Thursday, April 30, 2015

Shit Liver/Bear Hunters Concert Review!!

At last, here's our review of Tuesday night's Shit Liver-headlined concert at The Rednecks Saloon, but be sure to check out the first of this weekend's concert previews in the post below this one! Before we get into the review proper, I wanted to give an outline of the venue itself, as believe it or not, this was my first time ever at the former Nicolet Tavern for a concert. If you only know it from pictures, the stage is to the right of the front entrance, and it's smaller than it looks online. There's a small floor section with tables to the right, and the saloon is fairly long, with the bar in the middle between the stage area and an area with pool tables and extra seating. There are various rustic and country themed items on the walls like at The Canadian, as well as strung up Christmas lights, but I can't verify how much of this was added after the name and theme change. The Rednecks Saloon is cozy and inviting, and though the turnout on Tuesday was medium at best, it'd be nice to see more non-cover shows here!

Opening the show on Tuesday was an acoustic solo set by Jack Spades bandmates Johnny Belanger and Jesse Cook, who you may have seen at assorted recent events, including as "Sleigher" at X-Mess 2. If you've seen Johnny & Jesse's acoustic punk cover sets before, the song selection will be familiar, including covers of the likes of Social Distortion, Blink-182, and The Foo Fighters that definitely got a good reception! The guys kept things light-hearted during the set, with Johnny showing off his singing and guitar ability well that it would be nice to see expanded on beyond just the occasional unplugged gig and he and Jesse continue to have good chemistry in this form! I would like to see more of a range of covers and different songs in their set, but hopefully we see more of Johnny & Jesse together!

Next up was local alternative hard rock trio Mike Haggith & The Din in their Rednecks Saloon debut, and they delivered a very solid set to build on their recent debut shows with this lineup! Mixing renditions of Mike's solo originals like "Cowardly Hearts Beneath The Stars" & "Of Cars & Criminals" with select covers like Live's "Lightning Crashes", the band's recent evolution from extended improvised jam originals to more straightforward versions of Mike's own songs was more fully realized here than ever before, with Mike showing a natural ease up front, Curtis McKenzie demonstrating his underrated guitar ability, and Brandan Glew drumming consistently throughout! Personally, I do prefer the creativty of their old acid jam sets and recordings, and the Live cover is sort of a mood killer during their set, but The Din are on their way!

Third on Tuesday was local punk/metal quintet Jack Spades in a rare set not promoted by frontman J.D. Pearce, and they rocked the stage with a fun and energetic mix of their familiar originals and select covers! Songs like "Fear Corps", "Rise", and the newer "Negative Headspace" joined covers of The Ripcordz and The Misfits (with a Slayer interlude?!) to a positive reception, with J.D. and his new Right Hook Mic making use of his surroundings by exploring the floor throughout! Everyone was on their game musically, with Jesse Cook again delivering some blistering lead guitar work and Tiffany Stocco providing heavy riffs and improving backing vocals as well! It was odd seeing Justin Lam with his hair tied back, but still great to see Jack Spades again, and stay tuned for much more from Jack Spades and their upcoming three-way split release plans!

Co-headlining were local death metal favourites The Bear Hunters, who brutalized fans with their aggressive originals late in the night! A collection of mostly newer songs like "I Fear No God" and their newest "The Dying Den" joined their cover of Amon Amarth's "Guardians of Asgaard" and two versions of "Collapse the Sun" (the original and a jokey melodic rock version) which fans all seemed to eat up! Though guitarist/promoter Mitch Sirie apologized for his performance on Facebook, he sounded fine to me, and the VM Radio Battle runners-up were at their brutal best for their regular quartet sets, with Nik Deubel's devasating growling on form, and Johnny Belanger showed little fatigue in his third set of the night! Maybe because his windshield was fixed and covered, it helped his performance? Stay tuned for more from The Bear Hunters in the near future!

And your headliners on Tuesday were local/St. Catharine's grindcore trio Shit Liver in their Rednecks Saloon debut and second show of their brief home swing, and if you've missed the guys since last summer, rest assured that they haven't lost a step in the past year! On this stop of their Homeland Debauchery Tour, the guys powered through a somewhat abbreviated though blistering set of originals like "It's Not My Problem", "Helen Kellers", and the debuting "Just Take It" & "It Won't Change", even debuting the use of audio samples like on their album for the live show as well. Josh Penno, a nicely mohawked Mike Kyle, and Matt Baic let their extreme vocals loose with fury, and all kept up their end of the bargain on their respective instruments for a to-the-point set of brutality, even inciting some brief mosh pits! It was great to see Shit Liver again, and hopefully they play here again soon!

Very entertaining show overall, and in a sense, it felt like a throwback to the old Rosie metal nights... only not at The Rosie.... or on a Thursday. Kudos all around, and check out our photos from the event at this link or via our Facebook page! As for videos, we got one of each band, so here's Johnny & Jesse covering Flogging Molly's "The Worst Day Since Yesterday", Mike Haggith & The Din covering Simple Minds' "(Don't You) Forget About Me", Jack Spades playing "Frederick", The Bear Hunters playing their new song "Neckbreaker", and Shit Liver playing three songs in a row: their self-titled song, "You're Scared", and "Fabricated Nonsense"!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more weekend concert previews tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

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