Hey guys, it's finally time for my review of Saturday night's farewell concert for Haggith at The Algonquin Pub! Before we touch on the bands, I just wanted to note that Haggith did not release their "Apocalypse II" album as was previously teased, but guitarist Daniel Horton didn't close the door on a posthumous release of it in some form when we were talking. Hopefully we see it down the road, but for now, here's some info on each band's set!
Opening the show was new local funk metal trio The Strange Coyotes in what's technically their live concert debut (though the Project Legion set at The Oddfellows Hall in October sparked their inception.) I will say that for their set, they sounded a bit more formal and put-together than they did in October or on their debut live album, but there was still a solid insanity and jam vibe from this new trio that got a good early reception! Again, guitarist Chase Wigmore was a spark plug with his mannerisms and energy, though James Watterworth was as creative and talented as ever, and a newly short-haired Mike Haggith seemed right at home behind the kit! In terms of the songs they played, they had a mix of tracks from their album (including "Squatter's Remorse") and existing solo songs of James' (like "I'm Gonna Love You"), among others, though I was surprised that only 2 songs featured Chase on lead vocals, as he has a solid presence that would have been nice to hear more lead work from. Very entertaining first (or second) set from The Strange Coyotes, and hopefully they have much more to come in 2014!
Also, just to clarify given the non-release of "Apocalypse II", we'll probably review The Strange Coyotes' digital album this month on the SMS to close out the year! Remember, it's available on a "pay what you want" model, so it officially counts for our purposes on that basis. Watch out for it later this month, and stay tuned in case we ever see "Apocalypse II"!
Next up was the mystery debuting metal band Project 421, so who exactly is in this band? Their lineup last night featured three known local hard rock/metal veterans, including singer/guitarist Blair Burch, guitarist Frank McGillivray (a recent Haggith collaborator), and former Fitswitch drummer Larry Mousseau, with Haggith's Daniel Horton playing bass, though I'll note that they have a lead singer who wasn't ready for last night's set. No online pages yet, but members were seen in past local bands like Broken, so there's a lot of familiarity on that basis! Covers of everyone from Iron Maiden & Black Sabbath to Kiss and Bad Religion were present, and with no originals (yet?), they struck me soundwise as a little heavier than a band like Caveman Morrison, though that could change with a longer set. Blair's vocals fit the material, but certain tracks didn't fit his range (partly due to a cold he's been fighting), while everyone has the talent and skill to match up to these tracks! I'm curious to see what's next for this new local band, but hopefully this is just the first big step!
Third that night was all female hard rockers The Danger Cats, who debuted a new lineup at the show! The main change was on drums, with Kate Kougar moving up to vocals and guitar (which is where she's better known), with new addition "Calico" Katie Maskell playing an electronic drum kit as their newest member. While officially now a quintet, singer Summer Snow-Leopard is out of town right now, so Kate and guitarist Paula Panther handled most of the vocal work (with bassist Jamie Jaguar singing lead on a song too.) Kate's a talented singer (as you saw with Lazer Queen, among others), while Paula was up to the challenge too (if a bit quiet), and Katie's a step up on drums! That all (plus a more relaxed stage presence) really helped their set, which even featured some original songs to go along with covers of everyone from Joan Jett to The Ramones, and they got a great fan response throughout! The Danger Cats are definitely improving as musicians and performers, and don't miss them at LopLops this Friday!
Co-headlining was the Sault's longest active hard rock band Sykotyk Rampage, who brought a creative sound as usual to The Algonquin last night! Their set most differed by the inclusion of some newer songs like "Liquid Love" and "See Her From A Dark Place", though existing favourites like "Lowest of the Low", "Bucket of Ham", and their usual drinking songs made it once again. If you've seen recent Sykotyk Rampage shows, the entertainment value and musical skill will mostly have been unchanged, with Paul Becker's aggressive bluesy vocals and Tony Briglio's imposing Lemmy-esque stage presence helping out throughout! Guitarist Dirk Becker has told me that they plan to cycle in more newer tracks into 2014 setlists, and while their older material is often very fun, I have a good feeling about some of their newer work! Saturday night's set was another hard hitting and very original set from the masters of the crash, and it's good to see them keeping things going at a high level!
Headlining last night was the final live concert set during local grunge/alternative quartet Haggith's 19 month active run, and thankfully, they brought it musically to go out with a bang! Though there was occasionally some visible disconnect on stage, they came prepared to rock hard, playing originals like "I Am", "Clifton Hill", and "Rage Train" along with assorted covers, before capping with (what else?) "Anthem", though I did miss "Public Enemy" on the setlist. I regretfully had to leave early, but what I saw was a band with a purpose, and in a way, it reminded me of Bring The Fallen's farewell/reunion set in July, as they were going to burn out rather than fade away. Curtis McKenzie's vocals were really strong, and Caleb Cachagee sounded as good on bass as I've ever seen (hopefully he pops up in a new band soon), while Daniel & Mike hadn't lost a step after their earlier sets! I know the split was amicable and their members have big plans coming up (including with Mike's solo project and Punch), but knowing how fast Haggith rose, and what they accomplished in just over a year & a half, I sincerely hope this isn't an absolute farewell.
Either way, best of luck to Curtis, Daniel, Caleb, and Mike in the future, and I know we'll hear a lot more from them musically in 2014! Very entertaining hard rock show to help send out 2014, and if you missed it, you missed out! Photos & videos from the concert can be seen at this link or at our Facebook page, and for videos, here's The Strange Coyotes covering The Residents' "Hello Skinny" & "Constantinople", Project 421 covering Kiss' "Cold Gin", The Danger Cats covering The Misfits' "Dig Up Her Bones", Sykotyk Rampage playing their newer song "Liquid Love", and Haggith playing their original "Loverbeam"!
That's all for now, but stay tuned for more news and notes shortly, along with this month's Defunct Local Band Profiles TOMORROW! Thanks everyone!