Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Kiss Battle Of The Bands: Night One Review! Plus, Algoma & Kiss Night Two Previews!

As promised, it's time to review and recap the results from last night's first part of the Kiss Battle of the Bands! Great night of bands, with a wide cross-section of the local music landscape! So let's not waste a second, here's what you need to know! (And yes, the "Woods IV" review is coming, later today, be patient!)

First, I have never seen The Canadian Nightclub so packed, not even before the renovations! Luckily you guys gave me room to snap some shots! And huge props to every single band member who chatted with me, I couldn't name you all, but I appreciate taking the time to say hi! Oh, and thanks to J.D. for the Frightlight stickers!

Bands were, as previously stated, randomly drawn, but the results weren't made public, so we only knew who was on next by who was to the left of the stage getting ready. The first band was local rock band Huckster, who had a good set! It's tough to go on first, but they did alright. Singer Kris Nolan (the only female singer of any of the bands) shown off a great voice, and the band played pretty well, but I wouldn't say they'd be "right" as a Kiss supporting band, sound-wise. Still good though! Then, we had the band none of us knew anything about, Tiny Trebuchet (pictured). Well, they ain't metal, but they did good too! I won't say they played punk, but it was an energetic pop-rock sound that worked pretty well! None of their names rang a bell from memberships in other bands, but they looked comfortable on stage and had good chemistry! Keep an eye out for them in the future, especially if you find an internet page of theirs!

Third were the band Blues Harvest, and honestly, they were the biggest surprise for me, sound-wise. I'd heard them on MySpace, but I didn't expect they'd sound so good! They were tight, they all played their instruments well, and they had a great sound combining blues with an edgier rock style! Jake Rendell sang with a real passion and energy (I can only imagine how he did with metal in Garage Inc.) and props to saxophone player Josh Norling, who took a somewhat "different" instrument and totally made it work with some good solos! They have a new fan, and though it's not quite metal, I'll definitely make sure to hit a full show from these guys soon!

And then, the first of four metal bands hit the stage, and they nearly blew the roof of the joint! Garden of Bedlam had by far the biggest crowd reaction, and it's well deserved, cause they're awesome! They played "Shallow" and a new song, "Against The Grain", and you know a band's good when they get everyone to the front of the stage! Musically, they sounded just as good as ever, and that's what I like! They played with a real enthusiasm and high level of excitement, and with good reason, considering the prize. Buzz was in top vocal form, Josh Belleau shredded at his usual quality, and the whole band just kicked ass! Without divulging who won, let me just say this. If Garden of Bedlam were to lose, we'd probably all have called shenanigans!

The metal continued with the fifth band, and it was none other than Caveman Morrison! Despite the short notice of their involvement, they sounded real good too! They played "Drug Dealers" and "Our Evil Ways" from frontman Tym Morrison's solo album, and to be honest, they sound better live, more raw and heavy then on the CD! The drumming helped too, nice to hear Jeff Richards instead of a drum machine! It's great seeing these guys again, it's been too long! Tym was amazing on guitar, especially the solos, and Rick White had a good first outing as the band's bassist! They could have been a touch tighter, but great job, I just wish more people had gotten into their set!

Next were the third metal band, sixth band overall, Sykotyk Rampage! Let me just say this: For the sheer entertainment value of the band, Sykotyk Rampage deserved to advance! The songs were amusing, their on-stage energy was at a definite high (MUCH higher than the October show at The Outback), and they seemed to really enjoy playing in front of this crowd! Gotta love drummer/vocalist Paul Becker rallying the crowd and encouraging them to get a drink before they played! With a 21 album back catalog, they stuck to classic standbys "Drinking On The Weekend" and "Called In Dead", which worked just fine! No clear break either, so they got lots of music in! Great set, hopefully more people have been introduced to "blue Chinese metal crash punk"!

The seventh band were local favourites Stiffler's Mom, but you might just have well have called them Sin Stereo, cause they played two classic Sin Stereo songs last night! I never expected them to dig up "Enjoy The Show" and "Sweet Juanita" for the battle, but that's exactly what they did! And they sound just as good live as they do on the Sin Stereo GarageBand page! Jon Ferguson and Greg Simpson were great sharing harmony vocals, and Mike Davies was good on guitar too! I told you guys Stiffler's Mom had the goods, I didn't figure they'd show exactly what I meant though, but I'm happy they did! I haven't seen Stiffler's Mom in ages, I think I'm gonna have to check them out again!

Following them were band number eight, local prog/experimental rockers Flat Stanley, playing a couple of very well performed songs! Jim O'Leary has a good voice that fit the music well, the whole band were dependably good on their instruments, and Glen Thomas (who looks like Mike Davies' brother) was technically proficient behind the drumkit! Maybe not metal, but there's some great musical talent here, and if you see them live, you'll probably agree! Following them were local indie rockers Nebraska Arms (pictured), and I was surprised to see the crowd return to the front of the stage for their set, they must have a lot of fans! Just like when I saw them in August, they had an extremely high energy on stage, and played their style of music very well! They were jumping all over the stage, while playing some solid indie rock, and it sure entertained everyone, which is great to see!

The night's sets closed with local glam/punk band Dirty Virgin, the final of four metal groups, and they sure didn't sound like they hadn't played an official concert in over eight months! In fact, they sounded about as good as I've ever seen! Bobby Clement's coming into his own more and more as a singer, Ryan Spin had some excellent guitar work, and the new drummer did very well himself! They also managed to keep the Nebraska Arms crowd up front, which is a sign of their talent and energy level! However, when they tried to play a third song ("She's Hot"), Bobby's mic got cut, so either they were forbidden from playing a third, they were over 10 minutes, or both. No matter, it was a great closer to the concert!

So now, you're probably wondering which bands are going to Wednesday? Well, five are (See, I was right!), and the judges spent about 10 minutes deliberating their choices. All ears were on Rock 101 DJ Mark SanAngelo when he read the names of the winning bands, who will play in Wednesday's finals. The bands advancing are:

Blues Harvest
Flat Stanley
Garden of Bedlam
Nebraska Arms
Stiffler's Mom

Now I'm sure many of you will debate the choices, and I'm interested in seeing what you guys think! I pretty much agree with all five deserving to move on, though as a metalhead, it'd have been cool to see Caveman Morrison, Sykotyk Rampage, and Dirty Virgin advance! But there it is, your five bands advancing, who we'll get to see once again for Wednesday's finals! Overall, a very fun concert that didn't feel shortened by the 10 minute 2 song limits! We got to see a very wide sampling of some of this city's best, from the heavier acts to more experimental groups, to ones with a more offbeat sound!

As you can tell above, I did take photos, and for the added excitement and boost in SMS hits and interests, I took pictures of EVERY band, rather than just the metal bands only. I don't typically do that, but as a reward to all the new visitors and Facebook fans, I'll treat you guys to even more pictures for the battle! To check out all 100 photos from the concert, head to our official Facebook page, or click here! Stay tuned to SooToday though, cause I saw Donna Hopper taking pics, and hers will be miles better than mine!
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And now, to preview the TWO Battles of the Bands taking place tonight! Yes, there are two, let's start with the one people are seemingly forgetting about.

As you may know, The Algoma University Students' Union are hosting a battle tonight to see who'll open for The Inner City Surfers on December 22nd at The Speakeasy! The winning band also receives $300, with $200 to second place and $100 to third! There is a lineup of five bands, although there's only one metal band. They are local death/thrash metal band Bring The Fallen, who will be looking to win their second Battle of the Bands of 2009, after winning the YMCA Battle in March! They're opening the battle at 7:00 PM, giving them plenty of time to get to The Canadian for the Kiss battle that they're also in! They'll be followed (in performance order) by fellow locals The Fury, punk rockers The Scary Uncles, ska-punk band Creedon & The Animal Detectives (formerly Good Morning Gorillas), & Toronto classical/punk band RedD Monkey, replacing "Kargi" on the five band lineup! RedD Monkey must have locals in the lineup, explaining their involvement. Each band gets a half hour to play four songs each!

Doors open at 6:30, show starts at 7:00 PM! If you're an Algoma student with proper Algoma ID, you can get in for $7! If not, the price jumps to $10. Luckily for you 18 and youngers, it is an all ages show, so there's an alternative if you can't make the Kiss Battle! Proceeds partly go to United Way charities! Hopefully some of you guys can make it to The Speakeasy for this, it sounds like fun! I can't be there, a late class and the Kiss battle would make it a bit of a crunch to get to, but best of luck to all the bands! Confirm your attendance and get full details at the official Facebook event page! For a video preview, here's a clip of Bring The Fallen (back when they were still Necropolis) performing the song "Stand Before" from a show earlier this year (Thanks to Jesse Souliere for the upload!)

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And finally, it's time to preview Night Two of the Kiss Battle of the Bands! I won't go into too much detail about the battle itself as a whole, I did that on Sunday night's post immediately below this one, so here's what you need to know for tonight! The cover is still $4, it still isn't all ages, and it starts at 9:00-ish at The Canadian Nightclub once again! For you metalheads, this will be even more stacked, as there's six metal bands playing tonight, though each band has loads of talent! Remember, the top FIVE bands will also play tomorrow night in the finals, which I hope you can all make it out to, where the winner will be recommended to open for Kiss in TWO WEEKS! So now, let's preview each band, and give you guys some details on what you should know about each band! And yes, every single band is confirmed, check older posts for sources.

The Billy Bastards: Here's a unique band playing tonight, a band that combines punk and country into their own unique brand of music! Featuring Destroilet guitarist John Conway, they make the most of their sound and always put on an entertaining show! Maybe a bit more "Southern" than a Kiss opener might typically sound, but DON'T count The Billy Bastards out! Well worth cracking a beer open for these guys, I reckon! Show your support for The Billy Bastards' set by joining their Facebook event page for the battle!

Bring The Fallen: Props to these guys for playing TWO battles of the bands in the same night! Coming off their show on Devil's Night at The Oddfellows Hall, these young death/thrash metal rockers are looking to win their 2nd (and possibly 3rd) battle of 2009, and they may have the goods to do it! Bring The Fallen are working on their first EP, and have played numerous concerts in the Soo since winning the YMCA Battle in March! Show your support for Bring The Fallen's set by joining their Facebook event page for the battle!

Gsis Murphy: Here's a group to watch out for, Gsis Murphy are a solid local rock band with a devoted fanbase and high profile themselves! They backed up Nazareth, they frequently play at Docks, and they've built a solid reputation over the past decade! Though mostly known for covers, the band will break out some good original tracks tonight, likely to be on their upcoming debut album! Though maybe not that "heavy", expect some solid songs! Show your support for Gsis Murphy's set by joining their Facebook event page for the battle!

Inside Spiral: When I heard this band was entered in the battle, I was completely surprised! After a three year absence, Jonny Fabbro and his band Inside Spiral return to the local concert scene! You may remember them from numerous concerts in the mid-2000s, and for winning some notable battles and songwriting competitions! Solid radio-friendly hard rock with a metal edge, hopefully they sound just as good as they did back in their heyday! Show your support for Gsis Murphy's set by joining their Facebook event page for the battle!

Lion Ride: Many people believe that Lion Ride are the favourites to win the Kiss Battle, and not just because they've been trying to get the openers slot since the Kiss show was announced! These Sault natives play an energetic brand of punk/glam rock that will get any crowd going! Last seen in the area at the final Hempfest, they are one of the most experienced bands musically, and have some great, catchy songs, many of which are on their EP, "Awesome"! Show your support for Lion Ride's set by joining their Facebook event page for the battle!

Middle of Nowhere: Formerly known as Bud Shamble, Middle of Nowhere are a local rock band who you can see frequently at various venues in the Twin Saults! Fronted by Sergio Palumbo, the band have released an album earlier this year, and have songs available on Napster and iTunes! Solid commercial rock with a classic tint to the sound, it works well! Though not among the heavier bands, Middle of Nowhere are talented in their own right, don't count them out either!

Nixxon Dixxon: Yes, there is a Sault Michigan band performing in the battle, and it's none other than Nixxon Dixxon! One of the most talented young bands in the area, you can frequently check out these guys at The Rapids Lounge at Kewadin Casino twice a month! They've played all over the U.P. and backed up Bret Michaels when he played here as well! Great hard rock sound to Nixxon Dixxon! For their age, they're awesome! I haven't heard their originals, but if they're as good as their covers, we're in for something real special!

Sense of Truth: Coming off of their show at Top Hat Billiards on Halloween, local hard rockers Sense of Truth will return to The Canadian for the Kiss Battle! You may remember that they won a Battle of the Bands last year to open for the aborted Skid Row concert at Runway Park, so they're no stranger to this kind of event! A very good and talented local band, Sense of Truth play some solid hard rock with lots of heaviness! An album is in the works as well. Hopefully they put on a great show, just like all their past ones!!

Stillbroke: This local hard rock band are riding high off the release of their debut EP, "Never Enough", which came out last month! Though they haven't played locally since April, Stillbroke spent part of the fall touring in Southern Ontario, and are back home for the battle! Radio-friendly hard rock that has an extra metal kick, which will surely win over some new fans tomorrow night! Stillbroke will hopefully make a good impression tonight! Show your support for Stillbroke's set by joining their Facebook event page for the battle!

Wishbone: Interesting to see this band back at The Canadian after they were removed from the Grady concert last month due to the threat of a band boycott. But that's in the past, let's talk about the band itself, who are very solid! A very talented rock band, Wishbone will bring their brand of classic rock to the show! Great groove to this band, well worth checking out! Fun fact: Bassist Chris Smith is the drummer for local hard rock band Browbeat! Show your support for Wishbone's set by joining their Facebook event page for the battle!

So there's your 10 bands playing tonight in the second night of the Kiss Battle of the Bands! Remember, the top 5 bands tonight will join Blues Harvest, Flat Stanley, Garden of Bedlam, Nebraska Arms, and Stiffler's Mom in the finals tomorrow night! And so ends what I think is the longest post in SMS history! Hope to see you guys at The Canadian tonight and tomorrow night, if you don't make it, hopefully you go to The Speakeasy tonight instead!

P.S. Stay tuned later tonight for my "Woods IV: The Green Album" review, I hope. Not sure if I can fit the whole thing in tonight, but I'll sure as hell try! If it doesn't get posted tonight, it will be up tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

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