Thursday, February 11, 2010

Weekend Concert Previews, Plus 97.9 The Bear & Radio Shakeup Updates

Hey guys, time to update the local metal universe once again! There's three metal concerts this weekend, and more local radio-related news, fans of The Bear and supporters of the fired 99.5 DJs might wanna check that out. But first, here are your local concert previews for this weekend!

We'll start in Sault Michigan for something NOT related to the radio stations: There's two concerts this weekend! Local hard rockers Riot! By Night are back this weekend for a pair of shows at Dondee Lanes! Nice to see them somewhere other than The Frog! No cover charge has been announced, both shows (tomorrow night and Saturday night) have a listed start time of 8:00 PM. If you like some modern rock with feeling, Riot! By Night should fit the bill, they have a bunch of really good musicians, and though we still don't have audio to share, they've played live enough times to pretty much guarantee a good show! Check out more from Riot! By Night at their official MySpace page! If I had more to say on these two shows, I would!

And finally, back in Sault Ontario, a popular tribute band are returning to the area! Who Made Who, The Ultimate Tribute To AC/DC will be playing the Soo for the first time since May of last year when they rocked The Canadian Nightclub! This time, they'll be at Nite-Life Dance & Comedy Club, which you may remember under it's prior monikers GLOW and The Other Place! Actually, this might be the first metal show at what is now Nite-Life since Lion Ride played there in December 2008, but don't quote me on that. But now it's all fixed up and different, so look out for some new stuff if you go! And really, who doesn't love a hard hitting night of AC/DC classics? Tickets are a touch pricey as far as bar shows go, $10 in advance or $15 at the door, but considering their show last year, it'll be worth it! A start time of 9:00 PM is listed on the Facebook event page (confirm your attendance there!), but I'd expect they wouldn't play until later.

I'm not sure if I'll be at this concert, but all signs point to a really fun show! They are quite a solid cover band, the guitarist pulls off Angus' look and mannerisms really well, the band sound enough like the real thing, and they'll get a crowd moving! I saw them in May, I felt really young amongst the older crowd, but meh, I had fun! Hopefully a big crowd turns out! Check Who Made Who out at their official website, and for a preview, here's a live clip of Who Made Who playing "Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap)" at a Toronto show in 2008!

Just as a side note, I will likely be pulling two local concert venues: The Grand Theater and The Verdi Hall, from the venue contact info on the left of the page and moving them to the "Other Local Metal Links" soon unless bookings pop up for either venue in the next few months. The Verdi hasn't hosted a local metal show since Stillbroke's big show there last April, and The Grand (much to my puzzlement) hasn't had a metal band playing there to my knowledge since Sense of Truth played that free Skate4Cancer show last May. Hopefully both get back in the swing of things, they're very nice venues!

Now, radio time! The uproar among Yes FM fans has been stealing most of the thunder, but I fear that the fate of 97.9 Classic Rock: The Bear is getting lost in the shuffle, so I'd like to bring that to everyone's attention again, plus some new stuff I've seen. Now when Sovereign Communications (Rock 101's parent company) bought Yes FM and the 10 other Sault/Iron Mountain/Marquette stations from Northern Star Broadcasting, they didn't pick up one, and it was The Bear. Apparently if Sovereign bought The Bear from Northern Star, they'd violate FCC laws about regional radio monopolies. According to David Helwig's story on SooToday, Northern Star wants out of local radio, but we haven't seen any official statements confirming that.

Here's what else we know about The Bear's fate so far: Northern Star Broadcasting fired 16 employees, including The Bear/Yes FM DJs Jason Mapes (Bad Side's guitarist) and John Gilbert, just before the sale. When Sovereign hired on 10 of those 16 employees, John got his job at 99.5 back, Jason did not. Because The Bear wasn't part of the deal, neither are affiliated with The Bear anymore. Jason changed the name of what was previously The Bear's Facebook group to simply "Classic Rock", with any vestiges of 97.9 removed. John Gilbert posted this on his Facebook page as his job description as on-air DJ with The Bear, ending February 2010: RIP Bear . . . you were a good friend . . . today was my last day, will miss you, Alice, but I hated those bats. No wonder I have no hair . . . Sounds kinda grim for The Bear, doesn't it? Last I heard, The Bear was still broadcasting with Bob and Tom and Alice Cooper still running as scheduled, but I don't know how long that will last. The optimistic side of me hopes a buyer picks it up and saves it, cause even if the reception was patchy, it was still a very good station! But the realistic side of me isn't so sure. If I hear anything more on 97.9 The Bear's future, you'll hear it here! Just in case, listen to it as much as you can now while you can!

Just as a personal comment, it's stuff like this that makes me wish Sault Ontario had it's own FM rock station. If The Bear does die out, we'll just be left with Rock 101 and, IF it's the right block/show, WLSO, as the only full area rock stations. Both are great, but sometimes you like to change the station if a song comes on you don't like, or something. There is Energy Rock Radio, which is awesome, but you need a computer to listen to it. The twin Saults both have country, adult contemporary, oldies, and Christian stations, why can't we both have a rock station each? The Canadian content regulations don't bother me at all, it'd just be nice to have options, and there'll be less for us rock lovers and metalheads if The Bear leaves us. Who's with me on that? (And before someone suggests Sirius XM satellite radio, what local connection does THAT have?)

As for the Yes FM fiasco (which does have a metal connection, as two of the fired DJs are Melissa and Jason from Bad Side), the Facebook group dedicated to boycotting Yes FM until they and the other fired DJs get brought back now has a grand total of.....1,154 members!!! The 99.5 lovers are pissed now, and rightfully so! There's now talk of boycotting everything from 99.5 sponsors to EVERY station that Sovereign owns until they're brought back. Also, most local news outlets have picked up on this story, including SooToday,, The Soo Evening News, and The Sault Star, click on each to read the articles! Most notable though is an interview that Craig Huckerby of conducted with one of the laid-off employees (identity hidden), which you can read here! If anything else major comes up, I'll let you guys know! But just as a final note, I've seen some people ignorantly blaming Rock 101 for this mess, like they went in themselves and took over 99.5. No they didn't, their bosses did. Don't drag Scott & Brian and all them into this, blame the higher-ups!

That's all for now, I hope to have lots more news and updates real soon, keep your eyes peeled! Thanks everyone!

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