Mike McCleary, who you may see performing live TODAY at Sault College's reunion concert! Though I was unfamiliar with Mike until yesterday, he has a lot to talk about, so what should you know? First posting audio material onto his Soundcloud page in May, Mike launched his Facebook page last month, and has already hyped plans to release a solo EP and a music video for his song "The Working Poor", so how's that for a fast start? Actually, Mike's been a self-taught musician since he was 15, as noted in his extensive Facebook biography, where he indicated that he played in some bands while in high school, but he took a break from music for a while due to "the responsibilities of adult life" and starting his family, though he credits music for inspiring him during that time. With his wife's encouragement, Mike has restarted his music career, but how does Mike sound so far?
Inspired by everything from political punk bands to hard rock/metal acts, and even some roots and blues rock, Mike is a talented musician who seems adept at handling multiple genres, whether it's the hard rock bite of "Fire & Fury", the funkier "Weight of the Truth", or emotional ballad "Aylan", and many more (including some early covers), and while his singing voice fits more rock-based material better, I like where he's going! Mike says that he wants to write thought provoking songs that "evoke a response", and you get a sense of that lyrically in many originals. Solid work so far, so check out Mike McCleary at the above links!
one more archival That's Chester video that I came across on YouTube, courtesy of user Robin Joanisse's channel, as filmed when the inactive local classic/hard rock cover quintet took a road trip out to Hawk Junction (15 minutes east of Wawa) to play at the community's homecoming reunion event in August 2008! Robin was a co-organizer of the reunion, and also uploaded this video of a remembrance ceremony there that same month. In terms of That's Chester videos on YouTube, this will be extra notable as it may be the only one publically viewable one featuring then-singer Jim O'Leary, who also brought the other band he fronted at the time (Flat Stanley) to Hawk Junction for the festivities, as cited here. The video features That's Chester and a guest harmonica player covering Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" with some occasional lyric changes to suit the locale, and while it's a solid cover, loud cymbals can get in the road, and much of the song was cut from the final copy.
Also, you get a long stretch of Gabe Tessaro talking to the crowd before the song proper begins, but overall, this is some fun and light action from That's Chester Mark II's run in the late 2000s, and I wish that there were more videos of this lineup online! Jim was a good fit, as we later saw with Griphook, and he can adapt his voice to many genres well! Unfortunately, the video was uploaded with settings blocking it from being embedded on external websites, but definitely give it a look at the above links!
Also today, here's a new video of Sault Michigan classical metal project Theatre of Night's rehearsals for their upcoming Christmas tour, this time courtesy of their YouTube channel on Tuesday! This exclusive video features guitarist Steve Giles rehearsing numerous familiar carols for the tour in quick cuts, like "The Little Drummer Boy", "Carol of the Bells", and "What Child Is This?", among others. Featuring pre-recorded tracking audio with recently added performers, this is a solid sample of what's to come, despite the vertical camera angle, and again, nothing too substantial is being given away pre-tour! Check it out below, and stay tuned for more from Theatre of Night!
Finally for today, here's three assorted shorter news items from the last week or so, and as usual, these stories are in alphabetical order by artist, station, or event name:
- Sault Ontario doom metal trio AlgomA have unfortunately pulled out of their upcoming split release tour with Shit Liver due to "some unforeseen medical circumstances", as per the band's Facebook page yesterday. This may be related to the same medical occurrence that scuttled their Toronto show in April, but the band hasn't elaborated other than to say that "it's (not) in our best interest" to do the tour, but will be back "in no time." Shit Liver will still headline the tour in full and sell the "Trading Faces" tapes, and while there has been no direct confirmation or denial yet, we'll let you know if AlgomA can still play the local stop at The New A!
- Classic Rock: The Bear (which gets fringe reception here at WCHY 97.7 FM in Cheboygan) has officially dropped the syndicated Bob & Tom Show in favour of a new local morning drive show from former KLT hosts Steve “Omelette” Normandin & Rick Coates. Music & branding aside, this cuts the last tie to what aired on The Bear's 2002-2010 local affiliate in Newberry (WIHC 97.9 FM), with Bob & Tom having been a constant on The Bear's network since the late 1990s. It's great to see Omelette & Friends back on the radio, but hopefully Bob & Tom return to a regional FM dial elsewhere!
- Sault Ontario promoters Choose Maxx announced on their Facebook page yesterday that the annual Toystock fundraiser concert will return for it's sixth installment (and third at the Northern Grand Gardens) on Sunday, November 26th, and to private message them if you or your band are interested in playing! No word yet on who might be playing Toystock VI, but remember that this Christmas Cheer event features 10 (typically covers-centric) bands in 10 hours, and lineups largely don't stay the same year to year, with only Bone Yard and the inactive Lucky 13 playing Toystock three times to date. Stay tuned for updates as they come in!
That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes on the Sault Metal Scene in the near future! Thanks everyone!