Sunday, May 19, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Drowning Pool), Dopethrone Concert Preview, And Much More!!

Before everyone celebrates Victoria Day, here's a new news post for this late Sunday night, and it includes some assorted recent updates, a musician search from a local guitarist, and a special Monday night show preview, but first, here's a big LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for later this summer!

Dallas metal quartet Drowning Pool will make their local concert debut on Friday, August 2nd when they rock The Dreammaker's Theater at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino! A platinum selling band best known from rock radio hits like "Step Up", "37 Stitches", "Feel Like I Do", and (of course) "Bodies", this fan favourite band has over a decade's worth of familiar tunes to bring to the table, and whether you liked their material with Dave, Gong, Ryan, or Jasen, you should get your fill of Drowning Pool later this summer! Los Angeles blues/hard rock quartet Joyous Wolf will bring their retro-tinged sound to the Soo as the opening band, and with their new EP "Place In Time" now on sale, they should impress with their well-influenced and catchy brand of music in August as well! Tickets for this all ages, 7:00 PM concert are $20, and interestingly, this show is standing room only with no assigned seating. No, this event is not publically tied to Allstar Promotions.

It is worth noting that if you buy tickets for the next night's Pop Evil/Buckcherry outdoor concert at the Sault Kewadin, you can knock $5 off of your Drowning Pool ticket as part of a bundle deal for both concerts, but whether that interests you or not, you can buy tickets at this link, at the in-person box office, or at 1-800-KEWADIN. This should be a fun concert in it's own right, especially in the lead up to Pop Evil for this stacked concert weekend, so check the above links for much more details!

Next up, here's our preview of a special Victoria Day concert TOMORROW NIGHT, as Montreal "slutch metal" quartet Dopethrone will make their Sault Ontario concert debut at The New American Pub! Fans of slow, grinding, and sludgy metal should easily take to Dopethrone's blend of doom and stoner metal, and in this stop on their Trans Canadian Tour, expect a pounding of brutal and deliberately paced original material from this prolific band at The New A! Support will include the return of both halves of the "Trading Spaces" split cassette tape from October 2017, including local/St. Catharine's grindcore trio Shit Liver in their first live appearance back home in over a year. Their intense, fast-paced hybrid of death metal and crust punk should prove to be a fitting compliment in this doom metal doubleheader, so don't miss Josh, Mike, and Matt tomorrow either! Joining them are local doom/sludge metal trio AlgomA, ending a 19 month hiatus dating back to the aforementioned split tape's release party at the same venue.

After missing all of 2018 from the local stage, it's awesome to see AlgomA back at it, and hopefully they set the tone well with their own well-traveled doom and sludge metal attack! Presented by AlgomA's own Six, Two, Oh., tomorrow's 19+ show has a $10 cover charge and a 9:00 PM start time. Despite the holiday timing, this is a school/work night for many, but if you can make it to The New A, the sludge metal onslaught should be worth the trip, so visit the official Facebook event page and this commercial for full details, and here's Dopethrone live!

Also today, here's a musician search that might pique some readers' interest, courtesy of the Musicians Wanted Facebook group on May 9th! On that day, a local metal guitarist named Shane Desjardins posted to say that he was looking to jam with other metal musicians and perhaps write some material. He shared this video of an instrumental deathcore original he recorded back in 2017 for his YouTube channel, and while I'm not familiar with him musically at all, he actually has nine solo instrumental recordings there (8 originals, plus one cover of The Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black", believe it or not), as well as three solo cover videos. Shane has a lot of positive responses and subscribers already, and he definitely has talent in deathcore and extreme metal music, but could a local band with him on board result from the above musician search? Contact him at this link for more details, and give his existing videos a look above & below to see what he offers!

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

  • The pre-ride party for this year's Algoma Ride For Autism will take place at The Canadian Nightclub on Friday, June 14th, as per it's Facebook event page. The pre-motorcycle rally festivities will include raffle draws and live music, and while bands have not been publically confirmed, remember that punk trio Redundant and/or frontman Justin Langlois have played A.R.4.A.-related events in each of the last 5 years. If they or other hard rock/punk acts sign on for this year's rally, we'll let you know!
  • After only posting twice (on the same day) on their Facebook page since November 2017, and letting it close earlier this year, local rap/party metal band The Apocalypse Afterparty posted on their revived page last week. In a shared post, "songwriter" Amanda Stanghetta (nee Brown) indicated that they're looking for a jam space (with or without a drumkit) to rehearse at in Toronto between this coming weekend and June 11th. Making the most of a trip, or are they relocating south? In any event, The Apocalypse Afterparty are back in our active band links, so stay tuned!
  • Local/Thompson, Manitoba hard rock musician Mike Haggith announced on his Facebook page on Wednesday that he is planning to remaster his 2014 solo album "A Place Of Our Own" for a digital re-release on current platforms, while also giving a longer description of the album's themes. As this is a remaster with no brand new content, I won't re-review the final product on here (visit this link for our original review), but hopefully this finds it's way on sale where "Neighbourhood Watch Revisited" did not!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes on the site as the week rolls along! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Last Month's Poll Results & Our Final Poll On Your Favourite Concerts Of 2018!!

It's now time to wrap up last month's poll and launch our final "favourite _____ of 2018" poll for another year! As you may recall, we posed this question to you guys last month: What was your favourite local metal, hard rock, or punk concert in the second half of 2018? Sadly, we only got 10 votes, but that is surprisingly over double our total from it's matching poll from the first half of last year, so thanks to everyone for getting that much higher numbers! Now, here are the final results!

Rivers of Nihil & Alterbeast at The Rockstar Bar on July 6th (4 votes, 40%)
Oh!No II at Robbie's Church in Leeburn on September 8th (3 votes, 30%)
The Gabba Heys at LopLops Lounge on September 22nd (2 votes, 20%)
The Din & A Dire Setback at LopLops Lounge on July 21st (1 vote, 10%)
Treble Charger at Rotaryfest Stage 1 on July 20th (0 votes)
Id Iota & Great Chamberlain at LopLops Lounge on July 20th (0 votes)
The Costanzas & Stegadeth at The Rockstar Bar on August 4th (0 votes)
Ten Foot Pole at The Rockstar Bar on October 25th (0 votes)
Halloween Party #1 at The Rockstar Bar on October 27th (0 votes)
Halloween Party #2 at The Rockstar Bar on October 28th (0 votes)
Shit Liver at The New American Pub on November 22nd (0 votes)
Parabol & The Elements at The Rockstar Bar on December 14th (0 votes)
The Cover-Up at LopLops Lounge on December 21st (0 votes)
Northwest & K.I.C.K. at LopLops Lounge on December 22nd (0 votes)
Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide at LopLops on December 28th (0 votes)
Other (0 votes)

What do you guys think? Well, for the non-voted shows (almost all in the last quartet of 2018), I am most surprised that the Treble Charger-headlined Rotaryfest lineup didn't get any attention, same for Shit Liver's New A show in November, but it's all in who votes! At least "Other" didn't get any votes. The Din's high profile reunion show last July got a vote, which is great to see and helps validate their talent and recognition locally, while the Gabba Heys concert made the podium with two votes, which is mildly surprising, but it's always an event when Mikey comes home to front one of his bands! The second annual Oh!No festival got a good vote total as expected, finishing in second place, and after that huge lineup and fan-friendly camaraderie, how could it not? However, the winner of the half-year poll was the Rivers of Nihil-headlined concert in July at The Rockstar Bar, which speaks to how brutal and entertaining that death metal blast was just after our 11th anniversary, and here's hoping more big shows are in the works from Live705! Maybe Rivers of Nihil will return down the line?

Thanks to everyone for voting, but now we enter our final year-end poll from last year by posing this question to you guys: What was your favourite local metal, hard rock, or punk concert of 2018? As always, we combine the vote getters from last July's poll on the first half of 2018 with those that recieved votes in the second-half poll above, in order to determine a winner for the whole year. If a show you would prefer to vote for isn't listed below, you should have voted in the prior polls! That said, "Other" is an option as usual. Now, here are your final choices from all of 2018!

Bands: Big Wreck & Attica Riots
Venue: The Machine Shop
Date: February 13th
Over 16 years after last rocking Sault Ste. Marie, Juno Award-winning Toronto/Boston hard rock band Big Wreck returned for a well attended and received headlining show at The Machine Shop last February, with Winnipeg alt-rockers Attica Riots along for the ride! The Ian Thornley-led group brought fans back to the 1990s by playing their entire "In Loving Memory Of..." album on this winter night, and fan response was very positive, but can you vouch for this concert?

Bands: Archelon, Jack Spades, Doors & Fours, and Re:Born
Venue: The Rockstar Bar
March 10th
The first promoted concert of the year from J.D. Pearce saw Sudbury metal quartet Archelon  play their first local set in over 3 years, alongside Hamilton grunge/punk trio Doors & Fours, and the 2018 debuts of local punk/metal favourites Jack Spades and Project 421-successors Re:Born, who impressed early fans with their power rock covers and originals. Despite medium attendance, fans at The Rockstar Bar responded well to this four pack, but would you pick it in this poll?

Bands: I Mother Earth, Finger Eleven, and J.J. Thompson
Venue: The Machine Shop
Date: April 18th
Just when you thought the Big Wreck concert was a big deal, The Machine Shop played host to I Mother Earth and Finger Eleven on April 18th for a massive night of hits from these Juno-winning hard rock standouts! Alongside their own sets, fans were also treated to two joint sets from the headliners, including a V.I.P. acoustic pre-show and a plugged-in encore, ensuring that fans got their money's worth from this major package! Would you vote for this concert?

Bands: Rivers of Nihil, Alterbeast, Inferi, and Pillory
Venue: The Rockstar Bar
Date: July 6th
One of the heaviest shows of last year saw a trifecta of American death metal bands make their way to The Rockstar Bar in 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
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: The Din & A Dire Setback
Venue: LopLops Lounge
July 21st
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 2019 show featured here?

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
Local promoters 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
September 22nd
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? 

Other: Did we miss a preferred concert that you saw locally last year? For reference, metal, hard rock, or punk artists like All The Wasted Years, The Bananas Guerrillas, The Bear Hunters, Carried Away, Chase Wigmore, Coral Fang, The Costanzas, Crucify the Whore, Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide, Electric Church, The Elements, The Faps, Fluid 5ive, Frightlight, Handsome Sandwich, Id Iota, James Watterworth, Northwest, Parabol, Poison Girl, Redundant, Shit Liver, Soundcheck, Stegadeth, The Steves, The Suicide Kings, Ten Foot Pole, That's Chester, The Therapists, The 3 Day Millionaires, The Truth Of All Death, Tym Morrison, Who Made Who, Whoop-Szo, 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 have until June 18th to cast your votes, and hopefully we get a decent turnout to wrap up another year of polls with, as a lot of good shows happened in the area last year! That's all for today, but stay tuned for a new news post tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Friday, May 17, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Peril, 415E, Highway 63, And Soundcheck!!)

Today's post is fully devoted to LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS for the coming months, via two long-term concert announcement sources, and while these are mostly in the E.U.P., we will cap things off with some Sault Ontario shows. With all of that said, here's what you should know!

As part of their newly renovated website and changed URLs for their Sault Michigan and St. Ignace branches' entertainment pages (links on the site are sufficiently updated), the concert calendars for Kewadin Casino's local lounges have been announced through the end of the year, and while most of the confirmed acts fall out of our verified metal/hard rock range, three bands have new show confirmations from one/both lounges. In rough chronological order, we'll start with Traverse City classic metal trio Peril, who now have show listings from Kewadin proper to match sister band Scarkazm's 2019 slate! At The Rapids Lounge in the Soo, fans can see Peril's old school attack on May 31st & June 1st, but their remaining new weekends are all at The Northern Pines Lounge in St. Ignace, where you can see Jeff, Adam, and Brooks in action on July 5th & 6th and the 26th & 27th (yes, four shows in the same month), plus on September 13th & 14th and on November 8th & 9th.

Nice to see Peril returning north of the Mac for another nice selection of concerts this year, and of course, they'll be back there in two weeks, so don't miss their hard rocking covers then and beyond! As usual, these are 9:00 PM events with no announced cover charges and 21+ age limits. See the above links for more details, and stay tuned for more from Peril & Scarkazm!

Next up, Sault Ste. Marie classic/hard rock quintet Highway 63 will return to the local & St. Ignace Kewadin lounges for six more concert weekends in 2019, including a slight date change to note for their next gigs at The Northern Pines Lounge, as their previously announced June 14th & 15th gigs there appear to have been moved up two weeks to June 28th & 29th. A reason for the shift wasn't announced, but for what it's worth, St. John's country group The Louie Longoria Band are now scheduled on the 14th & 15th. Keep the altered Highway 63 dates in mind for next month! Beyond those gigs, Highway 63 will play The Rapids Lounge in the Soo on July 19th & 20th and then on August 2nd & 3rd, before returning to the St. Ignace Kewadin for gigs on September 20th & 21st, October 25th & 26th, and December 6th & 7th. Notably, the July 19th-20th shows will be their first in the Soo since Russell Mayer replaced Justin Lawless behind the drumkit, so keep that angle in mind in advance of that weekend.

Like with the above Peril shows, these are 9:00 PM events with 21+ age limits and no announced cover charges. It's great to see Highway 63 ramping up bookings now that they've settled on their Mamas Boys hybrid lineup, and hopefully there's more in the pipeline from this fan favourite hard rock cover outfit, so check the above links for more details!

Lastly for new Kewadin Casino show announcements, sporadically seen local hard rock quartet 415E have a scant three shows listed for the remainder of 2019. In terms of the St. Ignace branch, fans can see Dave, Chris, Brett, and Jason rock The Northern Pines Lounge on July 12th & 13th in their first shows there since February, while they'll play their only 2019 Rapids Lounge date in Sault Ste. Marie at the last possible moment, as they'll be the featured band for the venue's New Year's Eve festivities on Tuesday, December 31st! I don't know why 415E have been so infrequently seen on stage since reuniting last fall, but if you don't want to miss out on their Van Halen-influenced cover attack, don't bypass their shows in July and December! As above, these are 21+ concerts with 9:00 PM start times and no announced cover charges. See the above links for more details if they come in!

Finally for today's post, let's head north to Sault Ontario, as we'll add more of local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck's concerts to our listings! These were all previously announced via this concert calendar on their Facebook page, but to spread things our and avoid an all-Soundcheck glut later in the year for our listings, I've been waiting until other bands got show announcements, so we'll go as far as the Cancer Bats show in September for now. To start, fans can check out the Mourning Wood successors at Reggie's West on August 16th & 17th, while they are also confirmed to return to The Esquire Club on August 22nd & 23rd, and then on September 6th & 7th. There are more to come deeper into the fall and winter, so stay tuned for confirmation on those and other gigs to be announced. Travis, Terry, Paul, and Glen should be up to their usual fan favourite tricks on these six nights, so look for them then at around 10:00 PM with 19+ age limits and no cover. See above for more details, and don't miss their next shows at The Reggievelt TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT!

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

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Victoria Day Weekend Concert Previews, Plus More News!!

It's now time to tackle another weekend of hard rock concert previews in the Soo! Possibly due to the Victoria Day/May 2-4 holiday weekend, the concert calendar is relatively quiet today, so to fill things out, we have some shorter news and notes from the past week at post's end. For reference, our preview of Monday night's Dopethrone concert at The New A will be coming in a separate news post this weekend to give it a timelier preview. Now, here's what you should know in rough chronological order!

We'll start with prolific local hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison's busy slate of acoustic concerts this weekend, as the former Caveman Morrison frontman will play his usual weekly matinees at Gliss Restaurant on Spring Street TOMORROW & SATURDAY, sandwiching a nighttime return to The Roadhouse Bar & Grill on Trunk Road TOMORROW NIGHT! Tym's schedule this weekend is effectively a reprise of his three bookings last week, which were at the same venues in the same timeslots, and while that's nothing new for his long-term Gliss arrangement, it's great to see east end fans get an encore this soon! His prolific setlist and long-established skill level should prove to be steady assets this weekend once again, so don't miss Tym's hard rocking covers at either venue! As usual, the Gliss shows are 6:00 PM events, the Roadhouse show is at 10:00 PM, and none have a cover charge. Visit the Facebook event pages linked here & here for more details, and here's Tym live!

Next up, local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck will return home for shows TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT at Reggie's West! After a road trip for private gig in Wawa last week, this veteran group will rock this popular Korah Road venue for their first shows there in three weeks (and thankfully, these were on their 2019 concert calendar.) It's great to see Terry, Travis, Paul, and Glen secure another weekend of hard rocking classic hits at a familiar locale, and expect more fan-friendly tunes tomorrow and/or Saturday there! As usual for Soundcheck's Reggievelt concert weekends, these are 10:00 PM bookings with no announced cover charges and a 19+ age limit. Visit the above links for more details, and here's Soundcheck live!

Lastly for currently known hard rock concert previews this weekend (Dopethrone on Monday excepted), we'll head to The Rapids Lounge at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino, as Traverse City metal trio Scarkazm will return to the E.U.P. for shows TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! It's been a 3 month+ wait for Saultite fans to check out Scarkazm's hard rocking attack on a local stage (not counting Peril's shows here in March), but Dave, Adam, and Jeff should be up to their usual tricks this weekend, so don't miss out if you can help it! For what it's worth, we will have more Kewadin Casino concert announcements at the Soo and St. Ignace branch lounges in the coming days, though Scarkazm are already known to be coming back to Sault Ste. Marie next month. As usual for their Kewadin concert weekends, both tomorrow's & Saturday's shows are 21+ events with no announced cover charges and 9:00 PM start times. Visit the official Facebook event pages linked here & here for more details, and here's Scarkazm live!

Finally for today, here's three assorted shorter news items from the last while, and as usual, thesea re in alphabetical order by artist or event name:

  • Sault Ontario alt-punk trio A Dire Setback announced on their Facebook page on Friday that recording sessions for their debut album were complete, and they're now waiting on the final mix before they send it off to be mastered. Very cool to hear, especially given their relative quietness in recent months, so stay tuned for more updates on it as they roll in!
  • Former Band Camp Rejects bassist Ryan Bell is looking for a drummer for his current band project, who are apparently comprised of "established players" playing "a wide range of music" from the 1960s-2000s, and would aspire to play live once every couple of months. I cannot confirm if this is related to the band he was searching for members for in 2017, or a new act entirely, but if you're interested in details, message Ryan at this link or via his Musicians Wanted Facebook group post from last week!
  • The second annual Soo's Got Talent competition will take place at The Verdi Hall (or the Grand Gardens Verdi Ballroom) on Queen Street West this fall, moving from the now-closed Tech, as per their Facebook page. The event proper will be held on Fridays from September 13th-27th, with the finals on October 11th, and audition dates & criteria to be announced. It's great to see The Soo's Got Talent back for a second year, and it'll be interesting to see who all competes this time around, so stay tuned for updates!

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

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (The Wyld Stallyns), Long & McQuade In Sault Ste. Marie, And Much More!!

Let's tackle a new news post on this Tuesday evening, which mostly reflects some big news regarding two of Sault Ontario's three music stores, but we also have some assorted shorter news and notes, and leading off, here's a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for later this month!

Local acoustic hard rock trio The Wyld Stallyns will return to The Whiskey Barrel on Gore Street for another night of "funktastic rock" on May 24th, a.k.a. next Friday!  After last playing there a couple of Fridays ago (apologies for erroneous plugs of a Tuesday nighter), the Elements side project will return to the former Konoba Tapas location for another night full of fan friendly, crowd participation-encouraged rock covers, with heavy stuff sure to be on offer within! It's great to see that Christina, Rob, and Jesse's unplugged show is going over well at this new downtown venue, and hopefully this is another hit for them next weekend! As was also the case at their last two Whiskey Barrel stops, next Friday's show has a 7:00 PM start time and no announced cover charge. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and stay tuned for more show announcements from The Wyld Stallyns when they roll in!

Next up, here's some big news concerning Sault Ontario's music instrument/gear stores, starting with the big announcement yesterday that Northland Music will become the local branch of the Long & McQuade music store chain this fall! As per a news release on their Facebook page, Northland has entered into an agreement with Long & McQuade (Canada's largest musical instrument retailer), after 35 years as a locally owned and operated music store, though owner Mark Mizzi will remain as the local manager, and long-time staffer Bob Croteau will stay on as well. Northland will continue operations under that name through September before officially switching over to the Long & McQuade branding, but over the summer, more stock than ever will arrive at their 312 Queen Street East location, and they will have full access to the parent company's lines, rentals, and financing. More hiring of staff will take place as operations grow, and they are currently accepting resumes.

While things are vague on the topic, it sounds like Northland/Long & McQuade will open up in a larger location this fall, but if I read those allusions correctly, I don't know the new spot. I did notice that the old Blockbuster Video location on Pim Street was undergoing renovations, but that's purely speculation, I have no inside knowledge. Meanwhile, this news will affect one of the Soo's other active music instrument/lesson shops, as the Thomas Walls School of Music at 505 Albert Street East will apparently be merging operations with Northland into the new Long & McQuade location, after almost 60 years of independent operation locally. Thomas Walls himself will be retiring later this year, with instructor & veteran local musician Lindsay Pugh heading up the renamed Long & McQuade Music School. Like Northland, Thomas Walls will remain open in their current home through the summer, and student/lesson programs will remain intact with existing staff.

This is absolutely huge news for local musicians, as Long & McQuade will ensure a much larger selection and wider range of options than Northland or Thomas Walls could offer (as visitors of their Sudbury location may attest), and with hirings expected later this year, this should be a boon to job-seekers as well! None of this affects Case's Music directly, but if their rivals do indeed move, that could help them attract customers who prefer to shop downtown. Stay tuned for much more on the Long & McQuade transition as it comes in, and visit the above links and SooToday for more on this story!

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

  • Local punk/metal quintet Jack Spades and (surprisingly) Shit Liver drummer Matt Baic have quietly been announced as the openers for Calgary punk quintet The River Jacks' headlining concert at The New American Pub on June 3rd! A rare New A set by Jack Spades, this will be the second time that guitarist Tiffany Stocco has opened for The River Jacks, after doing so with Stegadeth in 2017. No word on what form Matt's solo set will take on though, but will it bear more similarities to Shit Liver or his St. Catharine's bluegrass band Dirtfight? Time will tell, but visit the Facebook event page for more!
  • The third single from local/Thompson, Manitoba alt-hard rock artist Mike Haggith's upcoming CD "Bridges" was released to major music streaming/download platforms on Friday! Entitled "Come On Home", the song is a softer, more downbeat ballad, but I'll hold further comment until our likely review of "Bridges" later this year.  Give "Bridges" a listen or buy on services like Spotify, Amazon Music, and iTunes in the meantime!
  • In a quiet lineup change for the Music 4 Kayge benefit show at The Roberta Bondar Pavilion next Saturday, new local rock band The Tilrays have replaced blues rockers Johnny & The Revelators in the 3:00 PM opening slot, as per this new poster last week. A reason for The Revelators' withdrawal wasn't announced, but hopefully nothing bad happened! I don't know much on The Tilrays sound beyond their decade range for covers, but their lineup includes ex-Stiffler's Mom bandmates Michael Davies & Jon Ferguson, which should get a number of readers' attention! See above for more details!

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

Sunday, May 12, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Parabol & Tripod The Dog), An Inactive Band Note, And New Videos!!

Let's tackle some more big news items on this Sunday evening, including some new live concert videos, a band being moved to our inactive links, and leading off, here's a pair of LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS for the coming weeks!

Reunited ska-punk/alternative veterans Tripod The Dog will play their second show of the year on Saturday, May 25th at The Rockstar Bar! This show hasn't been publically announced online that I know of, but I first heard about it via the venue's physical marquee board last week, and remember that an updated online page controlled by current band members has not been launched yet. After successfully returning to the stage after a decade+ hiatus as a full-time band ended last month at the same venue, Tripod The Dog will bring their fan favourite blend of genres back for another go-around, and it will be great to see Mark Oliverio and company rock out once again! Hopefully more comes out on the new lineup online, especially if things are different compared to their Rotaryfest one-off last year. Expect a 10:00 PM-ish start time, 19+ age limit, and no cover charge on May 25th. See above for details when & if they roll in on this show and Tripod the Dog version 4.0!

Next up, a few familiar faces will hit The Grand Gardens North (the site of Toystock) on Thursday, June 6th for a special benefit concert in honour of Shelby Kerns, a local realtor, loving mother, and the partner of Skeyes of Seven/ex-Sense of Truth frontman Cory Murchison. Shelby was recently diagnosed with brain cancer and will be receiving specialized treatments out of town, so this fundraiser will help cover related costs for her and her family. The event proper will include a pasta dinner, raffles and prizes, and yes, live music, including local Tool tribute band Parabol in a rare non-Rockstar Bar set. It's great to see Parabol throwing their support behind Shelby at this diffcult time, and they should deliver a solid set of Tool hits for the occasion! Parabol frontman John Barber will also front a (one-off?) group known as The John Barber Band on this night, though no word as of yet regarding their lineup, sound, or similarities to his old bands like Redefined, Late Shift, and Fingerbone.

Also, no word on if Cory will guest with either band, but given that his relationship with Shelby, it'd definitely be a fitting sight! Tickets for this presumably all-ages benefit (at 5:00 PM) are $30 at Exit Realty Lake Superior at 207 Northern Avenue or through employees there, while you can also show your support and still be entered for the door prize if you can't make it by donating a $20 minimum. I don't know Shelby, but everything I've heard points to a friendly, generous, and caring woman, and I hope this benefit does everything it sets out to for the Kerns/Murchison clan!! Visit the official Facebook event page for details as they roll in!

Also today, I have moved local blues/hard rock trio Electric Church to our inactive band links due to a year's public inactivity. The band was last seen on stage at last year's Sky's The Limit fundraiser concert at The Tech, but they never publically promoted that event online, and hadn't posted on their Facebook page since the end of January 2018. First coming onto the SMS' radar in the lead-up to The Sky's The Limit I in 2016, Electric Church would grow in prominence from White Pines Collegiate gigs to proper concerts in Sault Ste. Marie through the end of 2017, including sets at a bunch of early Live705 concerts, that year's Go Skateboarding Day, K.I.C.K.'s CD release party, and opening slots for Kenny Wayne, Speaker, and Return For Refund, among others. However, recording sessions at Mission Control Studios for a debut album never reached their intended conclusion, despite optimistic teasers for big plans at the start of last year.

I don't know what happened to Electric Church, but they were a very promising band that gave a unique retro zest to many local concerts during their run! With a maturity beyond their years and an old school sensibility from their early Jimi Hendrix covers through to their original songs, it looked like the sky was indeed the limit (pun intended), but hopefully they're just lying low and will be seen again, as there's a lot of talent to go around in their ranks. Best of luck to Spencer, Elijah, and Beau in the interim!

We'll close today with some new videos from Kinross/Mount Pleasant hard rock singer/guitarist Alex Traynor's second "music for tips & coffee" matinee set at Biggby Coffee in Sault Michigan yesterday! These were uploaded to the coffee shop's Facebook page in the last couple of days, including one belated upload from last week of Alex covering Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble's "Pride and Joy". The distant from-the-side angle isn't great, and the video's short, but what you hear works out! The Saturday videos also include Alex playing "Pride and Joy" again, but this clip is longer, somewhat closer, and has some attendees dancing, which is a fun sight! Embedded below is Alex covering Warrant's "Uncle Tom's Cabin", which has a much better and longer view of Alex's performance, and he has a good handle of this hair metal classic! Hopefully he got lots of tips, but see how he did for yourself above & below, and stay tuned for more from Alex!

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

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Defunct Local Band Profile Series: Bucksaw

It's now time for this month's Defunct Local Band Profile, as we continue our monthly spotlighting of inactive metal, hard rock, and punk acts for current readers! This month's randomly selected band was originally assumed to not have enough public information to warrant a solo profile, but I was happily proven wrong, so I will be pushing our announced profile on Sault Ontario's Nowhere Fast to next month with a second low-info band to fill things out. Now, here's what you should know on this fan-friendly E.U.P. outfit from the early 2010s!
Bucksaw (later known as Dirtbag In A Dress & Mr. Fister)

Genre: Hard Rock/Metal

Hometown: Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

Members: (Members not in their last full lineup in italics. This lineup information may be incomplete. Let me know if you can fill in any blanks!)

Jason VanLuven (Paradise Excuse, 415E, Chump Change), vocals/drums
Bill Ogston (Blind Baby), guitar
Barney Gravelle (Scofflaw, Broke on Sunday, Retro Troop), bass
Mark Bowen (Paradise Excuse, Broke on Sunday), vocals/guitar 
Ryan Franklin, vocals/guitar 
Mikey Bishop (Half A Man, Bludgeoned, Summon), drums

Audio/Video: No public video footage exists of Bucksaw under that name, but under their later names, there is a fair amount of material to check out from LemmaFest III & IV in 2013 and 2014. Yooperlites' own Erik Rintamaki filmed four videos of Dirtbag In A Dress for his YouTube channel at the earlier LemmaFest, while filmmaker Wayne Kozeyah shot Mr. Fister covering Black Sabbath and Thin Lizzy songs at this link, as part of their wider ranging video footage from both events. Quality's solid across the board, so fans will want to check thee out, including Erik's longest video of theirs below!

Info/Analysis: First coming onto our public radar with a set at the inaugural LemmaFest outside of Dondee Lanes in June 2011, Bucksaw would reprise that set at 2012's second installment, though if they had any substantive activity at other concert events, they weren't acknowledged well online. In 2013, the band changed their name to Dirtbag In A Dress and finally launched a Facebook page to promote themselves, frequently sharing YouTube videos heavily implied to be songs covered in their setlist. After sets at LemmaFest III and a publically advertised house party in Sugar Island the following month, public updates died down before Bill Ogston & Barney Gravelle (their only constant members) brought the group back under the Mr. Fister moniker for the final LemmaFest in 2014 alongside the returning Jason VanLuven. Public updates did not follow, and the band is presumed to have folded by year's end.

While updates beyond LemmaFest were minimal, especially concerning the Bucksaw years, this band was an entertaining covers-heavy outfit, and from what I understand, they got heavier after their name changes, while still inserting some more general and country covers for good measure. With a lineup full of familiar faces from E.U.P. rock bands, plus solid singing from Ryan, Jason, and Mark depending on era, Bucksaw/D.I.A.D./Mr. Fister had a good thing going, and were surely a welcome sight at each LemmaFest, but don't miss members in their current local projects!
I hope you guys liked this month's Defunct Local Band Profile! Next month in this series, we will look at mid-2000s Sault Ontario alt-hard rock trio Nowhere Fast as promised, but to round things out, I randomly chose a second band with similarly little surviving information to round things out with. As such, we'll also be looking at local hard/progressive rock project The Mourning Glory! Look for all of this on or around June 10th, and stay tuned for more news and notes soon! Thanks everyone!