Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Renderware - "Renderware = Rock" EP Review!!

To close the month, it's time for our 89th monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene! With no new paid CD releases acquired for November, we're dipping into the archives, namely to take a look at defunct local alternative metal quartet Renderware's only EP  "Renderware = Rock"! As tied in with this month's surprise reunion of their successor punk band Talk Shit at The Live 705 Local Show, Renderware's only album was released early into their run on June 15th, 2004, though surviving details on it's original release are minimal, and remained that way even after the album saw it's Bandcamp re-release for it's 10th anniversary in 2014. Renderware are represented on this EP by singer and current stand-up comedian Jordan Foisy, Talk Shit bandmates Marc Lafrance & Adam Sauve on guitar and drums, fellow guitarist Thomas Whitney, and Adam's ex-Nebraska Arms bandmate Wayne Watkins (now of Northwest) on bass.

Note that we had considered reviewing an album by A Dire Setback frontman Larry Babic's old pop punk band A Fall From Innocence this month too, given that they debuted this month, but I only have their second album, so Renderware's debut won out on that basis (A.F.F.I. are still in the queue though!). Though long since out of print, "Renderware = Rock" is available on Bandcamp via a "name your price" model, but consider paying something to help support the guys' work! With six songs running at just over 12 minutes, let's kick things off for this review!

This EP begins with a 70 second "Intro", which features the raspy-voiced Jordan describing the band an their sound in largely spoken word while the band plays an upbeat and fast instrumental behind him. Renderware have often described themselves as "Motorhead meets Tom Waits", and the latter rears it's head here, but as it's an introductory track to set the mood, it doesn't have the substance of what's to come. Next is "The Halls", which at 2:59, is surprisingly the EP's longest track. It opens with slow and deliberate bass from Wayne with the band gradually filling in, eventually leading to a mid-tempo rocker that has a chugging riff and Jordan's first true sung lyrics, though still in his usual raspy and gravely drawl. The guitar work here is good and has a punk flavour, and the vocals do fit the material, but may be an acquired taste for some listeners. Still, this is a solid beginning though for fans of this unique quartet!

Third is "Washed Up Celebrity", which has a nice drum opening from Adam and a faster punk rhythm that genre fans will appreciate, but the verses are a little odd here, particularly from the often very artficial-sounding backing vocals and a verse cadence that doesn't always mesh well with the riff. I'd have dumped the backing vocals entirely, I don't find they add anything to the song. The brief guitar solo is a nice change of pace though, and punk fans should like this song while it lasts! Then we have "Baby's Momma" (spelled as "Babie's Momma" on MySpace), which is arguably Renderware's best known song, and one of their fastest yet. The song overdoes the drum fills during verses, and the break midway through where Jordan screams "Oh my baby's momma!" is an odd diversion, but this is a fun and catchy number that gets the job done musically, and I do wish they'd lengthened it a bit!

Second last on "Renderware = Rock" is "Breakin' Me Down", which is a slower, more hard rock-style number that doesn't play to the guys' musical strengths as well, but Jordan's singing is a nice & gritty match to the riff here, and the spoke word section where he talks with an uncredited woman does fit into the song a bit better here! The fade-out at the end comes out of nowhere, but in terms of structure and chemistry, it's an effective song with solid drumming and bass in particular! The EP closes with "Blue Collar Love Song", which seems like it wouldn't be a fit to Renderware's genre, but don't worry, it's no ballad! In fact, it plays like their other originals, and shares some structural similarities with "Baby's Momma", sans the mid-verse drum fills. The chorus is repetitive, but for fans of their gravely speed metal, it's a nice capper to their only EP, and plays it close to their comfort zone!

So, what are my final thoughts on Renderware's only EP? Overall, it is definitely an acquired taste compared to more traditional punk or metal bands, but if you can get into Jordan Foisy's raspy, Waits-esque singing, you'll get some enjoyment out of this one! While I admittedly found Renderware to have more of a punk influence than Motorhead, they have a good chemistry and talent levels, especially with Marc Lafrance & Thomas Whitney's solid riffs, Wayne Watkins' professional bass skill, and Adam Sauve's reliably aggressive drumming, and when most effectively used, Jordan's vocals were a unique asset to give these songs more of an edge! That said, the songs can have structural flaws that impct things more than they might otherwise given the songs' length, like abrupt endings, extensive drum fills, and odd backing & spoken word vocals. However, keep in mind that everyone in the band has grown and matured in music in the 12 years since, so don't be too harsh, all things considered.

On songs like "Baby's Momma" and "Breakin' Me Down", you get a sense of Renderware's enthusiastic punk/metal sound, and while those who can't get into the vocals may want to keep watch for Talk Shit's next concerts, I recommend giving Renderware a listen for a one-of-a-kind blast of speed punk, and it'd be interesting to see Renderware reunite at some point! I hope you guys liked this month's CD review, but what's coming next month? A new CD if possible, and again, if we can obtain Telephone & Address' newest album "Are You Now or Have You Ever" via a physical album or a Bandcamp posting, it'd be likely to end the year with! For the record, The Apocalypse Afterparty's debut "Bufflesnort" is now tentatively planned to come out early next year, so that's likely not next. If we have to dip into the archives next, the aforementioned A Fall From Innocence's second CD could still come next, given that A Dire Setback will be playing live next month, but nothing's official yet.

Regardless, look for a new CD review to close the year next month, and stay tuned for more news soon! Thanks everyone!

Monday, November 28, 2016

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (The Band Camp Rejects), Id Iota Updates, And More!!

This will likely be our last news post of the month, and within, we're tackling some assorted recent notes, some recent updates and videos from a talented quartet, and first, let's start with a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT!

Newer and online page-less local hard rock cover quartet The Band Camp Rejects will return to The Rednecks Saloon for their first solo concert there on Friday, December 9th (which is next week!) Our source for the booking is the former Nicolet Tavern's marquee board outside of the venue, and while they also advertised The Rejects as playing there on Saturday the 10th, guitarist Mike Muto confirmed in a personal Facebook comment that they are not playing on the Saturday, so if you want to see them, come Friday only! The Band Camp Rejects are coming off of a successful Rockstar Bar debut this past weekend, and it'll be interesting to see how they continue to evolve as a band outside of the confines of multi-band events, like their debut in the spring at The Rednecks Saloon's relaunch party. This talented quartet will be on at around 10:00 PM next Friday, this is a 19+ event, and there's no announced cover charge. Check the above links for more details, and stay tuned for more from The Band Camp Rejects soon!

Next up, here's the latest from local alternative hard rock/punk quartet Id Iota! Last week, Adam Reeve of the British music blog Sounds Good interviewed an uncredited band member for this text interview, where they talk about Id Iota's influences and originals, their debut EP "Maudlin Fair" and it's fan reception, plans for their full length LP, and their opinions on the Canadian music scene and some favourite local bands. In terms of scoops, the band noted that their quiet stretch over the late summer was due to drummer Blair St. John playing with the Ceremonial Guard Pipe Band in Ottawa for a few months, while pre-planning for their full length CD is well underway. Material is ready for it, about 10 songs are planned, it's planned to be a culmination of guitarist Dustin Goodall's hard work in music engineering, their first ever music video has began filming, and a Canadian tour in support of it is planned too! No word on if this is the planned album cover or not, but it's been their Facebook profile picture since last month.

Id Iota seem to have things worked out well, and the interview is informative and a good read (though it does gloss over their earliest months a bit.) Give it a look above, and as for their most recent concert, here's a pair of videos from it, courtesy of their Facebook page! The first one is a 1 minute clip of Id Iota playing a newer original at LopLops Lounge on Saturday when they opened for ex-Pixo Control frontman Mike Mikus, and it's more of a laid back, lounge-style number that fans of Id Iota's slower songs will take to! Well shot, though sadly abbreviated, but give it a look below!

The other video was posted the evening of the show, and came too late to feature in a post at the time, so apologies for this being obviously late! This was a brief promotional clip where Id Iota, Mike, and his solo drummer Mitchell Harris each traded off one or two words to hype up the concert, a'la an improv game. Light but fun way to get the word out, and hopefully it got a few more attendees to take in Mike's solo project's live debut (and Id Iota), so give it a look below also!

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

  •  A local metal guitarist named Adam Fahrer is looking for a drummer to join his new original metal project, with influences including bands like Gojira, Alter Bridge, and Pantera. No public word yet on this band, but Adam's personal Facebook page features teaser postings referencing studio sessions, and I believe he's of high school age. If you're interested in trying out, message Adam at this link or via his Musicians Wanted Facebook group post from last week!
  • SooToday's Donna Hopper posted this interview/recap article from last week's fifth annual Toystock fundraiser concert at The Grand Gardens North onto the local news website that same day. It features remarks from organizer/performer Greg Simpson about the event's growth and purpose, plus some extra promotion (given that it was composed and posted while ongoing), while pictures of attendees, volunteers, and bands Mojo & The Elements were also featured, and in colour! Solid little article for this very charitable concert event, so give it a look above!
  • We have moved local metal duo Troubled Mind to our inactive links due to a year's inactivity. Successors to the former Skull After Betrayl, this band sporadically teased a variance of new material that they even said wouldn't make sense, but nothing has been posted to their Facebook page since their only video one year ago today. Mike & Adam had potential from their old bands, and it's a shame that Troubled Mind haven't accomplished what they had prior, but hopefully we see them again at some point!

That's all for today, but tay tuned for this month's CD review next, and much more next month! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

YouTube Channel Profile Series: matti7915, Anthems vs Oceans, and pearls666's Channels!!

Now's a good time for this month's YouTube Channel Profiles, as we're once again spotlighting 1-3 YouTube channels (three this month) whose content is at least 50% comprised of local metal, hard rock, and/or punk video content, be they from concerts or artists. This month's choices (all picked at random as usual) have given us a three-channel month again, as the first randomly selected channel only had a single video, as did the second, so we filled things out with a third for November. There's some missed and intriguing projects ahead via these channels, so read on below for this month's YouTube profiles!
matti7915's Channel (http://www.youtube.com/matti7915)

Owner: Either ex-Dirty Virgin/Riverin guitarist Matt Clement or drummer Matt Hicks (I'd guess Clement, but I'm not 100% certain)

Channel Timeline: Launched on August 3rd, 2007; Only video posted on August 4th, 2008

Channel Summary: Matt's only upload here is a promotional video of his 2007-2010 glam metal/punk quartet Dirty Virgin, complete with a movie credits-style opening, a press quote, and 7 minutes of footage from their set at the Rock 2 Roll skatepark fundraiser concert at The Canadian Nightclub in July 2008. Featuring the band's original lineup (with the Matts alongside singer/guitarist Bobby Clement and bassist Lionel "Rocks" Quinton), the edited video features Dirty Virgin covering Joe South's "Games People Play", then playing their original "Take You Hard", before closing with a cover of The Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the U.K.". This video & channel are admittedly now redundant given that these clips (and much more) were uploaded in full on Lionel's YouTube channel in 2009, but if you can get past that and the scratchy audio, you'll find Dirty Virgin rocking out well in their element, giving the Soo a then-rare dose of glam rock with good energy!

Anthems vs Oceans (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPG3jM3COCsENznSkWh_eXA)

Owner: Anthems vs. Oceans founder and ex-idioRECORDS head Dave Hunter

Channel Timeline: Launched on October 16th, 2012; Only video posted on August 22nd, 2014

Channel Summary: Originally created before Dave's solo project changed it's name from For July, this channel only features Anthems vs. Oceans' expletive-laden "Emo Song". Fans of pop punk should take to this song, which was nicely recorded at idioRECORDS, and has a catchy upbeat riff, but other For July/Anthems vs. Oceans pages will have this song and much more available to stream (I recommend their MySpace page.) Also, note that this channel has seen no new media postings since the name change, and Dave has hinted since that he may explore different genres on new material, so keep those in mind.

nick kainula (http://www.youtube.com/pearls666)

Owner: A Dire Setback drummer Nick Kainula, also known from prior bands like State of Misery, Stealing Kisses, and Unbound

Channel Timeline: Launched on July 10th, 2007; Only video posted on January 20th, 2013

Channel Summary: Though extensively used for personal playlists, Nick's only video is of his short-lived local hard rock band Unbound (later the second version of With Blood Build Character), whose public launch sadly came following the sudden death of singer Justin Fratpietro in January 2013. The only public video of the original Unbound is a jam session take of their song "Deep Waters", with Justin and Nick joined by Nick's ex-State of Misery bandmates Ray Cowan on guitar and Kevin D'Orazio (now of K.I.C.K.) on bass. Taking a darker yet more accessible slant than State of Misery had, the video is hampered by distorted audio, but Unbound showed decent potential here and a solid pre-existing chemistry, and it's a shame that they didn't accomplish more before Justin's passing (or after.)

I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profiles! Next month in this series, we have randomly drawn ex-Nikkfitt guitarist Robert Ross' YouTube channel for our next profile, and though he only has three videos, they're all distinct and relevant, so look for that to close 2016 on or around Boxing Day! That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and this month's CD review soon! Thanks everyone!

Friday, November 25, 2016

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (The 3 Day Millionaires), A Dire Setback Updates, And Much More!!

Let's get some more news up on the site on this Friday afternoon, including some new video postings, a mysterious local band's latest updates, and first, a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for next month that you might want to circle for your New Year's schedule!

Local classic/hard rock cover quartet The 3 Day Millionaires and new local punk band A Dire Setback will join forces to rock The Rockstar Bar's New Year's Eve party on Saturday, December 31st! Though not yet confirmed by the venue or the Millionaires, A Dire Setback announced the show yesterday via their Facebook event page. It's somewhat rare to see The 3 Day Millionaires having an opening act (not counting festivals and charity events), but The Rockstar Bar usually puts more into their New Year's Eve shows, and A Dire Setback made a solid impression in their debut concert last week, so hopefully they turn in a rocking good time to end the year! No word though on if this will be A Dire Setback's next show or not, as there is over a month to go in the interim, but we'll keep you posted. As recently usual for The Rockstar Bar's New Years parties, expect a $10 admission fee with advance ticket sales to be announced (expect them at The Algonquin Hotel's front desk), and this will be a 19+ show with a likely 10:00 PM start time.

This should be a fun concert to end 2016 with, so definitely check the above links for more details, but how about A Dire Setback's debut at last weekend's Live 705 Local Show at The Oddfellows Hall? We already covered videos uploaded to Live 705's Facebook page, but the band uploaded more and better videos of their co-headlining set onto their Facebook page over the past few days, so we can get more of a sense and look at the band so far! Five have been uploaded there, all apparently of original songs, including 18 seconds of an unlabelled song and the longer "Nightmares" (sadly both on a vertical camera angle), plus the landscape-shot "Wasting Away", "Kicking & Screaming", and as embedded below, "Catastrophe". A Dire Setback show good energy on these videos, which have elements of punk and melodic hardcore, and should appeal to fans of members' old bands! The band can be somewhat in the shadows, but these are our best looks yet at A Dire Setback, so see more above & below!

Also, the previously teased offical website for local rap/metal project The Apocalypse Afterparty has finally been unveiled, so what can we glean from it? Created using Wix, the site occasionally uses "The Double Eh" (get it?) as an alternate band moniker, it features streaming links to the band's material from their forthcoming debut EP "Bufflesnort", and it notes that they're the "proud bearers of the torch of Part Metal", while alluding to their public appearances and material releases so far as "sneak peeks". In terms of their lineup, the page confirms that "Sven Derful" (a play on "wonderful"?) has replaced Amber McKay as their drummer, confirming an earlier note that a drummer of that name plays on "Bufflesnort", but I can't confirm his full identity at press time. Also, the band has quietly added a percussionist & synth player named "Lady Rito" to their lineup as well, apparently making them a quintet. Again, I cannot confirm her identity, but if I hear more, we'll let you know!

The mysterious yet intriguing tale of The Apocalypse Afterparty continues, and with the most recent reports hinting at a February 2017 release for "Bufflesnort" in a non-CD format, the wait to see their new lineup may not be as long as you're thinking! Stay tuned for more from these masked bandits when it rolls in!

Finally for today, local goregrind solo project Crucify the Whore has re-emerged with a full audio recording from their set opening for Dumpster Mummy at The New American Pub in September! Recorded by Twistory frontman Josh Amendola and uploaded to label Blood Shed Productions' YouTube channel last week, this is of C.T.W.'s full 25 minute set, though individual tracks aren't given in the description. Not bad quality overall, albeit a shame that this isn't a video, but check it out below if you're up for some minimalist grind action, watch for a Cheesy Poofs cameo, and stay tuned for more from the Blood Shed soon!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for this month's YouTube Channel Profile next! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (The Band Camp Rejects) & Weekend Concert Previews!!

Another weekend is upon us, and before we get into this weekend's previews, I want to wish all of our American readers a happy Thanksgiving! There are actually no advertised hard rock shows in the E.U.P. that we know of this weekend, but things will pick up next month, and of course, if there's a late notice confirmation, we'll have it for you! Now, here's this weekend's Sault Ontario hard rock concert previews, starting with a SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for in a couple of days!

Newer local hard/alternative rock cover quartet The Band Camp Rejects will play their first ever solo headlining concert THIS SATURDAY NIGHT at The Rockstar Bar! Apologies for the short notice, the band only announced the show via it's Facebook event page earlier this week (don't let the private status scare you off, the venue is publically advertising this one.) A one-nighter due to tomorrow's 9 Lives & Counting show (more on that in a bit), this will mark The Band Camp Rejects' first show since their well received Toystock set last week, and it's great to see the guys spreading their wings beyond the occasional multi-band show that they had been playing this year! No online pages yet, but with Havadder, Mourning Wood, Issues, and Under the Influence alumni in their lineup, you know they have a lot of talent! There is no cover charge for THIS SATURDAY, you must be 19 or older to attend, and there's a 10:00 PM start time in effect. Check the above links for more details, and here's The Band Camp Rejects live!

Next up, we'll move to previously announced concerts, starting with the return of prolific local singer/guitarist Tym Morrison to Gliss Steak & Seafood TONIGHT, TOMORROW, and SATURDAY! With another month in Tym's long-term arrangement at The Quality Inn's restaurant winding down, fans can look for his acoustic hard rock covers at the downtown venue over the coming three evenings, so keep these shows in mind for more unplugged action! Note that a personal Facebook posting by Tym notes that he'll be playing at least two regular nighttime shows at The Roadhouse Bar & Grill next month as well, but as he typically gives a public acknowledgement of these shows, we will wait for him to announce them that way before covering them here, and barring an unforeseen occurrence, remember that he'll announce his first December 2016 shows next week.

Tonight, tomorrow, and Saturday's shows will be 6:00 PM matinees with no announced cover charges or age limits, so visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's Tym live!

Also this weekend, the aforementioned Rockstar Bar will welcome Toronto hard rock quartet 9 Lives & Counting to the Soo for the first time TOMORROW NIGHT! Touring in support of their new CD "Beautiful Distraction", 9 Lives & Counting's hard hitting modern rock stylings and energetic live atmosphere should be welcomed tomorrow when they make their local debut, so if you love hard rock, definitely consider a trip to see this band at The Algonquin Hotel's upstairs venue! Local openers will include alternative hard rock trio The Din (fresh off playing three shows in just over a day this past weekend), while local post-punk quartet Gnaeus have been added on late notice as a second opening band, to replace the singer-less Eclipse! Apologies for the delay in mentioning that on here, we couldn't comfortably fit it into a post since it was originally announced. There's no need to retread what happened in the Eclipse/421 camp, but Gnaeus are a solid choice to fill in, and they should deliver a solid set of their own tomorrow!

This concert is a 19+ event with a $5 cover charge, and it should start at around 9:00 PM. Hard rock and rock radio fans would be well served to come down to The Rockstar Bar tomorrow for this show, which promises to be a good time, so visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's 9 Lives & Counting live!

Finally for this weekend's previews (barring a late notice announcement), local alternative hard rock quartet Id Iota will return to LopLops Lounge THIS SATURDAY NIGHT to open for ex-Pixo Control frontman Mike Mikus in his current solo project's first concert appearance in the Soo! Originally scheduled for October 22nd before an unexplained 5 week postponement, this is the delayed final show of Mike's Drowning Crown tour of Ontario, and it will be both acts' first show since then. Id Iota should have a good set in store for fans of the Habitat Shuffle successor's entertaining originals, but there will be local intrigue for the first local concert appearance by Mike since The Pixo Control's final show in May, so how will he, Dustin, and Mitchell do with their new pop rock-centric originals from their planned debut album "Squareheads & Frogs"? Be at LopLops on Saturday to see for yourself, with some Id Iota action to kick things off! This 19+ concert has a $5 cover charge and a 10:00 PM start time. Check the official Facebook event page for more details on this show, and here's Id Iota live earlier this year!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes soon, and have a happy American Thankgiving! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

AlgomA/Hooded Menace Split Updates, Plus Live 705 Local Show Videos!!

We're back with a new news post on this cold Wednesday morning, and with weekend concert previews approaching fast, here's our first SMS post without a concert preview or review in over a week! Mostly, we're covering some new concert videos today, but first, here's some long awaited updates on an upcoming (half-)local EP!

Local doom metal trio AlgomA's long-teased split EP with Finnish death/doom metal band Hooded Menace will apparently be released next month! Though originally announced back in January, these are the first major public updates on the split since then, more or less, so what do we know? To be released exclusively on 12'' vinyl records again (similarly to AlgomA's split with Chronobot), the split is still scheduled to come out via Hooded Menace's label Doomentia Records, and this is the final artwork for the cover, as done by Paolo Girardi, with the band logos even having special printing on physical copies. While this is AlgomA's second split release, it'll be Hooded Menace's seventh, and their first release with new singer Harri Kuokkanen. AlgomA haven't given a firm release date yet for the split, though if a release show is planned, note that December 27th's Blood Guy concert at The New A (promoted by AlgomA's own Six, Two, Oh.) is still looking for an opening band. That's just speculation on my part, but you never know!

The full track listing hasn't been given yet, but both bands have released a one minute sample of one of their tracks to their respective Bandcamp pages, with AlgomA's being of their song "Failed Stunt Fatality", and Hooded Menace's of their song "Celestial Dissection". Given how long both bands' songs can be, these might end up being the split's only tracks, but we await confirmation on that (for reference, the AlgomA/Chronobot split had 5 songs, 2 from AlgomA.) We'll hold comment on the samples until the full split comes out for SMS review, but it's shaping up well, despite the months of waiting for new details, and check the above links for much more!

Next up, here's some videos from Saturday night's Live 705 Local Show at The Oddfelows Hall, courtesy of the new local label/promotion agency's Facebook page over the last few days! Live 705 (ran by new local punk band A Dire Setback) filmed or posted a cell phone video of every band that day except headliners K.I.C.K. and debuting punk/metal band Stegadeth, plus this clip of band members setting up for the show in general, which is just 15 seconds long and contains no music. The videos do show the extra work put in to make the show even better, including a stage extension and extra lighting, which does help the often dark and minimalistic staging for many recent Oddfellows shows, and give this one a bigger feel! A Dire Setback themselves were filmed for this 34 second clip of an original song, and while it's not a close or lengthy look at this new band, they sound good and energetic, though watch for a drop in focus at the end. There are more videos elsewhere from A.D.S., so stay tuned for more soon!

Another video from this show features young local blues/classic rock trio Electric Church playing their take on B.B. King's "Rock Me Baby", albeit sadly from a vertical portrait camera angle. This side-stage clip showcases Spencer, Elijah, and Beau in good form on this blues standard, so check it out above, and hopefully we hear more from them soon! Embedded below is a clip of alternative/hard rock trio The Din playing their song "Potato (Should've Known Better)" at The Live 705 Local Show, and while camera focus issues (and a surprise finger) occur in this 40 second clip, The Din sound solid in their first of two shows that day, so give it a look below!

The Live 705 page also posted two videos of show-opening rapper Jasmin "Jizzy Baby" Sky, which you can watch here and here. The former is just 20 seconds, but the latter is a side-stage, 6 minute video showcasing her clear rap skills, and especially after a bit of a flub early in the clip, she took it home nicely! Finally for this show, there is one clip of reunited local punk quartet Talk Shit's first live concert in seven years, but for one reason or another, this was filmed both vertically and from the other side of the hall. If they didn't say what band this was in the title, I'd never know who it was! I cannot place the name of this song (it sounds familiar), but Talk Shit sound good from what we can hear, so give their new video a look below, and hopefully they launch a new online page at some point!

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

Monday, November 21, 2016

Toystock 2016 Concert Review!!

It's now time for our review of yesterday's fifth annual Toystock fundraiser concert, and as a result, our third Toystock review, having missed 2013's & last year's due to family obligations. This meant that this was the first Toystock I have attended since the event moved from The Canadian Nightclub to The Grand Gardens North (formerly The Riuniti Hall) on Great Northern Road, and while I have been to this venue for prior events, this was my first look at it as a concert location. The ballroom on the right (upon entrance) hosted Toystock, with loads of Christmas-accented tables scattered around, as well as seating for Santa & Mrs. Claus, a children's play area, and a huge table for Christmas Cheer donations. It's safe to say that the Stuff-A-Bus was sufficiently stuffed at night's end, while over $600 was raised in cash donations during the day's festivities, which MC Greg Long (of GT Waste Systems) matched, which was a nice gesture! Nice layout overall, though it did feel a little too formal at times compared to The Canadian... perhaps that's intentional!

The day's first performers were two music students from Case's Music (replacing unidentified Bocturoc Academy students), though their names were not publically announced when I was there. If you can help credit them, let us know! Compared to prior Toystock sets by the late Mike Case's Junior All-Star Bands, this was just a duo performing pop covers, with the likes of Charlie Puth, Vance Joy, and Ingrid Michaelson among their covered artists. The singer has a good voice for the chosen genres, and the cajon player complimented her well throughout, but the girls do need to work on their stage presences, particularly between songs when introducing what's coming next. Not bad at all, and a nice and calm way to ease into the day's festivities, and hopefully the girls keep at it!

Presumably due to scheduling conflicts, The Band Camp Rejects swapped places with acoustic rock duo Guitars & Tequila (or Tequila & Guitars, both are used), placing the That's Chester side project in the second slot for the day. Already replacing singer/guitarist Greg Simpson's withdrawn band The Rude-Offs, he and bandmate Gabe Tessaro delivered a fun set of largely classic rock covers, including The Guess Who, Dr. Hook, and three Kiss songs (including a country arrangement of "Rock & Roll All Nite"), and they even found time to throw in Mike Posner(?!) If you're familiar with Greg & Gabe's work in That's Chester, you'll know their chemistry well by now, but we did get to see Gabe sing on a few tracks, while Greg even played the cajon himself, in what has to be the first time I've seen two bands play that instrument in the same show. Though not as heavy as That's Chester in genre or song choice, Guitars & Tequila have a good thing going, and have a little something for everyone to enjoy!

Third were punk trio Redundant in an increasingly rare live appearance (this has to be the first time I've seen them live in over a year), but they were on point with a fun mix of covers and originals! Justin and the White brothers tackled covers of the likes of Rise Against, Operation Ivy, and The Vaselines with originals "That December" and "What You'll Do", and they haven't lost a step from their recent gaps between shows,! Justin Langlois still has that punk attitude and presence, and it was great to see drummer Rick White back out there to, his drumming was solid and consistent! Redundant also gave us the day's first guest appearance, as NameUs singer/guitarist Travis Sharpe (recently of The 3 Day Millionaires) left his post at the sound table to sing Weezer's "Pork & Beans" with the guys, and that was a fun moment, hopefully we see more of him on stage soon! Redundant delivered a solid set, and hopefully they start playing live more frequently again!

The fourth band was supposed to be the debuting rock band Shyte (fronted by ex-Griphook singer Jim O'Leary), but they quietly dropped out of the event. A reason for their withdrawal wasn't publically announced, but it looks like it was a late notice move, as they were listed on the program at the event, just crossed out with a pen. Hopefully nothing bad happened, as I curious to hear Shyte and find out more about them, but fingers crossed that they turn up on stage soon!

With Shyte's exit, they were replaced by veteran blues rock trio Mojo, making their second straight Toystock appearance as a result! They were an obvious choice to fill in, given that they're essentially Bone Yard, only sans Greg Simpson, and playing blues instead of country. Whichever of the two styles you prefer, these three play it! Mojo covered a range of familiar songs yesterday, including acts like ZZ Top, Santana, and Stevie Ray Vaughn & Double Trouble, and they handled them well, with guitarist Alex D'Ettore largely providing a good deep drawl for vocals on them! I will say that "Simple Man" did not suit his range, but more often than not, he hit the right notes. Ric Datson was great on drums as usual, and Brad Stephen's bass was solid and helped the rhythm nicely too! Mojo also got into the guest performer range by inviting saxophonist Josh Norling up for a Marshall Tucker Band cover to close their set, just before he was to take the stage himself. Don't miss Mojo's weekly gigs at Reggie's West for more of their blues rock favourites!

Funk/hard rock favourites The Elements were up next, with the aforementioned Josh Norling and recent drummer Jonas Gasperas along for the ride as well! For the record, I would not be surprised if Jonas and Josh have been named permanent band members at this point, but their Facebook page has not yet confirmed anything if they have joined. Along with Pearl Jam & Primus covers, The Elements performed a few originals, like "G20", "The Rut", and their newest track "I Need A Friend" to a good response, with frontman Rob Speers even entering the crowd at one point to mingle mid-song! I just saw The Elements three weeks ago, so aside from the new song, not a lot has changed beyond the Santa hats, but I will say that their set seemed somewhat abbreviated, perhaps due to the event's stricter time constraints. Jesse Cook was in usual form on guitar, and James White picked up where he left off with Redundant, so existing fans will have been right at home, and hopefully The Elements picked up some new fans!

Newer local hard rock cover quartet The Band Camp Rejects hit the stage next for their delayed first Toystock set, and they delivered a fan friendly set of familiar favourites! Their set was similar but evolved from the Rednecks Saloon relaunch party earlier this year, featuring covers of everyone from The Tragically Hip and The Northern Pikes to John Mellencamp and Chris Stapleton, and I do like that they cover some Canadian rock acts that you don't see other bands do as often! Everyone sounded fine musically, with drummer Steven Flint's vocals matching on most tracks, and Mike Muto & Movember-participating Jamie July handling guitar well, but The Band Camp Rejects' big issue is still connecting with the crowd. Few songs were announced until the set's second half, and when Steven did talk to the crowd, I could barely hear a word he said. However, they got the best dance floors of the night, and they have a solid sound, so hopefully we hear more fsoon!

Alternative/hard rock trio The Din were up next for what was technically the night's only all-original set, with an unannounced new song preceding the tracks from their debut CD "Give In To The Din" in order, but as some of those songs were previously by frontman Mike Haggith solo or the band Haggith, there was still some prior-band familiarity! Playing their third concert set in a little over 24 hours, The Din largely let their music do the talking last night, and it talked very well, with Mike's bass and Tammy's guitar work both as reliable as ever, and drummer Brandan Glew held up his end of the bargain! I will say that The Grand Gardens' stage might be too big for The Din's stage setup (they should have got a little closer together to compensate), but their live renditions of "Give In To The Din" tracks are definitely close to the album and will entertain existing fans without fail, and their new merchandise trunk is nicely made! Don't miss The Din this weekend at The Rockstar Bar!

Newer classic/hard rock cover quartet The 3 Day Millionaires were next, in the day's last band that I had yet to see live, and they had a solid sound that had some heavy tracks and some more danceable ones, so everyone got a little something! Balancing Alice In Chains and Thin Lizzy (the latter with drummer Scott McLurg on vocals) with Corey Hart & Chris Isaak, plus bookending Beatles tracks, The 3 Day Millionaires have a good chemistry and crowd engagement level, with Steve Dowding acclimating well to harder edged songs, Bill Brouillard a nice new fit on rhythm guitar, and Jeremey Salatuk nailing some nice guitar solos! It was also a nice moment to see Steve call his daughter Britney up to the stage to help on vocals for their rendition of Temple of the Dog's "Hunger Strike", and it definitely fit in with such a family friendly event as Toystock! The 3 Day Millionaires are well on their way, and definitely check them out in their upcoming solo concerts!

Co-headlining last night was 1960s-themed classic rock quartet The Peace Vibe, who I have seen live before, but never for SMS purposes. Before their set, drummer Glen Thomas gave away the event's drum kit (that he refurbished) to a kid named Myles that was one of Toystock's most lively and exuberant young attendees, which was a great gesture on his part! Of course, two more bands needed to play on it first, and The Peace Vibe covered a range of artists like Jimi Hendrix, The Bee Gees, and Jefferson Airplane on their 1960s nostalgia voyage, garnering a solid reception! Dressed to the nines in psychedlic tie-dye (save for guitarist Tony Kajnar, who looked more like Bun E. Carlos from Cheap Trick), The Peace Vibe's sound is full of 1960s rock standards that definitely included familiar, fan favourite numbers, with Tony's guitar riffs meshing well with Marty Siltanen's bass work, and Dave Chartrand's vocals were a good fit throughout their set! If you love the sounds of the '60s, don't bypass The Peace Vibe!

And finally, your headliners for a third straight year were 4-time Toystock veterans Bone Yard (a.k.a. Mojo + Greg Simpson covering country), and while the crowd numbers were dwindling and the Christmas accoutrements were coming down mid-set, Bone Yard delivered a fun set of recent country favourites for remaining fans! Songs by Eric Church, Gary Allan, and Brantley Gilbert were among their set, even throwing in The Eagles for good measure, and Greg handled his role as a country singer as well as you'd expect, having  firm command of the stage! As someone who admittedly doesn't like country, I prefer Mojo for their playlist, but Bone Yard are right in the same ballpark, and his chemistry with the guys (especially That's Chester bandmate Ric Datson) is undeniable. I couldn't stay for Bone Yard's whole set, but they were a very fitting and familiar choice to cap off Toystock 2016, and don't miss then on their next live concerts!

Overall, Toystock V was a very entertaining day of music and Christmas goodwill, and kudos to Greg Simpson and Choose Maxx (Entertainment) for all of his pro-bono work to put this event on and donate to a worthy cause! No personal luck in the draws and contests, but my step-dad did win the motorcycle helmet at night's end, so congratulations to him! For reference sake, beatboxer Robert "Killabeatz" Drolet did not return for a guest set in between bands, as he did the past two years.

I'm sure year #6 will be even bigger and better, but for now, you can check out our photos from Toystock at this link or via our Facebook page! Apologies for the quality, I didn't want to be "that guy" getting in the road on the dance floor, so I kept myself away from there so people could enjoy themselves. As for our videos, here's (in chronological order) a cover song from each act, including the two Case's Music students covering Shawn Mendes' "Air", Tequila & Guitars covering Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Who Will Stop The Rain", Redundant covering Green Day's "Blood, Sex, and Booze", Mojo covering Nazareth's "Turn On Your Reciever", The Elements covering Sublime's "Don't Push", The Band Camp Rejects covering Kim Mitchell's "Patio Lanterns", The Din covering Haggith's "75", The 3 Day Millionaires covering Candlebox's "Far Behind", The Peace Vibe covering The Association's "Along Comes Mary", and Bone Yard covering Jason McCoy's "I Feel A Sin Comin' On"!

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

Saturday, November 19, 2016

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Blood Guy & The Din) & Our Toystock V Preview!!

(Updated at 4:40 PM) We're finally closing this weekend's concert previews with a lengthy look at an annual holiday season event, but before we get there, here's a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for next month, and a SHORT NOTICE one for TONIGHT!

Local alternative/hard rock trio The Din will return to LopLops Lounge TONIGHT to open for Saskatchewan southern rock trio Johnny 2 Fingers & The Deformities! Apologies for the extremely short notice, we only heard about The Din's involvement earlier today after the band originally announced the gig on November 9th via this promotional slideshow video, though note that the official Facebook event page doesn't acknowledge a local opener at all, and The Din never promoted the show with written text until just yesterday, so if you skim past photos & videos, you'll have missed it. This will mark The Din's second show of the day, following their Oddfellows Hall set at 6:00 PM TONIGHT during The Live 705 Show, so if you can't make the former or prefer the latter, keep this one in mind! As for the headliners, you may recognize Johnny 2 Fingers & The Deformities from headlining last month's punk rock bingo event at The New A (more on that in a second), and this engaging southern rock band will play the Soo again on their way back home TONIGHT!

A 19+ age limit is in effect for TONIGHT'S 10:00 PM concert, which has a $5 cover charge. For more details, visit the above links, and apologies again for the short notice, The Din's involvement in this show wasn't well advertised on it's own, piggy-backing on this weekend's other shows if mentioned at all. Come find The Din TONIGHT at The Oddfellows Hall or LopLops, stay tuned for our Toystock preview later in this post, and here's The Din live!

Next up, Edmonton punk/alternative quartet Blood Guy will make their local concert debut on Tuesday, December 27th when they headline Six, Two, Oh.'s sixth punk rock bingo event at The New American Pub! Formerly known as Rotbottyrot, Blood Guy's experimental but hard hitting blend of punk should deliver a solid concoction of rock intensity over the holidays, and while I encourage checking them out online, look for Rotbottyrot links, as there's much more readily available under that name than under the Blood Guy moniker. At least one local band will be added as an opener, and we'll let you know when they are confirmed. The bingo aspect of the night will likely be called by Brenton Ellis once again, so if you want to win some irreverent prizes, get your dabbers ready, and bring cash for cards! A $5 cover charge is in effect for this 19+ concert, which is advertised to start at 9:00 PM. Check the official Facebook event page for more details, and stay tuned for updates on The New A's latest round of punk rock bingo!

Next up, here's our extended preview of TOMORROW'S fifth annual Toystock! Making it's second straight trip to The Grand Gardens on Great Northern Road, Maxx Entertainment (or Choose Maxx) is once again hosting this special ALL AGES charity concert, with all admissions and donations going towards Christmas Cheer, which is always a great cause! The Stuff-A-Bus will once again be on site, while Santa & Mrs. Claus, princesses, and the Elf on a Shelf will all be in attendance to meet the kids, and there will be face painting, photos, cotton candy, a play area, and prize giveaways & draws for the occasion, so check the official Facebook event page for full non-musical details! Once again, Toystock features 10 bands in 10 hours, all donating their time for the cause, and all but one are new to the event, so who can you expect tomorrow? The headliners at 9:00 PM are country rock cover quartet Bone Yard in their record breaking fourth Toystock set (third as headliners), so stay late for their tried and true sound!

1960s-themed classic rock quartet The Peace Vibe will co-headline at 8:00 PM, while classic/hard rock cover quartet The 3 Day Millionaires will be the highest slotted heavier band at 7:00 PM, notably in their first non-Rockstar Bar show with new guitarist Bill Brouillard. The aforementioned Din will take the stage at 6:00 PM, while That's Chester alums Greg Simpson & Gabe Tessaro's acoustic rock duo Guitars & Tequila (or Tequila & Guitars) will replace The Rude-Offs as the 5:00 PM band. Funk/hard rock quartet The Elements will perform at 4:00 PM (no word on if Josh and Jonas will be back though), while ex-Flat Stanley frontman Jim O'Leary will debut his new rock band Shyte at 3:00 PM, similarly to how his old band Griphook launched at the first Toystock. We have no info on Shyte otherwise yet, but be at Toystock TOMORROW to get the scoop! Fan favourite punk trio Redundant will make an increasingly rare live appearance with a set at 2:00 PM, so if you've missed Justin, James, and Rick lately, don't be late!

The online page-less, sporadically seen hard rock quintet The Band Camp Rejects (succeeding last year's one-off Under the Influence) will be on at 1:00 PM, while students from Case's Music will replace Bocturoc Academy students to kick off Toystock V. Will they bear similarities to the late Mike Case's Junior All Stars bands? We'll find out before long! Once again, admission for tomorrow's festivities is via donation of a new or gently used toy, non-perishable food, or cash, while extra donations are definitely appreciated, and The Grand Gardens will help supply food and drinks for attendees to partake in during the event proper. Toystock V is shaping up to be another fun day of live music and Christmas goodwill to help kick off the season, especially coming fresh off of the Santa Claus Parade tonight! This event, in some ways, is like a fall/winter Rotaryfest, just indoors and with a much wider artist rotation, so whether you're in it for new, familiar, or rarely seen bands, you have options!

After missing last year's Toystock due to family health concerns, I will be in attendance for my third Toystock, and first concert at the Northern Grand Gardens (I've been there for a wrestling event, but I believe that's all), so this should be very interesting to see how things look and sound! That's all for today, but I hope to see everyone there for Toystock V, here's a 3 Day Millionaires video as a preview, and stay tuned for more news and notes soon! Thanks everyone!

Friday, November 18, 2016

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Banned) & More Weekend Concert Previews!!

A busy concert weekend takes us to another weekend concert preview post, and believe it or not, we'll have a third one coming tomorrow, featuring our extended preview of Sunday's fifth annual Toystock charity concert, so look for that TOMORROW! Now, let's tackle a few more weekend concert previews, starting with a SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERT!

Kinross, Michigan classic/hard rock cover trio Banned will return to The Runway Bar in nearby Hessel TONIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, the band only announced the show via their Facebook page yesterday, partly as they have yet to post a new Facebook cover photo with new upcoming dates. Unless there was an unannounced gig in the interim there, this will be Banned's first Public show in Hessel in over nine months, so if you've missed Alex, Don, and Wayne's blend of fan favourite classics, head to The Runway Bar in Hessel TONIGHT! Note that this is a one-nighter due to Banned's previously announced road trip to Manistique to play at their Kewadin Casino branch tomorrow. As usual for Banned's regional concerts, expect a 9:00 PM start time, 21+ age limit, and no announced cover charge. Check the above link for more details, and here's Banned live a few years back!

Next up, we'll move to previously announced concerts with the latest gigs from Traverse City classic metal trio Peril, who will return to The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT! Advertised as their "last call for 2016 in the U.P.", these will be Peril's first regional stops since rocking the Sault Michigan Kewadin in September, but their first in St. Ignace since last year, so if you've missed seeing Jeff, Adam, and Brooks at The Northern Pines Lounge, don't bypass them this weekend! Unless there's a surprise announcement to come, we won't see Jeff Hudson's bands back in the E.U.P. until next year, so don't take Peril's next two shows for granted over the weekend! As usual for Peril's local stops, expect a 9:00 PM start time, no cover charge, and a 21+ age limit. Check the above links for more details, and here's Peril live!

To close by heading north to Sault Ontario, a big ALL AGES show goes down TOMORROW at The Oddfellows Hall, as put on by new local punk band A Dire Setback's promotion company Live 705! A throwback in many respects to the mid-late 2000s Oddfellows Hall shows that weren't death metal-centric, a diverse and intriguing lineup is in store for tomorrow night, so who's on tap? In descending order, your headliners are VM Radio Battle-winning indie rock quartet K.I.C.K. in their Oddfellows Hall debut, with the aforementioned A Dire Setback co-headlining in their first ever live concert, so stick around to hear how they do in their first go-around! Also on the lineup are young classic rock trio Electric Church (as seen at the Sky's The Limit fundraiser) and alternative hard rock trio The Din, while late 2000s punk quartet Talk Shit will play their first show in seven years before them, also marking guitarist Steve Shaw's live debut with that band. No online pages yet from them or Electric Church, and we'll let you know if any turn up!

The first band of the night is the live debut of new local punk/metal trio Stegadeth (replacing Eclipse), so if you miss T-Rex Manning, come early for their successors! The opening act is rapper Jasmin "Jizzy Baby" Sky, a recent regular at Soo York City events, so keep her in mind if you want some hip hop to set the tone. This ALL AGES concert has $8 admission, with tickets available at at Case's Music, The Rad Zone, the Thomas Walls School of Music, and directly from band members, though the price remains $8 at the door, and Jizzy Baby kicks things off at around 6:00 PM. This should be an exciting and diverse concert that will hopefully be a big hit for Live 705, especially with the wide array of new and returning artists on the bill! Can A Dire Setback deliver a strong performance in their live debut? Will Stegadeth pick up where T-Rex Manning left off? Will Talk Shit have stage rust after such a long hiatus? Can Electric Church leave a big impression on a largely new audience? Be at The Oddfellows Hall TOMORROW for all of the action, and here's Electric Church tackling Jimi Hendrix earlier this year!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for our Toystock preview and more next! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Gnaeus, The 3 Day Millionaires, And NameUs), And Weekend Concert Previews!!

Another busy weekend is upon us for what is (to me, at least) the start of the Christmas season, as the Santa Claus Parade is on Saturday! There's a lot of concerts going down this weekend, so we'll hold Toystock, Saturday's Oddfellows Hall show, and Peril's St. Ignace concerts for tomorrow, so watch for them then, as well as possible late notice confirmations! Now, let's tackle the first of this weekend's concert previews, starting with SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS!!

Local post-punk quartet Gnaeus will play a solo concert at LopLops Lounge TOMORROW NIGHT in honour of Movember! Apologies for the short notice, the band only announced this show via their Facebook event page on Monday. Despite the late notice, this show has a charitable aim, as Gnaeus are donating proceeds towards prostate cancer charities in honour of the Movember cause, which encourages men to grow mustaches this month to "change the face of men's health", like the whole band is doing (though drummer Alex Proulx still has his full beard.) Always a good cause, and Gnaeus should be in fine form with a set full of their fan favourite post-punk originals, so keep this one in mind for TOMORROW, especially given the charitable nature! There are no other advertised bands for this concert, which is Gnaeus' first in two months, and their first at LopLops since the summer. There is a $5 cover charge for this 19+ show, which starts at 10:00 PM TOMORROW, so check above for more details, and here's Gnaeus live!

Next up, local classic/hard rock cover quartet The 3 Day Millionaires will once again rock The Rockstar Bar for one night only TOMORROW NIGHT! Again, apologies for the short notice, the show was only just announced via their Facebook event page on Tuesday. A one-nighter due to Saturday's previously announced Obsession concert, TOMORROW'S 3 Day Millionaires show will mark the third weekend in four that this veteran quartet has played at The Algonquin Hotel's upstairs venue, with new guitarist Bill Brouillard surely into the groove now for what will be his fourth go-around with the Millionaires. Though this is their only Rockstar Bar show of the weekend, remember that the guys will also be the highest slotted hard rock band for THIS SUNDAY'S fifth annual Toystock at the Northern Grand Gardens, so if you want a second or earlier chance to see them this weekend, be there at 7:00 PM on Sunday!

As for TOMORROW, there's no announced cover charge for this 10:30 PM show, which has a 19+ age limit as usual. Check the above links for more details, stay tuned for our full Toystock preview in our next post, wish drummer Scott McLurg a happy belated birthday, and here's The 3 Day Millionaires live this summer!

Lastly for late notice announcements, remember the "band with no name" two weeks ago at The Rednecks Saloon? Well, they weren't a one-weekend-only attraction, and they're back at the same venue TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Once again, apologies for the short notice, these shows were only announced via their Facebook event page earlier this week. Yes, the union of Mourning Wood's Terry Eaton & Steven Flint with Terry's ex-Carbon Black bandmate Travis Sharpe is a new full band, described as playing "80s, 90s, and whatever" music, and given members' past band histories with the likes of Hollow, The Suicide Kings, and Havadder, I'd have to assume they'll fall into our range unless otherwise confirmed. That said, the band is still without an official name, and are currently going by "NameUs", presumably also doubling as an invitation to suggest a name idea for them to use, so keep that in mind if you go to see "NameUs" TOMORROW or SATURDAY!

No word though on if the launch of this new band will result in a paring down of Mourning Wood's usually high volume of gigs, but that band is still active, as they played at Rednecks last week (meaning that this is Terry & Steven's third straight weekend at the former Nicolet Tavern.) There is no announced cover charge for this weekend's 19+ shows, which are both at 10:00 PM. Check the above links for more details, and hopefully videos and/or an online page from "NameUs" turn up at some point!

Finally for this concert preview post, we'll touch on a trifecta of shows that did have advance notice, as prolific local singer/guitarist Tym Morrison will continue his long-term arrangement at Gliss Steak & Seafood with concerts TONIGHT, TOMORROW, and SATURDAY! As has long come to be expected, look for the Caveman Morrison frontman to deliver three more entertaining matinees at The Quality Inn's restaurant, so if you like acoustic hard rock covers, head downtown over the coming nights! As usual for Tym's reguar weekly shows at Gliss, these three have 6:00 PM start times, no announced cover charges, and no age limits, but remember that this is a formal sit-down restautant. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's Tym Morrison live!

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

Monday, November 14, 2016

Inner City Surfers & Toystock Updates, And Much More!!

This was a quiet weekend regarding the SMS, but we are back with a new news post on this Monday night, so what's on tap? A lot of assorted notes, mostly regarding cleaning up our own links, but we do have some big updates for a major concert this weekend, and to kick things off, a surprise album release, so here's what you need to know!

Are you an Inner City Surfers fan? Did you think that the defunct local punk quartet only had three studio albums? Well, think again, as a fourth album was put on sale via iTunes in May! Posted at the same time as their other released CDs for sale there (as well as on Spotify and Soundcloud), the album is called "Time To Travel On", and while it's actual recording date isn't given, Spotify lists it coming out between 2002's "Laughing On The Outside" and 2007's self-titled CD, though I have never seen it referenced as an album release prior to May of this year. Even official links and posts don't reference the back story of "Time To Travel On", but it's 10 songs are not shared with other Surfers albums. My theory is that the album just didn't get released for one reason or another, was shelved indefinitely prior to recording their last album in 2007, and was released posthumously as a fan bonus this year. If so, kudos to the guys for finally sharing it! With all of that said, it is a paid album release ($9.90 on iTunes), so when might we review it?

As we didn't find out about "Time To Travel On" until just recently, it's no longer a "new" release (assuming it didn't have a limited release run at the time), so now, precedence would go to their debut self-titled album from 2000. Surprisingly, we have yet to review an Inner City Surfers album on here, which definitely has to change! Check out "Time To Travel On" via the above links for more of The Surfers' energetic punk originals, and hopefully we see them back on stage in the future!

Next up, here's some late updates concerning THIS SUNDAY'S fifth annual Toystock charity concert at the Northern Grand Gardens! As per the new Facebook event page, local Christmas-themed punk outfit The Rude-Offs have quietly dropped out of this year's Toystock for unannounced reasons. Hopefully it's as simple as a band member being unable to attend, it'd have been fun to see them back! However, guitarist Greg Simpson will still pull double duty on Sunday, as his acoustic rock duo Guitars & Tequila (listed on the event page as Tequila & Guitars) will replace them in their own Toystock debut. Greg plays in this act alongside That's Chester bandmate Gabe Tessaro, and their mellower blend of covers should be a solid attraction in their own right, especially if you've missed That's Chester in recent months! With that said, the lineup has been almost completely overhauled, with country rock cover quartet Bone Yard (now the only returning band from any prior Toystock) the only band to retain their old time. Check the image on your left for the new order!

The same picture (which is the Facebook event page's cover photo) also newly confirms that there will be cotton candy, some type of appearances from the Elf on a Shelf and (Disney?) princesses, plus a play center on site, adding to the family-friendly vibe of past years. Toystock V is shaping up to be a fun event, especially with the varied and largely different lineup from past years, and remember, entry is via Christmas Cheer donations! Stay tuned for our full preview of this year's Toystock this weekend!

Finally for today, here's six assorted shorter stories from the last while, mostly focusing on updates and deletions from our "Other Local Metal Links" section on the bottom right! As usual, these are in alphabetical order by band or company name:

  • The teased amalgamation of Stiffler's Mom drummer Greg Simpson's event promotion and graphic design companies Maxx Entertainment and Maxx Graphix under the Choose Maxx banner has taken place, with the former retitled under the new name on Facebook and elsewhere, and the latter deleted as planned, so our links have been updated as a result. Choose Maxx is a clunky name to me, but it tells you what to do if you need an event booked or a logo designed, so it works that way, and don't miss Toystock on Sunday!
  • Project 421 bassist/Eclipse guitarist Daniel Horton launched a search to find a replacement for singer Curtis McKenzie in at least one of the bands last weekend via a post on the Musicians Wanted Facebook group. He noted that he's looking for someone with stage experience and a high & "fairly large" vocal range, while paid gigs will start in January. No word on which band he means (or if it's for both), but for what it's worth, neither has posted anything on Facebook since Curt's departure and it's immediate fallout. Message Daniel here or above for more details!
  • We have removed local music management agency Escape Into Music from our "Other Local Metal Links" section due to the deletion of it's Facebook (and only online) page in recent months. This somewhat ambitious attempt to have a local company to manage musicians and assist in their expenses never visibly got off the ground, but best of luck to Stephanie in the future!
  • In another page deletion from that same section, we have removed defunct local grunge/hard rock quartet Haggith's official online store from our band links, as it's Facebook (and only online) page was also deleted in recent months. The band had still been posthumously selling some merchandise through there after dissolving, and while it's a shame that it's been taken down, message their Facebook page if you want to see if they still have merchandise or albums available!
  • Also now deleted from the same link section is Pure Sonic Audio, a short-lived concert promotion agency that would have marked Autumn Roots singer Jeremy Hannah's return to putting on concerts in 2014, as he memorably did with Big Voiced Records in the mid-late 2000s. Despite ambitious plans, Pure Sonic Audio's online pages have all been taken down or repurposed for other uses (their Facebook group is now a general use group on the local music scene), but hopefully Jeremy returns to promoting down the road!
  • One last change to our "Other Local Metal Links" section is to update our links to SooToday's classified sections that are relevant to local musicians, plus their entertainment page, as those received new URLs when the site received it's overhaul and new design earlier this year. Those have been updated and work as normal once again, so give them a look and make use of them if you can!

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