Finally, here's my review of Anvil's headlining concert at The Canadian Nightclub, in our first of two posts on this Friday morning! Before we get to the bands, just noting that the crowd on Wednesday was VERY impressive, and though I can't judge firsthand, the attendance was comparable (if not better than) the Ypres Metal Fest in April at the same venue, which is encouraging for shows at The Canadian! Now, how about the bands?
First, let's discuss the new local hard rock quintet Skeyes of Seven, who made their live debut as the night's first band. They played a 5 song set comprising of Breaking Benjamin, Stone Sour, and Avenged Sevenfold covers alongside their first original song "Destinations Unknown", and for the most part, they shown a lot of promise for the future! Their past band work never hurts in that regard, and if I had to compare their sound to any of the members' old bands, it'd have to be Sense of Truth (though that's partly because they share 2 members.) Aside from longer hair since we last saw him live 2 years ago, Cory Murchison's singing was familiar and went with their material nicely, though he was really hard to hear on the A7X covers, but I found the vocals were low for most of the bands on Wednesday. Alain Fletcher and Ron Baxter tore through each song well on guitar, Mike Mannarino's bass work was really solid, and all of the promise from Jonny Amendola's drum videos are put to good use with Skeyes of Seven (he's a young talent to watch, for sure!) For a first show, all I'd change would be a longer set, louder vocals, and maybe switching "Bat Country" for a heavier A7X song, like "Almost Easy", but that speaks more to my personal preferences. Overall, very nice debut show, and hopefully we'll see Skeyes of Seven back on stage soon!
Next up was local metal standouts Garden of Bedlam, and if you saw them at Rotaryfest, you could expect a similarly heavy set of originals from them on Wednesday night (just with less room to maneuver.) Their set was largely the same as their Second Stage set, though with "Stand Your Ground" & a cover of Pantera's "Mouth For War" replacing "Around The Bend", "New Rain", and "The Truth Shall Set You Free", so if you're not picky about specific songs, you'd have definitely enjoyed them on both nights! I often find it hard to critique a band if I see them twice in a short span, and this was the case here, as aside from the restricted movement, they played with the same professionalism and talent that Garden of Bedlam fans have come to expect! Fans definitely enjoyed them (and responded in kind for the Anvil shoutouts), and from Josh Belleau's shredding solos to Buzz's melodic heavy singing, all I'd really want different would be a longer set, and hopefully another solo headlining gig of that kind is on the horizon! Great set overall!
Co-headlining this huge concert was local horror punk quintet Frightlight in their first show in about two months, though their lineup was partially changed, as guitarist Rick Styles only played on 4 originals in the middle of the set for personal reasons. I won't go into details, but they're valid & very understandable! As such, T-Rex Manning guitarist Tiffany Stocco filled in on lead guitar for the other 6 songs on Wednesday (similarly to their January show at The Canadian), and she even had a Frightlight-esque stage name this time around, Stiff Tocco! (I sense innuendo there.) It was good to see Frightlight again, as they played all the songs from their live EP along with "World War Z", "The Ballad of Buffalo Bill" (formerly "Dead Skin Mask"), and two Misfits covers, and their metal-flavoured horror punk assault went over well, but timing issues did come into play early in the set, and like the earlier bands, they could have used some more freedom on stage. Johnny Pints' vocals were on form from the last times I saw Frightlight, and the rest of the band played capably and seemed to enjoy being back on stage, and hopefully we'll see them back at it soon!
And the main attractions were (of course) ANVIL!!! The Toronto heavy metal legends finally returned to Sault Ste. Marie on Wednesday night, and even if you're not a fan, no one can deny a band that pulls in a crowd of this size AND gets chants of their name without singing one verse! Aside from two songs from "This Is Thirteen", their set was split between tracks from their first three albums ("Metal on Metal" primarily) and their new CD "Juggernaut of Justice", giving us a glimpse at Anvil at both of their peaks, and luckily, the guys can rock just as hard as ever! Steve "Lips" Kudlow's guitar work was great, and though his vocals are softer live than in studio, he could incite some metal fury when need be (and he shared some funny stories in the process!) Sal Italiano proved to be a great fit on bass, and Robb Reiner's drum work was stellar, and kudos for his awesome drum solo as well! The guys still have it, and when Lips jumped into the crowd during "March of the Crabs" at the beginning of their set, and during some of their customary antics and songs. you could feel the energy! If anything, I'd have wanted to hear more songs from their 4th-12th albums (like "Doctor Kevorkian"), as there's 20 years of largely underrated material that should see an audience, but it's all good!
On Wednesday, Anvil proved why they're Canadian metal legends, and their speed/thrash material definitely wowed their Saultite fans! Hopefully Lips, Robb, and Sal come back soon, as their brand of metal is needed around here! Overall, this was an awesome concert, and if you missed it, you missed out! I got a bunch of photos, so click here to check them out or visit our Facebook page, which also has this show's "Tag Yourself" photo! As for videos, here's Skeyes of Seven's song "Destinations Unknown", Garden of Bedlam playing "Stand Your Ground", Frightlight (ft. Stiff Tocco) playing "C.H.U.D.", and Anvil playing "School Love", with a little story from Lips about Anvil's "shortcut" to their show in the Soo in 1979!
That's all for now, but stay tuned for a new news post later tonight, featuring a new concert and more! Thanks everyone!