last May, and other than my assumption that they were a family band (given the name), I had nothing on them. However, a fan named Bubby Frasier got a hold of me online over the last few days, noting positive word of mouth and concert appearances through August of last year for The Karstens, and asked if I had any extra info on them. Between the two of us, we tracked down videos on two YouTube channels of them, and some personal Facebook postings, so here's what I've got. As it turns out, The Karstens are very much a fit for our coverage, and they'd be in our links if they had an online page!

Visibly a quartet (though occasionally seen as a three-piece), I can't confirm the band's full lineup or instrument roles, but one personal Facebook posting suggested that two band members were named Paul LeBlanc and Raymond Kavo. Neither are familiar from our past coverage of the E.U.P., but the band looks relatively young. YouTube users Wabaanimkii and racosun have uploaded 3 and 2 videos respectively from both a jam session and concerts in Brimley and Sault Ste. Marie between April & August 2016, so how do they sound? Musically, I'd call them experimental or alternative metal, and if you like Buckethead, you'll definitely want to take notice, as they cover The Deli Creeps' "Bend Up", "Shadows", and (as embedded below) "Can I Have A Ride" in three videos, plus Buckethead's "The Way To Heaven". That video segues into a cover of Flipper's "Sacrifice", which is covered in full at this link too. Huge kudos to The Karstens for playing some stuff you don't typically see covered in the area, especially in Sault Michigan!

In case you missed The Karstens at Bay Mills Bands Together, their Back Bay Grill & Games show, or Downtown Days in August (apologies for missing the latter two for coverage here), then look for well played if avant garde covers, with the singer/drummer's distinctive deep voice and strong guitar among The Karstens' highlights! They could be a little more animated on stage, but assuming they're still active (I've read nothing new referencing them since August), they have a bright future! Check out much more from The Karstens above & below, and hopefully more turns up! Thanks again to Bubby for his help in getting the above information!

Finally for today, it is Friday the 13th, which means that local independent metal label Werehold Records is back for their eighth Friday the 13th new music posting event! However, this year's only features two new songs for a second straight 13th, and in this case, both songs come from the same band, Werehold's flagship metal project Life's Eclipse. Both dated to the late 1990s, presumably for their initial inception and original recording dates, the songs are entitled "Perihelion" (no relation to the long-gestating Gates of Winter album), and as embedded below, "Pathway". The former is a little drum heavy and scratchy in sound, but "Pathway" is a ripping, fast-paced number that groove metal fans will appreciate, and if there are ever plans to complete these songs with vocals, that will be a highlight! It's just a shame that the Friday the 13th new music events are continuing their steady decline in number that followed their nine song event in June 2014, including skipping November 2015 entirely.

Werehold Records has been a reliable sight for original metal action in the E.U.P., if not live concert acts, and I hope that Jason and company can beef up activity and content in the near future, especially with another Friday the 13th coming up in October! It will be the Halloween season, so there's no better month to go big. Check out "Pathway" below, and see more from Werehold Records above!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes this weekend! Thanks everyone!