Thursday, March 30, 2017

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (NLFB Meltdown), Plus More Weekend Concert Previews!!

Before we begin our second post of the day, here's a late lineup addition for TONIGHT'S AlgomA/Pillory concert at The New American Pub, as Autumn Roots guitarist Chase Wigmore has been named as a surprise opening act! No word on if this will share similarities with The Coyote Speedfreaks or another older project of his, but it'll be nice to see Chase up front again, so keep him in mind if you're at The New A! Now, let's tackle this weekend's remaining Sault Michigan concerts, plus LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS for next month and THIS SATURDAY, but check our more previews in the post below this one! (Updated at 6:19 PM)

The first ever Meltdown audition/battle of the bands in Sault Ste. Marie goes down THIS SATURDAY NIGHT at LopLops Lounge, where seven local acts will compete for a chance to play (and be paid for it) at this July's Northern Lights Festival Boreal in Sudbury! Apologies for the short notice, promoters did not confirm the full performer lineup until earlier today. The first local battle of the bands in over a year (even if officially considered to be a public audition), registered acts will look to win a slot on the annual indie/folk music festival in Sudbury, whose lineup includes such locally familiar acts as Rae Spoon, while musical mentorship program participation also awaits winners. Performers will apparently be judged in solo and band categories to determine two winners, and a judging panel including SooToday's Donna Hopper and NLFB representatives will score competitors, making this the first one-night local battle with judges in almost five years. Get more information on the event at the official Facebook event page!

In chronological performance order (with each band given a half hour timeslot), the lineup will include local folk musician M.D. Dunn, alternative/hard rock quartet Id Iota, pop rock solo artist Mike Mikus (both projects featuring Dustin Goodall), indie/folk trio The Autumn Roots, alt-hard rock trio The Din, local folk artist and Ears & Eyes promoter Jackson Reed, and progressive rock quartet Machines Dream. With the exception of four-time battle veterans The Din, all of these acts are playing their first ever local battle of the bands on SATURDAY, so the field is wide open! Of course The Din were the runners-up in both of last year's battles, but there is extra battle experience in the ranks. Notably, Id Iota's Christian Lemay & Dustin Goodall finished third in 2008's Skid Row Battle of the Bands as members of Free Beer, new Machines Dream guitarist Jake Rendell was a finalist in 2009's Kiss Battle of the Bands with Blues Harvest, and Mike Mikus was a guest performer at 2015's VM Radio Battle as frontman of The Pixo Control.

Despite the late notice for an official lineup announcement, this is shaping up to be a very intriguing battle of the bands (sorry, audition), and given the stakes, it'll be very interesting to hear who the judges send through to the Northern Lights Boreal Festival in July! A $5 cover charge awaits attendees for this 19+ battle, with M.D. Dunn opening at 8:30 PM. With two winners intended given the teased division between bands and solo artists, stay tuned to see if The Din can top last year's 2nd place runs, or which other acts win the top prize! To avoid favoritism given the nature of the event, we won't post a preview video here. May the best band and solo artist win!

Next up, let's address this weekend's remaining hard rock concert previews, all in the Eastern Upper Peninsula, starting with veteran local classic/hard rock cover quartet Highway 63's return to The Northern Pines Lounge at the Kewadin Shores Casino in St. Ignace TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! After playing three of the last five weekends at Dondee Lanes, the Monkey's Uncle successors will travel back to the St. Ignace Kewadin for (believe it or not) their first announced shows at this venue of 2017. It's great to see the Switzers and company back under the Kewadin umbrella to send out March and ring in April, so don't bypass their old school hard rock covers there tomorrow and/or Saturday night! As usual for Highway 63's Kewadin gigs, expect 21+ age limits, no announced cover charges, and 9:00 PM start times. Visit the above links for more details, and for a preview, here's a new video of Highway 63 live from earlier this month!

Apologies for the relative delay in getting this video on the site, which was filmed by attendee Tonya St. John & posted to the band's Facebook page on March 12th, following that same weekend's gig at the Dondee. This showcases Highway 63 and guest singer "Chet Michaels" (a.k.a. Rock 101's Scott Cook), and it actually captures Bret's cousin (complete with British accent?!) coming to the stage and introducing himself to amused fans, and noting that it was his wife Stephanie's birthday. The covered song here is Poison's classic ballad "Every Rose Has Its Thorn", and Scott handles himself well on vocals, so check out Highway 63 and "Chet" at the Dondee below!

Lastly for this weekend's known previews of shows with verifiable hard rock bands, local hard rock quartet Project 906 will return to The Rapids Lounge at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino for a pair of their own concerts TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! After taking last week off, this talented cover band will rock the Soo's Kewadin branch for the first time in over two months this weekend, and with their St. Patrick's Day bash in Brimley still fresh in the mind, this should be another solid showcase for Billy, Joe, Dustin, and Will this weekend, so don't miss out tomorrow or Saturday! Similarly to the aforementioned Highway 63 shows, expect 21+ age limits, 9:00 PM start times, and no announced cover charges for this weekend. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's Project 906 live earlier this month!

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

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