Happy Canada Day to all of our Sault Ontario readers! It's now time for a new concert review at long last, as I was in attendance for Saturday night's Re:Born-headlined concert at The Rockstar Bar which served as a going away party for roadie/filmer Cory Burch before his impending move west. Disappointingly small turnout, but on the Canada Day long weekend and a busy Saturday concert lineup (including Slaughter in St. Ignace), I can't be too shocked. Fans in attendance were definitiely into everything! Also, I apologize if I missed any nuances or certain moments on Friday, I had a persistent headache for most of the show, but I am fine now.
Jack Spades, who were originally asked to open this show alongside funk/hard rock quartet The Elements. However, with Rob Speers, Tiffany Stocco, AND Jonas Gasperas unavailable over the long weekend, the two bands sort of had to combine operations. For this set, Elements guitarist Jesse Cook rejoined Jack Spades for the night, while his replacement Daniel Horton shifted over to bass a'la Project 421. All told, this temporary lineup got the job done with this slightly stilted set, which saw the intro for "Breakneck Speed" chopped and "Rise" shifted until unusually late in the set. A single guitar sound isn't optimal, but everyone performed well, with J.D. Pearce up to his usual entertaining standards on vocals, and Johnny Belanger's drumming was on point! Nice to see Jesse break out some solos with Spades once again too. Not the optimal conditions, but Jack Spades made things work out well!
Handsome Sandwich! Their concert sets nowadays are very sporadic and often unannounced, like at what became of last year's Michale Graves show, so it was good to see them again! Of course, Jesse and Johnny remained on stage from Jack Spades' set, but the guys weren't alone, as James' Stoned To Deaf bandmate William Jordan Wardlaw guested on lead vocals for all four songs. As far as I know, Stoned To Deaf have only played one public concert to date, so if you missed their debut, you could call this a preview! Their short set included covers of Rise Against's "Like The Angel", two Red Hot Chili Peppers' songs, and in a throwback to Stoned To Deaf's debut, Rage Against The Machine's "Killing In The Name." Handsome Sandwich performed well, and while William's voice was a good match (especially for Rage), his stage presence could be a little looser. Hopefully we hear more from everyone soon!
A Dire Setback, in their first concert set of the year! Fresh off of the completion of their album recording sessions, the guys dipped into their original material well for a set focused on familiar tracks like "Kicking & Screaming", "Faded", and "Forget This Memory", and they got a good reception from assembled fans. Chris Nielsen's vocals are definitely improving in a live setting, and he and Matt Quinn played off of each other well on guitar and bass, while Nick Kainula's drumming was reliable and added strong rhythm! I liked their jokey nature on stage too between songs, definitely keep up with that in the future. I don't know when we'll see the album on sale, but A Dire Setback's return was definitely well received, and here's hoping for a stronger crowd here on July 20th!
Re:Born, of course featuring Cory Burch's dad Blair on guitar. This was the first time I've seen Re:Born since Elly McWatters replaced Robert Nevitt on lead vocals (and since Frank McGillivray left the band entirely), so how did they sound? Pretty good overall, they're adapting well with this lineup! Compared to last year, their sound has more melodic material, but rather than covering bands with female singers (Halestorm aside), Re:Born instead tackled more glam and hair metal, with Poison and and Guns N' Roses now making their setlist, alongside many old standby covers like "Children of the Sea", and select originals/421-holdovers like "Running Away" & "Die Another Day." Elly's voice is strong and confident on this material, and she was a solid pick-up for the band, but she does need to work on her stage banter a bit. Blair's guitar work was as solid as ever, and Fred & Brandan handled the low rhythm end just fine! A new rhythm guitarist isn't necessary, for what it's worth.
Even featuring a guest singer late whose name I did not catch, Re:Born's set seemed to be the best send-off for Cory before his big move this week, and everything went pretty good despite the turnout! In spite of my headache, it was nice to be back out for another concert, and you can check out my photos and videos at this link or at our Facebook page. Video-wise, here's Jack Spades playing "Crossroads", Handsome Sandwich covering The Chili Peppers' "Can't Stop", A Dire Setback playing "Nightmares", and Re:Born covering Motley Crue's "Live Wire"
That's all for today, but stay tuned for this month's "Where Are The New Albums?" post next! Thanks everyone!