Friday, June 21, 2024

It's The Pits, Inconsistent Me, And BookcluB Concert Previews!!

Before we finally cap off this weekend's hard rock/punk concert previews, just a friendly tip that Wyld Stallyns/ex-Elements frontman Rob Speers will return to The Dive Gastro Pub for another acoustic show on their patio tomorrow night. I'm still not 100% sure if his solo dates are similar to his bands in set/sound or not, hence why I'm not covering it as normal here, but keep it in mind if you want some downtown unplugged music! Now, let's wrap up this weekend's previews by looking at a big festival an hour or so outside of town, plus two Sunday events, so here's what you should know!

We'll start at Robbie Adamson's old church in nearby Leeburn, where local concert promoters Piecing It Together Shows (née Dryer Fire) will host the biggest ever concert TOMORROW, namely the It's The Pits! Yes, live music returns to the site of the late 2010s Oh!No fesitvals and last year's private Bear Hunters reunion event, and P.IT.S. (peach pit motif fully intact) will be bringing a wide array of styles to the church tomorrow, and while the former Dryer Fire have never been known as a metal/punk-first promotion agency, two of the ten acts tomorrow are SMS-amenable! Half of the bill is comprised of touring artists, and while it's not clear if the poster gives away the performance order (we don't know set times anyway), Toronto electronica duo LAL are definitely the headliners tomorrow night. Also making their way here are Toronto skate punk trio The Mendozaz, who genre fans will definitely take to with their melodic sound!

Other touring acts tomorrow are Ottawa indie rock singer/guitarist Catriona Sturton (who played in the Soo in October), Toronto "deep Earth folk" project Twintwa, and Grand Rapids, Michigan "dark folk" duo Rabbit Fur. The local contingent tomorrow includes crossover thrash/punk band Hails (who will be back in Leeburn for Crucifest next month), DJ Seith (who joined Ha!ls at the private Leeburn event last July), Chris West's local/Quebec indie solo project Tampa, lo-fi "anti-folk" singer/guitarist Shae Tull, and the cryptic regional Americana project Tye Lawless Co.. Note that ex-Shit Liver bassist Mike Kyle's folk project Sibling dropped out of It's The Pits last month after deciding to step away from music, and they were not replaced on the bill. Sam Emerson from local quilting/product repair company Muel Goods is tomorrow's host, and numerous arts and culture vendors will be selling their wares on site.

It's The Pits (which has no stated age limit) takes place tomorrow at 2:00 PM into the night at 5756 Highway 638 outside of Bruce Mines, and attendees are welcome & encouraged to camp out on site and leave on Sunday if they so choose. Just respect the space, and mind tomorrow's rainy weather forecast (though the concert proper is indoors). Tickets cost $45 in advance at this link or via P.I.T.S. staff, and the price jumps to $50 at the gate. Hopefully It's The Pits is a huge hit for Nicole and crew, so that they make this an annual event, and punk fans will enjoy The Mendozaz and Hails in particular among this talented lineup! Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's The Mendozaz live!

Next up, let's head back into Sault Ste. Marie city limits for two concerts taking place on SUNDAY, starting with a matinee performance by online page-less local alternative/punk cover sextet Bookclub as the headliners during that day's teddy bear picnic at Thomson Farms Cider & Winery! Last crossing our radar when Tym Morrison had a weekly run there in late 2019, the 4057 Third Line West mill/winery will host their first ever teddy bear picnic on Sunday afternoon, where families and their kids are encouraged to come down (with picnic blankets and plush toys in tow) to enjoy refreshments, family entertainment, games, prize draws, local vendors, and of course, music! BookcluB will be headlining at 1:00 PM (running for three hours), while veteran R&B/soul sextet The Hustle Brothers will open the picnic with a few sets starting at 10:00 AM. What's unclear is if they'll be playing inside at the Wine Barn or fully outdoors.

Regardless of age, tickets run for $10 at this link or presumably upon entry, though if you have a baby 2 years or younger, they'll get in free. The Weather Channel is currently projecting partly cloudy weather in the 22° range on Sunday afternoon, but showers do bookend the 10 AM-4 PM timeframe, so if you are at all concerned about the rain messing with the picnic, keep tabs on your preferred local weather reports closer to Sunday. It'll be interesting to see how things go at Thomson Farms, both for the atypical concert setting, the potential weather impairment, and just how the teddy bear picnic goes, but BookcluB should get a good response! Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here they are live!

Finally for this very busy slate of weekend concert previews, let's head to The Distraction, where Detroit pop punk solo project Inconsistent Me will headline on SUNDAY NIGHT! One of a surprising number of Michigan-based touring bands to play in Sault Ontario in recent months (if only Sault Michigan bands were similarly crossing over), Inconsistent Me's brand of up tempo & nostalgic pop punk should draw a good response from fans at the old barbership on East Street, so don't miss out if you can swing coming on a work night! No word on if Brendan will be playing solo with a backing track or if he has a band with him (both have happened in the past). Local support will come by way of punk trio Vanity First, capping off a busy weekend for Mikhal and Keeghan (and Carmen?) following their sister band Hails' sets at Go Skateboarding Day tonight and at It's The Pits yesterday! Also, this is their first show since releasing "Identity Crisis" in April.

Oddly, Vanity haven't been promoting this show much in recent weeks, but it does appear to be on for Sunday as scheduled, and as usual, this is an all ages concert. Doors open at 6:00 PM, and admission is via a "$10 or pay-what-you-can" model. If the rain scared you off of Go Skate Day, and if Leeburn is a little too remote for tomorrow, punk fans may find that Inconsistent Me is what the doctor ordered, so definitely visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's Inconsistent Me live!

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

Thursday, June 20, 2024

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Soundcheck), More Weekend Concert Previews, And Bone Yard 225 Updates!!

It's post #2 of this packed slate of hard rock/punk weekend concert previews, so if you're looking for late notice gigs and anything that has an earlier start time tomorrow, check the post below this one. Today's looks at cover bands playing tomorrow and Saturday night, along with a cancellation, a video from that same band, and LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS from a band playing this weekend, so here's what you should know!

We'll start at The Esquire Club, where local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck will return to the stage TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! These will be Soundcheck's first shows at the Second Line West nightclub since playing there for consecutive weekends last month, and are the last shows on the venue's early 2024 concert calendar shared on Facebook back in January. Now, drummer Glen Thomas elaborated on the band's future plans in a post on their Facebook page yesterday, noting that they're ending their run as jam night hosts at Jay's Piston Broke Pub after tonight, as singer/guitarist Terry Eaton "needs a breather from them". Jam nights will continue at Jay's with different band(s), and while we await confirmation, remember that we don't cover jam nights regardless of host band due to their in-built unpredictability. Come on down to Jay's tonight to send Terry, Jim, and Glen off!

Glen also indicated that this weekend's shows might be the last at The Esquire Club before the venue goes on a summer break from hosting bands, but I haven't seen confirmation of that beyond what Glen said. In the above post, Glen also revealed some brand new dates for the Canada Day long weekend, including their return to The Water Tower Pub on Friday, June 28th! As the venue historically has different bands each night, Soundcheck will play elsewhere on Saturday the 29th, specifically an event in Echo Bay just outside of town. Glen didn't elaborate, but after some digging, I can confirm that Soundcheck are playing at The Elks Lodge as the musical entertainment after day #2 of this year's Elks Bay Days Slo-Pitch Tournament! As best as I can tell, this is publically attendable, so keep it in mind if you want to enjoy their classic and hard rock covers on the outskirts of town, and/or the slo-pitch baseball action!

Lastly, Soundcheck will reportedly return to the Soo on Sunday the 30th to rock this year's Cruisin' The Dub car show at the newer A&W on Great Northern Road, but I am going to hold off on plugging that for now as I have not found any public advertising for it from organizers despite its scope. Stay tuned, even if it's late notice! This weekend's two Esquire Club shows are at 9:30 PM, next weekend's publically confirmable events are both at 9:00 PM, none have an advertised cover charge (unless you're in the slo-pitch tournament), and I'd assume that all are 19+. Visit the above links for more on Soundcheck's busy end of June, and for a preview of this weekend's Esquire Club shows, here they are live!

Next up, we'll transition from one of this year's Rotaryfest Stage 1 closing bands to another, as fellow local classic/hard rock cover quartet Double Down will play a double-header at Reggie's Place TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Last seen at this or any other venue last month, these will be the fourth and fifth shows with Beej Syrette on guitar, and hopefully he's settled into a good groove by now with his new band, even if we haven't seen public video footage of the band with him yet (shot by him, yes, but not with him performing). No word on if we'll see Double Down anywhere else beforehand, but these should be a good appetizer for when they cap off Rotaryfest's band lineup in four weeks, so prepare for lots of fan friendly hard rock covers then! These are 19+ events with no cover charge and 9:30 PM start times. Visit the above links for more details, and for a preview, here's Double Down live last year!

Today's post was supposed to end with a preview of Saturday night's Bone Yard 225 show at Shooters Downstairs Lounge, but that show has quietly been cancelled. The band hasn't plugged it in their recent concert calendar updates, nor have they given a reason why the show was called off, and the venue is instead hosting a DJ and dance party tomorrow and Saturday rather than calling in replacement musicians. Hopefully nothing bad happened with Greg, Alex, and Warren at Shooters, and that we see them back there in the fall! The guys will next rock Reggie's for the Canada Day long weekend. Rather than completely discard Bone Yard from today's post, let's look at the video that I would have previewed their Saturday nighter with, courtesy of their Queen Street Cruise set this past Saturday! As it turns out, the Roberta Bondar Pavilion is the Friday locale after the cruise proper, not where they played for show #2 the next afternoon.

During the show n' shine car show, Bone Yard 225 took to an outdoor stage in front of the waterfront near the Montana's building on Foster Drive, so good thing the weather cooperated! Attendee Marcy Catherine live-streamed the guys covering Alice Cooper's "Be My Lover" for her personal Facebook page, which the band shared to their Facebook page after the fact, and while it is unfortunately vertical, the clear weather and close vantage point are to this video's benefit, let alone a cover that you don't hear often here from Bone Yard or anyone else! Check it out below, and stay tuned for more from your local 225!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for our It's The Pits, Inconsistent Me, and Bookclub concert previews tomorrow to cap off this very busy weekend preview slate! Thanks everyone!

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (HeadFirst & The Nameless) And The First Of This Weekend's Concert Previews!!

An unusually busy concert weekend is upon us, so just to clarify the schedule, I have to break up this weekend's hard rock/punk concert previews into three posts! Today's will focus on SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS and gigs taking place earlier tomorrow than others, so if you're looking for the It's The Pits festival, the teddy bear picnic at Thomson Farms with Bookclub, Inconsistent Me, Bone Yard 225, Double Down, Soundcheck, or anything else that I may have missed, check back in the coming days! Now, here's what you should know to start!

Sault Michigan hard rock quintet The Nameless will make their Bird's Eye Outfitters debut TONIGHT during the outdoors store/venue's summer kickoff party! Apologies for the short notice, The Nameless' involvement was first confirmed via the official Facebook event page last week but it didn't cross our radar until the last few days. Presumably scheduled for TONIGHT to coincide with the summer solstice (literally making this a summer kickoff party), this is curiously themed after summer camp, so attendees at "Camp Bird's Eye" TONIGHT will get to tell ghost stories, have s'mores, and make bracelets, while also trying food/drink specials, including craft cocktails/mocktails and wine. Should be a fun evening, so definitely consider a run to the site of the former Golanka's Bar/Bird nightclub TONIGHT for all of the action! Given the alcoholic beverages on tap, I would expect this to be a 21+ event, but it should be an early night.

There is no cover charge at 107 East Portage Avenue for TONIGHT's event, and everything starts at 6:00 PM. Scheduling this on a work night won't be ideal for many, but hopefully it's a blast whether you're in it for the music, the refreshments, the summer camp vibes, supporting Bird's Eye Outfitters, or a combination thereof! Visit the above links for more details, and for a preview, click here to watch The Nameless' sole public concert video! It remains unembeddable here due to content matched background audio.

Next up, let's head to Sault Ontario, where local hard rock quintet HeadFirst will return to Jay's Piston Broke Pub for concerts TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Again, apologies for the short notice, these shows were only announced via the band's Facebook page on Tuesday. HeadFirst have a busy weekend ahead, as not only are they rocking Jay's both nights, TOMORROW will see them play two concerts, as they are also playing at Go Skateboarding Day TOMORROW beforehand! We are previewing that next, so scroll down a little bit for that event. Last seen at Jay's at the end of April, hopefully HeadFirst's hard rocking cover slate and quickly developing originals get another solid audience TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! These are 19+ events with no cover charge and 9:00 PM start times. Visit the above links for more on the west end action this weekend, and here's HeadFirst live!

Moving to shows that did have advance notice, we'll next head to Queen Elizabeth Park outside of The John Rhodes Center, where Tidal Records will host their ninth annual Go Skateboarding Day event TOMORROW, with bands present for year #8! June 21st is on a Friday for the first time since the local Go Skate Day began, which should be huge for encouraging turnout for local skateboarders and extreme sports practitioners to bring their gear to the skatepark to enjoy themselves! Three bands will rock the top of the big ramp this year, including punk/crossover thrash trio Hails in their second straight Go Skate Day set and first of two shows this weekend (stay tuned for our It's The Pits Festival preview tomorrow), alongside guitarist Mikhal Muto's party metal/double bass trio The Apocalypse Afterparty, and the aforementioned HeadFirst, both making their first Go Skateboarding Day appearances tomorrow evening.

Beyond the music, expect refreshments, vendors, and skate games to encourage (especially) young skaters to come out to enjoy all of the festivities! Go Skate Day is absolutely ALL AGES, everything starts tomorrow at 6:00 PM, and there is no cover charge whether you're in it for the skating or music. 9&10 News is currently calling for 22° temperatures and cloudy weather with a 30% chance of rain tomorrow evening, so if you are at all concerned about possible rain during the event, keep tabs on your preferred local forecast as we inch closer to showtime. Visit the above links for more on Go Skateboarding Day in Sault Ste. Marie tomorrow, and for a preview of all of the action, here's Ha!ls live!

Finally for concert preview post #1, local classic/hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison will continue his currently weekly arrangements at The Mike Case Memorial Stage outside of The Trading Post TOMORROW NIGHT and at Misty's Fifties on SATURDAY! This is quite a crammed weekend for hard rock fans, but if Tym's unplugged stage show full of classic covers is your cup of tea, you will have two options to see him this weekend, in the fourth week of his current double duty at the Great Northern Road outdoor stage and the Second Line West nightclub, so keep both shows in mind! If you can't make it to either, Tym will be back at both venues (almost) weekly through at least September. Tomorrow's Trading Post show is at 7:00 PM for all ages, and like at Go Skate Day, 9&10 News is calling for cloudy 22° weather with a 30% chance of rain, so if you have any worries about Tym getting rained out, watch for updates as we get closer to showtime.

As for the Misty's show is a 4:00 PM matinee and 19+, and neither show has a cover charge. Hopefully Tym draws a good attendance for both of this weekend's shows, and if they were paid events, you'd definitely be getting your money's worth with his talents! Visit the official Facebook event pages linked here and here for more details, and here's Tym live!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for our second weekend concert preview post either tonight or tomorrow morning, which will cover the Double Down and Soundcheck concerts, the It's The Pits Festival, and maybe more, so stay tuned then! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Rotaryfest Stage 2!!)

Where we covered Rotaryfest's Stage 1 lineup reveal on the SMS yesterday, let's look at Stage 2 today, as the full lineup for this year's originals-leaning stage was released in the last few days! This year's Second Stage (beside the Art Gallery of Algoma at Clergue Park) is the seventeenth total and the eighth since the "Redirected" era began in 2015, but in the biggest year-to-year overhaul for Stage 2 since then, only two bands are returnees from prior lineups, and only one of them played last year! As has been the case since Stage 2 returned from its two year pandemic hiatus, there will be two nights of music for a third straight year, starting with Friday Night Blues on July 19th, as sponsored/curated by The Sault Blues Society. No hard rock or metal bands to speak of there, but the headliners this year are Mudfoot Mike and the Muckrakers (featuring half of Generations backing up their past fill-in guitarist Mike McDonald).

Also scheduled are the new/one-off (both?) That There Blues Band and The Associates, Treble Charger guitarist Bill Priddle's alt-rock trio All The Tired Horses (the only returning Stage 2 band from last year, let alone Stage 1 in 2022), and new local power blues quartet The Eight Seventies. That band shares three members with new pop rock cover band The Rhythm Junction, who themselves play at Stage 1 that evening, so kudos to Marshall, Jaime, and Joe for pulling double duty! Click here for full details on the Friday Night Blues lineup, including the complete lineups for all five bands!

Despite the above promotional image, Mitch isn't playing Stage 2 this year, but nine acts are on the indie/alternative-leaning program on Saturday, July 20th, and the headliners will be new local folk/bluegrass quartet The Golden Scoundrels (featuring Shit Liver and Handsome Sandwich alumni). This is a huge stamp of approval for this new project, so while a big jump from members' heavier work, don't bypass them at 8:30 PM! For the first time since 2019, a touring band will play the Second Stage that night at 7:30 PM, namely The Seth Brown Duo, an Americana/folk act from Crystal Falls, Michigan, which is in the Western Upper Peninsula. Seth and Desiree are been playing all around the region this year, and just played at LSSU in Sault Michigan last week, so their well-tested original folk country material should draw a good reception! Rotaryfest will be their only Canadian tour date this year.

The second and final returning band this year is the surprise reunion of local folk/country band The Crossroad Magdalenes (now apparently shortened to The Crossroad Maggies) in their first announced concert after a four year hiatus, and first Rotaryfest set since rocking Stage 2 in 2019. Good to see The Maggies back after the pandemic lockdowns seemed to stop them in their tracks! They're on at 6:30 PM, while the highest slotted act in the SMS' coverage range precedes them at 5:30 PM, namely the sporadically seen veteran punk quintet The Gambit in their first show since opening for Fuller at LopLops in December. Hopefully the former Sick Sons deliver a fun set of punk originals, and maybe a few covers to boot! Convergence/Rhythm Junction guitarist Jacob Valois will play on Stage 2 at 4:30 with his eponymous Jacob Valois Group, who I don't believe have a social media account to promote themselves with.

As best as I can gather, this should be an extension of his recent live jazz performances (his website also calls this group "The Jacob Valois Quartet"), and it'll be interesting to see what he and his band have in store for Rotaryfest, as he is a talented player across multiple genres! The preceding hour's timeslot is actually broken in half for two solo artists, with folk/indie singer Juliana Regan scheduled for 4:00 PM and Handsome Sandwich/Golden Scoundrels guitarist Brandon Ruch blocked at 3:30 PM. Of course, Brandon has backed up Juliana live multiple times in the past year, such as at Lopstock, so that could recur, but what does Brandon play as a solo artist? I have no clue, but we'll keep you posted! The 2:30 PM slot is listed for "Miss Madii", who I am 99.9% certain is Lime frontwoman Madii Schomogyi, who runs the double herself via playing on Stage 1 with Lime earlier that afternoon.

Madii had posted on the Musicians Wanted Facebook group on Saturday looking for a "female bassist for a girl band", so is this the project in question? If so, how do they musically differ from Lime, and is "Miss Madii" legitimately the band's name or is that a solo placeholder? Stay tuned! The opening band on this year's Second Stage is hard rock quintet HeadFirst, and you can make the argument that they'll be the heaviest band to play on Stage 2 in the "Redirected" era, so don't miss their lead-off set at 1:30 PM! Like with Stage 1, all of the festivities are FREE and ALL AGES. While recent regulars like Handsome Sandwich, The Hollow Heads, Machines Dream, Rusty McCarthy, and Smokehouse are not playing this year, the very fresh lineup of performers across both nights should give attendees lots to enjoy! Visit the above links for much more on Stage 2, and look for weekend concert previews next! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Rotaryfest Stage 1!!)

The lineup for this year's Rotaryfest stages has been unveiled via the festival's Facebook page yesterday, so what should you know here? As best as I can tell, nothing has changed in terms of staging/locale for the musical entertainment at Clergue Park over the July 20th weekend, with three nights of covers-leaning bands playing at Stage 1 in front of the library and two nights of blues and original indie/alternative bands respectively playing at Stage 2 beside the art gallery. To both give it separate focus and to let more time accumulate re: gathering info on some acts, we'll likely be touching on the Stage 2 lineup tomorrow. Unlike last year (so far?), organizers haven't posted Facebook event pages for each individual band playing this year, but the write-ups on those will eventually be seen in the program when that is released. Twenty acts are scheduled for Stage 1 next month, so who all is playing?

Just to clarify, the schedule release did not include set times, so the times listed here are based on last year's bill (which also had 20 bands) and what bands publically said on their own. Starting on Thursday, July 18th, that day's shorter program will see four returning acts from prior installments, with classic/hard rock cover quartet Generations co-headlining in the likely 8:00 PM slot in their second Rotaryfest appearance! Good to see them back after their festival debut last year, so don't miss out! That night's headliners at 9:30 PM are local Abba tribute band Abba Soo (who closed the Thursday bill last year also), and they will be joined by country singer Brendan Hodgson (in his fourth straight Stage 1 set) at 7:00 PM and a reunion of local nine-piece 1970s soft rock cover band Pegasus at 6:00 PM, in their third appearance at the modern festival, though they're the only Thursday band that didn't play last year.

As usual, Rotaryfest Stage 1 is FREE & ALL AGES. Not the heaviest lineup going, but Generations will deliver the rock on this night, so keep it in mind as you plan your schedule of events at the Sault's Summer Festival next month! Visit the above links for more on the Thursday program!

With only one touring tribute band this year, the Friday, July 19th program reverts to an all local lineup in 2024, but four of that day's six acts are making their festival debuts. The advertised headliners are local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck in their first Rotaryfest appearance since 2019 and third total. It is nice to see the guys back, and hopefully their hard rocking & occasional country covers find a solid audience in the presumed 10:20 PM slot! That day's other returnee is local/Barrie alternative hard rock solo musician Mike Haggith in his third straight Stage 1 appearance, and this has to be seen as a make-up date for him after his freak knee dislocation during his Thursday opening set last year. Fingers crossed that nothing screwy happens in Mike's return to Clergue Park next month! Mike will be opening on Friday the 19th, likely at 5:00 PM, with the four interim bands all being newcomers to Rotaryfest.

In descending chronological order, these bands are rock cover quartet Westridge at 9:00 PM, new local Tragically Hip tribute band The Luxury (featuring Tripod The Dog and Late Shift alumni) at 8:00 PM, new pop rock cover band The Rhythm Junction (a side project of fellow newer power blues band The Eight Seventies) at 7:00 PM, and local classic rock duo Frankly Speaking (billed as "Frank & Frank") at 6:00 PM. A lot of talent from those four groups, if not overly heavy between them, and I'm very surprised that Frankly Speaking haven't played Stage 1 before! Like on Thursday, this is FREE & ALL AGES, so see above for more details on what to expect that night on the main stage!

As usual, the Saturday, July 20th bill is the longest of the weekend, and once again, a touring tribute band will be the featured act that night, but not the closing band. This year's touring attraction is Sound Of Sting, a Southern Ontario-based tribute band to Sting and The Police. I'm not a big Sting fan, but they do have the sound down, so if you are, you'll get your money's worth that night for their presumed 8:30 PM set! This year's closing band is actually local classic/hard rock cover quartet Double Down in their second Rotaryfest appearance but first since Beej Syrette came on board, and what a way to make their encore! They'll likely be on at 10:30 PM. Further down, fellow 2023 newcomers The Way Backs will bring their classic rock covers back to Stage 1 at 7:15 PM, preceded by classic rock veterans RPM (in their third straight Rotaryfest set and fourth total) at 6:15 PM.

Alternative/punk cover sextet Bookclub will return from 2023 with a set at 5:15 PM, preceded by the sixth Stage 1 appearance by veteran classic rock trio Flathead Ford at 4:15 PM. Newer local classic/hard rock cover quartet Silent 9 will play Rotaryfest for the first time at 3:15 PM, while the 2:15 PM slot belongs to Steel Rock, who happen to be the new Mustang Sally-esque student rock band from Superior Heights Collegiate! Read more on the high school's theatrical performance program (including Steel Rock gigs) at this link. I like that Superior Heights has something like this now, and it's too bad that Bawating didn't in my day! The Northern Jazz Ensemble will play the modern Rotaryfest for the fifteenth time since 2001 (by far the most of any act this year) and sixth in-person year in a row at 1:15 PM, while the opening band at 12:00 PM on Saturday the 20th is pop rock cover quartet Lime in their third Stage 1 set after skipping last year.

Once again, this is FREE & ALL AGES. Conspicuous by their absence this year are recent regular bands like Mustang Heart (due to an in-band health issue), That's Chester, The Wyld Stallyns, Bone Yard 225, and Mid Life Crysis, among others, but this year's lineup is mostly newer groups. If you complained about the same bands being booked every year, you'll like that only four bands this year played at three or more Stage 1s in the past, and most were not seen here before 2023, so there should be a lot of solid and fresh music to take in next month! Visit the above links for much more on the musical and non-musical entertainment at Rotaryfest this year, and look for our Stage 2 lineup coverage next! Thanks everyone!

Monday, June 17, 2024

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Vaegon), New Videos, And More Recent Updates!!

Before we begin today's post, I wanted to apologize for missing local classic/hard rock cover quartet Generations' one-nighter at The Water Tower Pub this past Saturday for coverage on the site. While the venue never plugged the show on social media, drummer Tony Santoro plugged it thrice on their Facebook group between June 5th and that afternoon, all of which passed me by at the time. I apologize again and will do better to keep tabs on their updates, but hopefully it was a big hit, and don't miss Generations at Rotaryfest next month, especially with the schedule coming out this week! Now, here's a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT, new videos, and much more from Sault Ontario in the last while!

Remember the era of Roosevelt Hotel metal nights in the early 2010s? Well, we're getting a return to the good old days on Sunday, July 21st, as the former Rosie (now known as Jay's Piston Broke Pub) will host touring extreme metal bands that night! Both making their local concert debut, the bands in question are technical death metal bands from western Canada, including Edmonton quartet Vaegon as the headliners alongside Vancouver quintet Exterminatus, who are touring Canada on the Particle Eclipse Canada Tour (named for Vaegon's newest EP). It's not hyperbole when I say that this will be the heaviest show to take place at Jay's/Reggie's West since The Rosie was sold in 2014, and between Vaegon's intense original material and Exterminatus' Cannibal Corpse-reminiscent sound, both containing groove metal elements, extreme metal fans should be right at home at 306 Korah Road next month, especially on Rotaryfest weekend!

Local support will come by way of young metal trio The BAG in their first announced show in three months, and if Facebook comment replies are to be believed, they were key in getting this show booked. Not an extreme metal band, but Spencer, Austin, and Bradley will set the tone well! This 8:00 PM and 19+ concert has $10 tickets, presumably available at Jay's and through BAG members. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details on the brutality hitting Jay's next month, so metalheads can party like it's 2011 or so all over again!

Next up, here's the latest from local hard rock trio Bullet Train, who posted their newest at-home demo single to their YouTube channel two weeks ago! After a few weeks of teasers hinting at new material, they delivered with "Profit", which also has a music/lyric video giving us our first look at real (if monochrome) video footage of Cory, Bones, and Anthony on camera performing in this project! AI imagery also alternates with the performance clips, and sticking close to their past songs/videos, this one is very much focused on current issues, specifically the belief that it's more profitable for pharmaceutical companies to medicate illnesses than cure them. I am not qualified to comment on stuff like this, so I'll leave that to people who are, but fans of Cory's old bands like Sense of Truth will like the chugging riffs and melodic vocals on display, though I'll leave any analysis of the lyrics for others. Check out "Profit" for yourselves below!

Also, here's the latest from local hard rock quintet HeadFirst, who return to the stage at Go Skateboarding Day on Friday, but this is very different. As you may recall, Shooters Downstairs Lounge hosted their first annual karaoke talent quest competition last summer, where ex-Re:Born singer Elly McWatters won the $1,000 first prize and a trip to Las Vegas. We don't actively cover 100% karaoke events here, but I did note last year that local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck had signed on as the judges for the event's duration. This year, Shooters have changed things up by enlisting rotating guest judges, and for night #1 on June 9th, the judges were most of HeadFirst! Everyone except guitarist Liam Dinsmore and drummer Anthony Boudreau headed to the Dennis Street nightclub to judge the competition, and they actually filmed the MC's introduction and the first singer for their Facebook page!

Again, I don't cover karaoke-only events here, but as HeadFirst filmed this and are featured on camera, I thought I'd at least acknowledge it. The video features singer Vix (née Sarah) Vikken covering My Chemical Romance's "I Don't Love You", and while Vix (who uses they/them pronouns) didn't advance to the top 25 on their first shot, paid registrants can keep auditioning until the top 25 is filled out, so there is still time for Vix to match their top 12 run last year. Emo and pop punk fans will like the strong vocal cover here, so check the video at this link! I can't embed it here, as Facebook content matched the "I Don't Love You" backing track.

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


  • Sporadically-heard-from local metal band Chronic Demonic made their first post about real band activity since 2022 on their Facebook page on May 31st, where guitarist Kevin Powe (ex-Fitswitch) revealed that he's "jammin' with my unnamed 3rd project" that also includes drummer Jonathan Harvey (ex-Gates of Winter), and he floated the idea of playing a joint show with all three of his bands. He didn't give the identity of the second band, but it could be the inactive Frightlight, who dropped out of a planned reunion set at the Northern Vibe Festival last year. It'd be great to see Chronic Demonic finally play a full concert, but visit the above links for more info!
  • After seeing their album "Deconstructed" nominated for Outstanding Engineer (Dustin Goodall) at this year's Northern Ontario Film & Music Awards, local alt-hard rock quintet Handsome Sandwich will hit the road for Sudbury next Friday to play at that night's Soiree d'Ambiance Artist Showcase at Le Studio Desjardins, one of multiple Northern Ontario showcase concerts taking place that weekend around the awards ceremony. Handsome Sandwich and North Bay punk band Peach Pact will be opening for Thunder Bay folk rockers The Honest Heart Collective that night. Best of luck to Handsome Sandwich and Dustin next weekend!
  • Local metal concert promotion agency Heavy North Entertainment has relaunched after a six year hiatus! Ran by former Them frontman Tyler St. Amour, the company has been plugging events from other promoters in recent months, but confirmed on their Facebook page earlier this month that they are booking events for this year and next year, and are "pleased to be working" the It's The Pits Festival from Piecing It Together Shows in Leeburn this weekend. I don't know to what end Tyler is involved in It's The Pits, as it's not metal-centric like in H.N.E.'s early-mid 2010s heyday, but it's great to see him back promoting concerts in the Sault area!


That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes on the site this week! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, June 16, 2024


Local southern hard rock trio Bone Yard 225 have updated their website's concert calendar to reflect their slate of summer concerts taking place in August, so when can you check them out then? Their first show that month will be out of town, as they'll be heading 90 minutes east to Thessalon to play at the Aubrey Falls Trading Post & Outpost Camp on Saturday, August 3rd for their Civic Holiday weekend pig roast. Thessalon is outside of our coverage range, but hopefully this show goes well despite the atypical venue, and keep it in mind if you're in Central Algoma moreso! And yes, it is that Aubrey Falls, namely Bone Yard singer/drummer Greg Simpson's old That's Chester bandmate. Your local 225's first truly local show of August 2024 will see them rock Algoma Tree Services' sixth annual community meet & greet/charity barbecue on Saturday, August 10th! This will be Bone Yard's first ever appearance at this event.

Readers may recall that the musical entertainment at the Goulais River-based business over the past two years was local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck and classic rock band Angry Joe & The Growlers, and according to their website's calendar, Bone Yard 225 will be replacing Soundcheck as the headliners this year for unannounced reasons. In the past two years, I didn't hear a peep about this event until after it took place, so kudos to Bone Yard for publicizing it, and hopefully lots of money is raised for the Kiwanis Club that weekend! The Growlers kick things off at 1:30 PM with Bone Yard headlining at 7:00 PM, and there is no cover for this public, outdoor, and all ages event. Click here for more updates! On Friday, August 16th, Greg, Alex, and Warren will hit the road (if still nearby) to perform at the opening night of this year's Laird Fair outside of Echo Bay! 

The Laird Fair (a.k.a. the North Shore Agricultural Fair) is new to me as SMS coverage goes, but music is not new there, with last year's featured act being local country singer Mark Tarantini and his solo band. If similarly staged/plotted, Bone Yard 225 will rock a covered stage at the fairground site at Lake George Road East at 9:00 PM. Specifics on this year's fair are not out yet (follow their Facebook page for updates), but this should be an all ages event, and I didn't see reference to a cover charge last year. See above for more on the 2024 fair so far! On August 17th and 31st, Bone Yard are slated to go "uncorked", but not at one of their usual two acoustic haunts, as they'll rock Gino's Fired Up Kitchen & Bar at 1076 Great Northern Road for the first time on those Saturday nights! Gino's (which re-opened after heavy remodeling early last year) began hosting live musicians on weekends on their patio this past Friday.

So far, Gino's has welcomed Matthew James and Leslie Cook for shows at their covered patio (apparently the largest one in town), and while there is a roof on the patio, one imagines that live music will only be a seasonal thing if Gino's keeps it going into 2025. Will hard rock-leaning acoustic performers beat Bone Yard 225 to the Gino's stage before August? Stay tuned, but both of their shows are 6:30 PM affairs with no cover charge or stated age limit. The Gino's dates sandwich two shows elsewhere in August, starting with Bone Yard's return to the second annual Dragonfly Run (the rebranded/re-organized Ride For ARCH) on Sunday, August 25th! Their concert events move from an outdoor stage outside of Jay's Piston Broke Pub to The Grand Gardens on Great Northern Road this year, and Bone Yard 225 knows the new locale very well via their involvement in the annual Toystock charity concerts there in November.

Of course, the Dragonfly Run is a motorcycle rally supporting the Algoma Regional Community Hospice, which has attached community events to support ARCH, the concert included. No word on who else will be playing, but Bourbon Blue offshoot Nicky & The Southpaws and alt-rock band The Haze (née Skinbox) also performed last year. Just for the record, I am not getting into the recent controversy over this event vs. the unrelated ARCH Run that Jay's Piston Broke Pub is hosting the previous day at/outside the Korah Road venue, but if you want to read the Dragonfly Run organizers' statement about why they didn't return to Jay's for 2024 and their view on a competing rally/festival that same weekend, click here. Expect family activities, a bike show, and yes, the rally proper based at The Grand Gardens on August 25th, and this is an all ages event as usual.

There is no cover unless pledging/riding in the rally, with Bone Yard 225 playing at 7:00 PM. Lastly, the guys will return to The Water Tower Pub for one more "uncorked" show on Friday, August 30th as they kick off the Labour Day long weekend! As usual, that one-nighter has an 8:00 PM start time, no cover, and a 19+ age limit. Like last year, Bone Yard 225 are prioritizing special events over normal nightclub gigs to end the summer, so there's a lot to take in as such with their classic, hard, and southern rock cover attack, so see above for more details, and look for more news and notes on the site this week! Thanks everyone!