Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: A Look Back In The Year Of Local Metal, Hard Rock, And Punk

In this, our final post of 2016, we're once again spotlighting the year at large by looking at the bands, concerts, events, changes, departures, returns, and more from the local metal, hard rock, and/or punk scenes! Though our unusually low post count this year doesn't suggest it, a lot went down in 2016, so here's what you should know as we look back at the year that was!

The year of 2016 was very sparse in the realm of major concerts at venues like The Essar Center and The Dreammaker's Theater, with the former not hosting any hard rock headlining concerts this year, and the latter primarily focusing on touring tribute bands for the lion's share of the year, only breaking their drought with the sixth local concert appearance by Poison frontman Bret Michaels on November 5th, which recieved a very positive reception! Over in Sault Ontario, while we had no Essar Center shows of SMS relevance this year, new downtown outdoor concert venue The Yard did bring Juno Award winning pop punk quartet Hedley back to the area on July 1st for the first time in 6 years, with all female Toronto rockers The Beaches and local Celtic/punk quartet Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide in tow. This Canada Day bash was a hit, and with Pop Evil already booked for Kewadin Casino next year, hopefully 2017 brings even more major headline acts to our area!

In Sault Ontario, we saw many out of town metal, hard rock, and punk bands rock the stage, with such notables as The Anti-Queens, Bloody Diamonds, Bookakee, Castle, Dumpster Mummy, Gorod, Iskra, K-Man & The 45s, Lost Love, Moon Tan, The Nailheads, Reanimator, The Ripcordz, Rotbottyrot, and SNFU performing well received sets, among many others! Among other notable concerts this year: Nine bands came together at this month's Guy Thiffault benefit concert, Shit Liver returned home to open for The Motherfuckers in April, The Tech held the Sky's The Limit mental health fundraiser, The Rednecks Saloon hosted it's relaunch party, and The Gore Street Cafe hosted the Fishbowl & Fortnight Festivals. In the battle arena, both Jesse Merineau (with Caroline Divine) and K.I.C.K. knocked off The Din to win March's battles of the bands, while Nathan Albidone won this fall's anticipated Tidal Records songwriting competition. These and more kept the music flowing in 2016, and expect much more next year!

A relatively quiet year in the Sault Michigan area still yielded some big events and familiar faces throughout! Despite the cancellation of the anticipated Firehouse concert and the planned return of LemmaFest, music fans did get to see collections of local musicians rocking out at the Bay Mills Band Together fundraiser in Brimley in May, the annual Sugar Island Music Festival in August, and that same month's debuting Rudyard Music Festival. Traverse City metal bands Peril & Scarkazm continued their frequent E.U.P. concert runs, while 517 and Kiss tribute Detroit Rock City rocked out to new local fans, Infathom returned for a surprise Brimley show in March, and we said goodbye to Marquette hard rockers Nudge this summer. Local hard rock bands like 415E, Banned, Highway 63, and Project 906 remained live staples, while the debuting Stoned Ape Evolution and young rockers Tantrym Tyme both found regional audiences as well. Here's to even more in 2017!

In terms of general news items, we had no shortage in the local metal, punk, and hard rock scenes, with bands like AlgomA, Gnaeus, Id Iota, Jack Spades, The Pixo Control, and Shit Liver all hitting the road for well received tour runs, while groups like Banned and Sykotyk Rampage also played outside our area! While we saw such melancholy stories as The Pixo Control being dropped from The Sheepdogs' local concert, Hells Bells cancelling local stops twice, The Park Grille abruptly ending their live band run, and The Gore Street Cafe fighting for survival for much of the year, we also saw many good stories, like the release of local artist Darren Emond's Iron Maiden comic book, the return of Brian Davie to Scott & Brian In The Morning, and Destroilet's contribution to The Rebel Spell's official tribute CD. Renamings and rebrandings were also a frequent occurence this year, with Mike Haggith & The Din, Kaepora Gaebora, For July, The Back Door, Waterfront Legend, and WLSO all changing names and/or themes this year. Hopefully 2017 is just as eventful!

Sadly, the local music scene wasn't unaffected by the high number of famous deaths in 2016, with a handful of important music figures passing this year. In May, we lost former Arnill's Music owner Barbara Arnill after a lengthy battle with cancer at the age of 83, which brought out many remembrances from those musicians she helped over the years. Then in August, the local music and theatre communities mourned the loss of Shot In The Dark Productions head and former White Pines instructor Susan Barber in her 56th year after her own cancer fight, while long-time Canadian Nightclub DJ and former concert promoter Jay Perron (a.k.a. DJ Reverend J) suddenly passed away in October at just 43 years of age. Finally, the punk community grieved the loss of ex-Hangdowns/Nebraska Arms frontman Guy Thiffault after his sudden passing just under two weeks ago at 36 years of age, leading to Tuesday's well received tribute concert. All four will not be forgotten any time soon by their friends, family, and fans!

On a happier note, a number of CDs, EPs, and albums were released this year by local metal, hard rock, and punk bands, with two of the biggest locally being The Din and Gnaeus' debut studio albums "Give In To The Din" & "Meditations", with the two bands opening for each other's CD release concerts in August. 2016 also saw the release of local doom metal trio AlgomA's long hyped split vinyl EP with Saskatchewan's Chronobot, while Long Shot put out their only EP shortly before disbanding, and Id Iota released their debut EP "Maudlin Fair" during their Ontario tour in the spring. Also this year: The Inner City Surfers posthumously released "Time To Travel On" on streaming music services, Telephone & Address put out "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been...", The Strange Coyotes belatedly put out their final live CD, SweetKenny released a number of score and traditional albums, and Blood Shed Productions brought new releases from Crucify The Whore and Malignant Neoplasm. Look for more anticipated albums in the new year!

2016 welcomed another promising crop of new local metal, hard rock, and punk bands to the scene, with alternative/punk bands A Dire Setback and T-Rex Manning successors Stegadeth stealing many of the winter headlines in their debut concerts!  Earlier in the year, we saw the launches of pop/hard rock supergroup Heavy Head, Late & Loud successors Kraken Mara, funk/hard rock instrumental project Gianni Gagoots, death metal duo Twistory, young classic rockers Electric Church, and new death metal band Exploring Detritus (previously Kaepora Gaebora), while Havadder alums Scott McLurg, Jamie July, and Travis Sharpe found their way into the new cover hard rock bands The 3 Day Millionaires, The Band Camp Rejects, and Nameus respectively. As well, Sault Michigan saw the launches of blues/hard rock cover quartet Project 906 and masked original metal band Stoned Ape Evolution this year. Promising roster of new bands to be sure, and here's to a big 2017 for them!

The past 12 months have also seen a number of lineup changes in local bands, with none achieving as much discussion on social media as the abrupt departure of prolific hard rock singer Curtis McKenzie from both Project 421 and Eclipse in November, with him nor both bands emerging with new public music activity since. In other major changes: the reunited Winkstinger replaced Alan Wells & Jason Bourcier with Keith Gagnon & Andrew MacDonald, The Elements enlisted Josh Norling and Jonas Gasperas as (de facto?) band members, Them parted ways with Chase Wigmore & Rainey Vincent, and The Apocalypse Afterparty welcomed "Sven Derful" & "Lady Rito" to their expanded lineup. 2016 also saw guitarist Tiffany Stocco leave Jack Spades, Alex Proulx replace Brendan Garlick on drums in Gnaeus, Dan Linklater replace Justin Girardi as Id Iota's bassist, Robin Lee replace Jeremey Salatuk on guitar in Lucky 13, and guitarist Jamie July leave Havadder, among other big lineup alterations.

Unfortunately, 2016 also saw a number of bands dissolve or fall inactive, notably including The Pixo Control (succeeded by frontman Mike Mikus' new pop rock solo project) and alt-hard rock quartet Long Shot, with fans of each surprised by their sudden breakups. Meanwhile, such notable bands as Gates of Winter, Garden of Bedlam, The Billy Bastards, and Bad Back have largely fell silent online, and haven't played live in over a year each. Also locally, bands like Stereo North, Lucky 13, Griphook, Caroline Divine, and Late Shift have been AWOL from the stage or online updates in the latter half of 2016, though hopefully they resurface in the new year. As well, reunited Sault Michigan hard rock band The Creepy Little Coffee People haven't had an online presence in months, and the future of linked Sault Ontario metal bands Project 421 and Eclipse is up in the air at best following their highly public lineup changes in November. Fingers crossed that these bands can resurface down the road, as all were full of talent & promise!

And finally, the local metal & punk scenes saw a number of big comebacks and returns in 2016, with no night delivering more than the Guy Thiffault benefit concert on December 27th, which saw Bin Hawdon & The Taliband, Nebraska Arms, and Edmonton's Rotbottyrot all end 6-8 year hiatuses (not to mention the return of folk rockers The Business Suit Trappers), which I'm sure would all make Guy proud! That same night also saw Destroilet play their first show in 14 months, while fellow performers Talk Shit had previously reformed after a 7 year breakup this fall. Elsewhere, fans welcomed back Winkstinger, Pillory, and Caveman Morrison to the stage after previously disbanding, while That's Chester returned to honour late guitarist Eugene Orlando at this year's Rotaryfest with special guests, Sykotyk Rampage, Id Iota, Redundant, and Rotopsy resumed concert activity after long breaks, and Josh Stephney rejoined The Bear Hunters for their May concert. Here's to many more comebacks and reunions in 2017!

2016 was another big year for the local metal, hard rock, and punk scenes, and I'm sure 2017 will be bigger and better than ever, so look for our preview post on the year at large tomorrow! Thanks everyone, and have a safe and responsible Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2016

More New Year's Eve Concert Previews, A New Video, And Much More!!

Barring an extremely late notice concert announcement, this will be our last regular post of 2016, so what's in store? A handful of musician searches to take note of, a recent album trailer video, and to lead things off, previews of two hard rock concerts for your New Year's Eve plans, so here's what you need to know to end the year!

Local classic/hard rock cover quartet The 3 Day Millionaires will end 2016 in style by headlining The Rockstar Bar's New Year's Eve bash TOMORROW NIGHT! No word on who's playing there tonight, but this show will mark The Millionaires first live concert appearance in 4 weeks, and if you know The Rockstar Bar well, you'll know you're in for a big party to ring in 2017! Given the special admission fee of $10, expect some extra party accoutrements, and perhaps even refreshments, not to mention some hard rocking cover favourites from this union of Cleveland Steamer, Turner Up, Sneaky Pete, and Wishbone alumni! Note that a previously announced opening set by new punk band A Dire Setback has been dropped from this show for unannounced reasons. This $10 show has a 19+ age limit as usual, and everything is slated to begin at 10:30 PM tomorrow. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's The 3 Day Millionaires live!

Next up, new local classic/hard rock cover trio Nameus (is this their permanent name now?) will rock The Rednecks Saloon TOMORROW NIGHT to send out 2016 themselves! This union of Suicide Kings, Havadder, and Asylum Country alumni are still without an online page or any public media of their concerts, but they're definitely pulling out all the stops to get fans to the former Nicolet Tavern tomorrow, as not only will there be free pizza for attendees, but admission is FREE! Usually, promoted New Year's bashes like this have a higher admission charge, so kudos to Twin City Sound and Nameus for making this more open to the masses! Alongside the free admission, a 10:00 PM start time is in effect tomorrow, and you must be 19 or older to attend. Check the above links for more details, and hopefully some online pages and/or media of Nameus turns up at some point!

Also today, here's a belated trailer for local post-punk quartet Gnaeus' debut CD "Meditations", as uploaded to their YouTube channel late last month! Apologies in our own month's delay in getting this on the site, we didn't know it was online until the past week. The creativity points are high here, as the guys are green screened so that their heads are floating in space, while discussing the band, how to pronounce their name, songs on the album, and more odd topics (plus, did you know that Alex Proulx could fire lasers from his eyes?) My big problem with the trailer is the volume is woefully inconsistent, as the guys are very quiet when talking, yet the music is extremely loud, so I was constantly wrestling with the volume dial so I could hear everything at a normal volume. If you can get past that, this trailer is very fun and a nice (if delayed) promotion for "Meditations", so check it out below!

Finally, here's three assorted shorter stories, all relating to recent musician searches via the Musicians Wanted Facebook group! As usual, these are in alphabetical order by artist name!

  • Project 421/Eclipse guitarist Daniel Horton is looking to assemble a new band that would play originals and occasional covers. He's aiming to play hard rock that perhaps veers into pop rock territory, specifically "well structured and tasteful music", while he'd actually only want to play up to 5 times a year, and just wants creatively similar musicians. Daniel noted that "I've got some more free time", but if he has left his recent bands or seen them disband, that hasn't been publically confirmed. Message Daniel at this link or via his Musicians Wanted group post from yesterday for more details!
  • A local guitarist named Kyle Foster is getting back into music, and is looking to jam with fellow musicians. His influences include bands like Strung Out, NOFX, and Propagandhi, and he is a songwriter that would be interested in maybe forming a band to play his originals and maybe covers. For reference, he has been playing a guitar borrowed from local punk veteran Lucas "Dr. Sal Velinus' Schmiedendorf lately. Message Kyle at this link or via his Musicians Wanted group post from yesterday if you're interested in jamming with him in the new year!
  • In yet another local band search, former Bear Hunters/Skull After Betrayl guitarist Mike Vincent is looking to join a metal band of any kind (preferably thrash or death metal) as a guitarist and vocalist. If you're interested in jamming with Mike, message him at this link or via his Musicians Wanted group post from December 20th!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for our recap of the news & events in the local metal & punk scenes of 2016 tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Guy Thiffault Benefit Concert Review!!

At last, it's time to review Tuesday's benefit concert in memory of late Hangdowns frontman Guy Thiffault at The Rockstar Bar, and apologies for the delay in getting this on the site, we had to re-upload two videos, and with weekend concert previews earlier today, I didn't want everything lost in the shuffle. Despite being held on barely a week's notice on a work night (and from 6:00 PM-midnight to boot), The Rockstar Bar was sufficiently packed with friends and colleagues of Guy's, and while the opening two bands didn't get a huge crowd on the floor, AlgomA started bringing fans closer, and by the time of the headliners' set, it was a packed herd of raucous fans! A Dire Setback frontman Larry Babic bought lots of pizza to sell at the event, while Rotbottyrot bassist Brenton Ellis raffled off a painting of his that was autographed by all of the night's performers, with all proceeds from both sales going to the Thiffault family, which was a great gesture!

Headliners aside, each band only played for about 30 minutes each, but a lot was packed in to this concert, so let's begin our review proper with the Rockstar Bar (and non-Live705) debut of new local alternative punk band A Dire Setback, who left a good impression on early fans! Playing a selection of original songs like "Catastrophe" alongside a punked-up cover of OneRepublic's "Counting Stars", this union of 2000s punk veterans delivered a solid package of high energy punk that would be right at home at an Oddfellows Hall show of that era. Larry Babic still has a melodic soaring voice that A.F.F.I. fans will appreciate, while guitarist Chris Nielsen was an energetic compliment, Matt Quinn handled bass well (though he could have been more animated), and a gloved Nick Kainula was on form on drums, adding up to a nice first personal look at A Dire Setback! They're familiar yet full of potential, and it'll be interesting to see what they have in store next!

Second were new local punk/metal trio Stegadeth in their second ever live concert appearance, so how did the T-Rex Manning successors sound? If you're familiar with that band's old side project Pools of Booze (which contained an identical lineup to Stegadeth), then that's what we basically have here, but there were a few differences. Setlist wise, Stegadeth traded The Misfits for The Ramones, covering two of their songs and Motorhead's homage "R.A.M.O.N.E.S.", while also covering G.G. Allin, Blink-182, and SNFU (no Volbeat though.) T-Rex Manning fans, however, were treated to the return of that band's lone original "She Banged The Mayor", so if you've missed hearing that live in the past two years, Stegadeth have revived it! Like he did in Pools of Booze, Bill Bennett sang lead vocals, and has improved the grit and intensity of his singing since then, but we also got to hear guitarist Tiffany Stocco on more lead vocals (she can sing, but needs to be louder.)

Stegadeth were rough around the edges at times, but it's great to see Bill, Tiffany, and Daniel back together, and while it may not be Rex Manning day anymore, Stegadeth have a solid punk base and pre-existing chemistry that should serve them well going into the new year!

Next was local doom/sludge metal trio AlgomA in, as hard as this is to believe, their first ever concert at The Algonquin Hotel (they haven't even played downstairs yet!) As usual, they let the music do the talking, playing a short set of slow but crushing original material, which seemed to largely skew towards newer songs. I will say that a band with songs of this length and speed doesn't lend itself well to a half hour timeslot, but AlgomA were the first band to attract a sizeable crowd on the floor, so they did their job and got fans' attention! Kevin Campbell and Boyd Rendell were ferocious on vocals, as you'd expect, and the feedback and distortion-laden songs were dripping in torment, so fans of their crushing originals were happy, even if it felt like they were done before they really started. Stay tuned for more on their upcoming split with Hooded Menace!

Afterwards, the teased "special performance" of songs by Guy's old bands Nebraska Arms & The Business Suit Trappers, so what was this? How does one-off reunions of both bands sound? Nebraska Arms were up first in their first live performance in over six years, with Wayne Watkins, Dave Prendergast, and Adam Sauve joined by Guy's former Bondar bandmate Mark Rand on bass (fitting choice!) Wayne took over on lead vocals, as Northwest fans will be familiar with, and it was great to see one last Nebraska Arms performance in Guy's memory on Tuesday! Afterwards, The Business Suit Trappers reunited for two songs, with Adam & bandmate Mike Yakasovich joined by Wayne again and Guy's former Crawfather bandmate Clint Wilson on bass (B.S.T. guitarist Greg Callaghan was unable to attend.) Though only a partial Trappers reunion, it was nice to hear their folk/indie originals one final time, and both Wayne and Mike handled vocals well for the second half! Guy would be proud, I'm sure of it!

Adam Sauve stuck around for the next set, the second post-reunion appearance of his punk band Talk Shit, so what did we see from them? Lineup wise, he was joined by new singer/guitarist Steve Shaw and guitarist Marc LaFrance, plus the aforementioned Mark Rand filling in for the absent Ian Robinson on bass, though Steve had to bow out midway through due to work commitments. Talk Shit stuck to a covers-only set of punk classics from bands like SNFU, Bigwig, and The Bouncing Souls, and they sounded similar to the old days, though Steve did add a little extra as lead singer on most songs! It's a shame Ian couldn't be there, but Mark was right in his element on bass, and Adam was a solid presence on drums as you'd expect! After Steve left, the remaining three played a suite of Hangdowns songs like "Red Top" & "Separation Anxiety", which predictably got a great reception from fans, and hopefully we hear more from the reunited Talk Shit in 2017!

(For what it's worth, original Talk Shit guitarist Andrew Angelic did attend this concert, but did not perform with his old band on Tuesday. Disappointing, but hopefully he brings his current London band Rattlesnake Hotel to the Soo in the future, as he's been missed on the local stage!)

Then we had Edmonton hardcore punk band Rotbottyrot (a.k.a. Blood Guy), who were a big unknown to me, so what can be said about them? A lot, in fact! While their original run(s?) isn't well documented online, this was apparently their first show in 8 years, and at least in this current incarnation, their lineup was entirely comprised of Saultites, including singer/author Mat Laporte, AlgomA drummer Jamie Vincent on guitar, Lion Ride/Maximum RNR alum Brenton Ellis on bass, and former Bottom Half/Stripped Of His Wings drummer James Moss. Despite being one of the night's biggest wild cards, Rotbottyrot delivered a chaotic and intense set codified by Mat's intense stage presence, which drifted from masked fury and crowd engagement to laying on the floor like a lit powderkeg. Originals like 'Double Punch" and "Bottle Guy" were well received, and everyone fit in well for this performance,which would be cool to see repeated if possible, as they definitely left their mark!

Co-headlining on Tuesday were hardcore punk quintet Destroilet in their first live concert appearance in over a year, though members did downplay the return a bit by noting that they haven't jammed much recently.  Honestly, it barely showed, as Destroilet were at their usual furious old school best for their set, with originals like "End Me" and "Bamberg Witch Prison" showcasing that they haven't lost a step over the past 14 months As is sadly often the case, Mike Hull was extremely hard to hear, but John Conway and Christian Foisy continue to compliment each other well on guitar, and Matt Waples kept the rhythm going fast and heavy on drums! The arguable highlights were Destroilet's last two songs, including their fan favourite "Eternal Fire", with numerous guest singers hopping on stage or near microphones to sing along, which was a great sight! Destroilet are back, and hopefully we're not waiting until 2018 for their next show!

And finally, the headliners on Tuesday were local punk supergroup Bin Hawdon & The Taliband, hitting the stage for the first time in eight years! Frontman Mikey Hawdon, guitarist Lucas Schmiedendorf, and bassist Mark Rand were joined by the aforementioned Clint Wilson on drums for their set (Aaron Mooney lives out of province now), and they were in fine form for the wildest, longest, and most crowded set of the night! Playing a selection of punk classics from bands like The Ramones, The Misfits, and many, many more, The Taliband were in fine form for fans of their energetic and old school blend of punk covers, and they were certainly dressed for the occasion! Unfortunately, there was a mishap or two involving attendees near the stage, which forced some extra security and announcements to the crowd, but the show went on and by & large, everyone had a great time, as all of the guest singers and dancers will attest, especially on their set-ending cover of The Hangdowns' "Fireban"!

Overall, this was a very entertaining and emotional concert, whether you were a friend or bandmate of Guy's or not, and it's beyond awesome that so many musicians and organizers could bring this concert together in basically a week! This concert shouldn't have had to happen, but I know Guy would have had a blast if he was around to see it! Mikey noted on Facebook yesterday that they raised $4,500 for the Thiffault family at the concert and the GoFundMe online fundraiser combined, which is awesome, and kudos to all involved for coming together at this difficult time! You can check out our photos from the show at this link or via our official Facebook page, and after some issues with our first couple of video uploads, everything is in working order now! Here's our videos, including A Dire Setback playing their song "Wasting Away", Stegadeth covering Nirvana's "Breed", AlgomA playing a song whose name wasn't announced (let us know if you can title it!)...

...Nebraska Arms playing "I Was A Writer", The Business Suit Trappers playing "I'm A Baby", Talk Shit covering NOFX's "Don't Call Me White", Rotbottyrot playing "Bag", Destroilet playing "It's Over", and Bin Hawdon & The Taliband covering Face To Face's "Disconnected"!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more weekend concert previews and our 2016 recap post soon! Thanks everyone!

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (415E & Tym Morrison) And Weekend Concert Previews!!

Before our review of Tuesday night's Guy Thiffault benefit concert makes the site, here's the first of this weekend's concert previews! Due to the amount, given that this is the New Year's Eve weekend, we're holding the Nameus and 3 Day Millionaires shows on Saturday for a separate post on Friday, alongside any potential late notice gigs for the weekend. Now, here's what you need to know, starting with SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS!

Sault Michigan hard rock quartet 415E will return to The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, the band only announced the shows via their Facebook page on Tuesday, and the venue never confirmed them on their entertainment page. Just two weeks removed from their most recent shows (also in St. Ignace), this talented quartet should provide a solid soundtrack to end 2016 on a high note, so don't miss the Hubbards, Dave, and Mitch at The Northern Pines Lounge TOMORROW and/or SATURDAY for some Van Halen-inspired rock! No word on potential admission fees or New Years' trappings for SATURDAY, so unless otherwise stated, expect 21+ age limits, no announced cover charges, and 9:00 PM start times. See above for details, and here's 415E live in the Soo a few years back!

Next up, Sault Ontario hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison will play his final show of 2016 when he returns to The Roadhouse Bar & Grill on Trunk Road TOMORROW NIGHT, as preceded by his usual Gliss Steak & Seafood matinees TONIGHT & TOMORROW! Apologies again for the short notice on the Roadhouse gig, Tym only publically announced it earlier this week, though he had acknowledged it via personal Facebook postings weeks ago. Playing the east end venue for the second time this month, it's unusual in recent months to see Tym playing at the same non-Gliss venue twice in such short proximity, but fans of his old regular run there should take to his acoustic covers again TOMORROW NIGHT, especially at the more traditional time! As for his weekly Gliss run, Tym will not be playing on Saturday for a second straight week, as Gliss is hosting The Paul Dellavedova Band for their New Year's Eve party, but Tym should be back for thrice-weekly gigs in 2017.

As usual, tonight & tomorrow's Gliss shows will be 6:00 PM affairs with no announced cover charges or age limits (but remember that this is a sit-down restaurant), while TOMORROW'S Roadhouse show is at 10:00 PM with no announced cover and a 19+ age limit. Check the above links for more details, and here's Tym live!

Moving to previously announced concerts, the guys at Six, Two, Oh. will end 2016 in style with their "Holiday Funk Show" at The New American Pub TOMORROW NIGHT! This newer funk/hard rock instrumental outfit has been attracting fans to their creative originals since debuting earlier this year, and that should be no different tomorrow at The New A, especially with such a diverse lineup of acts! True to the event's name, the headliners are Montreal jazz/funk trio The OM Sound, while fellow local openers will include rapper Mikey Thomas, debuting rock band Bizotic (no word yet on their sound or lineup), and local comedian Shane McGuigan, with DJ Seith spinning tunes in between. Very diverse lineup, but if you recall this summer's Debutaunt show that Mikey and Shane also opened, you'll know that Six, Two, Oh. isn't afraid to think outside the box for a varied night of musical entertainment! Also, great poster drawn by Gianni Gagoots' Frank McCormick, it's a shame there isn't a full scan of it online!

A $5 cover charge is in effect for this 19+ concert, and everything will start at 9:00 PM. This should be a fun and diverse night of music, with a little something for everyone, including the hip hop, jazz, and electronic-inspired OM Sound from Montreal, the debut of Bizotic, and much more, so check the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's Gianni Gagoots live at 180 Projects opening for Castle in September! Uploaded by fan Savanna Dee to their Facebook page in October, this 49 second clip frequently focuses on Frank drumming, and is sadly on the vertical camera angle, but you get a nice new look at this promising improv band, so give it a look below!

Finally, we'll come full circle back to Sault Michigan for the last show of 2016 for local classic/hard rock cover quartet Highway 63, who will rock The Rapids Lounge at the Soo's Kewadin Casino THIS SATURDAY NIGHT for New Year's Eve! This frequently seen band should have the sound you need for your year-end concert plans, and if you're familiar with Highway 63 and members' prior groups, you'll know that you're in for a fun night of rocking classics! Note that this was always advertised as a Saturday nighter only (if the band or venue indicates that they are playing tomorrow, we'll update this), while a comment reply on their Facebook page earlier this month noted that "we may not be back there for some time." Are Highway 63 not signed on for more Sault Kewadin gigs in 2017, or have things just not worked themselves out yet? Hopefully we hear more soon!

As usual for Highway 63's Kewadin gigs, expect a 21+ age limit, no announced cover charge, and a 9:00 PM start time, but remember that this is a New Year's show, so there may be added charges or quirks for the occasion. Check the above links for more details, and here's Highway 63 live!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for our review of the Guy Thiffault benefit concert next! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

YouTube Channel Profile Series: Robert Ross

It's time to end another year for our YouTube Channel Profile Series, which remains our monthly look at 1-3 randomly selected YouTube channels featuring at least 50% local metal, hard rock, and/or punk-relevant videos, in order to spotlight them and encourage readers to watch and subscribe! This month's random choice is the channel from a veteran local guitarist who will be familiar to many readers from a few years back in particular, so read on below for what you should know!
Robert Ross (

Owner: Ex-Nikkfitt/WFO guitarist Robert Ross

Channel Timeline: Launched on December 10th, 2007; Videos posted from May-July 2012

Channel Summary: A personal use channel, Robert posted two archival videos of his from shows he played with what appear to be WFO, as well as one solo performance clip.

Why You Should Watch: This channel is worth watching for fans of Robert's local band work, which is sadly under-represented online, though the lack of information on the videos may not appeal to casual viewers. Note that Robert hasn't used this channel since 2012, and did not include any footage from his work with Nikkfitt here either, in case that changes your mind about subscribing.

Our Recommended Videos To Check Out

rock n roll all night: One of Robert's two live videos is WFO (I believe) & two guest backing singers covering Kiss' "Rock & Roll All Nite" at a circa 2000 installment of Hempfest during it's original run in nearby Ophir, Ontario. I can't 100% identify the singer, but their lineup included Robert alongside guitarist Brian Turco, ex-J.A.B. bassist Dan Jones, and ex-Sneaky Pete drummer Mike Oakley. Robert noted in the description that they were playing to 2,000 people during this set, which is totally believable during the former local marijuana culture festival's peak years. Solidly done cover with enthusiasm, and the singer has a nice command of the stage!

Blue Oyster Cult cover of Godzilla: Robert's other apparent WFO video is of them covering the Blue Oyster Cult classic "Godzilla" at the Harmony Beach Lakeview Resort in 2000. Unlike on the Hempfest cover, this used multiple cameras, non-stationary cameras, color changes, transitions, and other post-effects to make this have a little more visual pop. The original cameras weren't high quality compared to what we have now, but they have a good handle on this B.O.C. cover, and fans of WFO should take to this video! Note that the woman in the thumbnail image for the video is not in the band, she just entered the frame mid-way through and was left in during editing.

G-Minor Robert's most popular and oldest video is also his only solo performance video,in which he improvises in G-minor, apologizing for any potential mistakes in the description. Well performed, it has a bluesy drama to it, and seems like it has some emotional heft, whether implied or not. If the bright glare through the window isn't distracting, this is well worth watching, and hopefully we see Robert in a new band at some point!

I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profile! Next month (and year) in this series, our random selection has taken us to Gates of Winter/ex-Woods of Ypres guitarist Bryan Belleau's YouTube channel, which should be a very cool channel to explore to start 2017, so look for that on or around January 26th, and we'll see you guys TONIGHT at the Guy Thiffault tribute show! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Bin Hawdon & The Taliband) & The Boxing Day Concert Preview!!

On this Christmas morning, I wish you all a great holiday and I hope that Santa left you all lots of presents! Today's post is devoted to a pair of big concerts for after Christmas, one of which being a massive SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERT, so read on below for what you need to know!

Seven bands will join forces THIS TUESDAY NIGHT for a benefit concert at The Rockstar Bar in memory of the late Guy Thiffault! Apologies for the short notice, this show was only just announced this past Tuesday, but kudos to all involved for organizing this so soon after Guy's passing! Entitled "4 Guy", all proceeds from this huge concert will go to the Thiffault family, which is an awesome gesture, especially over the holidays, but who all is playing? The headliners are local punk supergroup Bin Hawdon & The Taliband, who will be playing their first live set in eight years for the occasion, so how's that for a huge name for this event?! In listed order on the Facebook event page, this show will also mark the return of hardcore punk quintet Destroilet, who last played live at the "Fed Up!" split CD release party in October of last year. It's been way too long to see Destroilet on stage again, so don't miss out on their long awaited comeback to the local stage!

Edmonton punk/alternative band Rotbottyrot (a.k.a. Blood Guy) will also be performing in their local debut, and yes, they were the planned headliners for Tuesday's cancelled punk rock bingo concert at The New American Pub. As it turns out, promoters Six, Two, Oh. opted to cancel their own show and roll that day's bands into the Guy Thiffault benefit, so if you were hoping to see that day's bands, head to The Rockstar Bar on TUESDAY! Reunited local punk quartet Talk Shit will play just their second show since coming back as well, while local doom metal trio AlgomA will make their Rockstar Bar debut THIS TUESDAY as well. The lineup will be rounded out by new local punk/metal band Stegadeth and alt-punk quartet A Dire Setback (the planned punk rock bingo openers) in their own venue debuts. Finally, "a special performance" will take place at some point on TUESDAY featuring unidentified musicians playing music from Guy's old bands Nebraska Arms & The Business Suit Trappers.

No word on who's performing in this special set (I'd assume it'd be a loose jam with friends and old bandmates), or on if they'll do Hangdowns or Bondar material, but this should be quite a sight for fans of local punk music and/or Guy's music career! There is a $10 minimum cover charge (you may donate more to the family if so inclined), and as this is a TUESDAY concert, this show has an earlier 6:00 PM start time and is advertised to end at 11:00 PM, but I'd still expect a 19+ age limit. This should be a great concert for both punk fans who want to see some sorely missed and newer faces, and for friends of Guy and his family, and I fully expect a packed house, so make sure to get to the venue A.S.A.P. on TUESDAY! It would have been nice to see Northwest playing too, given Guy's past local band work with Wayne & Mike Yakasovich, but still, what a lineup! If you haven't seen Bin Hawdon & Taliband in particular before, get ready for a blast of old school punk insanity!

Despite the sad circumstances, shows like this don't come around often enough, but if you can't make the show and would like to donate money to the Thiffault family, visit the official GoFundMe page for the concert, which is fast approaching it's $1,500 goal. I sincerely hope to be there, if at all possible schedule-wise (I come back from a Detroit, Michigan trip that day), but don't miss what could be the show of the year if you can help it, and give Guy a huge send-off with this night full of punk rock action! See the above links for full details, and here's Bin Hawdon & The Taliband covering The Hangdowns' classic song "Fireban" live in 2006!

Finally for today, here's one more post-Christmas concert preview, as three more local bands will unite at LopLops Lounge TOMORROW NIGHT for a special Monday night concert in honour of Boxing Day! The scheduled performers are local post-punk quartet Gnaeus, indie rock quartet K.I.C.K., and alternative hard rock trio The Din, in what should be an entertaining union of Tidal Records favourites and fast rising local rock bands in their last shows of the year, with some punk and hard rock involved for good measure! Other than the seasonal trappings, there are no advertised quirks or added bonuses, but if you want to check out some entertaining original music after Christmas, a trip to LopLops tomorrow would be a good idea! Promoted by Tidal Records, this concert takes place at 9:00 PM tomorrow, you must be 19 or older to attend, and a special $10 cover charge is in effect. For full details, visit the official Facebook event page, and for a preview, here's Gnaeus live at LopLops Lounge!

That's all for today, but have a great Christmas, and stay tuned for more news and this month's YouTube Channel Profiles soon! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Telephone & Address - "Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been..." CD Review!!

Merry Christmas, everyone! As a little early present for the occasion, here is our 90th monthly CD review at the SMS, and final one of the year, as we're taking a look at local punk/grunge solo project Telephone & Address' fourth official album "Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been..."! Alternately titled without the final word in some physical copies, this album was recorded over the past year, and independently released through Harmisntus Productions on October 26th when they opened for Iansucks at The Gore Street Cafe, but it's digital release didn't occur until this month. Featuring project leader Christopher Shoust on vocals & all instruments, "A.Y.N.O.H.Y.E.B." is available for $8 on their Bandcamp page in mp3 formats, while you can order limited copies of the physical CDs (with slightly varying hand-drawn artwork of the cover character) for $10 through there. The album is also presumably available at upcoming Telephone & Address concerts, though note that prior releases were charged at $15 when sold that way.

And yes, you can stream the whole album on their Bandcamp page for free, but consider buying it to support Chris' work! Featuring 8 songs clocking in at 26 minutes in length, let's begin this review with the first song, "Army Song"! Musically, this song and album are basically a hybrid of his first two official albums, adding the guitar from "The Rotten EP" to the bass & drum-centric style of "Need Not Apply". The lyrics are repetitive (especially the repeated "Left! Right!" chorus), but it has a laid back, grungy feel that Telephone & Address fans will take to, and it gets the job done musically with enthusiasm, if you don't mind the repetition. Second is "He", a mid-tempo number that has more lyrical variance and a solid casual riff, but the song can be a little dizzy at times, and the lo-fi production may not have benefited this song as a result. Chris' high-registered vocals suit the material though, and fans should take to it if you like earlier material!

Next is the album's longest song, "Ignore The Platitudes", which takes more of a folksy punk bent, and keeps up the laid back feelings while retaining Telephone & Address' alternative stylings.  Repetition rears it's head here again, this time via over-long recitations of the song's title in the choruses, but beyond that, it works for Chris' established sound, and the drums suit the song's pacing pretty well! I imagine this song would work very well in an acoustic setting. Then we have "Not the Only One", whose drum-heavy instrumentation sounds like a lo-fi "Foxy Lady" on repeat. Again, we have repetitive singing of the song's title here, but in this case, that's basically the song's entire lyrics, and after a while, you get the idea. This is my least favourite song so far, especially with the minimal guitar usage aside from post-verse bridges, and the repetitive singing, but it is catchy early on.

Fifth is "Protest March", as self-identified by Chris at the song's beginning, and thankfully, this song has more varied lyrics, some of the best yet on this album. The track truly has a marching feel, with solid drumming and a fitting riff, while his vocals have a little more grit here than we have seen on some prior songs. For my money, this is my favourite song so far on "Are You Now...", and it has the most variance in structure and music styles so far! That's followed by "Sing On", a slower ballad of sorts that is well performed, but again dips into the repetitive song-title-as-chorus well, which hasn't helped prior songs on this CD. That said, this is another song that I have a feeling would work better as an acoustic number, as it has that mood to it, but if you can get past the repetitive lyrics, it works well enough!.

The penultimate song is "Test", which is a mid-tempo punk song that has a nice instrumental melody and steady rhythm, and while the lyrics are repetitive again, they're at least more spread and stretched out than they have been previously. Not the most memorable song in terms of music that this album has, it more sort of came & went to me, but fans of Telephone & Address' more reserved originals will likely be right at home. "Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been..." closes with "You Say", which runs for an album low 2 minutes in length. Possibly thanks to that, this song doesn't get repetitive, nor does it overstay it's welcome, delivering some steady lo-fi punk to close this album in style, with his instrumental talents and distinctive vocals on good display! Solid track that suits Telephone & Address nicely!

So, what are my final thoughts on Telephone & Address' newest CD? Well, it's definitely a return to form compared to last year's highly experimental ambient CD "Rust Orchid", with Christopher Shoust tackling punk and grunge originals with enthusiasm and raw energy, seemingly putting together the pieces of his first two official albums to make more of a total package here. His nasally vocals and the lo-fi production quality may still be acquired tastes, but they suit his music and it's intent, and I like the back to basics approach here, even if this album is shorter than anything he's made since "The Rotten EP". The achilles heel of "Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been..." is repetitive lyrics, particularly during choruses, as repeatedly singing the song's title did get old to me pretty quickly, but that might not be as jarring for devoted fans. That said, songs like "Protest March" and "You Say" play to his musical and lyrical strengths the most, and are among my highlights..

A return to form for Telephone & Address despite repetitve chorus lyrics, this album is well worth checking out for fans of Chris Shoust's lo-fi punk originals, so be sure to buy or stream this CD at the above links, and look for "Monster" in the new year, one assumes! I hope you guys liked this month's CD review, but what's coming next month to start 2017? I'm not 100% sure at this juncture, but of course, a new CD would gain precedence if it is released and I'm able get a copy of it! In any event, "Monster", an archive SweetKenny album, or "The Din Does Laundry" will not be next, due to our 6 month anti-bias buffer. If we have to dip into the archives for review #91, an older album from A Fall From Innocence or a Mike Haggith project could easily come next to tie in with perfomers at next month's Live705 show at The Canadian, as could Stiffler's Mom's newly located 2004 demo, if any of Greg Simpson's bands play live next month. In any event, stay tuned for our next CD review in January, and have a Merry Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Mourning Wood), Weekend Concert Previews, A Band Discovery, And More!!

Before we begin this post, I wanted to briefly acknowledge the upcoming Guy Thiffault benefit concert on Tuesday, which was announced on short notice just a couple of days ago. This will be a massive show, and we will absolutely cover it in our next news post, as with only a week's notice, I didn't want to basically say the same things about it twice in a few days' time. Look for our full preview over the weekend, and I promise, you will NOT want to miss this one! Now, we have this weekend's concert previews, updates for an upcoming concert, and first, a surprise defunct band discovery, so here's what you should know before Christmas!

We have a "new" band to add to our defunct local metal & punk band links, and they are Second Guess, the 2004-2005 predecessors to the short-lived ska-punk band Break the Violence, and more famously, hardcore favourites As It Stands! I'm surprised it took this long to find their Tripod page, apologies if you've been wondering why it wasn't linked here already. Their last publically stated lineup featured A.I.S./B.T.V. bandmates Garrett Masters on guitar, Angelo Huckson on bass, and John (then going by Johnny) Mignacca on drums, though intriguingly, their frontman was noted local folk singer/guitarist Cody McMillan, of Blackwater & Soft Shoe Shufflers fame, while current actor Dylan Cook was credited as an ex-band member. Second Guess didn't directly cite their genre, other than to say that they have "a little something by the late Kurt Cobain for your eyes", but they did play a gig at the former Downstairs Bar on Great Northern Road on January 21st, 2005.

A CD with 7 songs was in the works at one point, and Second Guess had teased playing shows with alternative/emo favourites The Crossed and Calgary Christian rock band Kiros, though I'm unsure if these sets went ahead. There's not much else online about Second Guess, but it's interesting to see this page and check out what As It Stands members and Cody were doing before their local music work really took off! I'd love to hear the music that the guys were working on, but alas, if Break the Violence material and As It Stands' EPs still haven't publically surfaced online, what are the odds? Give Second Guess a look above!

Next up, here's that SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERT, as local classic/hard rock cover quartet Mourning Wood will play their last show of 2016 TOMORROW NIGHT at The Rednecks Saloon! Apologies for the short notice, the band only announced the concert via it's Facebook event page yesterday, though at least this show had one. Despite some Facebook postings implying that their Reggie's West shows earlier this month would be their final of the year, this absolutely will be, so if you've missed their request-heavy, fan favourite covers since their last Rednecks show early last month, don't miss Mourning Wood TOMORROW NIGHT! Presumably, Mourning Wood aren't playing on Saturday due to the venue closing early for Christmas Eve, but this isn't publically stated by band or bar. Expect a 10:00 PM start time, no announced cover charge, and a 19+ age limit for TOMORROW, so see above for more details, and here's Mourning Wood live!

Lastly for announced concerts on this holiday weekend, longtime Caveman Morrison frontman Tym Morrison will return to Gliss Steak & Seafood for solo acoustic concerts TONIGHT & TOMORROW! Similarly to Mourning Wood, Tym is not playing there on Christmas Eve, again presumably due to The Quality Inn's house restaurant closing early for the holiday, so we have removed that show from our concert calendar (at the time we added it, there was no public word regarding any holiday preemptions.) Making his penultimate Gliss stops of the year, Tym's unplugged hard rock covers should provide some solid entertainment before Christmas, so don't miss out tonight and/or tomorrow at Gliss! As usual for his long-term run at this venue, expect 6:00 PM start times, and no announced age limits or cover charges, but remember that this is a sit-down restaurant. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's Tym live!

Finally for today, here's some updates for new local concert promoters/label Live705's second official concert on Saturday, January 21st, starting with word that the event has been relocated from The Oddfellows Hall to The Canadian Nightclub, as per the official Facebook event page yesterday. A reason for the move wasn't announced, but performers and Live705 flagship band A Dire Setback did have a well received set at The Canadian during last week's YouTube Party, so that could have been an impetus for the venue shift. Works for me, The Canadian's a big and high quality venue, and it should be a nice backdrop for this event! As for the lineup, it has been rounded out with three more bands, including local alternative/hard rock trio The Din & new local punk/metal trio Stegadeth (both of which played Live705's first concert), as well as a band named SleepWellCity, which is the current Ottawa-based electronic project from former local alternative/punk bassist Nathan Bouliane!

You may recognize Nathan (a.k.a. Jonna Maximilian) from bands like The Crossed, As It Stands, Stillbroke, and Like Father Like Son, so he's played it all locally, and it'll be interesting to hear his new electronic material in his long awaited return to the local stage! Finally for updates, Live705 have confirmed that the show's cover charge has jumped from $8 to $10 (possibly due to the relocation), though advance tickets will still be $8, though availability hasn't been confirmed. Things look like they're shaping up well for this concert, so check the above links for full current details, and stay tuned for more news this weekend! Thanks everyone!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Nebraska Arms' Last EP, A New Cover Video, And Much More!!

Just under a week to go before Christmas, so let's keep things rolling with a new news post on this Monday evening, which includes a new cover, a belated album discovery, and some assorted recent updates. However, we'll start today's post on a melancholy note, regarding the final services for a prominent musician we recently lost, so here's what you need to know.

The obituary for late Hangdowns/Nebraska Arms frontman Guy Thiffault was posted onto SooToday on Saturday, wherein it confirms that a celebration of life will be held in the banquet hall at Sandro's Family Restaurant at 465 Trunk Road on Wednesday at 5:30 PM (no details are given for the funeral service, so it appears to be private.) Guy was just 36 years old, and the obituary confirms that he passed peacefully at his home on Friday. He's survived by his parents, sister, grandparents, and extended family, and the Thiffault family would appreciate memorial contributions to the Sault Area Hospital Foundation in his memory. This news definitely rocked the local music community over the weekend, especially those who Guy impacted as a musician, friend, bandmate, and family member over the years, but hopefully everyone keeps the good memories close and reflects on the great times he was a part of on Wednesday evening!

On lighter news relating to Guy's local music career, you may know that his old indie punk band Nebraska Arms released a CD entitled "We'll Never Sleep Again" during their 2009 heyday, but it's long since out of print, and as far as I can tell, unavailable in full online. Well, the band posthumously released a separate digital EP via Bandcamp in February 2013, so that might help fill in the gap if you don't have their actual album! The self-titled release features five tracks, namely "At The Time", "Light Houses", "I Was A Runner", "Art of Science", and "I Was A Writer", and while there is some cross-over with identical tracks previously seen on "We'll Never Sleep Again", at least two songs from that album ("Misery/Accountability" & "New Jersey Kneecap") are not on the Bandcamp EP. "Nebraska Arms" remains available on a "name your price" model, and though the band clearly hypes up the free sale option there, consider buying it to support their work!

Though it'd be nice to find "We'll Never Sleep Again" in full, it's great to have this digital EP available, especially as it has one exclusive track not seen on other surviving band pages ("I Was A Runner"), but is it possible for a review on the SMS? Yes, but I'd prefer their debut CD if we ever get it, especially if the Bandcamp EP's songs are all on it. Either way, if we can tie it in with a Northwest or Talk Shit show, you might just see a Nebraska Arms CD review on the site, and check out the self-titled EP at the above links!

Next up, we'll take a brief detour to Sault Michigan for the newest video from local classical metal band Theatre of Night's YouTube channel, but honestly, it fits more in with keyboardist Craig Harrison's personal YouTube channel. This is a cover of Alter Bridge's "Watch Over You", which he covered for it's personal meaning to him, and while it's far removed from Theatre of Night's typical orchestral metal sounds, it is similar in filming style, sepia tint, and genre to his own channel's prior vocal covers in recent months. Craig's voice can be a little muffled, but he's completely into the groove for this video, which is fun to see, so give this hard rock ballad cover a look below!

Finally for today, here's three assorted shorter items from the last while, and as usual, these are in alphabetical order by artist name:

  • The planned Blood Guy-headlined punk rock bingo concert at The New American Pub next Tuesday has quietly been cancelled, as per the deletion of it's official Facebook event page yesterday. A reason for it's cancellation hasn't been announced, but it's certainly off now, as an earlier event page deletion was due to this show having two event pages up by accident. Hopefully nothing bad happened, and that we see them in the Soo down the road!
  • A local musician named Shae Tull is looking for musicians interested in doing "something different... not straightforward, experimental-ish, (and) weird-ish." Just in case this ends up fitting our genre ranges, I thought I'd mention it here, so if you'e interested in playing stuff like this, message him at this link or via his Musicians Wanted Facebook group post from last month!
  • The previously announced 3 Day Millionaires-headlined New Year's Eve concert at The Rockstar Bar is still on! We originally removed it from our concert listings when announced openers A Dire Setback (coincidentally, also the planned Blood Guy openers) deleted their own Facebook event page for the concert. It is now clear that they just pulled out, as the show was never cancelled, with The Millionaires launching this new Facebook event page over the weekend. Admission remains $10 for this New Year's bash via advance tickets or at the door, so see above for more details!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates this week! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (A Dire Setback), New Online Album Uploads, And More!!

Hello everyone, it's time for another news post at the SMS, and on this cold Saturday afternoon, we're tackling a new digital album posting or two, a new solo performance video, and first, a SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERT! Here's what you need to know!

New local alternative/punk quartet A Dire Setback will reportedly make their Canadian Nightclub debut TONIGHT when they perform at Underground Empire Records' first ever YouTube party! Apologies for the extremely short notice, we were waiting for official announcements on the lineup from promoters, which surprisingly have never came, but A Dire Setback confirmed their involvement on their Facebook page last week. This event is the first ever YouTube party in the Soo, which will feature DJs, live artists, and activities and competitions, though no word on if the YouTube branding means that there will be filming or streaming of any kind (this is the label's YouTube channel, just in case.) Money raised will go to developing future entertainment events and providing a venue for them, which sounds like a good plan!

Promoters still have not unveiled a performer lineup publically for TONIGHT, but for what it's worth, Underground Empire Records are primarily active in rap and dance music. Also, The Din expressed interest in performing, but they have not publically confirmed any involvement. Admission for TONIGHT'S YouTube party is $10 ($15 with a friend), this is a 19+ event, and doors open at 10:00 PM. I wish we had more info on this event, but hopefully A Dire Setback knock it out of the park for their second live concert set TONIGHT, and if we hear any extra details or fallout, we'll let you know! Visit the Facebook event page for more, and here's A Dire Setback live!

Next up, the newest album from local punk/grunge solo project Telephone & Address was finally posted to their Bandcamp page over the past week! Though originally independently released on October 26th when the Chris Shoust-led project opened for Iansucks at The Gore Street Cafe, it's digital release was delayed for unannounced reasons until this month. Officially considered their fourth album (anything pre-2013 isn't canon now), the album now appears to be titled "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been...", adding the final word that isn't present on all prior album references. A physical copy's artwork is used for the digital cover art too, in a departure from the separate covers used before on Bandcamp, while the hand-drawn character on the front will vary if you have bought your own CD copy. "A.Y.N.O.H.Y.E.B." was recorded over the past year, and it features eight songs, entitled "Army Song", "He", "Ignore The Platitudes", "Not The Only One", "Protest March", "Sing On", "Test", and "Your Say".

This album can be bought at the above links for $8 on mp3 format, or $10 for a physical copy plus digital download (only 50 are available!), but you can also stream the album for free on Bandcamp too. With this album now at access, I can safely say that Telephone & Address will be the subject of this month's CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, so give it a listen above, and stay tuned for our review in the next two weeks!

Also in the realm of album releases, did you know that local party/hard rock cover trio Stiffler's Mom recorded an primarily-original demo CD back in 2004? I knew about it and have alluded to it in the past, but it never crossed our radar in even a streamable form... until now! Last month, fan Alex Moore uploaded the demo, fittingly titled "The Demo", to his YouTube channel, and the EP-length release features Greg, Mike, and Jon playing four songs, including a cover of Gordon Lightfoot's "The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald" and the originals "Yesterday", "Pearl's Necklace", and "Enjoy the Show" (originally by their predecessor band Sin Stereo.) This is a mock-up of the cover art, though the band's name isn't exactly the same font. It's great to finally hear this elusive demo in full, and it shows Stiffler's Mom's original songwriting talents that may have fallen by the wayside for many fans only familiar with their covers, but is "The Demo" possible for a CD review at the SMS in 2017?

By all means, yes, but as it's over 12 years old, it'd have to be in a month with nothing new obtained, though given how often singer/drummer Greg Simpson plays live with this and other bands, I'd have no problem tying it in with one of their gigs! Give the full demo CD a listen below, and kudos to Alex for posting this online!

Finally for today, here's a new original song in progress from Sault Michigan classical metal band Theatre of Night! Uploaded to their YouTube channel on Wednesday, the song is entitled "If I Could Just Tear Down These Walls", which keyboardist Craig Harrison noted was "for those walls our loved ones put up." I have a feeling there's some personal meaning behind this song, which currently exists as a melancholy piano ballad complete with a monochrome video to suit the mood. There's something here given it's emotion, but it does need extra instrumentation to fill it out, and perhaps lyrics if they wouldn't get in the way. Check it out below!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for much more next week! Thanks everyone!