Friday, July 17, 2015

Rotaryfest Second Stage & Sault Michigan Concert Previews!!

For this third of at least four weekend concert preview posts on this stacked concert weekend in the Twin Saults, we're tackling Sault Michigan concerts and the return of a major Rotaryfest element after a year away! Read on below for everything you should know, and remember, the rest of our previews (including the Caroline Divine/Aldous show and possible late notice events) are coming in our next post!

We'll start in Sault Michigan, where local classic/hard rock cover quartet Highway 63 will take the stage TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT at The Rapids Lounge at the Soo's Kewadin Casino! Making their first regional concert appearance in a month or so (though the guys did take a road trip to play at Marquette's Woodstack festival last month), the Sir Charge successors have teased having a new sound system to debut this weekend, so hopefully things sound even better than usual! However, frontman Henry Switzer noted on the band's Facebook page that he will be playing this weekend with broken ribs, and while he noted that he'll be a bit tender, the band will play on. Kudos to him, and hopefully he recovers well! Highway 63's skilled covers can be seen tonight & tomorrow night at 9:00 PM, neither show has an announced cover charge, and you must be 21 to attend. For more details, visit the above links, and here's Highway 63 live at The Rapids Lounge earlier this year!

Next up, we'll head south to The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino, where local hard rock quartet Ten Kings will return to the stage TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT! Still flying high off of their opening set for Theory of a Deadman in the Soo last week, this will be the guys' first concert weekend in St. Ignace in two months, and presumably will also mark the return of bassist Barney Gravelle after his absence last week. Featuring Nixxon Dixxon, Scofflaw, Bottom Line, and Exiled alumni, this fast-rising quartet should deliver another solid weekend of hard hitting favourites for fans down south, so if you're in the St. Ignace area, don't miss out on tonight or tomorrow's concerts! Like this weekend's Highway 63 shows in Sault Michigan, both nights are 21+ affairs with no announced cover charges, and everything will start at 9:00 PM. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page, and here's Ten Kings live last week!

Finally, let's head back north to Sault Ontario for the long awaited return of Rotaryfest's Second Stage TOMORROW! After a year's hiatus due to financial issues, the all-original stage (labelled "Stage 2: Redirected" in official festival materials) is back, albeit with changes, so what's different in 2015? After a 7 year run on Queen Street East, and at least partially due to the ongoing Downtown Association debate, the Second Stage has been fittingly redirected to Clergue Park proper with the rest of the major events at our annual summer festival, with the outdoor stage to be set up outside of The Art Gallery of Algoma, which should provide a nice backdrop! No word yet on if this will be a permanent move though. Also, the Second Stage has been retracted to one day for the first time since 2008, with an earlier starting and ending time to match, but again, no word on if this is a one year change or not. With LopLops Lounge now focusing on The Emergency Festival, Stage 1 assistant director Chelsie Parayko is the new primary director of Stage 2, but what bands will we see tomorrow?

In the first all-local Stage 2 lineup since 2006, this year's lineup will be familiar for followers of the rising young indie/alternative scene, especially if you liked Lopstock or recent Tidal Records events, and it's worth noting that all but one band tomorrow are making their Stage 2 debut! Local post-punk/garage rock quartet Gnaeus will headline the Second Stage tomorrow at 7:00 PM, becoming just the second local band to close the stage since 2008, while their good friends in The Pixo Control will bring their hard edged grunge sound to the Second Stage at 6:00 PM. Newer glam rock/power pop trio Caroline Divine will rock out at 5:00 PM, immediately following the last of three 10 minute mini-sets by DJ Seith and rapper Conika, who will perform together at 2:50, 3:50, and 4:50 PM. Newer punk quartet Stereo North will play Stage 2 at 4:00 PM, with young indie/alternative quintet Aldous on at 3:00 PM, and after two prior Stage 1 sets as The Pesto Shirts, local prog/jazz rock quartet The Wild Iris will make their Stage 2 debut at 2:00 PM.

Local alt-folk favourites The Boot Hill Crooners will open the Second Stage tomorrow at 1:00 PM, making them the only band with a prior Stage 2 appearance on this year's lineup (they also opened the Saturday lineup in 2009.) Like the main stage action at Rotaryfest yesterday through tomorrow, this is FREE & ALL AGES, and for more details, visit the above links and the official Rotaryfest program! With the changes in promotion and year's hiatus, many recent Second Stage favourites like  Al Wood & The Woodsmen, Blues Harvest, and Porter are absent from this year's lineup, but the youthful, punk/alternative base should attract a nice crowd, and hopefully this is just the start as the Second Stage (or Stage 2: Redirected, if you prefer) re-acclimates itself to the Rotaryfest calendar! Of course, if you miss the out of town bands and folk/roots base, The Emergency Festival will have you covered next month at Rocky DiPietro Field, so don't bypass that either.

Also, remember that a number of bands tomorrow are playing separate shows this weekend too (The Pixo Control and maybe Gnaeus at LopLops tonight, Caroline Divine and Long Shot there tomorrow, and Stereo North and Stage 1 act Long Shot tonight at The Rockstar Bar), so keep those in mind aslo if you like your bands indoors at night! I hope to see everyone at Clergue Park tomorrow and for a preview, here's Gnaeus live earlier this year!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for at least one more weekend concert preview post (including the aforementioned Caroline Divine show), and perhaps more updates, either tonight or tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

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