Saturday, June 24, 2017

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Jack Spades & Northwest), A "New" Live @ Six, Two, Oh. Episode, And More!!

Before we begin this post, I wanted to acknowledge a short notice show that, while publically announced, is not being covered here due to the nature of the event. Sault Michigan hard rock quartet Project 906 are playing tonight at Moloney's Alley as part of the Sault Area High School class of 1997 reunion, but according to the Facebook event page, this is "an outdoor private party" intended for 1997 graduates and guests brought with them. It's great to see Project 906 back after a month off, private event or not, so keep this in mind for tonight if you're in the 1997 grad class of Sault High! Now, here's a new video, some assorted updates, and some LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS!!

At least five local music acts will join forces on Saturday, July 1st (one week from today) for a special Canada Day bash at The Rockstar Bar! Unlike recent years at this venue, the Canada Day event won't feature a single cover band, with Paperclip Productions' Daniel Horton booking this showcase of local talent next week, so who can you look for on Canada Day? In apparent performance order, the last listed band are indie rock quartet K.I.C.K., with hard rock populating the rest of the bill, including punk/metal quintet Jack Spades in their new lineup's third show (including Daniel on guitar), funk/hard rock veterans The Elements (in their second show of the year), Daniel's other hard rock band Eclipse, and that band's frontman Curtis McKenzie in his revived solo project's Rockstar Bar debut. Solid lineup overall, and the Facebook event page implies that more is coming, so stay tuned?

Note that a set by death metal standouts The Bear Hunters was originally listed for this event, but it was quietly removed for unannounced reasons. Hopefully nothing bad happened, they'd have added a brutal component next week! An 8:00 PM start time is listed for this Canada Day concert, which has a 19+ age limit and a $5 cover. Everything is adding up well for this holiday weekend concert, with a nice selection of familiar faces joining forces next week, so visit the above links for current and upcoming updates!

Next up, the aforementioned K.I.C.K. will join indie/punk quintet Northwest for a joint concert at LopLops Lounge on Friday, July 14th! Possibly timed on purpose to coincide with Rotaryfest weekend (stay tuned for the lineup reveals on both stages) and the previous day's Downtown Street Party that K.I.C.K. are also playing, this is part of a busy month for the Keep It Cool Kids, but it will be just the second show of 2017 (and first in almost 2 months) for Northwest. If you haven't seen much of them live in the past year, keep this double bill in mind for LopLops in three weeks time, and hopefully both bands have some material from their recent studio sessions in store! A 9:00 PM start time is in effect for next month's show, and as usual for LopLops, this is a 19+ event with a $5 cover charge. This should be a fun concert for indie and punk fans, so keep it in mind for Rotaryfest weekend, and visit the Facebook event page for more details!

Also today, here's a "new" video of local doom/sludge metal trio AlgomA, and in particular, it's the first episode of their studio's YouTube performance series Live @ Six, Two, Oh. to be unveiled on their YouTube channel in six months (and first with a local artist in ten months!) Now, this isn't brand new, as it's actually episode #0 of the webseries, originally filmed in May 2015 for a private upload, presumably as a test or proof of concept before the series proper launched that August. With Live @ Six, Two, Oh. planned to return in full force in December via Six, Two, Oh.'s planned online battle of the bands, this is a nice way to re-introduce fans to the dormant series, even if two years late, so keep it in mind! The episode features AlgomA playing their original songs "Failed Stunt Fatality" (released on their split with Hooded Menace this year) and "Fell Down A Well" from their debut EP, so click each song name to go to that particular track.

Given that this is a 2 year old performance, I'll say that AlgomA sounded brutal and heavy as usual in this video, and I like the multiple camera angles to give an overhead angle of Jamie's drumming to shake things up! The mirror behind him is oddly placed though. Prospective bands interested in Six, Two, Oh.'s online battle may want to watch this episode too so they can get a sense of what to expect if they sign up later this year, so give everything a look for both Live @ Six, Two, Oh. and the battle above & below!

Finally for today, here's three assorted shorter news items from the last little while, and as usual for our short form story groupings, these are in alphabetical order by artist or promoter name:

  • Chronic Demonic are alive! After last posting a public update referencing band activity in 2014, guitarist Kevin Powe updated fans on their Facebook page on Friday that they are still a band, are slowly learning songs, and hope to jam next week with the full band for the first time in over a year. Kevin also left the door open for the death metal quartet to play live for the first time in four years later this summer, and jam photos of Chronic Demonic (sans drummer Jonathan Harvey) were also posted last month. It's very encouraging to hear that Chronic Demonic are still alive & kicking, so see above for more info, and they're back in our active band links!
  • Local concert promoters Live705 have announced that both of their Canadian Nightclub concerts next month (Vaultry in two weeks & Project 421 in four weeks) are now ALL AGES! No word on if they're permanently scrapping their brief experiment with 18+ shows as a result, or if this is an experiment of it's own, but it sounds like a positive move to me, as The Canadian has proven to be a solid venue for Live705 and for all ages events from other promoters, so keep the lack of age restrictions in mind for next month! As with the 18+ Live705 events, bracelets will be issued to 19+ attendees.
  • A woman named Tiffany Cuthbertson is looking for country or rock bands to play an event of some kind on Sunday, August 6th in nearby Goulais River, Ontario, possibly stemming from her Musicians Wanted group search in May for a then-unidentified event, though I can't confirm if this is it. There's already a fair amount of interest, but if you want more details, read her post from that group last week or message her at this link for more details!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates on the site next week! Thanks everyone!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Inactive Local Band Notes, Go Skateboarding Day Fallout, And More!!

A new news post is upon us for this Friday morning, so what is on tap? Sadly, this post is largely devoted to bands being moved out of our active band links, but we also have a few more assorted recent updates and a new video featuring a recent performance to check out. With all of that said, here's what you need to know!

We have a pair of bands to imminently move to our inactive band links due to a year's inactivity, one being classic/hard rock cover quartet Lucky 13. While the band has made no public statements about their future, they have not played an advertised concert since one year ago on Sunday when they headlined at The Rockstar Bar, and they hadn't posted on their Facebook page since April of last year as it was (though note that guitarist Robin "Bones" Lee left his other band Soundcheck for health reasons earlier this year.) A staple of the bar circuit since debuting at the inaugural Toystock charity concert in November 2012, this union of Aftersight, Turner Up, and Gully Yodelers alumni were frequently seen on stage in solo concerts over the following 3½ years, as well as becoming the only band to play at the first three Toystocks, headlining The Rednecks Saloon's relaunch party last spring, and closing The Rockstar Bar's St. Patrick's Day festivities in 2013.

Featuring a solid selection of veteran presences in the local rock scene, Lucky 13 were always a reliable sight on local stages, and their gritty, workmanlike sound could easily be slotted into numerous events alongside their solo gigs. Hopefully we see them back out there at some point in the future, but best of luck to Ed, Robin, Jeff, and Roger, and don't miss original guitarist Jeremey Salatuk with The 3 Day Millionaires!

The other band we're soon moving to our inactive band links is local pop punk quartet Stereo North, as they have not issued a public update concerning new band activity since one year ago on Sunday themselves. In that Facebook page posting, the guys announced that they were "taking a little break" due to guitarist Matthew Anich becoming a father, but their only updates since have referenced frontman Andrew Pucci's burgeoning solo career, so it appears that the "little break" has grown into an extended hiatus (at least.) Launching publically in late 2014 with a bassist search, Stereo North debuted at the Bon Soo Marquee outdoor concert in February 2015, and next played live at the following month's VM Radio Battle of the Bands, so they definitely got a big start! Fans may also recall seeing them open for The River Jacks, Exes For Eyes, and Broomfiller, perform at 2015's Rotaryfest Stage 2 & last year's second VM Radio Battle, and play numerous all-local events late in their 1½ year run, last seen at The Rednecks Saloon over the Victoria Day long weekend last year.

Stereo North were an entertaining band that acclimated fast to the local scene back in 2015, and their originals and often-unconventional covers were always a fun sight on local stages, and it's a shame that their songwriting for a planned debut album didn't visibly lead to recording sessions before going on their "little break". Best of luck to Andrew, Matthew, Bill, and Brett in the future, but hopefully Stereo North return at some point, and don't miss Andrew's solo work or bassist Bill Bennett's current band Stegadeth!

Next up, here's a new YouTube video from yesterday's fifth annual Go Skateboarding Day festivities at Queen Elizabeth Park! Posted by SooToday to their YouTube channel and attached to this article, the video is similar to their video from last year, only with no interview clip, just skateboarding, vendor, and band footage with an audio track pasted on top in post. Filming took place during blues/hard rock trio Electric Church's opening set, and they are seen from 56 seconds on in the video, but again, their performance is completely muted. Still well edited and shot, so give it a look below, and click here for a live streamed segment of Go Skate Day before the bands began!

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

  • Local alternative punk quartet A Dire Setback will play their second out of town concert on Saturday, July 8th when they open for Peterborough doom rapper Garbageface for a third time, albeit in Timmins! The show comes just a day after the two acts open for Vaultry at The Canadian for Live705's punk/rap hybrid event, and this should be another intriguing opportunity for A Dire Setback to branch out! There's not enough Timmins/Soo connections for concerts in either city. Click here for more details, and good luck on the road once again next month!
  • Local indie rock quartet K.I.C.K. and former Pixo Control frontman Mike Mikus (in one of his last sets before moving to Montreal) have been confirmed as the fifth and sixth acts playing at this year's Downtown Street Party on Queen Street East on July 13th, joining hard rockers The Din and fellow groups The Bearded Lounge, Sometimes Ange, and The Stumpy Coldwater Trio. Solid additions to add some alternative original stylings to the proceedings, so keep them in mind as well for this Thursday event next month! Our source is the street party's Facebook event page yesterday.
  • I reluctantly have to remove Sault Michigan/Isle Royale metal solo project The 1,000,000,000's Who Died from our band links due to the quiet deletion of their Facebook (and only online) page at some point this year. Led by Life's Eclipse mainman Jason Mills, The 1,000,000,000's Who Died were best known from their participation in label Werehold Records' Friday the 13th new music events from 2012 through last May, but nothing has followed in the past year, and their page deletion leaves Life's Eclipse as the only Werehold act listed in our active links. Hopefully we hear more from Jason's musical projects soon, perhaps on October 13th!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates on The Sault Metal Scene in the coming days! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

This Weekend's Hard Rock Concert Previews, Including Lita Ford & Great White!!

Another weekend of concert previews is here, so what do we have to hype up with only a week to go before Canada Day? Shockingly, no short notice events (yet?), but there's a fair amount of intriguing concerts going down over the coming days, including a huge outdoor event in the E.U.P., so here's what you should know in rough chronological order!

We'll start at The New American Pub TOMORROW NIGHT, where local instrumental jam/hard rock quintet Gianni Gagoots will return to the stage as openers for Niagara Falls experimental prog rock quartet The Road Waves! Last seen opening for The Hazytones at this venue two months ago, this will be the Gagoots' first concert appearance since announcing that they were self-promoting concerts of theirs under the Like Ten Productions banner. This creative union of Redefined, Sailor's Tongue, and Rising Tide alumni should have another creative set of instrumental funk and jam rock in store, so don't miss out tomorrow at The New A! As for The Road Waves, they don't quite cross the hard rock line, but their own improvised, ever-changing, and creative original jams should attract a solid audience tomorrow in the second stop of their summer tour, so keep them in mind as well! Doors open at 9:00 PM tomorrow for this 19+ concert, which has a $5 cover charge. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's Gianni Gagoots live earlier this year!

Next up, the ever-prolific Tym Morrison will continue his ongoing weekly concert arrangement at Gliss Steak & Seafood with two more acoustic solo matinee gigs TOMORROW & SATURDAY! With a likely return to thrice-weekly gigs there coming in the near future, Tym's unplugged hard rock covers don't appear to be solely a two night affair for too much longer, so if you can make it down to The Quality Inn's house restaurant tomorrow or on Saturday evening, expect more solid renditions from this prolific veteran artist! As usual for Tym's long-term run at Gliss, expect 6:00 PM start times, no announced cover charges, and no age limits, but remember that this is a sit-down restaurant, not a typical nightclub venue. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and for a preview, here's Tym live!

Also, here's this weekend's arguable main event, as former Runaways guitarist Lita Ford and Los Angeles hard rock legends Jack Russell's Great White will play a special outdoor concert at the Kewadin Shores Casino in St. Ignace, Michigan THIS SATURDAY NIGHT to kick off the venue's summer concert series! The other events in the series are August's Josh Turner concert and demolition derby. A rare major Kewadin headlining concert to not take place at the Dreammaker's Theater in the Soo, fans should take to the regional debut of Lita Ford, whose solo hits like "Kiss Me Deadly", "Hungry", and "Close My Eyes Forever" should rock the stage on the shores of Horseshoe Bay on Saturday night, so don't miss out on her set!  Lita was promoted to headliner last week after April Wine were forced to drop out due to frontman Myles Goodwyn falling ill, so the Jack Russell-led version of Great White will step in to replace them on Saturday, with classics like "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" and "The House of Broken Love" in the repertoire.

Though this isn't the version of Great White that played Sault Michigan in 2009 (they've had an L.A. Guns-like split in two since), frontman Jack Russell is back from that event, and the original voice of Great White and his new band should deliver for fans on Saturday night! This FREE & ALL AGES concert has $18 general admission tickets and $28 for front row seating from the fourth row and back, so click here, call 1-800-KEWADIN, or visit the in-person box offices to get hooked up. This should be a solid concert for 1980s metal and Hair Scare fans, especially given the unique outdoor setting, so see above for more details, and here's Lita Ford live earlier this year!

Finally for today's concert previews, THIS SATURDAY NIGHT will also play host the Sault Ontario debut of all-female Barrie hardcore punk quartet Beaver Slap when they rock The Rockstar Bar! The show was quietly moved upstairs from The Algonquin Pub on Sunday for unannounced reasons, as per promoters Six, Two, Oh. on the Facebook event page, so ignore the venue listed on the poster. This concert should provide a quality showcase for Beaver Slap's aggressive brand of old school hardcore punk with some noise and crust rock touches for good measure, so don't miss out on the ladies as they take the stage on Saturday night! Only two bands are opening this one, including Six, Two, Oh.'s resident doom/sludge metal trio AlgomA in their second ever Rockstar Bar appearance and first concert anywhere since their European tour in the spring, while local punk/metal quintet Jack Spades will play their second show with their new lineup and their first Rockstar Bar set in well over nine months as well, last seen there opening for SNFU.

Solid choices to open, including a rare appearance by Jack Spades at an event not promoted by frontman J.D. Pearce, so don't be late for the local openers! Notably the first ever Rockstar Bar concert promoted by Six, Two, Oh., this event has a $7 cover charge, a 19+ age limit, and a 9:00 PM start time. This should be a great time for fans of hard edged punk with a hint of sludge, so visit the above links for full details on all of Saturday night's action, and here's Beaver Slap live a few years back!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates over the weekend! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Darsombra), An Online(?!) Battle Of The Bands, And New Videos!!

On this summer solstice, here's a new news post to take in this morning, so what will you find? Updates on a recently re-opened and renamed local business, new videos of a reunited hard rock band, and preliminary details on a battle of the bands unlike any you've seen locally before, but first, here's a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for next month!!

Baltimore, Maryland psychedelic hard rock duo Darsombra will make their local concert debut when they headline at The New American Pub on Monday, July 17th! One of the most unique bands to hit a local stage this summer, Darsombra unite a guitarist and synth player (no vocals or drums) into an audiovisual experience with a video screen, extended 10 minute+ jams, and a hard to pin down sound that can be heavy, droning, or trippy at a moment's notice. They're hard to describe, so I recommend watching Darsombra videos online to see what they have to offer (don't just listen!) Local openers will include alternative/funk/hard rock quartet Bizotic and new local drone/noise trio Pointless (featuring Treble Charger, Pillory, and Ashes To Dust alumni), and both should compliment things in their own way in just under a month's time! Promoted by Six, Two, Oh., this 19+ concert has a 9:00 PM start time and a $7 cover charge.

This promises to be one of the most unique concert bills of 2017, with Darsombra an experience all of their own, Bizotic continuing their upward momentum, and Pointless playing just their second concert that we've heard about, so be sure to visit the official Facebook event page for full current details, and see above for more on the bands next month!

Next up, here's an intriguing announcement from the aforementioned Six, Two, Oh., courtesy of their Facebook page yesterday, as the local concert promoters will be hosting an online battle of the bands at some point after December 5th! Rather than host a typical battle as part of a live concert, this is actually an online contest, with the aim being to have at least 7 bands enter with $150 entry fees (which is high, but you have over five months to save money if you're interested.) As far as I can tell, competitors will be featured in individual episodes of the label's dormant YouTube series Live @ Six, Two, Oh. in the winter, and after a one-per-person voting period (specific details not yet clear), the winner will earn the chance to record a fully mastered EP of up to 22 minutes in length at Six, Two, Oh.'s studios. The EP will also be released in a limited cassette tape run (a'la AlgomA's upcoming split with Shit Liver) if at least 7 bands sign up for the online battle.

In terms of who can register, Six, Two, Oh. have opened the floodgates to any acts (including rappers) in the Twin Saults, as long as you can make it to their studios to tape the Live @ Six, Two, Oh. episode for your entry. This is definitely a unique idea, and I'm very curious to see how it shapes up come December, especially if some Sault Michigan bands try their hand in it! Entries will start being accepted on November 20th, so if you want in on Six, Two, Oh.'s first online battle of the bands, start saving that $150, and visit the official Facebook event page for more details!

Also today, here's the first videos of local hard rock quartet Eclipse post-reunion, courtesy of their Facebook page on Monday! Filmed at their Rockstar Bar set on June 10th, no less than ten videos were posted from the show, apparently comprising their entire set, and before anyone's scared off, these are full concert videos, not audio recordings! The identical image of the band was added in post as a thumbnail, similarly to frontman Curtis McKenzie's recent solo uploads. Covers from the show include System of a Down's "B.Y.O.B." (with Handsome Sandwich frontman Johnny Belanger on guest vocals) and "Lonely Day", Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song", Velvet Revolver's "Slither", Billy Talent's "Fallen Leaves", and Seether's "Remedy", while the other four are of originals or songs taken on from the defunct Haggith & Punch, including two with a pair of songs each. Those include both "Metal Cage" & "Wasted", the newer "Upon the Hills", "Tyranny", and as embedded below, both "Cry Wolf" & "Silver Bullet"

All filmed from a stationary camera amongst the tables at the venue, the quality is mixed on these videos, with solid audio undercut by occasional frame rate drops and attendees standing in front of the camera, sometimes for extended periods. That said, Eclipse sound good compared to their first run, and if you look past the obvious newer touches (Handsome Sandwich's banner, Fred's longer hair), it's like they never broke up at all! Give Eclipse's new videos a look above & below!

Finally, here's the latest from Sault Michigan music store Crooked Music, which re-opened two weeks ago after renovations at the former Grooves Music wrapped up! Now owned by former Half Stupid/Plastic frontman Zac Crook and his wife Christy, the "new" store was profiled in this Sault Evening News article by Nick Nolan, which features interview remarks from the Crooks, so what can we glean from the article? Well, it turns out that Grooves owner Gary Hatch was looking to sell the business (hence the ownership change), Crooked Music is open daily except Sundays, they have expanded their inventory to include vinyl records, band t-shirts, and memorabilia, they explain the meaning behind the new yellow table & chairs in front of the 540 Ashmun Street storefront, and more. I like that Crooked Music is expanding more into record store territory, and hopefully local music CDs are still stocked there to go along with the added vinyl!

Crooked Music are still offering instruments, gear, and lessons, with instructors there now including Zac's former Plastic bandmates Matt Williams (bass) and Aaron DePalma (drums), as well as Project 906 guitarist Joe Jenkins, who stars in the store's Facebook page's only video so far, where he demonstrates a Fender amplifier that they have on consignment. Nice bluesy performance from this talented local axeslinger, and I'm sure he'll be a quality instructor! Best of luck to Zac, Christy, and staff with Crooked Music, and if you're a musician or music lover in the E.U.P., consider a trip there in the near future! Give Joe's new video a look below!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news, updates, and concert previews in the coming days! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Project 421 & The Din), Go Skateboarding Day Preview, And New Videos!!

Before we begin this post, I wanted to apologize for a missed concert on here, as hard rock solo artist Tym Morrison joined Bone Yard side project The Bearded Lounge as musical entertainment at The Roberta Bondar Pavilion on Saturday for this year's Algoma Ride for Autism. The lineup only had a quiet reveal tucked in the end of recent write-ups on the event, and Tym was a late confirmation himself, apparently replacing Soundcheck on the bill, with that band never acknowledging planned involvement publically. Apologies again for missing all of this, hopefully it was a great event for the cause, and it's nice to see Tym at a community event like this again!

Now, we have a preview of a concert taking place tomorrow, and new videos, but first, here's some LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS! First, local alternative hard rock trio The Din will be among the performers at the Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Association's annual Downtown Street Party on Queen Street East on Thursday, July 13th! Marking their first appearance at this annual outdoor community event, this year's street party will see family entertainment, beer tents, live bands, and more activities for Saultites to partake in in three weeks time, so be sure to follow official links above for full details on the schedule, exact locations, and more! The Din are one of four advertised bands playing this year, and they'll be joined by The Bearded Lounge (the new acoustic country duo from Stiffler's Mom's Greg Simpson and Bone Yard bandmate Alex D'Ettore), fiddle-infused rock quartet Sometimes Ange, and country veterans The Stumpy Coldwater Trio.

The latter two acts have played outdoors on Queen before, and The Din should compliment things nicely on July 13th for fans of hard and alt-rock! This year's Downtown Street Party is a FREE & ALL AGES event with an advertised 6:00 PM start time, but keep in mind that the Downtown Association is hosting an ongoing crowdfunding campaign on, with $5,000 the intended top goal. This party sounds like a fun event for locals of all ages, with lots of solid musical entertainment for varying tastes, so stay tuned for pertinent updates when & if they come in!

Next up, local classic metal quartet Project 421 will end their almost nine month concert hiatus with a headlining set at The Canadian Nightclub on Saturday, July 22nd! With CureCon in limbo and Diamond Head not till the fall, this will be your first chance to see Project 421's nostalgic metal blast on a local stage in 2017, as well as their first announced concert as a quartet with Blair Burch on lead vocals in about two years, and their debut appearance at a Live705 event. It's great to have Project 421 back on stage after way too long, so keep this show in mind for next month! The lineup shockingly won't include A Dire Setback for the first time since Live705's launch (no word on why), but it's still stacked with local talent, so who all else is playing? The aforementioned Din, newer local jazz trio The Peach Thieves (featuring Pillory members outside of their comfort zone), blues/hard rock trio Electric Church, indie rock trio The Autumn Roots, and funk/ska/hard rock veterans The Elements.

Solid lineup including three Live705 newcomers, and while it is odd to not see A Dire Setback on the bill, don't miss out on all of the action in a month's time as Project 421 return to the stage! As is recently traditional for Live705 concerts, expect a 7:05 PM start time, 18+ age limit with wristbands, and $10 admission fee unless you get a $2-off voucher from performers. This is shaping up to be an entertaining all-locals event, so visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and stay tuned for potential updates!

Also, here's our preview of a special Wednesday evening concert TOMORROW, as Tidal Records will host their fifth annual Go Skateboarding Day event at Queen Elizabeth Park outside of the John Rhodes Center once again, and yes, live bands are back for a third straight year! As was the case the past two years, the local arm of Go Skate Day will allow local skateboarders and extreme athletes to demonstrate their skills, learn the basics, and compete in some special events, with refreshments and vendors likely to return as well. Visit the official Facebook event page for full details on the non-musical aspect! The lineup tomorrow will be very familiar for attendees of recent Live705 events, as The Din, alt-punk quartet A Dire Setback, and Electric Church will join forces to rock the top of the ramp. The Din played at last year's Go Skate Day and the similar Gnar-BQ midquel, and the other acts should provide a similarly solid soundtrack of their own!

And no, DJ Seith is not advertised to return for year #3, but if anything is announced to the contrary, we'll let you know. FYI, the weather forecast for tomorrow calls for sunny conditions in the 21° range, so it should be a fine evening to go skate with! This is a FREE & ALL AGES event once again, and while the event proper begins at 3:00 PM, bands will play from 5:00-8:00 PM. Check the above links for more details on all of tomorrow's action, and for a preview, here's The Din last fall!

Finally for today, here's some new videos from the aforementioned Electric Church, courtesy of their headlining set at Sunday night's Speaker concert at The Canadian! Both live streamed from the event, one video is a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing", as filmed by Bradley Shingwauk and shared to the band's Facebook page yesterday. Solidly done, and a nice showcase of their instrumental talents on a song that doesn't have a lot of sung lyrics! The vertical camera angle is unfortunate though, especially once the camera zoomed in closer to the stage. The other video (that was live streamed directly to their Facebook page) is embedded below, and features Electric Church playing their slow original "Carey Baby", to quality effect! That said, the video is very blocky, which negates the improved camera angles to make up for the vertical cell phone camera angle yet again.

The stage extender was broke out for this show too (hopefully it got some use throughout the night), and no, your eyes don't deceive you, the reflective painted road signs on the back wall of the stage are gone in these clips. I have no idea if it's temporary or not, but my camera thanks you, Matt! Give these nice sounding new Electric Church videos a look above & below, and don't miss them tomorrow at 5:00 PM as they rock the John Rhodes skatepark for Go Skateboarding Day!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates as the week presses on! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Last Month's Poll Results, A New Video, And Rudyard Musicians Festival Updates!!

Today's SMS post features the results of last month's poll and updates on a returning concert festival, but we'll start today with another new concert video from Eclipse frontman Curtis McKenzie's revived solo project, this time from his set opening for his old band The Din at LopLops Lounge yesterday!  Another cover of Seether's "Broken" (also filmed for his Facebook page at The Vape Escape on Friday), the rendition is solid, though the camera work can be a little shaky. And yes, that is an old CRT TV on stage, The Din have brought it back as an on-stage element. Give Curt's newest solo video below, and don't miss him with Eclipse TONIGHT at The Canadian!

Next up, here's some early details for the second annual Rudyard Musicians Festival in Rudyard, Michigan on Saturday, August 19th at Rudyard Township Park have been announced, so what do we know so far? There will be a dozen separate acts this year (including bands and solo artists), all proceeds will again go to music programs at Rudyard Area Schools, the festival will be held rain or shine, attendees can camp on site on Friday the 18th, and there will be concessions and a pig roast on the Saturday, so things sound like they're shaping up well. Unfortunately, in the sentence about music genres this year, this event poster expressly says "(NO HEAVY METAL)", despite last year's event featuring masked metal quartet Stoned Ape Evolution. Did their set have a poor response, or were they just too much of an outlier last year? It's hard to say, but hopefully there's still some hard rock mixed in this year to give genre fans something. Check the above links for more details, and if there is hard rock on the lineup, we'll let you know!

Finally for today, here's the final results of last month's final poll on the year of 2016, as we posed this question to you guys: "What was your favourite metal, hard rock, or punk concert of 2016?" Only 13 votes, sadly low again, so I'll be taking the rest of the year off from polls on the SMS due to the turnout save for next month's poll on your favourite early 2017 concerts as usual, and I will maintain yearly polls on here. That said, there is a clear winner, so here are the final results!

Guy Thiffault Benefit at The Rockstar Bar on December 27th (4 votes, 31%)
The Ripcordz at The Canadian Nightclub on August 13th (3 votes, 23%)
The Din & Gnaeus at The Tech on August 12th (2 votes, 15%)
Cocaine Moustache at The New American Pub on July 12th (1 vote, 7¾%)
Hedley & The Rising Tide at The Yard on July 1st (1 vote, 7¾%)
Redneck Rock Bash II at Rednecks on June 4th (1 vote, 7¾%)
Project 421 & Eclipse at The Rockstar Bar on May 13th (1 vote, 7¾%)
The Din & Stereo North at The Gore Street Cafe on March 4th (0 votes)
Gorod & Bookakee at The Oddfellows Hall on April 15th (0 votes)
Id Iota & The Pixo Control at LopLops Lounge on April 21st (0 votes)
Go Skateboarding Day at Queen Elizabeth Park on June 21st (0 votes)
Iskra, Pillory, and Rotopsy at The Oddfellows Hall on July 14th (0 votes)
Live705 Show at The Oddfellows Hall on November 19th (0 votes)
Other (0 votes)

What do you guys think? Well, in ascending order, I will say that it is disappointing to see six shows receive zero votes, especially as all choices in this poll received at least one vote in our half year polls. Recency may have won the day here, as only 2 voters chose a show from June or earlier, while only two shows from the second half of the year received no votes (including Live705's debut, which came in second in the half-year poll.) Of the four shows to get a single vote this time around, Cocaine Moustache surprises me the most given the stature of the other shows and Redneck Rock Bash II winning the early 2016 poll, but it's all in who votes! The second and third place shows (which conveniently took place on consecutive days) finished strong in the poll, proving how well recieved The Ripcordz' return and The Din's CD release were, but the winner of both the second half and full year polls was December's Guy Thiffault tribute concert. An emotional yet entertaining night of local punk and metal veterans playing in honour of a fallen comrade, this was a very deserving winner to cap off our 2016 polls!

Thanks to everyone for voting, and again, we will be taking a month off from polls due to low turnout before trying again with our poll on your favourite concerts in early 2017 next month, then likely laying low again until tackling the whole year in early 2018. That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates soon! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Banned & The Din), New Videos, And More Updates!!

We're back with a new news post on this Saturday afternoon, including some recent new concert videos and some assorted updates, but first, here's some LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS on both sides of the border!

Kinross, Michigan classic/hard rock trio Banned have announced five upcoming concert weekends at regional Kewadin Casino branches through the end of 2017! Joining returns to the Manistique Kewadin branch next month and in September, the Alex Traynor-led group will return to The Rapids Lounge at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino for concerts on June 30th & July 1st, October 6th & 7th, and December 1st & 2nd, while new dates are now locked in for The Northern Pines Lounge at the Kewadin Shores Casino in St. Ignace on September 22nd & 23rd and then on November 3rd & 4th! These shows were all confirmed via their respective Facebook event pages yesterday (as seen here), and while Kewadin had recently confirmed the Soo shows on their entertainment page, there's nothing yet regarding these St. Ignace gigs, notably their first ones there since December of last year.

No word yet on if there will be more shows in late 2017 to announce at other venues, but remember that the band gave their recent Hessel gigs very little advance notice online. We'll keep you posted, but it's great to see Banned staying busy to close the year, August's apparent off month aside! All 10 of these new local dates are 9:00 PM affairs with no announced cover charge and 21+ age limits. Visit the above links for more details, and stay tuned for more from Banned!

Next up, here's a new concert announcement for Sault Ontario, as local alternative hard rock groups The Din and Bizotic will hit LopLops Lounge on Saturday, July 8th when they open for Hamilton space rock quartet SIANspheric in their local debut! This will be The Din's first concert at LopLops in three weeks, following TONIGHT'S acoustic duo headlining set, while I believe this will be Bizotic's first LopLops gig in four months. Both acts should perform solidly as they continue their forward momentum next month! As for SIANspheric, their experimental and ambient rock originals have helped them make an established name over the past 2 decades, and it'll be interesting to finally hear them on a local stage in three weeks, so give them a listen as well and see what you think! This 19+ concert has a $5 cover charge and a 9:00 PM start time. Check the above links for more details, and stay tuned for potential updates as they roll in!

Also, here's our first public video look at Eclipse frontman Curtis McKenzie's revived solo project! Curtis' girlfriend April Bryant was on hand for his Vape Escape concert yesterday, and filmed five videos of his solo set, though no word on if he ever intends to share the Dokken cover publically that's floating around on personal accounts. These new videos feature Curt's covers of Three Days Grace's "Wake Up", Seether's "Broken", Pearl Jam's "Better Man", Collective Soul's "December", and as embedded below, Nirvana's "Heart Shaped Box", so these will be right up the alley of Eclipse fans craving a more reserved selection of covers, even though Curt is in fact playing an electric guitar in all clips. The videos can be a little jittery, but Curtis sounds good on these renditions, and while I'm not complete in the know on The Vape Escape or e-cigarettes, hopefully he provided a quality soundtrack for patrons last night! Give these videos a look, and don't miss Curt TONIGHT at LopLops or TOMORROW with Eclipse!

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:

  • Local punk quartet A Dire Setback will hit the road for the first time when they travel to Sudbury on June 25th (one week from tomorrow) to open for Victoria, B.C. alternative/punk quintet Vaultry at The Asylum! If this sounds familiar, it should, as Vaultry are headlining at The Canadian two weeks later on July 7th on their way back home, and A Dire Setback are opening (and promoting via Live705) the Soo show. Nice to see such synergy with these two Northern Ontario stops, and good luck to A.D.S. out east next weekend!
  • Bear Hunters guitarist Mitch Sirie announced on the Musicians Wanted Facebook group on Wednesday that the local death metal band has "awoken from their hibernation and are hungry", and would love to perform on local concerts that would have them. With only two shows to their name in the past year, it'd be great to see them on more concert lineups in 2017, so message Mitch here or above if you want some bear hunting metal action on stage again!
  • In a news release from the City of Sault Ste. Marie offices yesterday, the city confirmed that the Rock the Border Music Fest tomorrow is completely cancelled, as well as noting that the concert was not city-sanctioned, and advised readers to "be cautious when buying tickets to events outside of normal channels." You can read more on the official statement, including details on contact with promoters, via this article from SooToday's Donna Hopper, but hopefully things can be put to rest now! As for AlgomA guitarist Boyd Rendell's teaser in the comments about a big Six, Two, Oh. concert this fall? Stay tuned!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates next week on the site! Thanks everyone!

Friday, June 16, 2017

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (The Din), Electric Church/Speaker Concert Preview, And New Sky's The Limit Videos!!

Before we begin this post, I wanted to apologize for a missed concert on here, as Toronto-area Bon Jovi tribute band Keep The Faith (who came to Sault Ontario twice in 2010) played a pair of extended sets at Bay Mills Resort & Casino in nearby Brimley, Michigan last Friday. No word on if it was at the Back Bay Grille or not, but this definitely fell outside of what we've researched in recent months. Profuse apologies for missing it for coverage here, hopefully it was a great show! Now, let's tackle a few more weekend concert previews (one on SHORT NOTICE) and some new videos!

It is now 100% official: Local alternative hard rock favourites The Din are indeed playing an acoustic show TOMORROW NIGHT at LopLops Lounge! Apologies for the short notice, we were waiting for public confirmation from The Din on if this event was still on, as it was unlike them to not acknowledge the show despite LopLops' website listing it, but there is now a Facebook event page for it. Not long after their Family Market on the Greens set as an unplugged two-piece, frontman Mike Haggith and guitarist Tammy Hill will reprise their more reserved unplugged sound TOMORROW, presumably due to drummer Brandan Glew's non-availability, as they've played at LopLops plugged in and with Brandan acoustically each in the past. Mike & Tammy should have a solid set in store TOMORROW, so don't miss out! Two solo performers will open the proceedings, including former Din guitarist (and current Eclipse frontman) Curtis McKenzie in his first non-Vape Escape set since resuming his solo career last month.

Curt's a talented artist, as is well known, and it'll be nice to see him at a familiar downtown venue in this setting! As well, Autumn Roots frontman and SaultMusicScene promoter Jeremy Hannah will kick things off in a rare solo set, so come early for his indie rock renditions! This 19+ concert has a 9:00 PM start time TOMORROW, and a $5 cover charge is in effect. See above for more details, and a for a preview, here's a new video of The Din live at last month's Sky's The Limit fundraiser concert at The Tech! This was posted on the band's Facebook page yesterday rather than on YouTube, unusual as it's a performance clip and not comedic. Filmed by Algoma Family Services executive Ali Juma from the front row, the video features The Din playing their song "Out Of My League", but with a twist: Guest rap verses from fellow performer Tristan "Bold Noize" Goslow!

Whether you find that The Din needed a rap/rock detour is a matter of taste, but Tristan had good and rapid-fire rhymes here, and I just wish he was a little louder in the mix compared to Mike's singing. Check out this unique rendition below, and if you were hoping to see The Din on Sunday at the cancelled Rock The Border Music Fest, don't miss The Din (well, 2/3rds of them) with Curtis and Jeremy TOMORROW NIGHT at LopLops!

Next up, here's one more concert preview for this weekend, as Live705's latest concert goes down THIS SUNDAY NIGHT with a special Father's Day event full of talented performers, including a touring out-of-town band for their first time! That band is Toronto hardcore quartet Speaker, whose aggressive originals and punk essence should provide a solid musical kick to this concert, so don't miss out on their local debut on Sunday! However, Speaker are not the closing band, presumably due to touring commitments, and local blues/hard rock trio Electric Church will instead close out the night like they did at Live705's Easter Bash. Look for more entertaining originals from this fast-rising group! A stacked opening lineup will also include Live705's in-house punk quartet A Dire Setback, fellow newer punk standouts Stegadeth,the Live705 debut of reunited hard rockers Eclipse, indie rock trio The Autumn Roots, and the return of performers from the Soo York City hip hop collective.

For reference sake, the Facebook event page confirms that the S.Y.C. rappers on Sunday will be St. James (returning from Live705's Soo Art Rocks! event), Universal Language, and Big Kowgs, though no word on if DJ Seith will be spinning vinyl to back them up again and/or providing mixes between bands. An 18+ event (not a typo, under 19 attendees can get in with wristbands again) beginning at 7:05 PM, admission is $10 at the door unless you have a $2-off voucher, but there are two ways to get in for $5: Confirm that you are a dad (it is Father's Day, after all!), or bring a ticket bought for Sunday's cancelled Rock The Border Music Fest, so if you're still bummed or annoyed over that event, you can still see bands rocking the Soo on Sunday night, and for cheap! Another varied night of local entertainment is in store for fans on Sunday, including Live705's first toe in the water of out of town attractions, so don't miss out on all of the action in a couple of days!

For a preview, here's a new video from headliners Electric Church's Facebook page! Streamed live by Bradley Shingwauk at the aforementioned Sky's The Limit fundraiser and only just shared on the band's Facebook page on Tuesday, the video features the guys playing their song that I believe is called "Take Me Away" to close their set, before briefly being interviewed by an Algoma Family Services representative on-stage, which is a regular occurrence at this event. The interviewer asks how long the guys have been a band & the role music plays in their personal lives, and while the answers are a little hard to hear, it's a solid video overall, so give it a look below!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates in the coming days! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Curtis McKenzie), April Wine Concert Updates, And Weekend Concert Previews!!

Before we kick off our weekend concert previews, just a heads up that LopLops Lounge's website lists an unplugged concert from The Din as taking place there on Saturday night, even though The Din (as far as I can tell) have not acknowledged it publically. Given the lack of promotion from the band, I'm inclined to believe that this show was an old & cancelled plan, but if we are wrong, we'll let you know! Now, let's dive into hard rock concerts that we can confirm for this weekend, and a big update for an upcoming show, but we'll start with a SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERT!

Eclipse frontman Curtis McKenzie will play his third solo concert at The Vape Escape at 677 MacDonald Avenue TOMORROW NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, the show was only announced via it's official Facebook event page on Tuesday. In case you're not familiar, The Vape Escape is a new lounge and events venue geared towards e-cigarette users that opened last month inside the old Style Studio location at the Dulux Paints-anchored strip mall behind Tim-Br Mart, complete with paid membership available for diehard vapers. I actually lived in the apartments across the road from this complex as a kid (back when the paint store was Bandito Video), and it's nice to see a new business with buzz opening there! The Vape Escape has hosted a few live performances there from DJs or acoustic artists, with Curtis' solo show TOMORROW actually being his third there in the past 5 weeks, having previously played solo matinee concerts there on May 20th & June 9th.

Profuse apologies for missing those, the venue is still unfamiliar to me for coverage, and Curt's solo project had been dormant for a long while before he started playing (regular?) solo gigs there. Suffice to say, expect similar song choices from his band work TOMORROW, and in a personal Facebook video, he's seen breaking out the old Project 421 standby "Breaking the Chains" (by Dokken), so expect some acoustic hard rock action! Whether you vape or not, this show has no cover charge, it has an early 7:00 PM start time, and there is an 18+ age limit. See above for more details, Curt is back in our band links, and hopefully some solo videos turn up publically!

Next up, we'll move to previously announced concerts with two more acoustic shows, courtesy of prolific local hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison's ongoing weekly run of shows at Gliss Steak & Seafood TOMORROW & SATURDAY! As his matinee unplugged shows at the Quality Inn's house restaurant march into yet another weekend, fans should expect more quality hard and classic rock renditions over the next two evenings, so don't miss out if you like Tym's solo music or haven't seen him lately! Note that a personal Facebook posting by Tym confirmed that he's going back to thrice weekly gigs at Gliss in the near future (adding Thursday matinees again), as well as taking a vacation weekend off, but we will wait for public confirmation on both before noting either in our listings. Tomorrow & Saturday's shows are at 6:00 PM with no announced cover charge or age limit, but remember the location. Visit the Facebook event page for more details, and here's Tym live!

In a brief detour to Sault Michigan, fans there can take in the return of Traverse City classic metal trio Peril as they rock The Rapids Lounge at the Sault's Kewadin Casino TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Now, we had listed these shows as being for Peril's sister metal band Scarkazm, as varying band and venue sources had contradicted each other regarding which of the two bands was playing this weekend, but Peril are promoting playing this weekend, so my most recent information was either incorrect or changed again. Apologies for any mix-up, I've had to field confusion on these shows since February, but they are 100% now Peril gigs, not Scarkazm! As such, this will be Jeff, Adam, and Brooks' first Rapids Lounge weekend of 2017 (last playing there 9 months ago), so if you've missed their classic covers since then or didn't get to St. Ignace 3 weeks ago, here's your next best chance! If you're dead-set on seeing Scarkazm, they will be at this venue next month.

As usual for Peril's Kewadin gigs (the only ones they seem to play anymore), expect 9:00 PM start times, no announced cover charges, and 21+ age limits. Check the above links for more details, and for a preview, here's Peril live!

Finally, here's a big update for the kickoff show for the Kewadin Shores Casino's summer concert series in St. Ignace on Saturday, June 24th, as Halifax hard rock legends April Wine have been forced to drop out of this show and other surrounding dates due to frontman Myles Goodwyn falling ill. Very disappointing to hear, but hopefully Myles gets well soon, it would have been fun to see them here again! As revealed earlier this week in this SooToday press release, former Runaways guitarist Lita Ford has been promoted to the headlining slot for the concert, while April Wine have been replaced by Jack Russell's Great White, the 2011-launched version of the Los Angeles hard rock quintet best known for hit songs like "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" and "Call it Rock 'n Roll". Fans may remember seeing Great White at the Soo Kewadin in January 2009, but they've since had an L.A. Guns-like split in two, with frontman Jack Russell reforming his own version of the band separate from the original group.

While I'm sure there are some fans that would prefer seeing the original band with Mark, Audie, Michael and Scott back, this is still Great White with their original frontman, plus classic-era bassist Tony Montana. They should deliver a solid night of tunes, including many familiar songs from Jack's last local stop eight years ago, so keep the new lineup in mind for one week from Saturday, and get your tickets (or inquire about refunds if you were set on seeing April Wine) at this link for $18 or $28! That's all for today, but stay tuned for our Electric Church/Speaker concert preview and more news & updates next! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (The Tea Party), A Concert Cancellation, And Much More!!

Here's a new news post for your Tuesday morning, which is by and large devoted to two topics: A major concert cancellation that many were expecting, and a huge LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for next month, but we also have some assorted recent news and notes to take in as well. Now, here's what you need to know!

Juno nominated Windsor hard/world rock trio The Tea Party will headline a FREE & ALL AGES concert at The Roberta Bondar Pavilion on Sunday, July 16th! As announced by in a press release on SooToday on Friday, the show is one of 23 free outdoor concerts taking place across Ontario between June 25th and September 17th as part of the Government of Ontario's ONTour concert series, which will see over 50 Ontario music acts playing across the province to celebrate Ontario's 150th' birthday, with the Soo's coming fourth in the tour. This is a nice surprise for music fans across the province, so visit the above links for current details on the tour so far! This will be The Tea Party's first local concert appearance since headlining at The Princess Theatre in 1998, before they had their biggest chart hit with "Heaven Coming Down", so this should be a cool chance to hear these Canadian rock legends playing many of their hits on a local stage after 19 years away, and for FREE!

A diverse opening lineup will include Toronto drum & bass duo Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker (who played at LopLops Lounge back in 2011) and Barrie country quartet The James Barker Band in their local concert debut. Both bands have had top 10 hits on the Canadian alternative and country charts, and should find solid audiences of their own next month! A 6:00 PM start time is advertised on the Facebook event page, and for readers elsewhere in the north, note that there will be ONTour events in Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Timmins, and Blind River as well, artists to be announced. This sounds like a great time for local music fans of varying genres, especially given The Tea Party's return, so stay tuned for updates if they come in!

Next up, it is now 100% official: the planned Rock The Border Music Fest at The Roberta Bondar Pavilion on Sunday is not taking place. Organizers quietly deleted the official Facebook page and event page yesterday, following a tumultuous month of no new public updates despite mounting local debate and pessimism about the planned concert. Australian hard rockers and planned co-headliners The Lazys confirmed the cancellation on their Facebook page, while planned local openers The Din took their issues and concerns public via the Facebook video below from this past Friday. The clip explains The Din's reasons for dropping out of the show (which hadn't officially been cancelled at that point), noted that they've obtained refund money for outstanding local tickets from March's aborted Quiet Riot concert from the same promoters, and encouraged fans to instead check out the Electric Church/Speaker concert at The Canadian on Sunday from local promoters Live705.

It's worth noting that if you purchased a Rock the Border Fest ticket, Live705 will honour them as coupons for their show on Sunday night, getting you admitted for the $5 father's discount price, which is very admirable of them! The Din encourage sharing of their video "if you value this city's ability to bring in big name concert acts". Also, note that the Eventbrite page for online ticket sales is still up as of Tuesday morning, despite the Facebook deletions, so don't buy tickets there hoping that this show might still occur. I won't single out any individual promoters here, but after two high profile hard rock cancellations in a three month span, it's easy to see why there's been so much online reticence in the past month, and the lack of public updates since May 7th was telling that something was up (at the very least.) Give The Din's video a look below, and don't miss Live705's Canadian Nightclub concert on SUNDAY or the aforementioned FREE Tea Party concert at The Pavilion in July!

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

  • Local alternative/hard rock quartet Bizotic, alt-punk/no-genre trio Handsome Sandwich, and rapper Mikey Thomas have all been added as openers for the Vaultry-headlined concert at The Canadian Nightclub on July 7th. Promoters Live705 had originally only planned for 2 more acts on the bill of this rock/rap hybridization event, but now there's 7 total acts, including 4 bands and 3 rappers. Very intriguing event to be sure, so check the above links for full details on all of the action next month!
  • This past Thursday night's CKY concert was covered by SooToday's Donna Hopper in this article posted online yesterday, featuring interview remarks with frontman Chad Ginsburg on his move to lead vocals and their upcoming CD "The Phoenix". As usual, Donna got some great photos at the show (albeit in black & white), including 5 of CKY's set, 10 of The Wild's set, and 4 of Jack Spades' set, though she didn't get anything from A Dire Setback or with CKY touring keyboardist Matt Cole. Solidly done once again, so check out Donna's new concert photos and coverage at the above links!
  • Remember how Toronto death/groove metal quintet Sludgehammer were to have headlined the postponed Oddzfest II concert at The Oddfellows Hall on Saturday? Well, it was announced on Sunday that Bear Hunters guitarist Josh Stephney (the promoter of Oddzfest II) has replaced Chris Szarota as Sludgehammer's new frontman! No word on if the reveal would have been a surprise unveiling on Saturday or not had the show taken place, but it's great to see Josh singing again in a death metal band, so follow Sludgehammer above, and hopefully he brings them north for Oddzfest II at some point!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for even more news and notes on the SMS in the next few days! Thanks everyone!

Monday, June 12, 2017

CKY Concert Videos, Plus New Electric Church Footage!!

Today's all-video post largely comes from the CKY concert at The Canadian Nightclub this past Thursday night, but there is one more video of another local band to round things out with at post's end, so let's get things rolling! These new CKY videos all come from the ever-prolific Christopher Paci's YouTube channel, as he filmed 10 videos of 3 of the night's bands, which were all posted on Friday! Sadly, he didn't get anything from A Dire Setback's opening set, but kudos again for him getting all of this! 7 of Chris' clips are of the Pennsylvania alt-metal headliners in action, including of their songs "Flesh Into Gear", "Days of Self Destruction", "96 Quite Bitter Beings", "Knee Deep", and "My Promiscuous Daughter", their cover of G.G. Allin's "Bite It You Scum", and as embedded below, their set-opening tracks "The Human Drive (In Hi-Fi)" & "Sporadic Movement". Solid clips as usual, especially given the central camera angle, and attendee heads aren't a massive factor given the band's on-stage setup!

You can also hear Chad Ginsburg's singing better here, at least from my perspective, as from my position at the far right corner of the floor near the stage, I was fighting to hear him over the raucous crowd at times. Give Chris' CKY footage a look above & below!

Next up, Chris posted two videos from co-headlining Kelowna southern hard rock quartet The Wild's set, including their opener "Roadhouse" and, as embedded below, "Party Till You're Dead". Similar camera angle to CKY, but given the lesser numbers on the floor, he had more room to change angles, and The Wild's rollicking brand of hard rocking originals come through nicely on these clips, so check them out above & below too!

Chris' remaining video is of returning local openers Jack Spades playing their usual set opening songs "They Live" and "Rise", giving fans their first ever glimpse of their 4/5ths new lineup in action. Intense as usual (new lineup or not), the new look Jack Spades got things rolling nicely here, and just if you were wondering, J.D. Pearce sang most of "They Live" in the crowd, in case you're wondering where he was. Give both songs a listen below, and don't miss Jack Spades at The Rockstar Bar in just under two weeks!

Finally, here's a new video from a separate concert, plus one more clip, from local blues/hard rock trio Electric Church's Facebook page! One video was quietly posted as a live stream on May 12th (apologies for missing it), and it features the guys jamming instrumentally at, presumably, a band member's home. Unfortunately, the filmer shot most of the video sideways, and as it was a live stream, they couldn't fix it beforehand, but the guys sound good if you can look past the angle! Their other new video is a minute-long black & white clip from the Sky's The Limit mental health fundraiser concert at The Tech last month, I believe of their song "Carey Baby". Solid footage, if a little smoky looking in the monochrome haze, so give it a look below, and don't miss Electric Church at The Canadian Nightclub THIS SUNDAY NIGHT alongside Speaker and other local bands!

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

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Defunct Local Band Profile Series: The Highest Of Fives

Now, let's tackle this month's Defunct Local Band Profile, as we again spotlight a randomly selected local metal, hard rock, or punk band that (while no longer active) deserves a modern spotlight for current SMS readers! This month, we're looking at a notable Sault Michigan band that definitely thought outside of the box during their run in the early 2010s, and featured many familiar faces, so here's what you should know!
The Highest of Fives

Genre: Hard/Alternative Rock

Hometown: Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

Members: (Note that member fluidity after their 2012 relaunch was common, allowing for frequent member absences and instrument role changes as a result, though at last public word, no credited band members ever left the group before falling inactive. Also, some official sources credited Marcel Grengs & "Crusty Puck" as two separate band members during their run, as they appeared separately in their short film clips, though his alter ego wasn't a secret.)

Mitch Goetz (415E, Intrepid, Hoist the Sails), vocals/guitar
Travis Theel (Hoist the Sails), vocals/guitar
Marcel "Crusty Puck" Grengs (Hoist the Sails, Analog Deficiency), guitar/bass
Devin Anderson (The Balsam Brothers, Free Refill, 415E), guitar/drums
Jack Slater (415E, Unleashed, 7/47), bass
Mike Pascoe (Free Refill, 7/47), drums

Audio/Video: An unusually ambitious group during their local run, The Highest of Fives once had a number of comedic videos, musical performances, and teasers for a linked debut EP and short film, though after their demise, most of their material was deleted for unannounced reasons. What little surviving media there is can primarily be seen at Travis Theel's YouTube channel, aside from Devin Anderson's copy of their studio song "Take My Time". Travis posted numerous performance videos on his channel, some with H.O.F. bandmates, and some featuring songs intended for the group. Here's the band's sole publically surviving music video, for their song "Look How Far We've Come" from September 2013!

Info/Analysis: Formed by Guitar Studio rock camp alumni (initially sans Travis & Marcel) and named after a "How I Met Your Mother" reference, The Highest of Fives first came onto our radars with hard rock cover performances at the Sugar Island Music Festival and Relay For Life in the summer of 2011. After taking a 6 month hiatus, the guys returned in March 2012 as a fluid six-piece collective, and changed to a wider focus beyond live concert sets, planning to release an EP and comedy short film (each titled "Bang!"). Released music videos, particularly with material sung by Travis, also took on a softer tone than the guys had previously performed. Despite likeable teasers and segments from the "Bang!" film being posted over a 2 year period, and a June 2014 release date being announced, Highest of Fives updates ceased by the fall of that year, and many members later moved from the area, though Mitch Goetz still plays live locally as a bassist with 415E.

With a lot of clear talent, imagination, and chemistry, it is a shame that The Highest of Fives' best laid plans never fully got off the ground in their three year run! I can't speak musically for their 2011 shows, but from what I saw and remember of their late era music, they were a solid group with a lot of varying styles, often led by Travis' quality clean singing, though hard rock fans will have preferred their earliest gigs. The collective approach of the guys as multimedia artists really set them apart in the local scene of the early 2000s, and their "Bang!" teaser videos were often genuinely funny, but hopefully the final product can be posthumously released!
I hope you guys liked this month's Defunct Local Band Profile! Next month in this series, we're heading back to Sault Ontario for our first in a three band run from this side of the border, and our 100% random selection has given us T-Rex Manning, the early 2010s punk/metal quartet that begat Stegadeth and Jack Spades! Look for that on or around July 10th, and stay tuned for more news this week! Thanks everyone!