Wednesday, February 18, 2015

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

With the 18th of the month upon us again, let's close down last month's poll and begin anew with another poll! As you may remember, last month's poll posed this question: What was your favourite new local metal, hard rock, or punk band of 2014? We received a respectable 22 votes in the poll, but with some surprising results, so here are the final totals from last month!

Other (5 votes, 23%)
Them (4 votes, 18%)

The Elements (3 votes, 14%)
 Fist Fighting Stephen Hawking (3 votes, 14%)
Gnaeus (2 votes, 9%)
Long Shot (2 votes,
The Apocalypse Afterparty (1 vote, 4⅓%)
Mourning Wood (1 vote,
The Revolution (1 vote,
The Bottom Line (0 votes)
Exiled (0 votes)
Full Throttle (0 votes)
Highway 63 (0 votes)
Infamous (0 votes)

What do you guys think? I will admit that the results are a little unexpected, as "Other" technically won the poll, being the only choice to attain 5 votes. This has happened before on this question, but in a surprising second place was the newer local metal trio Them, who barely made the poll via a late 2014 house party concert appearance, won't play a formal venue until next month, and still don't have an online page or public media. As "Other" likely wasn't intended for one specific band by it's voters (though I assume The Pixo Control, who launched publically in late 2013, were among consideration), we will consider Them to have "won" the poll, and hopefully we hear much more from them in 2015! As for the other choices: most of them weren't as surprising, but Fist Fighting Stephen Hawking's tie for third was unexpected given that they were only active for a few months, while I expected at least one Sault Michigan band to have gotten even one vote. It's all in who votes though, and for those of you that did, we thank you for voting as usual!

As for this month's poll, we're continuing our usual "Favourite _____ of the year" polls with this question: What was the biggest local metal, hard rock, or punk news story of 2014? An annual occurrence at this time of the year, it's always interesting to look back at big news stories, events, and concerts of the year that was, and it definitely was difficult to pare down a productive and generally positive year for metal, hard rock, and punk activity! Still, I was able to cut a year down into 25 choices of various events and shows in 2014 for you guys to vote on that hopefully sum up the biggest events of the year, but as usual, "Other" is available if we missed one. Remember, this poll is to determine the biggest & most newsworthy story of the past year, not the most popular, the happiest, or the "best". This is not intended to be a popularity contest, so I discourage Facebook campaigns to get your friends into voting for your band or event's choice, as that's not the point. So, what are the choices? Read on below for info on each!

AlgomA release "Reclaimed By The Forest: One of the biggest new CD releases of 2014 was via local sludge metal trio AlgomA, who put out their anticipated debut EP "Reclaimed By The Forest" in October through Deadbeat Media, which soon attracted attention both locally and all over the globe! That said, did you think that it's release was last year's top local metal news story?

Alice Cooper headlines at Kewadin Casino: Fans of shock rock legend Alice Cooper were definitely excited to see him in the Sault area for a sixth time (and first in almost seven years) in June at The Dreammaker's Theater, and videos from the show definitely prove that he was up to his usual theatrical tricks! It was definitely a well recieved concert, but would you agree?

Anvil headlines at The Canadian in March: Toronto metal legends Anvil made their second local concert appearance since their career resurgence when they returned to The Canadian Nightclub in March, delivering more of their time-tested metal on metal! Also featuring fellow Toronto metallers Caym and three local opening bands, was this #1 in 2014?

The Bear Hunters release "Eternal Hibernation": After years worth of recording sessions, preparations, and setbacks, local death metal quintet The Bear Hunters finally released their debut CD "Eternal Hibernation" in November through a CD release party at The Canadian, gaining lots of positive notices from fans in the process! Was this CD release your biggest event of last year?

Bret Michaels returns to Kewadin Casino: A light year for hard rock shows at Kewadin Casino's Dreammaker's Theater began in earnest with Poison frontman Bret Michaels' return to Sault Michigan last January, continuing his frequent string of regional solo concerts! Also featuring fellow hair metal favourites FireHouse, was the 2014 Bret Michaels show last year's big story?

Das Bunkerfest debuts in Garden River in August: Though hosted at a publically unannounced venue outside of Sault Ontario, the ambitious collaborative concert event at "Das Bunker" was very well recieved, almost instantly spurring discussion of it's second installment this summer. Featuring bands like The Archaics, Shit Liver, and Algoma over two days, can you vouch for Das Bunkerfest in this poll?

Detroit reunites at The Algonquin in December: Hardcore punk fans were more than excited in December when local/Toronto quartet Detroit reunited after an almost 5 year hiatus to rock The Algonquin Pub for one night only! Given their pedigree, you know that their intensity and fast (but short) songs went over well in their return, but were you there to pick it as last year's biggest event?

Docks Riverfront Grill becomes Waterfront Legend: Though this Foster Drive venue recently returned to concert bookings with the jam band Mojo, the Soo still lost a popular venue when Docks Riverfront Grill was sold to new owners last spring, who turned it into a Chinese buffet restaurant in September. I've heard good things about Waterfront Legend, but did losing Docks top the past year to you?

The Emergency Festival debuts in August: With Rotaryfest's Second Stage taking a one year(?) hiatus, the crew from LopLops Lounge shifted attention to their own upstart music festival the following month, featuring a similar lineup to past Second Stages, albeit across numerous downtown locations. Featuring locals and out of town acts alike, did you love The Emergency?

Frightlight says goodbye at 10th Halloween Party: After a successful 5 year run, local punk/metal quintet Frightlight announced that they'd end their run where it began during frontman Johnny Pints' annual Halloween party at The Algonquin Pub, the 10th straight that he had put on! Though Rick couldn't make the event, it was great closure to their run, but was it high on your rankings from last year?

Gob headlines at The Rockstar Bar in October: After almost six years, British Columbia punk veterans Gob made their long awaited return to Sault Ontario last fall for a packed headlining concert at The Rockstar Bar that definitely got a huge reception! Also featuring locals Jack Spades, Redundant, and Northwest, was this show the big event of 2014 in your mind?

Heart & Jason Bonham rock The Essar Centre: Major hard rock concerts have been increasingly scarce at The Essar Centre, but experiencing Heart live in June helped fill in the gaps! Featuring a well received Led Zeppelin tribute from the Wilson sisters, Jason, and company, this was among last year's biggest hard rock shows in the Soo, but was it the biggest news item of all?

Heavy Thursday series starts (and ends) at The Rosie: Fans of the former Roosevelt Hotel's early 2010s Thursday metal night series were excited to hear that J.D. Pearce would be promoting a spiritual successor series last February, which started to a positive reception ,but only ran for 3 installments before Reggie's Place bought the venue. Still, was this last year's big story?

Hempfest relocates to Moonbeam: Adding to the drop-off in local summer festivals last year was the loss of Hempfest, as promoter Robert Neron moved the annual marijuana culture/concert festival 8 hours north to his hometown of Moonbeam due to rising costs in Ophir. Though some regional acts (like The Elements) still made the trip, was the loss of Hempfest the top news item of 2014?

Jack Spades releases debut EP "The First": Local punk/metal quintet Jack Spades released their well recieved EP "The First" in April, which they followed with a attitude-fueled CD release concert at The Rockstar Bar the following month! Featuring five entertaining originals from T-Rex Manning & Bear Hunters alumni, did you find this CD to be the big event of last year?

Late & Loud reunites for "last show ever": Though inactive since the spring of 2013, popular local classic metal quartet Late & Loud came back for two one-off concerts last year, with the latter in August serving as their "last show ever", partially due to guitarist Brendan Christie's move to England. Was their announced farewell show the biggest story of 2014 in your eyes?

Papa Fogals Chair return for stag & doe in May: Featuring a lineup full of past & present Saultites, London metal band Papa Fogals Chair have been a popular sight when they're reunited locally, including at bassist Mike Bird's stag & doe in May at The Moose Lodge, which Local2 even covered! Also featuring Garden of Bedlam's last live concert set (to date?), did this top last year for you?

Random Killing returns for Hardcore Homecoming: Toronto hardcore punk legends Random Killing (and Saultite frontman Drew Kiteley) made their first local concert appearance in 17 years when they headlined Hardcore Homecoming at The Rockstar Bar in September, taking the local scene back to a fondly remembered era! Also featuring Gatgas & local openers, can you vouch for this huge concert?

The Ripcordz at The Rad Zone's 30th anniversary show: Another big Sault Ontario concert in October saw Montreal hardcore punk notables The Ripcordz come back to the Soo to headline popular music/skate shop The Rad Zone's 30th anniversary concert! Whether you were a fan, regular, or both, this was a huge event for all involved, but was it 2014's biggest event?

The Roosevelt Hotel is sold, becomes Reggie's West: A very popular venue for metal concerts ended as we knew it in March when Reggie's Place bought The Rosie, turning the Korah road venue into Reggie's West and re-opening it after renovations later in the spring. Though we have seen hard rock back there via Mourning Wood, was the loss of The Rosie last years #1 news story?

Shit Liver releases self-titled debut CD: Also among last year's major local metal CD releases was local/St. Catharine's grimecore trio Shit Liver's self-titled first album in April, which had itself been long anticipated! Running for just over a half hour (yet featuring 15 songs), fans of their crust infused death metal responded in kind, but was this last year's top news story?

Swearnet movie released in theaters & on DVD: Two years after filming in Sault Ontario took place, the long anticipated feature film Swearnet (starring the cast of The Trailer Park Boys and featuring Sebastian Bach) was released to theatres last August, later being released on DVD by year's end as well! Though critics and fans were divided, was this long awated movie your top event last year?

Tuned with Donna Hopper begins on Local2: Joining Local2's expanding roster of webseries in February, the Donna Hopper hosted webseries Tuned has spotlighted artists and concerts regularly for the past year, featuring interviews, performance footage, and more from a diverse array of acts! Tuned has provided some great episodes, but was it's inception last year's big news item?

VM Radio & VM Rocks internet stations go on the air: The local radio market gained some appreciated alternatives in November when SooToday parent company Village Media launched VM Radio, a new network of five (now six) internet radio stations, including VM Rocks, which has metal and punk on rotation! The stations have been positively received by listeners, but are you among them?

Woods of Ypres' first 3 CDs reissued by Earache Records: After frontman David Gold's sudden passing in 2011, copies of defunct local metal band Woods of Ypres' first three albums became scarcer to find, but that was remedied when Earache Records gradually reissued each of them throughout 2014. This was great news for fans, but was it locally notable for you?

Other: Did we miss your preferred news story of 2014? Perhaps your preferred big event was a new local band's debut, or a major lineup change? Maybe a regular annual concert event like Rotarfyest or the Swampstravaganza is your choice? Maybe we forgot to include your preferred album release? If for whatever reason, we missed what you'd rather vote for, "Other" is for you!

VOTE TODAY!! You guys have until March 18th to cast your votes, and I'm definitely curious to see which choice comes out on top for this annual poll, so be sure to cast your votes A.S.A.P., and remember please don't turn this into a popularity contest. That's all for now, but stay tuned for more news and weekend concert previews in the coming days! Thanks everyone!

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