Tuesday, July 26, 2016

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Rudyard Music Festival), A New Local Metal Band, And More From Sault Michigan!!

Here's a second post on this Tuesday, and it's 100% devoted to bands and events in the Sault Michigan area! We haven't had one of these in a long while, and it's good to spotlight the Eastern Upper Peninsula in full for a change, but also give this month's YouTube Channel Profile a look below too! Today, we have notes from former local radio mainstays, big updates regarding a major upcoming show, and a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for next month, but first, here's a new addition to our band links!

We have a new local metal band to add to our Sault Michigan band links, and they are the Bay Mills metal quartet Stoned Ape Evolution! Details are scant on this band so far, but they first came onto our radar in the spring when members expressed interest in playing in this year's (now cancelled) return of LemmaFest. You may recognize seeing Stoned Ape Evolution at the Bay Mills Bands Together fundraiser event in May, and the band says on their new Facebook page that they are working to "bring a taste of a bigger metal band to a smaller area". Notably wearing masks on stage, their lineup is (intentionally?) not listed on Facebook, but personal Facebook pages confirm that 2 members are John Napoletano and Melvin Willis, neither of which I'm familiar with from other recent local bands. Stoned Ape Evolution have yet to share media of them in action, but given their visuals and descriptions, comparisons to the older masked local metal band Clownsack are easy to make.

I've been intrigued by Stoned Ape Evolution since we first heard about them during the preliminary LemmaFest V discussion, and they seem to be making some headway locally in terms of playing at big multi-band events! A non-cover, extreme metal band that actually plays live isn't something we've readily seen in the E.U.P. as of late, but hopefully Stoned Ape Evolution can help fill that gap! With that said, when can we see them live next?

...During the first annual Rudyard Music Festival, which takes place at the Rudyard Township Park on Saturday, August 20th! Organized by local classic rock cover band Steelhead (formerly Ricochet), this ALL AGES event will see at least 12 music acts playing at the park, which may seem like an atypical setting, but remember that Steelhead frontman Alex Schrovenwever played at the "Music in the Park" series here when he was a member of Banned. Currently confirmed bands joining Steelhead include the aforementioned Stoned Ape Evolution & local hard rock/blues quartet Project 906, as well as Traverse City's New Jazz Trio, plus the online pageless bands The North Country Band, Dondee Lanes regulars Second Offense, The Gaskins, and The Wednesday Night Headliners (if we get more info on them, we'll let you know!) Solo performances are also planned by the aforementioned Alex Schrovenwever, Crossroads member Dennis Verrett, Hayley Malaska, Bob & Robert Malaski, and Jimmy Williams, with more acts apparently to be announced.

Campers are welcome to attend this family event at 18725 South Mackinac Trail, with food (including a pig roast), kids activities, and free camping welcome for what Steelhead are hoping becomes an annual event. While there's no admission fees announced, a start time isn't clear yet, but 12:00 PM would be a good guess. While there are a lot of unknowns regarding the lineup, this sounds like a fun event, and it may help lessen the blow of losing LemmaFest for a second straight year! Visit Steelhead's Facebook page for continued information, and stay tuned for updates!

Also today, here's some updates regarding the FireHouse concert in Sault Ste. Marie on Saturday, August 6th, so what's new on this event? Firstly, the show has nothing to do with Moloney's Alley (the bar), but is scheduled to take place in the actual alley behind the venue of the same name, though the city may move the show to the corner of Ashmun Street & Portage Avenue, which promoters Superior Entertainment actually prefer. Nothing's 100% final though, but we'll keep you posted! As for the local openers, promoters have decided to hold a battle of the bands within this concert, with a cash prize awaiting the fan-voted winner, which would definitely be interesting to see! The full lineup has yet to be announced, but as of July 6th, one or two bands were still being sought. If you're interested in competing and/or opening for FireHouse, message Superior Entertainment at this link or Harmony Health Foods owner Steve Twardy at this link, and visit the official Facebook event page for more on this huge outdoor show!

Finally, here's a note that doesn't bear directly on the Soo anymore, but I thought it was worth addressing. According to various news releases like this one on radio & broadcasting websites, Northern Star Broadcasting (who owned 6 radio stations in the Sault Michigan/Newberry market between 1995 & 2010) have sold all but one of their current stations in Northern Michigan for $1,950,000 to the Black Diamond Broadcast Group, with the remaining station (WCKC in Cadillac) being sold to Up North Radio. According to Northern Star president Del Reynolds on this post on the Michigan Radio & TV Buzzboard forum in May, the reason for the sales stem from his wife Mary (Northern Star's vice president) going through health issues that are making it hard for her to keep up the pace of running the company. Northern Star Broadcasting may be best known locally for owning stations like the former 97.9 Classic Rock: The Bear, 99.5 Yes FM, and Country 105 during their run in this region, while Del had previously co-owned Yes FM briefly in the mid-1980s as well.

The Cheboygan & Indian River stations in the sale (including Rock 105, 97.7 Classic Rock: The Bear, and the two Big Country stations) get good to fringe reception in the E.U.P., and will still be available to hear for fans of those stations that can pick them up. Del and Mary have a long history in radio in Northern Michigan, and while it's sad to see them exit radio station ownership, hopefully Black Diamond can keep the tunes pumping for years to come with their new & old signals!

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

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