Friday, January 29, 2016

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Banned & 415E), SweetKenny Updates, And More!!

Today's post is largely Sault Michigan-centric, with album updates from a regional artist to touch on, and some LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS for two bands in early 2016, but we also have some general updates to one of our feature series to cap things off. Now, here's what you should know!

Kewadin Casino's entertainment page has finally been updated to reflect 2016 concerts, with shows listed for The Rapids Lounge at the Soo Kewadin and The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin through late June, and there are new hard rock shows to note there! The Highway 63 shows are already known to us, but we can now confirm five new concert weekends from bands in our range, including hard rock quartet 415E, who will return to The Northern Pines Lounge in St. Ignace on February 26th & 27th, and then on April 29th & 30th! Last seen on stage during their New Year's Eve show in St. Ignace, 415E are the only St. Ignace-scheduled band so far that isn't playing at the Sault Kewadin, but if you can head down to The Northern Pines Lounge over these weekends, be ready for some Van Halen-inspired hard rock hits! There's no announced cover charge for these 21+ shows, which start at around 9:00 PM. For more details, visit the above links, and stay tuned for more from the Hubbard/Menard crew as we hear it!

The other new hard rock confirmations come from Kinross classic/hard rock trio Banned, who had announced Kewadin dates through March already via their Facebook page, but the casino confirmed a handful of shows beyond! The Traynors and Wayne will return to The Northern Pines Lounge at in St. Ignace for gigs on April 14th & 15th and then on May 13th & 14th, while they'll return to The Rapids Lounge in the Soo for the first time in three months on June 17th & 18th, so keep those dates in mind as well! Banned always stay busy, and hopefully these shows go as well as their next ones, as fans should know their talent level! Remember, we'll next see Banned within an hour of Sault Ste. Marie when they rock The Runway Bar in Hessel on February 12th, with gigs at Western U.P. Kewadin branches coming beforehand. Like with the new 415E gigs, these are 9:00 PM affairs with no announced cover charges and 21+ age limits. For more details, visit the above links, and stay tuned for more from Banned!

And just for reference, note that other new Kewadin dates belong to classic rockers Touch of Class & The Brooks Band, country artists Hawk Junction & Paul Perry, and Traverse City dance rock quartet Risque, who haven't been recent local regulars that I've seen. Note that there's nothing new from there from the recently dormant Power Slug, nor from Jeff Hudson's Traverse City-area metal bands like Peril & Scarkazm, but if/when we hear more on their next E.U.P. dates, we'll let you know!

Next up, Dafter, Michigan solo hard rock musician Ken Sutton (a.k.a. SweetKenny) has released another new album, so what should you know on it? Entitled "Only Us Left Standing", it was released to his Bandcamp page on January 11th (apologies for the delay), and it's his first album of 2016 & 16th total in his main solo series. Continuing his recent focus since the summer, this SweetKenny album is intended to be a conceptual & instrumental score that could be used in a video game, and similarly to last month's "The Walkers: Rise of the Dead", it's themed after a zombie invasion. On listening, I can confirm that it's darker and more ominous than "The Walkers", which is largely acoustic-based, but both show Ken's range! "Only Us Left Standing" is on sale for $7 via the above links, so definitely consider picking it up, especially if you like video game scores!

Now, as these are part of his main album canon, they are eligible for reviews on the site, and I'd already pencilled in a SweetKenny review for this month, so is one of these next? No, as I usually pick the heaviest album if I have multiple new releases to pick from in a band's discography, and from his most recent four (plus August's "Charlie Hidelburg: Ancient Hunter"), the heaviest is October's "The Hitman Files", which is themed like it could be in a hitman action game or movie. No word on when SweetKenny will release a traditional new solo album (last seen with June's "Fleabag Hotel"), but look for our review of "The Hitman Files" by Sunday!

Finally for today, here's some more updates to our past Battle of the Bands Rewind Profiles! In our profile of 2010's Sault College/Scotties Tournament of Heart Battle of the Bands, we restored a photo of third place finishers Sykotyk Rampage, and updated info on their recent activity, but the rest was still good. In our profile of that spring's Downtown Showdown battle, we restored two photos, added notes on runners-up The Fury's brief 2014 reunion and frontman Paul Stanghetta's never-launched successor band Keep It Lit, and clarified info on judge Len Ward. For it's section on performers' later bands, we replaced The Glass Thieves, Keep It Lit, and March Into Regression with The Apocalypse Afterparty, Infinity Grinder, and London's Five Oceans (featuring Tenagens alum Patrick Dal Cin) to keep that more current. Finally, we added references to how performers did in 2015 battles, namely SBD bassist Brad Griffith at the Speak Easy battle with Infinity Grinder, and Fury frontman Paul Stanghetta's fourth place run at the VM Radio Battle with The Apocalypse Afterparty.

Hopefully that gets these sufficiently updated, and stay tuned for updates of battles from 2012 and on next, much more news and notes in short order, plus our review of SweetKenny's "The Hitman Files"! Thanks everyone!

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