Saturday, May 18, 2013

Last Month's Poll Results & This Month's Newest Poll!!

As it's the 18th of the month, it's now time to close down last month's poll and launch a new poll at the SMS, and today, we're finally wrapping up our "favourite _____ of 2012" polls with the results of our most recent question: What was your favourite Sault Ontario metal concert of 2012?  24 votes in total, not terribly high, but we do have some clear results, so how'd everything place? The final results of this summative poll are below!

Anvil at The Canadian Nightclub on July 25th (7 votes, 29%)
Bushplane Musical Madness on November 23rd (4 votes, 17%)
The Suicide Kings at The Canadian on Dec. 26th (3 votes, 13%)
Frightlight at The Canadian Nightclub on January 14th (3 votes, 13%)
Ypres Metal Fest at The Canadian on April 7th (2 votes, 8%)
Late and Loud at The Canadian on March 30th (2 votes, 8%)
Garden of Bedlam at The Rockstar Bar on Oct. 30th (1 vote, 4%)
3 Inches of Blood at The Roosevelt Hotel on July 9th (1 vote, 4%)
Winkstinger at The Rosie on June 7th (1 vote, 4%)
Dead In The Van at The Canadian on March 4th (0 votes)
Garden of Bedlam at The Rockstar Bar on May 12th (0 votes)
F.A.T.I.L. Gathering in Laird on June 22nd (0 votes)
The Shotgun Dolls at The Rosie on August 2nd (0 votes)
F.A.T.I.L. Requiem in Laird on August 4th (0 votes)
Dead & Divine at The Canadian on August 22nd (0 votes)
Frightlight at The Grand Theater on October 20th (0 votes)
Other (0 votes)

What do you guys think? In ascending order, I'm surprised that almost half of the choices received no votes, especially as all of these picked up at least one vote in the half-year polls on this topic, with Dead & Divine and Garden of Bedlam surprising me the most. Of the three shows tied for seventh with a vote each, I'm very surprised that neither Garden of Bedlam's October gig and the 3 Inches of Blood show got so little votes, while I had similar surprise for the Ypres Metal Fest's fifth place tie with just two votes. The third place tie for The Suicide Kings' Boxing Day show and the Frightlight/Merves date was encouraging for both, but still a surprise given what they were up against. Second place with 4 votes went to the Bushplane Musical Madness gig in November, another nice surprise from this well recieved multi-band show at such a unique venue, and hopefully we'll see heavier bands back there shortly! But the winner, with 7 votes & 29% of the final total, was the Anvil-headlined metal concert at The Canadian on July 25th, and I think I can speak for many people as to how awesome that show was!
The local openers brought it, Anvil's influential old school sound was on full display, and the huge crowd ate it all up, adding to a clear show to remember last summer! Kudos to J.D. for putting it on, here's hoping we see Anvil back in town in the near future, and thanks again for voting last month!

So, with our 2012 polls done, what's coming this month for our next poll? I wanted to focus on Sault Michigan a bit, as while there's always stories, news, and events coming from the Eastern U.P. to talk about, it feels like that there's been less in recent months. The Sault Michigan metal/hard rock scene has a lot of plusses compared to Sault Ontario (major Kewadin Casino headlining shows, a more spread out scene, more women, kids, and families in bands, etc.), but activity and news from across the river hasn't been as frequent on the site lately. Show announcements have been slower from most bands, certain dependable acts & events haven't been heard from lately, and even the active count of American metal/hard rock bands has fallen. The pageless Powerslug aside, we only have 19 active Sault Michigan-area bands listed on the site, and only a fraction of them have played live in the past year. Plus, extreme, hardcore, and death metal is not plentiful at all nowadays, with the closest active bands being studio-only or yet to fully launch.

Classic & general rock bands are plentiful enough (like Toast, The London Gentlemen, and Chump Change), but have harder-edged bands fallen on the wayside? While I don't see nearly enough Sault Michigan bands live, I enjoy, respect, and cover bands and shows in the scene as equally as possible, I graduated from LSSU last year, and I advocate great American Soo bands a lot, so I know when things seem to be not as active as they have been. With that said, I'm posing this question to you guys this month: What is most needed to improve the Sault Michigan-area metal/hard rock scene? I'm not saying it's bad, just that it's not as active or busy as it was in the late 2000s and earlier, and I know it could be better in those areas. Plus, I know that the smaller population is a clear factor, but I'm not comparing it to Sault Ontario, just itself in past years. I've picked 8 choices for this poll, so read on below for info on each, and hopefully I don't sound too uninformed on any points!

More active venues: It's not that there's a lack of concert spots in the Eastern U.P. (the "Yooper Bars" book is clear proof of that), but in recent months, most shows we've plugged on here have either been at the Kewadin Casinos or among Banned's torrid pace of weekend engagements. Of the venues that are around, most seem to focus on weekend cover bands in the region (with some exceptions), and online promotion for many is either minimal or nonexistent. Do more venues need to open their doors to metal acts?

More bands: The Sault Michigan scene's had many great metal bands in recent years (like Bad Side, Clownsack, and I.S.O.M.), and while bands like Half A Man & Theatre of Night are producing high quality original material nowadays, most of the active heavier-leaning Eastern U.P. bands are either studio-only projects or focus mainly on covers. There are many talented musicians in the Sault Michigan area both in & out of bands, but are new metal groups most needed to boost activity across the river?

More concerts: Even with Sault Michigan's usually consistent amount of summer festivals and weekend bar engagements, heavier concerts have seemed to drop off in recent months. Lately, most shows I've seen across the river have leaned towards general, classic, or southern rock bands, with many active bands with a metal element playing more sporadically or arguably going more mainstream. Are more concert bookings all that's needed to boost the scene a bit?

More out of town bands: Lately, this category seems to only fall into two categories: Allstar Promotions-headlined concerts at The Dreammaker's Theater, and Western U.P./Northern Michigan bands at weekend bar sets (like Nudge, Peril, and Driven.) All are great benefits to the Sault Michigan scene (Dave Atkinson especially does great work bringing major bands here), but would an increase in major headlining acts and touring metal/hard rock bands (hopefully with local openers) give the regional metal scene a boost?

More support/commitment: Does the Sault Michigan side of the border need just more support and commitment from fans, business owners, and musicians? I know that there are many venues and stores that firmly support and help the local scene (like Rock 101, Grooves Music, and Allstar Graphics), but to stem the Sault Michigan side of things, is an extra kick needed to boost things back to where they were even 4 years ago? Maybe more concert promoters, funding, or advertising?

The scene's cyclical and will improve soon: This is a belief I've had of Sault Ontario for a while for the peaks and valleys of the scene month-to-month, but is there a cyclical pattern in Sault Michigan's metal/hard rock scene? Do you think that current activity levels are just a low trend that's destined to pick up, possibly with the help of upcoming summer concert festivals and recent population rises in the area? If you think the scene will naturally get more active with time, vote here!

Sault Michigan's scene is fine the way it is: Do you like the Sault Michigan hard rock/metal scene as it currently stands? If nothing changed from how the bands and shows are right now, would you have no complaints? Compared to past years (and yes, even Sault Ontario), I can't see this being a top voted choice, but if this is the case for you, this is your choice!

I don't actively follow Sault Michigan bands/concerts: Are you from Sault Ontario and don't pay a lot of attention to the American side of the border? Are you just not up on the Sault Michigan scene enough to comment on what's going on across the river? Are you a Yooper that just doesn't follow regional bands and shows by your own choice? If you can't comment on the Sault Michigan scene of today, or just don't focus on it, this would be your choice!

VOTE TODAY!! You guys have until June 18th to cast your votes, and while I admit that I'm not the optimal person to ask such a question, I want Sault Michigan and area to thrive in the metal & hard rock genres, and I know the talent and ability is there to loop it back even to 2008 levels! There's plenty of solid and entertaining bands (past and present) in the Eastern U.P., and hopefully things will grow in the coming months! That's all for now, but cast your votes, and stay tuned for a new news post featuring a big new concert announcement in Sault Michigan tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

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