Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Soo Band Roulette Review!!

FINALLY, we can get our review up of Saturday night's Soo Band Roulette at The Rockstar Bar, as the internet connection out of town has finally gotten it's act together, so our videos are now up in full and we can get this rolling! Without wasting any more time, here's what you need to know from this past Saturday's first ever event of this kind!

Though advertising for the event indicated an 8:00 PM start time, it kicked off much later than that, with the first band being announced a couple of hours later. As you may remember, the crux of Soo Band Roulette revolved around band members for each act being randomly drawn before they privately jammed, and promoter Steve Mozarowski and Smokin' Heroines member Amanda Brown drew the names on stage out of 4 hats, one each for singers, guitarists, bassists, and drummers. For the first band, the drawn names were Telephone & Address' Chris Shoust on vocals, ex-Late & Loud bassist Benn Garside, and ex-Winkstinger drummer Jonas Gasperas, while the guitarist was a relative unknown named Tyler Toews (any relation to Jonathan?) It eventually came out that Tyler is a member of the Nelson, B.C. indie/techno hybrid band Tofu Stravinsky, who some of you may remember as a late notice addition to last year's Creepshow concert at the former Roosevelt Hotel. Remember the name Tofu Stravinsky, as it will come up again!

Before their set, however, was the announced open mic set to fill time while the first band rehearsed and jammed out their short set, and while it was announced to be hosted by Northwest guitarist Greg Callaghan, he didn't make the event for unannounced reasons and was replaced by the aforementioned Steve Mozarowski. Deja vu from this year's Sewer Swampstravaganza, though unlike at that event, we had less performers on Saturday, with only 3 different musicians (all singers & guitarists) taking the stage. Steve kicked things off playing covers of everyone from Oasis and Radiohead to The Smashing Pumpkins, and handling each in solidly entertaining fashion for fans of his prior solo sets, before handing things over to Patrick Evans, who I'm largely unfamiliar with, but shown some grit and skill on country covers from the likes of Darius Rucker and Uncle Kracker. Bear Hunters drummer Johnny Belanger ended the open mic set with his own acoustic punk covers, including the likes of The Vapors, Biffy Clyro, and Social Distortion, and fans of his recent solo appearances will have liked this too, but his vocals seemed a bit more monotone.

As for the first roulette band, their name was announced as Orgasmatron (presumably after the Motorhead song), and they broke from the norm by playing original alt/punk songs that they jammed, before ending with a cover of Pennywise's "Bro Hymn". For a band operating on under an hour of rehearsal, they sounded pretty good, and though I won't largely nitpick their stage presences given the format, why did Chris face the back wall throughout their set? Under the circumstances, everyone sounded good, and if Orgasmatron theoretically stayed together, I can see these songs working in a live setting with more refinement! After their short set, the next band was drawn, and their lineup would end up featuring Tofu Stravinsky singer Sarah Orton alongside AlgomA bandmates Boyd Rendell (a.k.a. Darby Wigwaus) and Jamie Vincent on drums and guitar respectively. A bassist was also drawn for their set, but they dropped out for unannounced reasons, so Jamie played bass on some songs as well to fill in the void.

Though there was supposed to be a performer before the second band's set, none played. For also unannounced reasons, John Mignacca's Dillinger techno project did not play on Saturday night, while the planned public debut of new rap/metal duo The Apocalypse Afterparty also did not occur, In their case, time constraints got in the way, but you can see them live THIS SATURDAY when they open for IDNS at The Oddfellows Hall!  Despite The Apocalypse Afterparty's lack of a set, their Smokin' Heroines supporters were on hand for their public debut, with marshmallow gun in tow, though someone apparently stole the gun before night's end, so hopefully it's found and returned! As for the second roulette band, their announced name was Cat Sass (the placement of the first "S" is important), and they played a short cover set including a rendition of Sublime's "Santeria", and while Jamie & Darby have ready made chemistry, Sarah's smooth lead vocals added an extra dimension, and if this band theoretically stayed together, they'd have a unique sound of their own that'd be worth checking out! Also, given the makeup of the band, would Galgoma be a fitting name?

As for the third band, their lineup was drawn to feature Tofu Stravinsky's Jon Perry on guitar, former No Arrow bassist Brad Griffith on bass (pictured from an older show), The Apocalypse Afterparty's Paul Stanghetta on drums, and.... me on vocals?! See, I had suggested at the sign-up area earlier that if singers were slow to add their names, I could add mine to help out, and I insisted not to add my name early. They added my name early, and I was drawn as "Rob You-Know-Who". I went along with it though, and we all went to the secret jam area to knock out a three song set to end the night, which ended up including Neil Young's "Keep On Rocking In The Free World", Black Sabbath's "Paranoid", and Blink-182's "All The Small Things". All things considered, I thought we did alright given the time limits and lack of time to get to know each other, and everyone was very nice and accomodating to each other! The set itself got a good response, and no one lynched me over my singing ability (or lack thereof?), though like with the other two bands, things would no doubt sound better if we had more than a half hour to prepare.

As for our name, I suggested Some Metalhead & The Talents, lightly playing off my lack of band experience and how I was referred to on RedD Monkey's Facebook bio. Also, before our set, DJ Seith played a set of his own DJ and turntable mixes that seemed to go over well, though to be fair, I only caught the last 5 minutes or so of his set. After our set, Steve returned to the stage to announce the winner based on crowd reaction, who would recieve $100, and after a number close calls regarding who got the loudest cheer, the winner was..... CAT SASS! If counted as a "battle of the bands", this was all 3 members' first of recent memory in the Sault, and all the more impressive given that they played as a trio rather than as a quartet, so congratulations to Sarah, Jamie, and Darby! As for my final thoughts on Soo Band Roulette itself, I thought it was a great and unique concept, but there are a lot of bugs to work out, mainly concerning timing and delays. The between-band gaps were often longer than the given half-hour, and the show itself didn't begin until well after the 8:00 PM start time that was announced.

Had things been tighter ran for timeslots, we could have saw bands featuring the likes of Johnny Belanger, James Watterworth, Kevin Campbell, and most of The Danger Cats, among others that signed up, and hopefully for next time, there will be room for 4 or more bands! Also, it'd be nice to see an actual wheel for a roulette to decide bands, and I've offered the services of my own stand-up casino wheel for a second band roulette if need be. Due to my performing involvement with the last band, and largely missing DJ Seith's set, I didn't get any videos of the last two acts, but I have media of everything else, so click here for my photos from Soo Band Roulette, and as for videos, here's a compilation video of the open mic acts (covering New Order, Darius Rucker, and NOFX), Orgasmatron playing an original jam, and Cat Sass covering Sublime!

That's all for now, and I'm just glad to finally get our Soo Band Roulette review online! Also, thanks again to Sarah, Tyler, and Jon from Tofu Stravinsky for participating in the roulette, it was nice to see some out of town flavour, and hopefully fans who enjoyed their talents on Saturday give them a listen! Stay tuned likely tomorrow for weekend concert previews, with some more big news to come soon as well! Thanks everyone, and thanks again for your patience over the last few days!

1 comment:

darby wiigwaas said...

what a great article! i may be biased because i owned, but very well written, figs! also wanted to say how awesome you did singing, man! get in a band... asap

definitely gonna get in the ring again.