Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 10th Anniversary To The Sault Metal Scene!! (2007-2017)

On this day 10 years ago, on a whim and a lark, I launched the initial Facebook group for The Sault Metal Scene as a group to network local metalheads and alert them to pertinent concerts and news. 10 years later, we've evolved into a full blog/website covering metal, hard rock, and punk concerts in each of the Twin Saults, and I wanted to take a rare opportunity to mark this milestone on the site and thank every single one of our readers for 10 awesome years! It hasn't always been smooth sailing for readership, concert activity, and not to mention growing pains as I learned how to manage the site and report news effectively, but it's been an extremely worthwhile decade, and it has been an extreme privilige to be a source of news, media, and entertainment on local metal, hard rock, and punk over this time!

With Scott McLeod's old Sault Music Scene website having closed the year prior to our launch (to the dismay of myself and other fans), I affectionately named the Sault Metal Scene in homage to it with a more genre and local-specific focus, and even after we formally started covering punk bands three years ago, the original name has stuck. I admit that it can be hard to read some of my older posts, especially after I refined and cleaned up my writing style, but for someone with no formal journalism training, I hope that I've been able to be a useful resource for concerts and bands of the past decade, especially in connecting Sault Ontario fans to Sault Michigan bands & concerts, and vice versa. In case you're reading into anything from what I've wrote, don't worry, The Sault Metal Scene is not  going anywhere, and there is a lot of gas in the tank with more than enough opportunities to fill up along the road! How could I fold things before our 100th monthly CD review in October anyway? There's so much more to do!

Of course, it's immeasurable how much the local metal, hard rock, and punk scenes have changed in the past 10 years. You can count the number of SMS-covered bands that are still alive and functioning that were here when we launched. Of course, Stiffler's Mom are about as active on the bar circuit now as they were then, while Mayadevi (now Ashoka At The Show) remain active as an Elliot Lake-based solo project, Mike Cliffe still records solo music & Audiofumes collaborations, and As It Stands, Life's Eclipse, and Syktoyk Rampage may still be functioning bands, even if they haven't had much to say in recent months. The days of Gates of Winter, Fitswitch, The Inner City Surfers, Free Beer, and Clownsack have given way to The Bear Hunters, Jack Spades, A Dire Setback, Id Iota, and Stoned Ape Evolution just a decade later, and many of the visible active sights in the local scene when we launched have moved on to new bands, new hometowns, and even new creative focuses.

Sure, we've seen such 2007-era musical standouts as Mikey Hawdon, Bryan Belleau, Jake Lalonde, and (soon) Mike Mikus relocate from the Soo area in the past 10 years, but we've also seen key musical players like Mike Haggith, Tym Morrison, Terry Eaton, and the late David Gold all move (back) to the Soo since, so there's always been a lot of talent to cover! Think of all the huge and well received concerts that took place locally in 2007, like Kiss' outdoor show at Kewadin Casino, the Heaven & Hell and Three Days Grace concerts at The Essar Center, Matthew Good at The Speak Easy (well, maybe not the last one), and it's very hard to believe that these all took place 10 years ago, not to mention such locally-headlined landmarks as Lion Ride's live debut, Gates of Winter's huge pre-album release show at Algoma University, and The Inner City Surfers' live music video shoot, among many others.

Also, look at the bands locally that weren't even a thing in 2007, and aren't active now, that made a huge mark, like Garden of Bedlam, Gnaeus, Bring the Fallen, The Pixo Control, Late & Loud, and Half A Man, among many others. Even the venues of the era have seen a major shift, with Foggy Notions, GLOW, the original Coch's Corner, Madison's Pub, The Outback, and The Bird/Golanka's Bar ending their local runs, while The Rockstar Bar, The New American Pub, 180 Projects, and (for a time) The Roosevelt Hotel became top destinations to host metal & punk concerts at. Even in general, we've seen sweeping changes, like the early 2010s rise of death metal to the mid-2010s surge of young alternative bands, and with each, they've given way to exciting young and new artists that helped define the scene in their day, including some performers that were still children when the Sault Metal Scene proper launched! It's been very exciting to see things develop over the past decade!

The SMS has given me so many opportunities, friendships, and learning experiences, and I can only hope that the next decade will provide much more of the same, so my sincere and endless thanks to all of our readers, supporters, fans, and yes, even critics for all of their input and readership over this past decade! Even I only heard from you to give corrections or to announce a concert on very short notice, I appreciate any input to make our coverage better, and there's much more ahead. Thanks everyone for the past 10 years, and here's to another decade!

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