After months of anticipation and teasers, Sault Michigan classical/metal project Theatre of Night will finally hit the local stage this weekend with the final announced stops of their Christmas tour! These include their well-hyped Soo Theatre debut TOMORROW NIGHT, while they'll bring the live experience out to Pickford THIS SUNDAY for a special matinee show at the Pickford United Methodist Church, so fans have two options to see them this weekend! Though the tour has commenced in Jackson and in Illinois, these will be Theatre of Night's first public concerts in the E.U.P. in four and a half years, and first here to be explicitly themed around their "Christmas Night" album and related material. With live shows requiring a full band, these will see Craig & Steve joined by five touring(?) band members, primarily from the Grand Rapids/Muskegon area, including singers Rachel Mender (their former I.S.O.M. bandmate) and Stacie McCarthy, bassist Scott Andringa, and drummer Erik Sales. It will be very interesting to see the full sextet on a local stage this weekend, so keep everyone in mind!
Tomorrow's Soo Theatre show is the bigger production, given it's location in the historic downtown theatre, with proceeds from the concert going to the Soo Theatre's Raise the Roof Project and recovery efforts following the fire back in October, so this show will help restore the venue in two different ways! There will be a meet & greet of some kind after the show, while The Soo Cello Crew (a chamber-style group conducted by Maggie Twining formed through recent classes there) will open the proceedings with their own classical renditions. As for Sunday's show at the Pickford United Methodist Church, this will be a more intimate show preceded by a Christmas potluck dinner at 4:00 PM, and this should provide a fitting atmosphere for their live show, especially as most of their songs come from religious/nativity-based carols. A Christmas program featuring Sunday school class performances will precede Theatre of Night during their regular service, click here for details if you are so inclined.
Tomorrow's Soo Theater show features $15 adult admission, $10 for students with valid student ID, and $5 for Soo Theatre Arts Resource Studios (STARS) members, with tickets available online at this link, at the venue's in-person box office, and presumably at the door, while the Pickford show has no advertised admission fee. The shows start at 7:00 PM tomorrow and 5:00 PM on Sunday, and both are ALL AGES. For more details, visit the official Facebook event pages linked here and here! This is all shaping up to be a huge weekend for Theatre of Night and company, especially as the first band to play The Soo Theatre since the fire in October, , and hopefully both of these shows are a huge hit so that we see some permutation of Theatre of Night on stage again in the future! There are more new videos to touch on of theirs, but for a preview, here's some videos from their show at Cheers Live Music Venue in Midlothian, Illinois (outside of Chicago) last week! These were uploaded to the band's YouTube channel yesterday, but what should you know on these?
These feature Theatre of Night performing their renditions of "Carol of the Bells" and, as embedded below, "O Holy Night", and while the stationary angle could be a little more centered, the band sounds solid, and Rachel & Stacie's vocals add a nice dimension to the carols! It should be noted that ex-Elipzis guitarist Chris Webster is not seen here or in any recent media, though I can't confirm if he's out of the whole tour, or just had prior scheduling conflicts. Hopefully nothing bad happened, he would have been a solid component for the tour! Still, you couldn't ask for a more seasonal show for the holidays, so give these a look below, and don't miss out this weekend!
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:
- I have moved Sault Ontario hard/pop rock quartet Heavy Head to our inactive band links due to a year's inactivity. This union of Suicide Kings, Jack Spades, Winkstinger, and Bear Hunters alumni will be best remembered from a smattering of early 2016 shows, including a set in last year's VM Radio Battle of the Bands semifinals, but updates quietly ended last summer, save for an impromptu return during a November open jam session. Heavy Head had a lot of talent and promise, and hopefully we see Mike, Jesse, Daniel, and Johnny out there again at some point!
- The annual Hempfest concert/marijuana culture festival was permanently cancelled this spring. Organizer Robert Neron announced the news on the Hempfest website in May, citing a "lack of money" and sponsorship for his reasons, as complicated by his own health concerns, though he thanked fans, performers, and sponsors for their support, and left open the possibility of passing the event on to new organizers. Hempfest had permanently moved from nearby Ophir to Moonbeam in 2014, so it's no longer directly relevant to the site, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Best of luck to Robert in his future endeavours!
- In a change to one of links of local concert/musician photographers, I've replaced Jeff McKersie Photography's website (which is currently down) with his still-active Facebook page. Minor update, but now that's accurate again, and check Jeff's page out to see his pictures or inquire about shoots of your own!
That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates on the site as the month rolls along! Thanks everyone!