Rotaryfest! Of course, you can get details on this year's non-musical events, click here, but as this is a music site, let's focus on the live stages, which will welcome four hard rock-leaning bands to it's downtown outdoor stages TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT! As usual, both stages are FREE for the public of ALL AGES to attend, and times will be mentioned as we go. To start, we'll outline the main stage at Clergue Park, which is of course where (generally) covers-only bands play, and just for reference, the action began last night with local blues band Goodtime Charlie, jazz quartet The Bob Jenkins Band, and the classic/oldies cover bands Flathead Ford and Coverfly, though none would fit for SMS coverage. Hopefully last night's abbreviated lineup knocked it out of the park though, and hopefully Goodtime Charlie & Flathead Ford made a great impression in their Rotaryfest debuts!
The Suicide Kings will make their Rotaryfest debut with a co-headlining set at 9:00 PM! Odd to see them on the main stage as they have many original songs, when Rotaryfest usually discourages bands who don't play exclusively covers, but maybe they'll only be doing covers tonight. Regardless, the guys should do great in one of their last shows as a quartet before beginning bassist auditions, so be there at 9:00 TONIGHT for their diverse hard rock sound! Tonight's headliners are local country band Thin Ice at 10:15 PM, with pop rockers K.T., Kyle, and the Pocket at 8:00 PM, country rock trio Summer Thunder at 7:00 PM, classic rockers Mid Life Crysis at 6:00 PM, dance/classic rock quartet Obsession at 5:00 PM, the Sault's first salsa/Latin band Orangatango at 4:00 PM, and Mike Case's Rock School and Junior All Star (country) Band at 3:10 PM & 2:30 PM respectively.
Though their addition is still a bit of a head-scratcher with the originals-friendly Second Stage just around the corner, The Suicide Kings should leave a big impression at Rotaryfest tonight, and note that their own Facebook event page for their set hypes "a huge surprise" that will be revealed tomorrow, which "could be the only time this is happening." What are they getting at? Be there to find out at 9:00 PM TONIGHT, and for a preview, here's The Suicide Kings covering Our Lady Peace & Weezer at Toystock last fall!
As for Saturday night, hard rock seekers should hit up the First Stage from 4:00 PM-7:00 PM, as two classic hard rock bands will be rocking Clergue Park during that stretch, including Griphook (featuring Flat Stanley, Bigsuit, Hollow, and Fusion alumni) at 4:00 PM, and the recently reunited That's Chester in just their second public concert set since last summer at 6:00 PM! Both have their own unique takes on their genres to deliver, with Griphook becoming increasingly prominent, and That's Chester being missed since their breakup last fall, so don't miss out on some hard rocking covers in the early evening! Griphook & That's Chester are sandwiching classic rock duo Spyder's Web in the 5:00 PM timeslot, while the headlining bands are out-of-town Rolling Stones tribute band The Blushing Brides at 10:15 PM and Toronto jam rock trio Ground Zero (featuring Sault natives Frank Fazi & Shane McConnell) at 9:00 PM. The other bands ahead of That's Chester incluce classic rockers Mustang Heart at 8:00 PM and country rock quartet Bone Yard at 7:00 PM, while the afternoon bands include blues rockers Five Below Zero at 3:00 PM, indie/jazz quartet The Pesto Shirts at 2:00 PM, and R&B big band The Repitles opening at 1:00 PM.
Though the increase in out of town bands and heavy concentration of bands from past main stage lineups could be seen badly by some, there's a lot of talent and veteran experience present on the main stage no matter what day, and many of these bands can be seen on weekends at local bars, so if you like what you hear, follow which bands are playing where in the future! It's great to see a couple of heavier bands in Griphook & That's Chester, so don't miss them at 4:00 and 6:00 PM, and for a preview, here's That's Chester covering Deep Purple's "Highway Star" at their last Rotaryfest appearance in 2011!
As for the Tenaris Second Stage, this year's all-original lineup of bands will entertain attendees today and tomorrow on Queen Street East outside of Case's Music and The Grand Theater! Like the main stage (which is not a far walk if you wanna jump to see different bands), it's FREE AND ALL AGES, so keep that in mind! Now, this year's Second Stage lineup has slightly less metal than last year, with only one heavier band, but just for reference, TODAY's abbreviated lineup features Milwaukee indie/pop trio Jaill headlining at 9:30 PM, and they'll be preceded by four
local acts, including popular blues rockers Blues Harvest at 8:30 PM, local/North Bay folk band The Faraway Neighbours at 7:30 PM, solo folk musician M.D. Dunn at 6:30 PM, and folk/country rockers The Porter Band opening at 5:30 PM. Solid lineup for fans of folk rock especially, and though it's sort of weird seeing an American band at Rotaryfest, Jaill have the talent and the right sound to fit in with the general sound of the Second Stage, so keep this lineup in mind!
TOMORROW'S Second Stage lineup is much longer and contains this year's only hard rock band on the Queen Street stage, that being the returning Sailor's Tongue in their first show since last year's Rotaryfest! This will also mark Sailor's Tongue's first show since guitarist Blake Jackson returned to the band, though not as a replacement, so they'll be playing as a quintet! Notably, frontman Kyle McKey revealed on his personal Facebook page earlier this week that they'll be releasing a CD of some kind tomorrow in conjunction with their set, though as of this writing, I don't know anything on it's cost or format, though the included songs will likely include tracks posted on drummer Dean McKey's SoundCloud page earlier this year. This is intriguing news on it's own, especially given how minimal news has been on an album (save for indications in February), but keep this in mind if you're at the Second Stage tomorrow! Sailor's Tongue are the highest slotted local band tomorrow night at 8:00 PM, with Toronto reggae band The House of David Gang & Guelph "indie-afrobeat" band The Minotaurs headlining at 10:00 PM & 9:00 PM respectively.
The remaining acts tomorrow include Sudbury blues artist and Soo native Sean Poluk at 7:00 PM (though local news media credits him as a "surprise guest"), local folk musician (and upcoming Swampstravaganza performer) Guy Smith at 6:00 PM, jazz/blues artist Rusty McCarthy at 5:00 PM, progressive rockers Machines Dream at 4:00 PM, folk quintet The Mulch & The Mire at 3:00 PM, and returning indie rockers Cowboys & Indians opening the stage at 2:00 PM. For more details on the bands on the two official Rotaryfest stages, check the above links! Though this year's Second Stage is heavy on indie & roots bands, only three acts (The Faraway Neighbours, The Porter Band, and Sailor's Tongue) are returnees from last year, so there's a diverse and shook-up lineup for fans this year, even if there's only one heavier band! My weekend schedule will likely be focused around Bushplane Musical Madness II on Saturday (which hard rock fans could consider the unofficial "third stage"), but given Sailor's Tongue's CD plans, I may try and slip out briefly to at least pick one up depending on the weather and timing!
I don't have a preview video of Sailor's Tongue, but check out their new and old material at the above links, and keep in mind that members Kyle McKey & Liam Seymour will both be playing with KT, Kyle, and The Pocket on the main stage TONIGHT at 8:00 PM, while Saturday main stage performers Griphook will be at The New A tonight and The Rockstar Bar tomorrow (minus Brian Oja as The 7 Year Itch), so those could fill any scheduling voids! That's all for today, but stay tuned for our Shinedown preview TOMORROW, along with more recent news and notes! Thanks everyone, and don't miss The Suicide Kings on the main stage tonight at 9:00 PM!