Friday, March 24, 2017

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (CKY & Nova Rex), Plus A New Din Video!!

On this Friday evening, we have a new video to share, but first, let's tackle two recent LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS featuring notable American headlining bands, including one in particular that's gotten tons of local buzz since it was announced yesterday! Here's what you need to know!

Pennsylvania alt-metal trio CKY will make their local concert debut at The Canadian Nightclub on Thursday, June 8th! Yes, the band best known for songs like "96 Quite Bitter Beings", "Flesh Into Gear", and "Familiar Realm" will rock the Soo in a few short months, and even without longtime frontman Deron Miller in their current lineup, their energetic punk-influenced originals are sure to get a huge reception in their local debut! After all, they're the namesake of and a huge part of the old CKY DVDs that begat the Jackass series, so keep that angle in mind too! A stacked local openers lineup will include the return of hardcore quintet As It Stands to the stage for the first time since 2012 on June 8th. Though A.I.S. only formally broke up in 2014, we've been waiting well over 4 years for a new show from the guys, and with John Mignacca back home, they're primed to reclaim their spot in the local scene! Also slated to open are punk/metal favourites Jack Spades, in the public debut of their new lineup!

No word yet on who's joining J.D. and Justin in their new lineup, but this will mark Jack Spades' first show since opening for SNFU in September, and this will be a great way to welcome them back after over 8 months away! The current opener lineup is rounded out by newer alt-punk quartet A Dire Setback, who should be in fine form following their own recent Canadian gigs, so don't be late for their set either! Notably, this is the first announced concert promoted by Jack Spades frontman J.D. Pearce since his annual Halloween party last year, but what a way to get back into the swing of things, and keep posted in case he has anything sooner to announce! This 19+ show currently lists an unusually early start time of 6:00 PM, and tickets are now on sale at this link for $20, though in-person local availability has not been publically noted as of press time. As a long-time fan of anything to do with the CKY name, this is a huge deal, and it will be awesome to have Chad, Matt, and Jess in the Soo come June 8th!

J.D. has noted that this show has seen the fastest online sales on the first day of any of his promoted concerts, so get your tickets A.S.A.P. just in case by clicking here, as who knows when and where they'll be available in person, especially with As It Stands and Jack Spades both returning that same night! Stay tuned for continued updates as they roll in, and As It Stands are back in our active band links, hopefully this isn't a one-off!

Next up, here's one more new show announcement for later this year, as Florida-based hair metal veterans Nova Rex will hit The Rockstar Bar for a headlining concert on Wednesday, August 30th! A familiar band to glam metal diehards, Nova Rex have been active since the mid-1980s, and while they never achieved the mainstream superstardom of other contemporary acts, they have a solid following that carried them to their own Netflix documentary in 2011, and they should light things up at The Rockstar Bar to help send out the summer! Returning local classic rock cover quartet Nikkfitt (featuring Browbeat and Redundant alumni) will open this show, and this will be a nice showcase for this talented local outfit who don't play live often enough, so keep them in mind as well! Admission for this 19+ event is $8, with advance tickets likely to be available at The Algonquin Hotel's front desk, and an oddly early start time of 8:00 PM is advertised. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and stay tuned for updates on this Hair Scare-worthy concert!

Finally, we were going to close with a new Facebook video from the aforementioned A Dire Setback, but that video was quietly deleted today for unannounced reasons, so we'll cover it if it's re-posted later. Instead, here's the latest clip from local alternative hard rock trio The Din, as uploaded to their Facebook page yesterday! Another in The Din's long line of comedic Facebook videos, this is a "public service announcement" on how not to headbang, a direct nod to Quiet Riot, who will no doubt play "Bang Your Head (Metal Health)" on THURSDAY at The Machine Shop, with The Din opening the night's lineup! Needless to say, the headbanging demonstrations in the video aren't "traditional", and while the guys recuperate, drummer Brandan Glew hypes up the Quiet Riot show, especially as tickets are almost sold out. Click here for full ticket details while they last, and give The Din's new video a look below, as it is funny, and sound effects may be employed!

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

Thursday, March 23, 2017

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (The Din, Soundcheck, And Tym Morrison), And Weekend Concert Previews!!

Another weekend is soon to commence, so let's tackle this weekend's hard rock concert previews today, plus the first news on a returning all ages concert event later this spring! Before we get too far, yes, I do know about the huge concert announced for this summer at The Canadian (click here for early details), but I want to give it proper emphasis as a headline story, so we'll tackle that in our next news post, 100% guaranteed! Now, let's kick things off today with LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS, most on SHORT NOTICE!

Local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck will return to The Rockstar Bar for one night only THIS SATURDAY NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, the show was only confirmed via the official Facebook event page on Monday, and the former Nameus still don't have an online page to plug concerts with. This is the third show in as many weeks for this newer veteran band, whose 1980s-centric covers should entertain attendees once again on SATURDAY, so don't miss out on their next gig! Also, we can at last confirm the identity of their new fourth member, that being Lucky 13/ex-Thin Ice guitarist Robin "Bones" Lee, who appears to be taking over the bassist role, leaving Terry Eaton and Travis Sharpe to focus on guitar. Robin has guested with Terry & Steven's other band Mourning Wood in the past, and he played with Terry in a (one off?) band named The Jukebox Junkies a while back, so he's a fine fit with Soundcheck, as you hopefully saw last week or the week before!

Our source for the above information is The Rockstar Bar's Hayley Warnock on the event page. FYI, I have no idea what Soundcheck's busy schedule means for Mourning Wood, who haven't played live in over a month, but if we hear anything, we'll let you know! A one nighter due to tomorrow's Stiffler's Mom show that we're previewing later in this post, SATURDAY'S Soundcheck concert has no announced cover charge, a 10:30 PM start time, and a 19+ age limit. Check the above links for more details, and if you know where to look on Facebook, see if you can find a personal video of Soundcheck covering Billy Idol at Rednecks with guest guitarist Mike Muto!

Next up, here's one more late notice confirmation, as local hard rock solo singer/guitarist Tym Morrison will return to The Barrelhouse Wine & Whiskey for his fifth announced solo date there THIS SATURDAY NIGHT, joining his usual Gliss Steak & Seafood matinees TOMORROW & SATURDAY! Again, apologies for the short notice on the Barrelhouse gig, Tym only just announced this show via it's Facebook event page yesterday. With the spring now officially begun, you could always warm things up after a long winter by checking any of Tym's three concerts this weekend, including his first gig at the downtown tapas restaurant in two weeks on SATURDAY, or via his regular weekly gigs at The Quality Inn's restaurant, so keep all three in mind for acoustic hard rock cover action! The Gliss shows remain 6:00 PM affairs with no cover or age limit (but remember where they're being held, this is a formal restaurant, not your standard nightclub.)

As for SATURDAY'S Gliss show, expect a 10:00 PM start time, no announced cover, and a 19+ age limit. For more details, visit the official Facebook event pages linked here & here, and for a preview, here's Tym live!

Lastly in new show announcements, remember the Sky's The Limit mental health awareness concert from Algoma Family Services that took place at The Tech last May? Well, it is coming back for a second go-around on Thursday, May 4th, and local alternative/hard rock trio The Din are headlining this year! No audition required this time for Mike, Tammy, and Brandan, who will succeed the defunct Pixo Control as this year's top billed act at The Tech's W.W. Baldwin Auditorium, as part of Algoma Family Services' Children’s Mental Week activities. The Sky's the Limit serves to bring awareness and raise funds for mental health programs at A.F.S., which is a great gesture, and kudos to The Din for offering their services once again! The opening lineup will again be filled out via live band auditions, which will be held at The Tech on Wednesday, April 19th & Thursday, April 20th at 6:00 PM both evenings. Like last year, auditioning musicians must be district residents between the ages of 14 & 29, and these are private auditions, not public concerts, so keep that in mind just in case.

To book audition times or get more details, call (705) 945-5050 (extension #2301 or 2318), or submit a video for consideration by e-mailing footage to! For reference, last year's Sky's the Limit fundraiser also featured such acts as Electric Church, Aldous, rapper White Noize, and at least three other youth groups. This ALL AGES event has $5 admission or $20 for family groups of 5 or more, and a 7:00 PM start time is advertised. This should be a fun night of rising young talent for worthy local causes, so hopefully there's a great turnout once again, stay tuned for updates, and visit the official Facebook event page for current details!

Finally, we'll close this weekend's currently known hard rock concert previews, we'll return to The Rockstar Bar for the return of local hard/party rock trio Stiffler's Mom to the stage TOMORROW NIGHT! Announced with surprisingly long notice earlier this month, this one nighter will be Stiffler's Mom's first show since playing the same venue over a month ago, and it'll serve as a rocking way for fans to help Greg, Mike, and Jon ring in the season, so keep tomorrow's show in mind to check out some Stiffler's Mom action! Remember, this is a one-night-only event, Soundcheck are playing at this venue on Saturday. As usual for Stiffler's Mom's trips to The Rockstar Bar, tomorrow's show has a 10:30 PM start time, no announced cover charge, and a 19+ age limit. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's Stiffler's Mom live!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for some big news regarding today's major concert announcement tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Easter Bash), New Video Uploads, And Much More!!

After two days of Battle of the Bands Rewind Profiles, we're back with a new news post on this Wednesday morning, so if you're wondering where coverage of the LOCAL CONCERT ALERT toplining this post was, here's your answer! We also have some new videos and assorted notes to round things out, so here's what you should know!

Local concert promoters Live705 will host their previously teased Easter weekend concert on Saturday, April 15th when they put on their first ever event at The Rockstar Bar! Breaking from their bi-monthly scheduling for their fourth concert, this show will feature giveaways ranging from band merchandise to concert tickets to even some type of items from A&W, which is a unique attraction for the holidays, so keep the added incentive in mind! Young local blues/hard rock trio Electric Church will headline on Easter Saturday in their Rockstar Bar debut, while new local pop/hard rock trio The Noochy Lanterns (featuring Apocalypse Afterparty & The Fury alumni) will co-headline in their public concert debut and first gig, private or otherwise, following their recent break, so come to see how they do on a big stage! Live705's flagship alt-punk quartet A Dire Setback are also lined up for April 15th, alongside indie rock quartet K.I.C.K. (fresh off of their LopLops show on the 14th) and newer local punk/metal trio Stegadeth.

Remaining acts include folk rock solo artist Shit Creek Survivor (listed on event promotion under Jacob Quarrell's initials J.Q. for unannounced reasons) & Deejay Elementz, a veteran local DJ from Underground Empire Records, whom featured A Dire Setback at their YouTube Party last year. Strong & diverse lineup with Live705 favourites and newcomers alike, so don't miss out! This 19+ show has an 8:00 PM start time on April 15th, and while admission is $10, Live705 is again utilizing vouchers for $2 off admission rather than selling $8 advance tickets, so contact performers if you want a voucher. This should be a fun concert, so check the official Facebook event page for ongoing details!

Next up, here's the latest installment of local alternative/hard rock trio The Din's ongoing cover video series (now no longer labelled as being monthly), as posted to their YouTube channel on Sunday! The cover choice won't be surprising for fans who've seen The Din's recent concerts, as this is of their version of The Tragically Hip's "Blow At High Dough", as recorded at Mission Control Studios, where The Din have done studio work at. The wide angle shot of the band isn't optimal, especially as the table the camera is on eats up a lot of that view, but the cover is solid and familiar for fans of The Hip and The Din in equal measure, so check it out below!

Also, here's a new YouTube find from former No Arrow drummer and Faithless Sin guitarist Joe Falco, who appears to have begun work as a solo musician once again! Apart from his former Joe Falco Experience solo project, he has recently been posting acoustic blues originals to his new Reverbnation page, and while his singing voice could be a little rangier, he has talent and adapts well to bluesier tracks, especially on "Malevolent Moonlight", which is asking for full band accompaniment. Over on his new YouTube channel, he's mostly focusing on outlining the specifications of and reviewing his Gibson Les Paul guitar, plus this video where he chats about songwriting, but he did upload one solo performance cover there, where he tackles Live's "Dolphins Cry". Not a bad cover, if very reserved, and Joe should project his voice a little more to improve on his clarity. Give Joe's recent solo material a look above & below, and hopefully he keeps at it!

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

  • I have switched the link for local musicians union The American Federation of Musicians, Local 276 from their now closed website to their information page on the A.F.M.'s website. The local union can be handy to help work through legal red tape and paperwork for copyright and playing out of the country, so keep it in mind if your band aspires to do anything that requires paperwork!
  • A local rhythm guitarist named Eric Rosset is looking to join a local band that plays rock, punk, metal, or alternative genres ideally, though he'd play anything other than country, and he can do backing vocals too. I'm not familiar with Eric musically, but if you're interested in trying Eric out, message him at this link or via his Musicians Wanted Facebook group post from yesterday!
  • Cheboygan, Michigan rock radio station Rock 105 (which gets fringe reception in the Soo) has re-obtained it's former Glen Arbor signal at 95.5 FM, and the station broadcasts as Rock 105 & 95.5 now! This mirrors the then Real Rock two station network from 2009-2013 before 95.5 (then WJZJ, now WGFE) became a simulcast of Onaway adult contemporary station Easy 106.3 as WQEZ. This won't directly affect local coverage of Rock 105 aside from on-air naming, but keep WGFE 95.5 FM in mind if you're driving out to Traverse City!

That's all for today, but stay tuned or weekend concert previews next! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Battle Of The Bands Rewind Profile: The 2016 Speak Easy Battle Of The Bands

At last, let's tackle our final installment (until a year after the next battle) of our Battle of the Bands Rewind Profile Series! One day removed from our look back at last year's second VM Radio Battle of the Bands, let's reflect on the other March 2016 battle of the bands that also entertained local music fans during this busy month. Like our prior installments of this series, this is strictly an informational feature with trivia, facts, and results, and no personal criticism or reviews of the competing bands. Now, here's what you should know on last year's second local battle of the bands!
The 2016 Speak Easy Battle of the Bands (March 10th, 2016)

Background: Following the success of the Battle of the Bands at Algoma University's campus bar The Speak Easy on March 5th, 2015, organizers at the Algoma University Students Union indicated plans to hold further battles on at least a biennial basis, announcing a planned second installment for November 2015, though it was postponed due to unspecified "sponsorship issues". Instead, the second battle took place on March 10th, 2016, just over a year following the previous event. Like in 2015, seven competing acts played 15 minute sets each, and results were determined by a fan vote with no formal judging panel.
Prizes: Winnings were identical to 2015's Speak Easy Battle, with $400, $200, and $100 respectively going to the first, second, and third place bands.

Competitors: Two of 2016's competing acts were returning from 2015, those being alternative/hard rock trio The Din (who dropped "Mike Haggith &" from their name over the winter) and local/Toronto indie rock musician Jesse Merineau. The other five bands were all newcomers to a local battle of the bands, and they included alt-electronic project Aldous, former Coverfly bassist Bryan Brown in  a rare solo set, modern hard rock quartet Eclipse, punk/metal quintet Jack Spades, and reunited death/thrash metal trio Pillory. Impressively, all of the confirmed bands from the original November date were still able to compete in March.

Results: Fans at the battle selected Jesse Merineau to win the 2016 Speak Easy Battle and the $400 top prize. The Din came in second place to win $200, while Eclipse claimed the $100 third place prize.

Aftermath: Jesse Merineau rode the momentum of his battle victory to work on his upcoming solo CD (scheduled for release this summer), while he also returned home for a handful of notable concerts last year, including one with runners-up The Din opening at LopLops in September. The Din and Eclipse would both go on to finish in identical spots in that month's VM Radio Battle of the Bands, with The Din releasing their debut CD in the summer and continuing their upwards momentum well into 2017, and Eclipse playing steadily until suddenly disbanding for four months in November, though they will return to the stage next month. Pillory and Jack Spades remain familiar sights on local concert stages, with the former in pre-production of their second CD, and the latter teasing their new lineup's debut and first gigs since the fall in the near future. Aldous remain active in studio, but haven't advertised a live show since August, and Bryan Brown hasn't been publically advertised since as a musician, though both have indicated that they're now based out of town.

Some Notable Performers' Newer Bands (Metal/hard rock in italics, ex-members noted with an *):

The Bear Hunters (Justin Lam & Johnny Belanger from Jack Spades)
The Elements (Jesse Cook from Jack Spades)
Great Chamberlain (Anthony Marcello from Jesse Merineau's backing band; Based out of Ottawa)
Handsome Sandwich (Jesse Cook & Johnny Belanger from Jack Spades)  
Heavy Head (Jesse Cook & Johnny Belanger from Jack Spades and Daniel Horton from Eclipse) 
Project 421 (Curtis McKenzie, Daniel Horton, and Chris Thompson from Eclipse)
The Steeltown Girls (Tammy Hill from The Din)
Stegadeth (Tiffany Stocco from Jack Spades)
Winkstinger (Jesse Cook from Jack Spades)  


  • New local hard/pop rock quartet Heavy Head were advertised to compete at this battle, just one night after they finished in third place in the first VM Radio Battle semifinal, but they dropped out the day of this event due to scheduling conflicts for frontman Mike Gaetano. However, the remainder of the band still competed as members of Jack Spades or Eclipse.
  • As was the case in 2015, the second Speak Easy Battle was held one day after the first semifinal of last year's second VM Radio Battle of the Bands at The Canadian Nightclub, which again differed by being a multi-band event over multiple nights, though the performer lineup actually fell from 11 competing bands in 2015 to 5 in 2016. The Din (who competed the day before) and Eclipse (who competed the following week) made the finals and finished in second and third place in both events, while Jack Spades played a non-competitive guest set on night #2 of that battle due to frontman J.D. Pearce's promotional involvement. The winner of the second VM Radio Battle was indie rock quartet K.I.C.K..
  • After missing the podium in 2015 with a strictly solo set, Jesse Merineau recruited local power pop/glam rock trio Caroline Divine to serve as his backing band for his Speak Easy Battle return last year, which apparently did the trick, giving him some "divine" intervention for his first place victory. While the set was entirely comprised of originals from Jesse's upcoming CD, this was technically Caroline Divine's last publically advertised concert before singer/guitarist Anthony Marcello moved to Ottawa, though his old bandmates joined Jesse & guitarist Mitchell Nielsen when he headlined at LopLops in September.
  • Similarly to Jesse Merineau's reversal of fortune from 2015 to 2016, The Din and 3/5ths of Project 421 (in their side project Eclipse) also moved from missing the podium to claiming top 3 placements in 2016, foreshadowing similar improvements in the VM Radio Battle later that month, which they also didn't place at in 2015.
  • Pillory's set at this battle marked their return to the stage after a nearly two year hiatus following their final shows as a thrash quartet in mid-2014. The band debuted new bassist Jordan Leach, their trio lineup with no rhythm guitarist, and a heavier, death metal-influenced sound at this event, completely abandoning their older originals from their debut CD "Cringe At The Cross".
  • Jack Spades' all-original set at the Speak Easy Battle was filmed by Shaw TV Sault Ste. Marie personality (and VM Radio Battle guest judge) Christian Lemay for a feature that aired on channel 10 in mid-late 2016, interspersed with interview footage taken from an Oddfellows Hall concert around that same time. This can be seen as a precursor to Shaw TV's recently-debuted series OnStage, featuring full concert sets from recent local events.
  • Twin City Sound & Entertainment were on hand to provide sound for the duration of the battle. Notably, Twin City Sound co-owner Steven Flint was a former bandmate of Eclipse's Curtis McKenzie and Daniel Horton in the short-lived hard rock band Punch, who were the 3rd place finishers in November 2013's Viva La Battle.
  • The most notable band from the inaugural Speak Easy Battle to not return for year #2 was defending champions Gnaeus, who won both of 2015's local battles. The post-punk quartet are believed to have missed both events due to the departure of drummer Brendan Garlick over the winter, with his replacement Alex Proulx not debuting with Gnaeus until their Ontario tour run that April.
  • While then-Haggith bassist Jordan Leach and experimental musician/Gore Street Cafe co-owner Sam Decter had promotional involvement in 2015's Speak Easy Battle, neither were publically involved with the event's return last year. Jordan did compete in the 2016 battle with Pillory, but as he wasn't promoting anymore, there were no concerns regarding a potential conflict of interest.
  • Despite prior hopes to hold further Speak Easy Battles of the Bands at least twice a year, there has been no official public word on a third installment from the A.U.S.U. since last year's event, be it this month or at a different date. A third VM Radio Battle of the Bands also did not occur in March 2017.
  • The Din later performed at Landmark Events' Showcase Festival in Toronto in January 2017, which was a competitive event to feature rising young bands to  music industry executives who would judge bands and select ones to get music industry grants. It's not known if The Din progressed any further in this showcase, but they did praise the event and the oportunities it brought afterwards.

    Shaw TV's video of Jack Spades' set
    (No other public videos known; Videos of the top 2 acts from 2015 featured to supplement this section)

    Sources/More Info:
    Official Facebook event page
    Event press release from SooToday
    I hope you guys liked this month's Battle of the Bands Rewind Profiles, and hopefully this series will return next year, saying that someone holds a new local battle later in 2017! That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and previews as this week rolls along! Thanks everyone!

    Monday, March 20, 2017

    Battle Of The Bands Rewind Profile: The 2016 VM Radio Battle Of The Bands

    There may not be a battle of the bands this month, but we haven't forgotten about our Battle of the Bands Rewind Profile Series, which finally returns today with a somewhat overdue look at one of last March's battles! As in our past profiles of recent local battles, this serves as an informational feature to look back at the events, setup, results, and trivia of this battle, and features no personal criticism or reviews of the competing bands or their future activity. This was a fun event with lots of talented musicians throughout, so read on below for our first profile of last year's battles!
    The 2016 VM Radio Battle of the Bands (March 9th-23th, 2016)

    Background:  Following the success of the inaugural VM Radio Battle of the Bands in March 2015, local concert promoter J.D. Pearce came together once again with VM Radio (and parent company Village Media), Tidal Records, and sponsors Case's Music, The Rad Zone, Maxx Graphics, and Labatt Breweries to hold a second installment of the multi-night battle of the bands, originally intended four consecutive Wednesdays again at The Canadian Nightclub. Unfortunately, only 5 bands (down from 11 in 2015) officially registered to compete, forcing the removal of a planned March 2nd semifinal, but the format of the battle was the same as in year #1, with the winner of the March 9th & 16th semifinals (plus the highest scoring runner-up band as a wild card) returning for the finals on the 23rd. Judging criteria was the same as the previous year and 2013's Rockstar Bar Battle, with scoring based on musical ability, chemistry, stage presence, and crowd engagement (among others) for out of 100 points a judge, 300 total, plus additional individual awards metered out based on category.

    Prizes: The first place band received $500, while no specific additional prizes were announced in terms of band ranking, unlike in 2015. A $100 Rad Zone gift card awaited the winner of the Best Vocal Performance award, while Case's Music prize packages went to the Best Guitar and Bass winners, and the Best Drummer would receive a custom drum skin from Maxx Graphix. As for the Best Song, the winning band would receive recording time at Tidal Records' own Mission Control Studios.

    Competitors: The March 9th semifinal saw the battle's only returning bands from 2015, namely alternative/hard rock trio The Din (who had since dropped "Mike Haggith &" from their name) and punk quartet Stereo North, who competed against new hard/pop rock supergroup Heavy Head. March 16th's semifinal round was a head to head affair between hard rock quartet Eclipse and indie rock quartet K.I.C.K., with prominent punk/metal quintet Jack Spades performing a guest set to round out the evening's lineup.

    Results: The two semifinals were won by The Din & K.I.C.K., while Eclipse were the highest scoring non-winners & moved on to the finals as the wild card. Stereo North finished in second on the 9th, with Heavy Head in third, but specific nightly scores were not announced. In the finals on the March 23rd, the Keep It Cool Kids won a closely contested final, edging out The Din for second place by just three points, averaging out to one point per judge, while Eclipse weren't far behind to round out the podium. Individual awards went to Eclipse's Curtis McKenzie for Best Vocal Performance, The Din's Tammy Hill for Best Guitar, Eclipse's Fred Dunn for Best Bass, and his brother Aaron Dunn of K.I.C.K. for Best Drummer. Meanwhile, K.I.C.K. claimed Best Song for their original "Wanted".

    Aftermath: K.I.C.K. have remained steadily active since their battle win, playing at numerous concerts as headliners and openers, such as Rotaryfest and the Northern Vibe Festival, and have recently been working on their debut EP at Mission Control Studios, presumably using time won at the battle. The Din released their debut studio album "Give Into The Din" that summer, and have found their own profile rising with many concerts of their own, even heading out to Toronto for a gig in January. Eclipse were a frequent sight locally through October 2015 before suddenly breaking up, though they have reunited after four months and will return to the stage in a few weeks. Stereo North only played live a few more times that spring before going on an indefinite hiatus in June partly due to guitarist Matthew Anich becoming a father, while Heavy Head played sporadically into the summer, but haven't issued a public update in months.

    Some Notable Performers' Newer Bands (Metal/hard rock in italics):
    Andrew Pucci (Andrew Pucci from Stereo North)
    The Bear Hunters (Johnny Belanger from Heavy Head & Justin Lam from guests Jack Spades)
    The Elements (Jesse Cook from Heavy Head) 
    Handsome Sandwich (Jesse Cook & Johnny Belanger from Heavy Head)
    Project 421 (Curtis McKenzie, Daniel Horton, and Chris Thompson from Eclipse)
    The Steeltown Girls (Tammy Hill from The Din)
    Stegadeth (Bill Bennett from Stereo North & Tiffany Stocco from guests Jack Spades)
    Winkstinger (Jesse Cook from Heavy Head)


    • The judges for last year's VM Radio Battle of the Bands were all returnees from 2015, including Tidal Records owner & Rising Tide frontman Dustin Jones, Elements frontman & Village Media repesentative Rob Speers, and Sault Metal Scene owner Rob Figures, while Id Iota frontman, Shaw TV personality, and Tidal Records skate team member Christian Lemay was a late fill-in for Dustin as guest judge for the second semifinal. Promoter J.D. Pearce again served as MC for the duration of the battle.
    • Despite battling a cold during his appearances, Eclipse frontman Curtis McKenzie won the Best Vocal Performance award for a second straight year, after previously winning as Haggith's frontman in 2015, making him the only repeat winner of an individual award. In another coincidental note, Tammy Hill (who replaced him in The Din the previous year) won the Best Guitar award that same night.
    • This battle did not see a return of three awards handed out in 2015, namely for Most Energetic Band, Most Enthusiastic Fan, and Fan Favourite Band. The latter was planned to be given out in 2016, but with a virtual tie among the bands in that regard, the award wasn't given out at all.
    • At least two bands debuted new original songs at the battle, including Eclipse ("Crywolf") in the semifinals, and The Din ("Differences") in the finals. Both bands also played songs familiar to fans of members' past projects, with Eclipse playing some Punch and later Haggith originals, and The Din playing a handful of songs from frontman Mike Haggith's solo career.
    • Though no award existed for Most Improved Band, The Din would have won it had it existed, as the band didn't even finish second in their 2015 semifinal, but improved and overcame in the following year to finish just three points out of first place a year later. Though they didn't make the finals again, Stereo North also improved their standing from 2015, as did 3/5ths of Project 421 in Eclipse.
    • Notable among the night's performers was Heavy Head, a new supergroup union of Suicide Kings, Bear Hunters, Haggith, and Winkstinger alumni, all of which being bands that won or placed second at recent local battles. Despite their impressive pedigree, their set received mixed responses, and they dropped out of the next day's Speak Easy Battle (though keep in mind that the VM Radio Battle was just their second public concert together.)
    • Jack Spades' guest set during night #2 of the battle mirrored that of The Pixo Control's in 2015, serving to even out the band lineup due to uneven nightly totals. Jack Spades couldn't compete themselves due to frontman J.D. Pearce's promotional duties, but members Jesse Cook & Johnny Belanger did compete as part of Heavy Head. Jack Spades remained a frequent sight at local concerts through September, though 3/5th of the band left the group throughout the year, and a teased return with a new lineup is forthcoming.
    • Despite the expanded coverage and video features for 2015's VM Radio Battle, SooToday didn't give the same attention to the 2016's battle, possibly due to the lower band totals, with only this article on K.I.C.K.'s win substantially covering the event. Plans for a third VM Radio Battle did not come to fruition for March 2017, though it's not clear if it's done for good or being retooled.
    • Conspicuous by their absence last year were 2015 battle winners Gnaeus, believed to be at least partly due to the departure of drummer Brendan Garlick from the band following their last show with him in December 2015. The post-punk quartet did not publically confirm Alex Proulx as his replacement until April 2016, debuting with them during their Ontario tour run that month.
    • As they had done in 2015, Algoma University hosted the second annual Speak Easy Battle of the Bands on March 10th, 2016, just one day after night #1 of the VM Radio Battle once again. The Din, Eclipse, and VM Radio Battle guest performers Jack Spades all competed in the Speak Easy Battle, with The Din and Eclipse placing second & third in that event as well, winning $200 & $100 respectively. The fan voted event was won by indie rock musician Jesse Merineau, with backing from Caroline Divine.
    • Stereo North frontman Andrew Pucci (who has been focusing on solo music during their hiatus) competed in a Tidal Records-sponsored songwriters competition at LopLops Lounge on October 15th, where he and 9 other solo artists played two originals and a cover for a chance to get recording time at Mission Control Studios and a digital release package. The winner of that event was Thin Ice frontman Nathan Albidone, and it's unclear where Andrew placed.
    • Though not advertised as a "battle of the bands", The Din played at Landmark Events' Showcase Festival in Toronto in January, with music industry executives judging bands and choosing select acts to win music development grants. Though The Din visibly praised the event, it's not publically clear how they did compared to other performers of if they moved forward in the showcase.

    The Din playing "In Search of The Perfect Moment" in the finals
    Eclipse covering two songs in the semifinals
    The Din's promotional videos for their sets
    The Sault Metal Scene's videos of each band's opening songs

    Sources/More Info:
    Official Facebook event page
    SooToday's coverage from the finals
    I hope you guys liked this profile of last year's VM Radio Battle, and we will profile last year's Speak Easy Battle in the coming days, so stay tuned for that and more news and updates soon! Thanks everyone!

    Sunday, March 19, 2017

    LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Eclipse & Id Iota), New Sault Michigan Videos, And More!!

    With weekend concert previews and our new poll now taken care of, here's a full news post for your Sunday morning delectation! Below, you'll find some assorted recent notes, more videos from a recent Sault Michigan-area benefit concert, and first, here's some LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS!

    Local alternative/hard rock quartet Id Iota will play their first public concert of the year when they open for indie rock quartet K.I.C.K. at LopLops Lounge on Friday, April 14th! Originally planned to be on Saturday the 15th before being pushed back one day, this show will be Id Iota's first appearance on a public stage (last month's garage show doesn't count) since November, and it'll be a good chance to see Christian, Dustin, Dan, and Blair in their element at a familiar downtown venue as they take a brief break from recording sessions for their second CD! Similarly, K.I.C.K. have been in studio lately towards their debut album, and it'll be good to see the Keep It Cool Kids back with their skilled indie rock originals, so don't miss the 2016 VM Radio Battle winners either! A Facebook event page has not been posted (yet?), but a 19+ age limit, $5 cover charge, and 9:00 PM start time are all likely for this event, so check the above links for more details on K.I.C.K. & Id Iota's LopLops return!

    Next up, reunited local hard rock quartet Eclipse and funk/experimental quintet Gianni Gagoots will return to The New American Pub on Sunday, April 23rd when they open for Montreal stoner rock trio The Hazytones! Yes, Eclipse are officially back together after a four month breakup, which is very surprising given how public and messy things became at first, but their reunion will surely be welcomed by fans and friends alike, so be there for their return to the stage at The New A next month! No word yet though on the April 1st show that they had teased, which doesn't appear to be an April Fools prank. Gianni Gagoots' creative instrumentals should continue their own upward momentum for their first show since headlining at LopLops last month, so don't be late for their set! As for The Hazytones, this will be deja vu in many respects, as this talented outfit just played at the same venue with Eclipse opening in August, just with K.I.C.K. as the second openers (and more advance notice.)

    The Hazytones' psychedlic and deep originals should find another willing audience next month, and while they're not a metal band, they're well worth checking out! Promoted by Six, Two, Oh., though uniquely courtesy of Lion Ride alum/punk rock bingo caller Brenton Ellis rather than the guys in AlgomA, this show has a 19+ age limit and 9:00 PM start time, and while an admission fee hasn't been announced yet, last year's Hazytones show had a $5 cover. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, don't miss out on this near-encore 8 months later, and Eclipse are back in our active band links (no word yet though on Project 421's next moves!)

    Also today, here's a new video of Sault Michigan's current masked metal band, Stoned Ape Evolution! Filmed at last month's Bay Mills Bands Together fundraiser at Pickles Bar & Grill in Brimley, this video was uploaded by band member John Napoletano to his personal Facebook page and shared to the B.M.B.T. Facebook page shortly after the concert. The clip features Stoned Ape Evolution covering Metallica's "Seek & Destroy" and Megadeth's "A Tout Le Monde" to close their set, and  this gives us our best look yet at the band (who appear to have expanded to a quintet), so what can I say now? I think the band is largely sound musically, as best seen on "Seek & Destroy", but the vocalist is trying way too hard to sound evil, particularly on "A Tout Le Monde", a classic ballad which the band turns into a groove metal song. I applaud the creativity, but the performance is shaky and I don't find it works well for their style.

    John also uploaded four more videos (all from similar corner-stage camera angles) to check out publically, including the Project 906 video we covered on here two weeks ago, and three of the night's cover rock bands, including The Whole Shabang covering Bryan Adams' "Summer of '69", The Brooks Band covering The Eagles' "Love Will Keep Us Alive", and Absolute Magnitude covering James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)", so check out those if you want to hear some other bands from this fundraiser. Stoned Ape Evolution have clear potential and a cool look, so hopefully they continue to progress forward, and give their video a look below!

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

    • Local doom metal trio AlgomA finally have physical copies of their new split single with Finland's Hooded Menace available for local fans! The news was revealed on their Facebook page on Friday, though they don't have any copies of the limited-run orange vinyl records. This means that the split should be available (likely for $20) when AlgomA headline at The New A on March 30th, making this the de facto release show, so keep that in mind for month's end if you want the split for your collection!
    • In the biography on the aforementioned Eclipse's Facebook page, it notes that drummer Chris Thompson was a former member of Garden of Bedlam. This is not an error, he was briefly the band's drummer in 2007, but Derek Turner replaced him prior to their debut public concerts in 2008. That wasn't really a secret, but I don't think we ever addressed Chris' brief run with them on here before, and I just wanted to give that an overdue public acknowledgement! Also, it does seem odd that Garden of Bedlam are credited for Chris over Fitswitch, Frightlight, or Half Past, all of whom he did far more with.
    • Local punk/metal band Jack Spades revealed on their Facebook page this morning that they will soon be unveiling their new lineup and single (maybe "Kingdoms"?), plus announcing their next concert shortly as well! The band hasn't been seen since opening for SNFU in September, after which Jesse Cook & Johnny Belanger departed the band, while frontman J.D. Pearce hasn't promoted a show (with or without Jack Spades) since his annual Halloween party. It's great to see that Jack Spades are still alive and readying their return, so stay tuned for updates!

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

    Saturday, March 18, 2017

    Last Month's Poll Results & Our Newest Poll!!

    It's now time to shut down last month's poll and unveil our newest poll, but first, remember that we posed this question to you guys last month: What was your favourite new metal, hard rock, or punk album released in 2016? Though we have clear results, we sadly got only 14 votes in this poll, a sharp drop-off from our poll on your favourite new bands of last year, but thanks to everyone who did vote, and here are the final results! 

    Gnaeus - Meditations (5 votes, 36%)
    The Din - Give In To The Din (4 votes, 29%)
    Id Iota - Maudlin Fair (2 votes, 14%)
    AlgomA & Chronobot's split vinyl EP (2 votes, 14%)
    Other (1 vote, 7%)
    Crucify the Whore - The Beautiful Sounds of Nature (0 votes)
    The Inner City Surfers - Time To Travel On (0 votes)
    Long Shot's self-titled EP (0 votes)
    Malignant Neoplasm - Blast Beats & Bulls**t (0 votes)
    The Strange Coyotes - Strange Coyotes III (0 votes)
    One of SweetKenny's 2016 albums (0 votes)
    Telephone & Address - Are You Now or Have You Ever Been... (0 votes)

    What do you guys think? Well, in ascending order, I can see why the zero-voted albums ranked lower, as the were by and large released by solo acts or online only, but in particular, I know that The Inner City Surfers' posthumous album would have received more attention had the band gave it some form of public acknowledgement, even without a reunion. I can't speak for the "Other" voter (maybe they liked a non-metal/punk album?), but the top four albums definitely make sense, given each band's successes and out of town reach last year. If anything, AlgomA and Chronobot's split is an overachiever given the vinyl-only release format, but it was very well received, as was Id Iota's debut EP, both well mixed by Unsalted Audio to boot. Going in, I expected Gnaeus and The Din to compete for first place, and while I'd hoped for more votes all around, the sadly now-defunct Gnaeus delivered an entertaining and proficient album in "Meditations", and while many fans also gave into The Din, I cant dispute the results!

    Thanks to everyone for voting! As for this month's poll, we're continuing our "favourite _____ of 2016" polls by posing this question to you guys: What was the biggest local metal, hard rock, or punk news story of 2016? The past year was eventful as usual for bands, events, lineup changes, statuses, and general stories from bands covered on the SMS, and it was very tough to pare things down to 25 stories to pick from in the poll, but hopefully I covered most ground of note! To get into the poll, each story must have had hard rock, metal, or punk involvement in some form, and have primarily took place and been publically announced in the 2016 calendar year, so stories like Gnaeus' breakup, the AlgomA/Hooded Menace split, and the Pop Evil concert are obviously waiting for 2017's poll of this ilk. Similarly, Jack Spades' recent lineup departures weren't considered, as the exits weren't publically stated until 2017, regardless of if they officially left the band last year or not.

    Of course, if something you'd rather vote for isn't an included choice, then I have included "Other" as usual. And lastly, remember that this poll is about the biggest news stories of last year, not the happiest or your favourite. We're seeing what you considered newsworthy, not necessarily stories that were positive, so keep that in mind just in case you wonder why certain topics are included. Now, here's what you should know about all 25 choices!

    A Dire Setback & Live705 launch in November: Seemingly coming from out of nowhere to become one of the most promising new local punk bands in recent memory, A Dire Setback debuted last fall with a full slate of originals alongside their own concert promotion agency Live705, who have hosted three well recieved concerts already, with more in the pipeline. Does the dual launch earn your vote?

    AlgomA release split EP with Chronobot: It was no April Fools joke when local doom metal trio AlgomA's long-awaited vinyl split with Saskatchewan stoner metal band Chronobot finally went on sale on April 1st, earning a positive reception locally and abroad, and helping set the stage for this year's split with Hooded Menace. It's a solid EP, but was this split's release your top news story of last year?

    Bay Mills Bands Together holds first fundraiser event: Multi-band concerts don't happen nearly enough in the Sault Michigan area, so it was a bonus back in May when the non-profit group Bay Mills Bands Together held their first ever benefit at Pickles in Brimley to help Marissa Kronemeyer through her car accident recovery. This was a huge show with loads of talented acts, but was it enough to get your vote?

    Bret Michaels returns to Kewadin Casino in November: 2016 was a light year for hard rock acts at The Dreammaker's Theater, but things ended with a bang when Poison frontman Bret Michaels returned to our area for the sixth time (at least) in November for this headlining concert with many charitable aims and on-site auctions for said causes. Fans thought it was "nothin' but a good time", but would you agree with that?

    Brian Davie returns to Scott & Brian In The Morning: There usually isn't a lot of shocking news to come out of the Sault's rock station, Rock 101, but fans got a nice surprise in December when Brian Davie returned to 101.3 FM's morning show after a nearly 2 year hiatus. It's awesome to hear Brian back with Scott Cook weekday mornings once again from 6:00-10:00 AM, but did his return top everything else in this poll?

    Darren Emond's Iron Maiden comic book is released: It's not every day when a comic book release makes local waves, but that changed in May, when local/Wawa artist Darren Emond unveiled the official Iron Maiden comic book that he did all of the artwork for, with the comic receiving an official launch at The Rad Zone. This was a big deal and a fun read for Iron Maiden diehards, but would you vote for it here?

    The Din release their debut CD "Give In To The Din": One of last year's biggest and most anticipated album releases was the first studio album from The Din, whose alternative/hard rock originals and carry-overs from frontman Mike Haggith's solo discography earned a warm reception from fans before and after last summer's high-profile release concert at The Tech. Is this your choice?

    The Fishbowl Festival debuts at The Gore Street Cafe: Amidst a tumultuous year for The Gore Street Cafe, ownership held the ambitious but successful month-long Fishbowl Festival in February & March featuring many arts, culture, and awareness events at the laundromat, plus concerts from bands like The Din and The Pixo Control. It's bigger & better this year, but did year #1 do enough?

    Gnaeus release their only CD "Meditations": Just a week prior to The Din's CD release show (which Gnaeus opened), the two bands switched places when the post-punk quartet launched "Meditations" at The Rockstar Bar to a positive reception of their own! It's a shame that they broke up 7 months later without their planned follow-up CD "E La Vita", but have you meditated enough to vote for Gnaeus here?

    Guy Thiffault's passing & tribute concert: The local punk community was rocked in December when former Hangdowns/Nebraska Arms frontman Guy Thiffault suddenly passed away at the age of 36, but his friends & fans came together less than two weeks later for a stacked and emotional tribute to him at The Rockstar Bar, headlined by a Bin Hawdon reunion. Was this last year's biggest story?

    Hedley returns to Sault Ontario in July at The Yard: As part of new downtown outdoor venue The Yard's Canada Day Kicker, we saw the return of Abbotsford, B.C. pop punk quartet Hedley to the Soo for the first time in over 5 years last summer at this highly attended concert! Also featuring Toronto's The Beaches and the most recent local gig from Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide, does this show get your vote?

    Id Iota release their debut EP "Maudlin Fair": Though it went on sale in Toronto a week prior to it's local launch, local alternative rock quartet Id Iota unveiled their first CD to a solid reception last April when they headlined at LopLops Lounge, and ended their 10 month hiatus from the local stage. This EP got positive notices locally and out of town, but did you like it enough to vote for it?

    Jay Perron's sudden passing: A regular staple as a DJ and former concert promoter at The Canadian Nightclub, fans and colleagues were shocked when Jay Perron suddenly passed away in October at the age of 43, with fans gathering for karaoke and pool at a fundraiser for his family the following week. DJ Reverend J has been missed at the controls, but was this last year's biggest news item?

    Jesse Merineau & Caroline Divine win the Speak Easy Battle: The first of last year's two battles of the bands saw indie rock musician Jesse Merineau (with backing from the now-inactive Caroline Divine) edge out a stacked field including The Din, Eclipse, and Jack Spades to claim the $400 top prize. Fan-voted or not, this was a huge victory for Jesse & crew, but would you vote for it here?

    K.I.C.K. win the VM Radio Battle of the Bands: Taking place before and after the Speak Easy Battle, five local bands competed in the second multi-night VM Radio Battle of the Bands at The Canadian last March, where indie rock quartet K.I.C.K. defeated The Din and Eclipse to claim top honours in the finals. This wasn't as big of a battle as in 2015, but did you find that it still delivered the goods?

    Pillory play their first live concerts since 2014: The aforementioned Speak Easy Battle saw the long awaited return to the stage of local death/thrash metal band Pillory, after an almost 2 year hiatus from the stage. Now with new bassist Jordan Leach, a smaller 3 piece lineup, and a much heavier and aggressive sound, Pillory have been melting faces ever since, but does their return top 2016 to you?

    The Pixo Control disbands: Last year saw more bands quietly fade away than publically announce a breakup, but the biggest of the latter in 2016 was alternative/grunge trio The Pixo Control, who broke up over the summer and were succeeded by frontman Mike Mikus' new solo pop rock project, emphatically tearing off a Pixo Control t-shirt in his first music video. Does this get your vote?

    Project 421 & Eclipse part with singer Curtis McKenzie: Though Curt has since reunited with the latter group (more on that soon), his departure from the two linked metal bands in November created a wave of discussion & debate from all sides, not to mention that a loss of a singer of his vocal talent would be hard for any band. Things are seemingly being patched up for one group, but would you vote for this story?

    The Ripcordz headline an all-ages show at The Canadian: Plans were teased for months regarding an all ages local concert with Montreal hardcore punk legends The Ripcordz, and that was realized last August when they rocked The Canadian Nightclub alongside Jack Spades, Project 421, and Eclipse. The Ripcordz always get a huge reception locally, but were you among the horde?

    Shit Liver go on their second Canadian tour: After a successful first tour run in 2015, local/St. Catharine's grindcore trio Shit Liver had an encore from April-June of last year, heading from out to British Columbia and back, plus a tour-capping stretch in Quebec. Also featuring a local return opening for The Motherfuckers early on in the tour cycle, this was another hit run of shows, but do you concur with that?

    Sky's The Limit fundraiser held at The Tech in May: Algoma Family Services hosted this well recieved concert event for mental health awareness at the former St. Mary's College last spring, which was headlined by The Pixo Control in their final concert, alongside acts like The Din and the non-White Pines debut of Electric Church. Were you there to vouch for this concert in this poll?

    SNFU headline at The Rockstar Bar in September: Whenever a local stage sees the return of Mr. Chi Pig, you know that there will be many fans opening up wide to say "SNFU!", and that was the case in September, with diehards singing along with ease all set long! Also featuring opening sets by The Elements and the most recent live appearance of Jack Spades, does SNFU's return get your vote?

    Stegadeth make their local concert debut: Also debuting at Live705's inaugural concert, Stegadeth surely pleased fans of T-Rex Manning, with 3/4ths of that band returning with their classic original song in tow, though with more of a Ramones and overall punk influence than before. They've been regaining their profile fairly steadily since the fall, but was Stegadeth's debut 2016's top story?

    Tidal Records acts tour Ontario in April: The aforementioned Pixo Control, Gnaeus (with new drummer Alex Proulx), and Id Iota (with the newly released "Maudlin Fair") hit the road for a run of Ontario tour dates in April alongside rapper Conika and Tidal Records-affiliated skateboarders for their popular Skate By Day, Rock By Night tour. Would you vote for it over the other choices?

    Winkstinger reunite after a three year hiatus: After playing just one public show since mid-2012, local extreme metal band Winkstinger returned after a lengthy break with a new lineup when they opened for The Motherfuckers at The Oddfellows Hall in April. New members Keith Gagnon & Andrew MacDonald fit in fine with Jesse & Jonas, even if they've been fairly quiet since last summer, but would you vote for them?

    Other: Did we miss your preferred choice? Perhaps you'd rather vote for last year's K-Man & The 45s or Gorod concerts? Maybe you thought the debut of Project 906 or Electric Church warranted a vote more than the rest? Did a band's descent into inactivity rate higher, like with Gates of Winter or Caroline Divine? If, for whatever reason, the biggest story of 2016 isn't listed above, vote for "Other"!

    VOTE TODAY!! You guys have until April 18th to cast your ballots, and it will be very interesting to see who or what wins out, so cast your votes A.S.A.P. in the red voting field on the left of the page! That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates this week! Thanks everyone!

    Friday, March 17, 2017

    415E Concert Previews, Unsalted Audio Updates, And Much More!!

    Let's round out this weekend's hard rock concert previews today, but also, we have some more recent updates to touch on, including some assorted recent updates from a few different sources, a new hype video for a big upcoming concert, and some news and notes regarding a fast-rising local recording studio. Now, here's what you should know!

    Firstly, we'll close this weekend's announced hard rock concert previews with the return of Sault Michigan hard rock quartet 415E to The Northern Pines Lounge at the Kewadin Shores Casino in nearby St. Ignace TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT! Last seen during the Pop Evil concert weekend in the Soo last month, tonight's concert will of course give you a chance to partake in St. Patrick's Day potent potables tonight, so keep that and potential holiday promotions in mind if you're not planning to go elsewhere! As for tomorrow's show, 415E have hyped on their Facebook page that "a very special wedding anniversary" will be celebrated that night, so keep that angle in mind if you plan on coming Saturday (congratulations to the couple!) 415E aren't advertised to play anywhere next month, so if you can't wait until their May weekend in Sault Ste. Marie, prepare for 21+ age limits, no cover charge, and 9:00 PM start times tonight & tomorrow, as usual for their Kewadin gigs.

    Check the above links for more details, don't miss 415E's hard rocking & Van Halen inspired covers tonight & tomorrow, and here they are live!

    Next up, we can add Id Iota guitarist/Mike Mikus bassist Dustin Goodall's recording studio Unsalted Audio to our "Other Local Metal Links" section, as he's finally launched a website for the company! Ambitiously calling the studio "the future of music production in Northern Ontario", the website extensively lists the production equipment he uses for recordings, and outlines his goals and ambitions to provide artists (local or otherwise) with "world-class audio quality at affordable rates", while emphasizing that "mediocrity is the enemy" and aiming to establish emotional connections between artists and their intended audiences. So far, you'll have heard Dustin's production for Id Iota's debut EP, The Pixo Control's only CD, and Mike Mikus' debut single, while he also mixed and mastered AlgomA's half of their split with Chronobot, Inner City Surfers bassist Brad Example's 2015 solo single, and Jack Spades' third of their "Fed Up!" split CD.

    In terms of upcoming projects, he has finished producing Mike's yet-released solo CD, while the website finally confirms that Id Iota are indeed recording their second CD currently and first full length album, and he's currently in pre-production for local death/thrash metal trio Pillory's second CD and a solo EP from Winkstinger frontman Keith Gagnon (though I have no idea what his solo music will sound like.) The website's a little wordy, but Dustin talks a big game and backs it up with his production quality so far, so be sure to contact him at or via the above links for quotes or information if you want to work with him on some studio music!

    Also, here's a new YouTube video from this past Monday where Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali hypes up their show at The Machine Shop on Thursday, March 30th! This is a short video that does feel slightly rushed, but it's good promotion straight from Quiet Riot's longest serving member, and he's right, tickets are going fast, with half of available seats now sold out. Give it a look below, and click here to get your tickets A.S.A.P.!

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

    • Rising Tide frontman and Tidal Records head Dustin Jones is featured in the cover photo of this week's issue of Sault This Week, where he's seen entertaining his son Jaycee through a puppet theatre at the Best Start Hub program at Holy Cross Catholic Elementary School last week. Cute photo, and it's nice to see Dustin back on a local stage of sorts, so look for the photo in the latest issue of the weekly free newspaper!
    • Are local hard rock quartet Eclipse reuniting? Four months after their very messy breakup in early November, the band noted on their Facebook page that "we will be performing April 1st", while prior past tenses regarding their status have quietly been removed as well. I'm not going to jump to conclusions just yet, as this is April Fool's Day after all, but in case this is a legitimate reunion, stay tuned for updates!
    • Local concert promoters Live705 have revealed on their Facebook page on Wednesday that their next concert will be an Easter holiday weekend event on Saturday, April 15th, breaking their pattern of one show every two months. A Facebook event page is forthcoming, alongside games and giveaways of some description, so be sure to stay tuned for details on those, not to mention the concert's venue, bands, and more!

    That's all for today, but stay tuned for last month's poll results and our new poll tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

    Thursday, March 16, 2017

    LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Highway 63) & St. Patrick's Day Weekend Concert Previews!!

    As is usually the case, the St. Patrick's Day weekend is yielding a solid batch of local concert action this year, so that's the entirety of this post, alongside a new video from one of the bands in question! Due to the amount, we'll touch on the 415E shows in St. Ignace in tomorrow's post, alongside potential late notice announcements, so don't worry, they're coming! Now, let's begin our weekend previews with a SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERT!

    Sault Michigan classic/hard rock cover quartet Highway 63 will return to Dondee Lanes TOMORROW NIGHT for one apparent night only! Apologies for the short notice, the venue only confirmed the show via their Facebook page on Monday, and like with Highway 63's concert there last week, the band themselves haven't announced it publically. Rocking out at the local bowling alley for the third weekend out of four, the Dondee isn't indicating (yet?) if there will be any St. Patrick's Day accoutrements TOMORROW, but definitely have some green stuff ready just in case for if you head down to check out Highway 63's entertaining hard and classic rock hits! I wonder if their teased "travelling" will take them beyond the Dondee or the St. Ignace Kewadin in the near future? TOMORROW'S show has a 21+ age limit, no announced cover charge, and an 8:00 PM start time, rather than the 7:00 PM kick-off last week. Check the above links for more details, and for a preview, here's a new video of Highway 63 in action!

    Shared to the band's Facebook page on Monday by attendee Sara Gordon, this comes from last week's Dondee show, and it features Highway 63 covering Poison's "Nothin' but a Good Time" alongside a special guest singer: Rock 101's own Scott Cook, under the very Hair Scare-esque guise of "Chet Michaels"! He apparently sang a second song (not filmed here) with Highway 63 that night also, and he held his own on vocals alongside Henry and crew, but the video can be fairly dark, and the camera is sometimes flipped sideways. Fun video with a neat yet unexpected guest spot, so give it a look below, and don't miss Highway 63 at the Dondee TOMORROW NIGHT!

    Next up, we'll move to previously announced concerts with the return of local hard rock cover quartet Project 906 to Pickles Bar & Grill in Brimley TOMORROW NIGHT, as they honour St. Patrick's Day and the one year anniversary of their live concert debut! Project 906 (who no longer list blues as a performed genre on Facebook) have had a great debut year in the E.U.P. scene, easily outstripping the success levels of Joe & Will's prior bands like Ten Kings and The Bottom Line, and it's only fitting that they return to Brimley to celebrate their anniversary and partake in the usual drunken celebrations and food specials that St. Patrick's Day entails, so don't miss it if you're in the Sault Michigan or Brimley area! I wonder if this will become a yearly tradition for Project 906? No word though on who's playing at Pickles on Saturday, if anyone. Also, keep in mind the $50 contest for best green attire & pool tournament if you are so inclined.

    As usual for Project 906's Pickles gigs, there is a 10:00 PM start time, no announced cover charge, and a 21+ age limit. For more details, visit the band's and venue's respective Facebook event pages (linked here & here), and here's Project 906 live in their debut gig last year!

    Closing this preview post in Sault Ontario, we'll start with newer local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck (formerly Nameus), who will topline their own St. Patrick's Day party TOMORROW NIGHT at The Rockstar Bar! This online page-less side project of Mourning Wood gave this show unusually early notice, presumably due to the holiday themes, and you can expect drink specials, green-dyed beer, and even some tailgate action with hot dogs available, so if you're looking for a huge shindig in honor of St. Patrick's Day, this would be a good bet! Note that Soundcheck still haven't publically confirmed the identity of their new band member, but for what it's worth, Lucky 13 guitarist Robin "Bones" Lee (who has guested with Mourning Wood in the past) is a confirmed attendee on the Facebook event page. We'll let you know when the new addition is announced online, whether it's him or not!

    And no, I have not heard who's playing at The Rockstar Bar on Saturday, if anyone. Tomorrow's Soundcheck concert has a 10:00 PM start time, no announced cover charge, and a 19+ age limit. Check the above links for more details, and hopefully Soundcheck finally post a video and/or online page at some point so we can better preview them!

    Finally, we'll close with the usual weekly matinee concerts from longtime Caveman Morrison frontman Tym Morrison, to be held as expected at Gliss Steak & Seafood TOMORROW & SATURDAY! Fans of his acoustic hard rock covers should be right at home this weekend, especially if you're familiar with his ongoing matinee arrangement at The Quality Inn's house restaurant, so don't bypass these for a more reserved and minimalist blend of hard rock favourites this weekend! Note that while Tym does acknowledge the holiday weekend on the Facebook event page, he doesn't indicate there if there will be any specific promotions, deals, or green coloured paraphernalia for the occasion. In any event, tomorrow & Saturday's shows are both 6:00 PM affairs with no announced cover or age limits, but remember where these are being held. See above for more details, and here's Tym live!

    That's all for today, but stay tuned for our 415E preview and more tomorrow! Thanks everyone!