Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009: A Look Back In The Year In Local Metal

Hey guys, it's time to take a look back into what we saw and experienced in the local metal scene in the year of 2009. Gopefully I got to most major events and happenings in the past year, hope you guys enjoy it! We'll start with, for better or worse, the band that dominated the local metal headlines in 2009, without ever playing here. And if there's a mistake or accidental omission, let me know! Going into 2009, a return visit to the Sault area for the legendary Kiss seemed unlikely, but their announcement of a tour that Kiss fans decided the stops for gave Sault Ontario hope to lure Gene Simmons and company back here! The Essar Centre and SooToday kickstarted their own campaign for Saultites to demand Kiss on Eventful, and we responded, eventually getting to third in the voting, behind only Oshawa and Winnipeg! Gene Simmons even confirmed that we would 100% get a Kiss concert, but it wasn't without setbacks. Councillor Susan Myers infamously declared Kiss as offensive and many other misconceptions, and tried in vain to stop a Kiss concert from being scheduled. Rumours abounded about The Essar Centre's ability to host a show of this magnitude in a 5,000 seat arena, and even the validity of the "fan-routed tour" concept. Then, when the first tour dates were actually announced, many Kiss fans reacted very negatively when we weren't initially put on the first leg of the tour, despite announcements that we'd be on the second leg. Eventually, Kiss did put a Sault Ontario show on the first leg, on December 15th, 2009. Even then, not everyone was pleased, especially when Kiss's concert promoters AEG Live distributed a majority of tickets to places other than The Essar Centre's box office. Then, just two days before Kiss were to rock the Soo, they announced that the concert was postponed to the summer of 2010 due to inclement weather on the way up here from Pittsburgh. Many fans reacted negatively once again to yet another issue in the Kiss saga, but once reassurances of a Sault Ontario return became clear, things started to quiet down. What many were hoping would be the biggest concert in Sault Ontario history may be pushed back, but the hype and buzz surrounding it will continue into the summer, and rest-assured, Kiss will be here! Kiss also surrounded another major metal event of 2009, when Kiss and Rock 101 launched a 20 group Battle of the Bands at The Canadian Nightclub, where the winning band would open for Kiss at their show at The Essar Center! Understandably, the prospect of opening for Kiss attracted the interest of many local bands, as most major acts with originals in Sault Ontario (and one from Sault Michigan) signed on to compete for this major prize! Taking place from November 30th-December 2nd, it featured 20 local bands, including local metal bands Bring The Fallen, Caveman Morrison, Dirty Virgin, Garden of Bedlam, Lion Ride, Nixxon Dixxon, Sense of Truth, Stillbroke, and Sykotyk Rampage! The lineup also feature 10 bands of other genres, including The Billy Bastards, Blues Harvest, Flat Stanley, Gsis Murphy, Huckster, Middle of Nowhere, Nebraska Arms, Stiffler's Mom, Tiny Trebuchet, and Wishbone! All 20 bands played two songs each on either November 30th or December 1st, to a packed house each night! December 2nd saw Garden of Bedlam, Lion Ride, Nixxon Dixxon, Sense of Truth, Blues Harvest, Flat Stanley, Gsis Murphy, Nebraska Arms, Stiffler's Mom, and Wishbone return for the finals! In a highly competitive and close finals, opinions were divided, but most were excited when Rock 101's Mark SanAngelo announced that Garden of Bedlam were the winners! However, disappointment and shock also rang out for supporters of Lion Ride, who had been pushing and trying for months to support Kiss at the Sault show. Garden of Bedlam beat Lion Ride to win the battle by a single point, a true testament to the awesomeness and great sounds of both of these bands! Garden of Bedlam will open for Kiss in the summer, though in my eyes, no band lost at the battle, with all gaining tons of exposure to new and wider audiences! In the year that was, many local metal bands released their newest albums! Probably none were more high profile than Woods of Ypres' fourth studio release, "Woods IV: The Green Album"! It featured 16 tracks of conceptual doom metal of a very high order, with lots of well written stories and issues intertwined with some really good music! Many international media outlets have also became aware of "The Green Album", with positive results! Woods of Ypres also released their first best-of collection, "Independent Nature: Best Of 2002-2007" in 2009, as well as a special vinyl single release of their 2004 track "Allure of the Earth"! Aside from Woods of Ypres, 2009 also marked the debut EP releases for Garden of Bedlam and Stillbroke! While Stillbroke haven't played a full local show since April, "Never Enough" was released in the fall and has proven to be a very good hard rock release! As was the case for Garden of Bedlam's self-titled EP! All four songs on it have became live staples, and the album remains a steady success around the Sault area! As well, "blue Chinese metal crash punk" rockers Sykotyk Rampage put out their two newest albums in their ever expansive catalog, "Moments of Misery" and "22"! Though not as widely known as some other bands, these are two very unique and often amusing albums that deserve more attention! Capping the year for new releases was Tuesday's release of "Brace For Impact", the first real CD release from local hardcore band Detroit, featuring 9 short, but blistering hardcore numbers, helping to end 2009 on an excellent note! 2009 was another major year for big name acts to return to the Sault area at the two biggest venues for major names, The Essar Centre and Kewadin Casino! Canada's own Three Days Grace returned to Sault Ontario for the first time since January of 2008, and despite a lower attendance, they were on fire, literally! It was the first major hard rock show there since Jackyl last May, hopefully we won't have to wait that long for Kiss! The past year also saw five major metal/hard rock shows hit The Dreammakers' Theater at Kewadin Casino, starting with Los Angeles hard rockers Great White on January 10th, their first Sault area show since backing up Alice Cooper at Sault Memorial Gardens 19 years prior! March 5th saw Skid Row and FireHouse make up for previously cancelled Sault gigs by hitting Kewadin Casino, while multi-platinum hard rockers Staind returned to Kewadin Casino on April 28th with special guests Hoobastank in tow! The summer was quiet for major metal names locally, but November 2nd saw Papa Roach make their Sault-area debut with special guests Aranda and Stilrize! Just 11 days later, original Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley (and openers 16 Second Stare) rocked Kewadin, just a month before Ace's old band would have played in Sault Ontario! Each show had varying levels of success, and rightfully so! With so many major bands hitting the Sault area, it shows that we can still attract big names, and hopefully 2010 will be no different! Numerous bands came through Sault Ontario for some huge concerts, some local, some not! Ministry of Zen, Cattle Decapitation, Inflict, Grady, Today I Caught The Plague, Blind Witness, Carnifex, Upheaval of an Exorcist, Beyond Within, Norris, Psyopus, The Last Felony, Ultraviolence, Domenica, Blessed By A Broken Heart, and many other out of town bands made their way here for concerts of varying success! Locally, many bands made their presence known with their own concerts! Garden of Bedlam made their own impact at a series of headlining shows in the second half of 2009, while Lion Ride came home to rock the Sault in August and December! Both bands also appeared at the final Hempfest! Woods of Ypres also marked their grand return back to our burial ground when they rocked The Speakeasy in August! Sense of Truth continued their successful run with a handful of well recieved concerts, and Stillbroke returned to prominence with a high-quality concert in April at The Verdi Hall! Sykotyk Rampage continued their cult success with high energy shows in 2009, As It Stands played their last concerts before their breakup, and just two days ago, Detroit returned home for a night of hardcore mayhem! 2009 was a big year for many of these bands, with hopefully much more success to come! I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the bands of Sault Michigan, who I feel are underrated on the Ontario side! Only one, Nixxon Dixxon, made their way north for an Ontario concert, but Sault Michigan's vibrant metal scene continued it's success this past year! Bad Side played many great concerts at Kewadin Casino, hopefully they'll be back with more! Nixxon Dixxon played throughout the year at numerous venues, continuing to establish themselves as major players in the local scene! Shift hit The Satisfied Frog numerous times this year with some great covers, while Absolute and Riot! By Night rocked around the area as well! Clownsack resurfaced to rock the King of the Cage event in July, while Integrated System of Machines also came back at The Corner Pub earlier in the year! The now renamed-Jager played some well recieved shows at local bars earlier in the year before undergoing lineup changes and becoming Monkey's Uncle. Other young bands like Half Stupid and Free Refill played a bunch of shows, with big things in the future for both! New bands like Analog Deficiency and In Memorandum made their first impacts, while Guitar Studio rock camp alumni 7/47, Unleashed, and Intrepid helped prove the value of the youth in local music circles by playing live this year as well! Finally, some out of town bands made their way up here, like Peril, Nudge, and Kilacel, adding to what has been a stacked concert scene in Sault Michigan in 2009! Though many bands continued their success from past years in 2009, many others only formed in the past year, with many carving out a major presence! In Sault Ontario, none made a greater impact than death/thrash metal quintet Bring The Fallen, who won two Battles of the Bands in 2009, played numerous punk and metal concerts throughout the year, and commenced work on their debut EP! The future looks bright for them, as it does for many other new bands! Ex-members of As It Stands regrouped in Out Of The Mouth Of Babes, while three former members of Fitswitch bottled their love of horror movies into a new band, Frightlight! Local punk and metal veterans formed in the new thrash/punk outfit Destroilet, while other younger local musicians came together in the hard rock cover band Quite Frankly, who immediately gained attention with frontwoman Jacky Alisat's excellent vocal range! Also, Jeremy Hannah of Big Voiced Records launched a new hardcore band named Lorax, Time of Ruin's Jason Bourcier came back to front Operation: Killdozer, members of Driving Dave Home formed the R.A.T.M. tribute band Renegades, and more local music veterans formed a new group, Meatplow, near the end of the year! Notable local musicians like Gates of Winter's Lee Maines and local guitatist Brendan Christie also commenced work on notable solo projects! These bands, among others, planted their feet into the local metal scene in 2009, and hopefully we'll hear many bright things from them in 2010! But where new bands emerge, others are bound to leave, and that was the case in 2009. None was more impactful than the disbanding of Gates of Winter, who'd built a huge local fanbase in the mid-late 2000s! Though a future return is possible, Gates of Winter's legacy lives on with their great album releases and always entertaining live concerts! Also disbanding in 2009: Local hardcore band As It Stands, although four members did later form Out Of The Mouth Of Babes, many were sad to see them go. They had carved a good reputation locally, and released a popular EP a few years back! Other local bands like Browbeat and Silent Despair also ended their runs in 2009. Though not a band, marijuana supporters around the Sault area were disappointed when The Northern Ontario Hempfest closed it's doors after 11 years, although the last Hampfest was a rousing success! In a sense, a couple bands left by moving, as Sue Inside and Angels of Suffering relocated elsewhere to further their musical goals this year as well. 2009 was also a big year for comebacks, and when all was said and done for the year, the one that generated the most buzz was for the return of Foggy Notions! After closing in March of 2008, Foggy Notions was completely renovated, came under new ownership, and by December 2009, it was back open with fans back in droves! Coincidentally, it's V.I.P. Night was headlined by Caveman Morrison, who also made a major comeback this year! After three years in Calgary, Tym Morrison came back home, reformed Caveman Morrison, and haven't looked back since! The Canadian Nightclub also returned from extensive summer renovations in 2009, which have recieved a largely positive reception! Elsewhere, other notable local bands came back from hiatuses, inactivity, or break-ups in 2009! Fitswitch reformed for a one-off reunion show in March at Coch's Corner, while Fingerbone changed their name to Half Past, and returned to the stage 10 months after their last concert with a noticeably different lineup! And although they played no shows, No Arrow came back with new song previews online, giving hope that maybe "Souls For Sale" will get an official release in the near future! Overall, 2009 has been a very good year for us local metalheads, and 2010 promises to be huge as well! I can only hope it will be even bigger, but we'll have to see! Hope you guys enjoyed that look back at the year that was, a preview into what we'll expect in 2010 is TOMORROW, so stay tuned for that! And yes, normal news and previews will be back too!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Detroit Concert Review, LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Nixxon Dixxon), And New Years Weekend Concert Previews!

2009's drawing to a close very soon, but the concerts keep piling on, and last night saw the last metal show of the year in Sault Ontario, and I was there for it! And as you'd likely expect, I have a review, so here's what you need to know from last night! Stay tuned afterwards for LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS and previews of tomorrow's New Years Eve shows in Sault Michigan!

It's not often where I go to a local concert featuring three bands I've never seen live before, but that was the case last night at Coch's Corner, when Detroit, Destroilet, and Talk Shit hit the stage for Detroit's CD release party! Good lively crowd, though CDs weren't flying off the shelves as fast as I expected...maybe people were waiting for Detroit to finish? Well, I bought myself a Detroit t-shirt, got a stockpile of Destroilet stickers (one's now on my computer tower), and of course, bought "Brace For Impact"! Only $5, comes with handwritten liner notes and lyrics. No jewel case, but the packaging's still alright! I won't give my full review until February 1st, but I can confirm that the songs taken from "Let The Hammers Fly" are indeed re-recordings, and definitely have better production! They never said how you can buy CDs after last night, but they are indeed available for purchase, $5, I'd say message Detroit on MySpace if you'd like a copy! And as you may have noticed, cause it's now out, the banner image here and the logo on our Facebook page have changed accordingly!

Now to be completely honest, although metal enough for SMS attention,this show did have a heavy punk influence, especially with a high amount of punk covers from all three bands. I'm a metalhead, I don't listen to punk as much as I admittedly should, so if I get a band name wrong or miss an otherwise easy reference, my apologies! The first band was Talk Shit, and they were pretty good! I've missed them at many shows over the past year, so it's nice to finally see them, and they delivered a good selection of punk covers! I caught some Propaghandi covers near the end too, which were good! One thing that struck me about Talk Shit was that every member of the band got their moment to sing lead, though the drummer handled most of the vocals (reminds me of Stiffler's Mom and Sykotyk Rampage in that respect!) Really good for the most part, catchy fast punk rock that I'd say most punk fans could enjoy! Though not metal, I'm a fan! Now here's hoping they launch an internet page of some kind!

Also, I should add that this concert had a pure party atmosphere for much of it, especially when Talk Shit were joined by Detroit's own Brenton Ellis and Mikey Hawdon and Nebraska Arms frontman Guy Thiffault to sing vocals on a few songs, some of which were Christmas carols! Who cares if it's late, it's punk, and it was fun to see!

After them were Destroilet, in their first ever live performance! And for a first show, they were also pretty good too! Thrash/punk mixture with a good deal of energy, much of which was provided by frontman Mike Hull, who freely went around the stage to sing with a noticeable aggression! Guitarist Chris Foisy also sometimes gave up the guitar to join on vocals, even delivering almost grindcore like singing on one song! They mostly played covers, as well as a few originals, and for a first concert, they did about as well as one could expect! The rest of the band did well as well, though I'd love to see Destroilet handle some more heavier stuff, maybe cover some type of metal classic, I bet they could pull it off! But right now, they're good, and will only improve from here! In fact, I got about 90 seconds of them playing the song "Nothing", check it out below! (I really need a bigger SD card)

And finally, Detroit hit the stage for to headline the show, and if you like your metal fast, quick, and unforgiving, these guys will do the trick! Most of their songs are in the 60-90 seconds range, and are chock full of hardcore intensity and extremely fast, mosh-worthy music! And mosh they did, even though there isn't a lot of room to do so thanks to tables. Frontman Brenton Ellis jumped around the stage like mad, even entering the crowd at points and getting us going! He really is a good hardcore singer, and can do clean singing well, I wonder how he'd do singing a Lion Ride song? The rest of the band had similar energy, Curtis Fox was good on guitar, Mark Rand was all over the place on bass, and Mikey Hawdon was excellent on drums! They played the songs off of "Brace For Impact", along with a few songs that didn't make it to the new album, like "Killorama" and "Lord Beer Me Strength" (among others), and covers of Seven Seconds and NOFX songs!

All in all, a fun night, if a bit different from the shows I tend to hit. I don't hit a lot of punk shows, and while this was metal enough for the SMS, I do need to see more punk! Must get on that. While these bands aren't going to be on the "most technically advanced bands" list, that's not their style, what they play works well, and I'll be back for more! As you can tell above, I took photos, so head to our official Facebook page or click here to check them out! And as you probably saw, I took a video of Destroilet, so did I take a video of Detroit too? Well......of course! Here's the band playing their original "St. Christopher"!

Your next local concert in Sault Ontario is Saturday night at Foggy Notions when Caveman Morrison return there for their second Foggy's show since the reopening! But before that, we have two shows in Sault Michigan tomorrow night! So here are your local concert previews for New Years Eve, the final local metal concerts of 2009!

First, we'll head to nearby Barbeau, which is just outside of Sault Michigan, for the first New Years Eve show, featuring Nixxon Dixxon! They will hit the stage at Cozy Corners Tavern & Grill to rock 2009 away with a night of great covers and hopefully some of their originals! Great to see them playing a full show again, cause they have talent well beyond their years! Hopefully some of you guys will make the drive out to Barbeau to check them out! They'll hit the stage at around 9:30 PM! There is no announced cover charge. Then, Nixxon Dixxon will kick off 2010 with the first metal concert of the new year at The Rapids Lounge at Kewadin Casino! Friday night at 9:00 PM, no announced cover, expect more great music from these rising stars! Hope the shows go well, I wish I was old enough to attend either! Check out some studio quality versions of their covers at their official MySpace page! For a preview, here's Nixxon Dixxon's performance from the second night of the Kiss Battle of the Bands!

Speaking of Nixxon Dixxon, it's time for a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT!!! (We'll get to the other concert tomorrow in a second.) The band have scheduled two more local dates for January at The Dondee Lanes! They'll be there on January 15th and 16th! Both are 8:00 PM shows, there's no announced cover charge! So if you miss them this weekend, you can check them out in a couple weekends! And speaking of when you can next see them, their previously scheduled concert on Saturday at Kewadin Casino has been cancelled, as it's been removed from their MySpace listings. No matter, you have three chances to see them in January if you can't make it out to Barbeau tomorrow night! And if I hear anything more on upcoming Nixxon Dixxon shows, you'll find it here!

Now, to the other New Years Eve show tomorrow night, and it comes courtesy of Riot! By Night! Fresh off their Boxing Day concert at The Satisfied Frog, the local hard rockers return to The Frog tomorrow night for their own New Years Eve concert! It will be at around 10:00 PM, and they're hyping this as "their biggest show yet", so you know they'll bring their A-game! No announced cover charge, and I doubt it's all ages. Still can't tell you how they sound, but as I always say, if it's anything like Absolute (who three members of Riot! By Night are also in), then you'll get some great stuff! Should also be a good show, hopefully they and Nixxon Dixxon will end the year with a bang! You guys have a tough choice for which metal band to see tomorrow night to end the year, but you can't lose either way! But if you miss Riot! By Night, no worries, they'll be back on Saturday night for their first show of 2010!

And just to close this post, you know how I've been mentioning Duane Roy's book "Castle Stories: A Rock N' Roll Scrapbook" and the press for it on Rock 101 lately? Well, Duane was kind enough to send me an autographed copy, which I recieved in the mail this morning! Just started reading it, it's very good so far! Makes me wish I was old enough to have seen shows there! I'll likely post more detailed thoughts once I finish it!

That's all for now, tomorrow, you'll see an in-depth look back at the year that was, which will talk about all the major metal events, album releases, band happenings, breakups, and incidents of 2009! And on New Years' Day, I'll preview the Riot! By Night and Caveman Morrison concerts taking place on Saturday night, with hopefully much more to come! Stay tuned!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Lion Ride Concert Review, Detroit Concert Preview, And Lots More!!

This really is a good time of the year, and not just cause of the holidays! Second metal concert in two days was last night, and there's two more coming this week! Metalheads rejoice! Well, as you may know, I was at last night's Lion Ride/Nebraska Arms show, so here's my review! Stay tuned afterwards for a preview of tomorrow's Detroit/Destroilet concert, plus assorted news on Woods of Ypres, "Castle Stories", Lion Ride again, and the SMS YouTube channel!

So last night, Lion Ride played their first ever concert at The Rockstar Bar, and it seemed like almost all of their fans followed, as this show was easily WAY more packed than the Caveman Morrison concert was! Nebraska Arms opened, and they were about the same as I remember from the last full show I saw of theirs (Coincidentally, they supported Lion Ride at that one too!) I admit that I don't listen to much stuff that fits in Nebraska Arms' genre, but I've always loved their on-stage presence and energy! They don't jump all over the place like monkeys on caffeine, but they play with loads of enthusiasm, and I welcome that! Just like in previous shows, frontman Guy Thiffault and bassist Wayne Watkins were cracking jokes, they were pretty funny (especially with the Steel Dragon reference!) For what their music is, they were good, and if you like high energy indie rock, you'll get exactly what you want out of Nebraska Arms! (Sorry for the lack of a band picture, my camera accidentally got wiped when I got shoved by accident)

Lion Ride were next, and let me just get this out of the way before I talk about their set. Thanks again for not taking a half hour long mid-set break! Those can seem like a forever long wait, especially when you're not drinking much! Now, on to the music, and the were awesome once again! They brought out all their fancy stage additions, like their backdrop and their smoke machine (which was bad for my camera, but still cool!) But even if they just played, they'd have done real well! They played a nice long set of songs from their EP, as well as a couple new originals which sounded real good! They even broke out some covers, including "Red Hot" by Motley Crue and...A KISS COVER! How about that? Speaking of Kiss, they referenced the Kiss Battle of the Bands numerous times during the set, but as Mikey Lion told us, they don't need The Essar Center, they have us! Besides, it's great seeing them play more than two songs in a night for a change!

Musically, they were extremely solid! Marc-O-Lion and Marky Lion were hitting some great solos, Marky also brought some good backup vocals too! He should use his screaming more often! Diamond Brent Panther was solid throughout on bass, and Iron Mike Bison did really good on drums as well! Mikey Lion was really good vocally, his voice did strain a bit at times, but not enough to notice, not with the fun the crowd was having! I've always thought that Lion Ride aren't a good mosh band, they don't get that audience, they're more of the "have a few drinks and party all night" band, and the crowd followed that! Hell, even Marky Lion's MOM did, she screamed "Lion Ride rules! FUCK YEAH!!!" on the microphone, which was awesome! It was a lively crowd that partied all night, my only problem was their hands got in the way of my camera!

All in all, another great concert from Lion Ride, hopefully it won't be four months until their next full show! If you wanna get down with some fun punk/metal and get sloshed, Lion Ride are a safe bet! I did take photos, as you can tell, check out 18 pics of Lion Ride by visiting our official Facebook page, or click here to head straight to the album! And just like at the Garden of Bedlam show, I got video! This time, it's of Lion Ride playing the song "Slapdance" (which is quickly growing into one of my favourite LR songs!) And it's the full song too! Check it out below!

So another great metal concert, the second of four in Sault Ontario in an eight day span! Your next local metal show is the very next one I'm previewing! And it comes courtesy of three members of Lion Ride, only in shuffled roles. Mikey Hawdon jumps behind the drumkit, Brenton Ellis replaces him on lead vocals, Mark Rand picks up a bass, and Brenton's The Labour Of bandmate Curtis Fox steps in on guitar, and there you have Detroit! Playing a punk/hardcore style that's just metal enough for SMS attention, Detroit will hit Coch's Corner TOMORROW NIGHT! This will be their first local concert since they opened for Bin Hawdon & The Taliband (also featuring Mikey Hawdon & Mark Rand) in December 2008 at The Oddfellows Hall! This will be my first time ever seeing Detroit live, and judging by what I've heard of them on MySpace, we should expect a night full of hardcore awesomeness! Moshpits might be possible, depending on the table setup at Coch's!

Joining them in support are local punk/metal rockers Destroilet, in their first ever live performance! The band features John Conway from The Billy Bastards and Matt Waples from SIGHdEFECT, among others, so the talent's there! I've heard some of their live jam clips on their Facebook group, and they have promise, we'll have to see how they make out tomorrow night! Check out some of their stuff at their official MySpace page! Rounding out the lineup are local punk band Talk Shit, who coincidentally, were also on the lineup of the Bin Hawdon show that Detroit played last year! I don't know much about Talk Shit, they have no pages, but I've heard some good things about them!

Coming back to Detroit, this show is not just any old concert, but it's a CD RELEASE SHOW! Their new CD, "Brace For Impact", will be on sale, along with more band merchandise! Their last EP "Let The Hammers Fly" never had a full CD release, but luckily, "Brace For Impact" features new versions of 5 songs from it, along with four brand new tracks! So all the more reason to go, and yes, I'll review the CD on FEBRUARY 1ST!!!! The concert will be at 10:00 PM tomorrow night, $5 cover, it's NOT all ages, Talk Shit kick things off! Confirm your attendance at the official Facebook event page! As for Detroit, check out some of their originals and more at their official MySpace page! For a preview, check out this live clip from a Toronto concert of Detroit playing one of the songs to be featured on "Brace For Impact", entitled "On Madness Reared"! Thanks to YouTube user dnahahaha for the upload!

And now, some more assorted news! You remember when I mentioned how Wawa author Duane Roy was on Rock 101 talking about his book "Castle Farms: A Rock N' Roll Scrapbook"? Well, he's uploaded six more clips of the radio interviews onto his YouTube account! No video here, just audio recordings, but you can hear him talking with The Hair Scare's Scott Cook about stories involving AC/DC, Judas Priest, why Castle Farms in Charlevoix died, and more! Some are from the actual videos he's uploaded, some not, but all worth listening! Nice to see Rock 101 give Duane this interview and outlet to promote "Castle Stories"! Also, the book has been picking up steam on some notable internet news sites, including Blabbermouth and Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles! Nice to see it getting some exposure beyond Ontario, hopefully "Castle Stories" becomes a huge success! Can't wait to pick a copy up! I'll show you guys another clip of Duane's interview with Rock 101, so here's one of his story about meeting Ozzy Osbourne in Charlevoix!

SPEAKING OF Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles, David Perri from BW&BK reviewed "Woods IV: The Green Album" recently, and gave the album an 8 out of 10! Not bad at all, Woods of Ypres did great on this release! My only gripe: The review is really short, not nearly as in-depth as it could be. Still great to see it getting press like this, check out the BW&BK review at this location! Also, I've found another review of "The Green Album" over at Difficult Music, check it out by clicking here! No score for it, but it's an overly positive critique, and more in-depth! I wanna see what Blabbermouth thinks of W4, hopefully someone there will review it one of these days!

And now, Lion Ride....again! You know how some gamers have been able to add custom tracks to older releases of Guitar Hero? Well, YouTube user mackmcd did just that with two Lion Ride tracks! He added "My Baby's Bad" and "Trust" into his copy of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, and uploaded the results to YouTube! Click on each song name to check out the videos! He's a good GH player, and it really is cool to see a local band in a music game like this! I'd wanna see how Rock Band would work with a local band too! Click on the song names above to check out the results, I'll show you guys the clip of mackmcd playing "My Baby's Bad" right here!

And finally for tonight, just a quick update on our YouTube channel! You know that there's actually a limit of 650 videos that you can favourite on a YouTube account? Well, I hit that limit this morning! As a result, I've started a SECOND YouTube channel for the SMS, under the name "SaultMetalScene2", and I've started by favouriting my "Slapdance" video from last night, and 11 live Detroit clips I found a few hours ago! But for new videos and playlist updates, they will STILL BE ON OUR FIRST ACCOUNT! So click here for new videos and playlist updates, and here for new local videos that I've found and favourited! Add our second account too as a friend!

That's all for tonight, if there's no earth-shattering news tomorrow, your next update will be a review of the Detroit CD release show, with preview of the Sault Michigan metal shows on New Years Eve! Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Garden of Bedlam At Foggy Notions Review, And News On Detroit's New CD!

How's everyone doing on this fine Sunday afternoon? Two things to get to at the moment: I have another concert to review, and there's a pile of news on Detroit's new CD, so let's get right to it! Garden of Bedlam played at Foggy Notions last night, I was there, so here's my review!

First of all, Foggy Notions itself. A lot of interest has built in it since they've finally re-opened, and on first glance, it's deserved! Remember, I was two months too young to get in legally in their first incarnation, so I can't speak for comparing the Foggy's of 2009 to then. I'll give it this, it was super busy! Interesting setup too, you walk in to the bar area with pool tables and such, you have to basically walk midway through, take a right, and you're at the stage area! I love the stage setup, a brick wall backdrop and a woodgrain railing along the stage, which works nicely to rest your arms or your drink! The large windows out to Queen Street work well for atmosphere too, and are good advertising, like when Buzz wrote "Garden of Bedlam" on the window during their set! Overall, Foggy Notions isn't bad at all, though I'll need to get some second and third looks at it when it's not as busy!

On to Garden of Bedlam themselves, and they were just as awesome as ever! They played 15 songs, including all 4 songs on their EP, their new or yet unreleased originals "Torment", "Everything Will Die", "Against The Grain", and "New Rain", along with covers from bands like The Deftones, Tool, Helmet, System of a Down, and Pantera! Buzz was singing great once again, Josh Belleau was excellent on guitar, Evan Belleau held his own on bass, and Derek Turner was awesome throughout the night on drums! Also, I love his new custom Garden of Bedlam drumkit (and the band's new banner!) Tonight more than most other shows I've seen, I noticed a good deal of on-stage humour from Buzz, and I always welcome humour at a concert! The band really seemed to enjoy playing this show, being at Foggy Notions must have helped with that, cause I know how popular it was before it initially closed!

Remember how at the Madison's Pub show, Lion Ride guitarist Marco Pedalino joined Garden of Bedlam to cover "The Trooper" by Iron Maiden? Well, the same thing happened last night too, which is awesome! The crowd was pretty lively, although there wasn't much space for a moshpit, the fists and devil horns were easily spotted, and there was enough headbangers too! Also throughout the set, a cameraman trailed the stage to get some video footage of the band for upcoming projects. I wonder how they turned out? Well, you'll never guess who was filming, cause it was actually former Amethyst frontman Rick DellaVedova! Yes, the very same "Rick Widow" was filming, and me and him chatted for a bit at the concert, which was really cool!

Overall, another fun concert from Garden of Bedlam, and if it really is their last one before they hit the studio, then it was one hell of a way to go out! They'll be back though! Another great night of music, I wish I could have stayed til the very end though! As you may have heard, I did get a new camera for Christmas, and it works really well! I just need a bigger SD card to hold more pics. Check out 20 photos from the concert by clicking here or visiting our official Facebook page! But why'd I only take 20? So I'd have room for this: A VIDEO!!!! I can finally shoot videos effectively with the new camera, and though only 3:06 in length, the quality is excellent! Check out this clip I filmed of the band playing "Everything Will Die"!

Hope you guys like the video, I'll film one at tonight's Lion Ride concert (likely "Slapdance" if I can time it properly!) Remember, that is your next local concert, at The Rockstar Bar tonight with Nebraska Arms at around 11:00 PM! Barring family obligations, I plan on being there!

Speaking of Lion Ride, it's time to update you guys on the new album from Detroit, the hardcore band featuring 3/5ths of Lion Ride in shuffled roles! Detroit bassist Mark Rand posted a pile of details on their new CD on a topic on The705Scene forums! Entitled "Brace For Impact", it will officially be released TUESDAY at their CD release show at Coch's Corner! For one, the cover art has been unveiled, which you can check out to the left! Ron Wineck did the cover art, who also did the band's skull and hammers logo, according to drummer Mikey Hawdon last night at the Garden of Bedlam show! The track listing was also announced, and it will feature four brand new songs: "Fortress, "Darth Vader", "Pyre Driver", and "Bloodlet"! As well, "Brace For Impact" will feature five re-recordings from the band's intial "Let The Hammers Fly" release! Check out the full track listing at this location! A preview of the concert is coming tomorrow!

Remember, pick up your copy of the CD Tuesday at Coch's Corner, with extra release info hopefully to follow afterwards! $5 cover, Detroit will be joined by local punk/metal rockers Destroilet and fellow punk band Talk Shit! This will be Detroit's first local concert since December 2008 at The Oddfellows Hall! I'll be there, and I'll be sure to review "Brace For Impact" on the SMS on FEBRUARY 1ST! January's reserved for Clownsack's first CD, but Detroit have February 1st locked up, so mark your calendars! (And yes, for those of you following the CD schedule, "22" by Sykotyk Rampage WILL be reviewed in the spring!)

That's all for now, Lion Ride concert review and a preview of the Detroit show are all TOMORROW! Hope to see everyone at The Rockstar Bar tonight, I hope to be there! Have a good one, enjoy the holidays!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Weekend Concert Previews, And Anvil In The Sault, Sort Of!

Well guys, because I don't anticipate I'll have a post tomorrow, I want to wish everyone a metal Christmas and a headbanging New Year! I don't have any special "surprises" planned for tomorrow, so to speak, but I am planning an extensive look back on the local metal scene in 2009 at some point next week, where I'll talk about the big events, bands, shows, and such that took place in 2009. Should be a fun post!

But for today, let's preview the three concerts taking place on this Christmas weekend, with a little Anvil-related story to cap it off! So let's begin with this weekend's lone metal concert in Sault Michigan!

Sault Michigan hard rockers Riot! By Night (featuring 3/4ths of Absolute) are back for their first show since November, when they hit the stage at The Satisfied Frog! They'll be on at around 10:00 PM! The band are hyping this as their "post Christmas party", which is fitting! There is no announced cover charge either, and seeing as it is a bar, I can't see it being all ages. No word on much else, but it should be a good concert! Absolute are a great band, and Riot! By Night feature all but the singer, so the talent's there! I wish I could tell you how they sound, but their MySpace page still has no audio or video, but judging by what I've heard, they'll rock! And if you miss them on Saturday, no worries, they'll be back at The Frog on New Years' Eve!

And now, back to Sault Ontario, and if you want some hard rock on Boxing Day, we have our own option! And it comes courtesy of Garden of Bedlam! In what may be their last concert before they hit the studio to record their first full length LP, the Kiss Battle winners will return to Foggy Notions, the very spot where they played their first ever concert at way back in February of last year! But this time, it's newly renovated with nice bathrooms, and it's not a month away from closing now! Doors open at 9:00 PM, but the band won't begin until 11:00 PM. No openers, you must be 19 to get in, and there will be a cover charge of no more than $5. Be sure to get there early, because Christmastime business + the novelty of Foggy's return = a likely packed house! Confirm your attendance at the official Facebook event page!

For a preview, I'm pleased to say that I have Garden of Bedlam video footage that actually comes from shows in 2009! Here's a clip from YouTube user sparrrk420 of the band playing their original "Sovereignty" from their December 5th show at Madison's Pub (Thanks Brigitte!)

And finally for this weekend's metal shows, Lion Ride are back! One month after their heartbreaking one point loss to Garden of Bedlam at the Kiss Battle, Lion Ride will play their first full local concert since the final Hempfest in August! This time, they'll be at The Rockstar Bar for the first time, which is a great venue that should fit well for this concert! Joining Lion Ride are fellow Kiss Battle finalists Nebraska Arms (featuring ex-Renderware members Wayne Watkins and Adam Sauve!) Both these bands played together at Coch's Corner in August too, so they're no strangers! This concert will take place on Sunday night, December 27th, at 10:00 PM! Cover charges have not been announced, and I imagine it's 19+ too (Rockstar BAR, remember?) Confirm your attendance for this concert by visiting it's Facebook event page too!

For a preview, here's a classic clip of Lion Ride from two years ago, in December 2007, of the band playing their song "Sneak Attack" at Foggy Notions! (Thanks to ex-bassist Nathan "Lionel Itchy" Sauve for the upload!)

Will I be at any of this weekend's concerts? Yes! I 100% plan on being at the Lion Ride show, though Garden of Bedlam will depend on my ability to sneak out of any possible family activities. Both of these shows, and Riot! By Night, should be awesome, hopefully you guys can make it out to some of them! Hopefully I'll have a new camera for this weekend's shows too! And yes, I will preview Tuesday's Detroit concert on Sunday or Monday, so stay tuned for that!

And finally for today, a double shot of news concerning a local concert venue, and a metal-related event happening there in January! Remember The Lock City Grand Theater, the excellent local concert venue across from Top Hat Billiards? Well, they have officially launched a website, which is great to see, cause their old Facebook group hadn't been updated in months! Through there, I also discovered that they've dropped "Lock City" from their name, so they are now just known as "The Grand Theater". To be honest, most people I knew never included "Lock City" anyway, so this shouldn't be too major of a change. But the new site looks nice, including photos, an event calendar, a blog, and ways to become a member of the site through the page's host, Ning!

Still no metal concerts on the horizon for The Grand...I think the last metal band to play there was Sense of Truth at the free Skate4Cancer show in MAY! Not sure what the deal is there, cause it's a great venue, but metal hasn't completely left! The Grand are going to start showing documentary films on Friday nights, with the first on January 8th. And the first movie they're showing is....Anvil! The Story of Anvil! Yes, the acclaimed 2009 documentary about Toronto metal pioneers Anvil will air at The Grand on January 8th at 7:30 PM, with a ticket price of $7 plus tax (yes, they can be bought at the door!) For those of you unaware, the movie focuses on the members of Anvil, a band numerous major groups were influenced by, as they try to continue their dream and make it big in music, despite years of little success and a fall to obscurity. I really want to see this film, it's awesome that it's finally being shown locally, and I'm a fan of Anvil's too! This should be a great movie! I just might go to this, and maybe you guys should too!

That's all for now, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy whatever else you celebrate, hope you get lots of metal gifts! Cause in my opinion, all metalheads should be on Santa's nice list! I'll see you guys at this weekend's concerts!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Riot! By Night & Nixxon Dixxon), And Assorted Updates!

As you may have noticed, I'm back from Detroit! Hope the weekend's concerts went well! Now, with exams and vacations out of the way, it's back to work, and luckily, a lot of stuff to get to this evening! We'll start with some LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS!!!

Sault Michigan hard rockers Riot! By Night (featuring 3/4ths of Absolute) are returning to the stage for three shows in the next two weeks! They will be at The Satisfied Frog THIS SATURDAY (Boxing Day, December 26th), with shows following that on December 31st (New Years Eve) and on January 2nd! All three of these concerts will take place at around 10:00 PM! These will be the bands' first local shows since the November 20th weekend, when they played two more shows at The Frog! Sorry for the short notice on these newest ones, I just found out about them today. The band are hyping the New Years Eve show as their biggest ever, hopefully they'll get a huge turnout for that night, and the rest of their upcoming concerts! I still can't tell you how they sound (No audio/video on their MySpace page, and I'm too young to hit their bar shows yet), but if they're anything like Absolute, they should be awesome! So for you Sault Michigan metalheads, keep those three nights in mind!

However, on December 31st, you may have a choice to make, as fellow locals Nixxon Dixxon have scheduled an area concert that night as well! The Kiss battle finalists will be in Barbeau (which is just outside of Sault Michigan) for a concert at the Cozy Corners Tavern & Grill that night! Much like the Riot! By Night show, it's a New Years Bash, which is a perfect excuse to have a few drinks, rock out with some great music, wave 2009 goodbye, and say hello to 2010! They'll take the stage at around 9:30 PM. Expect a concert full of great covers and hopefully some of the originals they unveiled at the Kiss battle too! Should be a fun concert as well, it'd be worth the drive, but if I was old enough to hit either, I'd be torn for which to see! Check out more from Nixxon Dixxon at their official MySpace page!

And now, assorted updates that my Detroit trip (And my uncle's slow computer) held up until now! And we'll begin with some page deletions from some local bands. Sault Ontario hard rockers Browbeat's MySpace page has been deleted. I liked Browbeat, I haven't seen them since the Rock 2 Roll skatepark fundraiser last year! I was hoping they'd be back playing shows after they resurfaced this year, but hey, what can you do? Sadly, they don't have other pages, so they're now gone from the listings (Still hopeful for a future return though!) Another band has also axed their MySpace page, but luckily, I can keep them on the SMS listings! Kincheloe's own Silent Despair have deleted their MySpace page. I saw that coming, seeing as they disbanded. However, their Facebook page lives on, so they're still on the SMS, unless that gets deleted, at least! Promising band, too bad things didn't work out!

And finally, four quick updates from four more local bands, in alphabetical order by band name!
  • The collective websites for Caveman Morrison and the solo project of frontman Tym Morrison have been updated to reflect the band's local return and the new Caveman Morrison lineup! They now feature updated concert calendars, bio information on bassist Rick White and drummer Jeff Richards, and a bit more! Not everything's finished, but it looks nice, and it's good to see things updated! Check out both by clicking the above links!
  • According to frontman J.D. Pearce on their Facebook group's wall, local horror rockers Frightlight are taking an extended break, though will be back in the new year. No other details besides that. I hope it's not too extended, I missed their Halloween concert at Coch's Corner, and would love to see them live real soon! Fingers crossed!
  • The first new song from rising local hard rockers Silver Dream will be called "Scream And Shout", according to a promo image posted on frontman Matthew Silver's Facebook page. A comment from Matthew on the picture says that the band's tailoring to drummer Matt Hicks' availability due to school commitments, which may explain the band's slow activity pace. Can't wait to see what they have in store, they sound promising!
  • On November 28th, Sykotyk Rampage released their 22nd studio album, named "22"! And if you know Sykotyk Rampage well, you know that they tend to release mulitple albums a year. Well, that trend may very well be continuing, as the band are soon beginning work on their 23rd album, and it just happens to be a CHRISTMAS ALBUM! How about that? Judging by their style & sound, it will definitely have Christmas songs the likes of which you've never heard! Source: Guitarist Dirk Becker on a Facebook status update.
That's all for now, hope to have some big news coming in the next couple days! And of course, I'll see you guys at Foggy Notions on Boxing Day for the Garden of Bedlam concert, if I can escape family stuff! Stay tuned!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tym Morrison Concert Preview & Garden of Bedlam Boxing Day Updates!

EDIT (Monday, 7:28 PM): Bring The Fallen have backed out of Tuesday's concert at The Speakeasy. Reason unknown as of 7:28 PM Monday. Thanks to Nolan Rainville for the information! This has also been announced on the Facebook event page. If you were planning to go, no worries, The Inner City Surfers and The Scary Uncles are STILL PLAYING ON TUESDAY! Not metal, but it'll still be a fun concert!

Hey guys, as you may have noticed from my Facebook statuses (Add me on there if you want), I haven't been on much this weekend. The internet here in Detroit is really lacking, freezes randomly and cuts out when it wants. So I haven't updated much since getting here. Things WILL get back to normal this evening, when I make it back home and can get caught up on all the news and updates I've missed. And if there's an update, concert, news item, or announcement that I should know, e-mail me at!

So for today, just a quick post to preview the local metal concert coming up in tonight, and give more details on an upcoming show too! So here is local concert previews!

Firstly, Caveman Morrison frontman Tym Morrison is back for another solo concert tomorrow night at The Bottoms' Up Lounge! If you missed him Friday at Station Mall or The Big Cheese, no worries, you have another chance to check out Tym's acoustic solo set! If you've seen a typical Caveman Morrison concert, this is quite similar, but in a stripped down acoustic setting, with lots of great heavy metal covers, as well as other songs too! Tym will take the stage at 10:00 PM tomorrow night, confirm your attendance at the official Facebook event page! Expect a great show from Tym, if you wanna mellow out with a beer and some rocking tunes, why not go? For a preview, check out some of his solo material at his official website!

And finally, Garden of Bedlam have officially confirmed their show on Boxing Day (this Saturday) at Foggy Notions! It wasn't really a secret before anyway, but good to hear official word! And the band have indeed launched an event page on Facebook for it, so all the details are there! Doors open for this concert at 9:00 PM, the band begins at around 11:00 PM! There will be a cover charge of $5 or less, so keep that in mind. And yes, it is 19+ (Foggy Notions is a bar, remember?) This could be one of the band's last shows before they hit the studio to record their first full length album, so why not go, drink in the new Foggy Notions, and rock out! I know I will, if I can escape family holiday stuff for a few hours! Remember, click here for full details, I'll keep you all posted if I hear anything more!

That's all for now, I PROMISE THINGS WILL START GETTING BACK TO NORMAL BY TONIGHT! Can't fight with this slow computer any longer, I'll be home soon, and at Foggy's on Saturday, with (hopefully) a new camera in tow! Stay tuned, thanks everyone!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Last Month's Poll Results, This Month's Poll, And Your First Look At Foggy's!

It's the 18th of the month once again, so now it's time to share the results of November's poll, and I'm pleased to say, our total rose to a record 51 VOTES! Thanks to all who voted! But even if the vote count was small like previous months, the results would still be no surprise. As you may remember, last month's question was: "What was your favourite major metal concert at The Essar Center so far?" And here are the final results, in order by votes recieved!

1. Heaven And Hell & Megadeth, March 20, 2007 (51%, 26 votes)
2. Motley Crue, December 6, 2006 (31%, 16 votes)
3. None of the above (10%, 5 votes)
4. Three Days Grace & Seether, January 24, 2008 (4%, 2 votes)
4. Jackyl & Slaughter, May 24, 2008 (4%, 2 votes)

No real surprises here, I was a HUGE fan of the Heaven and Hell concert, and everyone that went that I talked to were praising it openly! I figured it'd win, and I was right, overwhelmingly! Motley Crue in second, again, no surprises there. Fun show, but for musical quality and sheer awesomeness, Vince Neil and company fall short against the combined forces of Dio and Dave Mustaine! If something did surprise me, it was that "None of the Above" got 10 votes?! That implies that someone didn't like ANY of the four major metal shows so far (remember, the poll didn't include the Three Days Grace concert from this month.) Then again, maybe they didn't attend any of them, hard to say. I expected Three Days Grace and Jackyl to finish in a close last place. 3DG was a great and huge show, but not a typical metalhead's cup of tea, whereas Jackyl, though awesome, was really hampered by high ticket prices and low advertising.

So there's your results from last month's poll, and now, let's discuss this month's poll! This will be really interesting, I reckon! I pose this question to you guys:
"What was the biggest Sault Ontario metal news story of 2009?" I figure that, with 12 days left in the year, we won't hear anything else that will be very earth-shattering beyond some more concerts, so now's as good a time as ever to see what the biggest metal story of 2009 was! To make sure I covered all my bases and give everyone a wide expanse of choices, I gave 15 options to vote from, as well as "Other" if you don't agree with them! So here are your choices, with quick summaries on each!

Caveman Morrison coming back home: After a three year exodus to Calgary to further their musical goals, prominent local metal cover band Caveman Morrison returned home to Sault Ste. Marie in April, and haven't stopped since! With numerous live dates, and solo shows from frontman Tym Morrison on the 2009 schedule, the band have firmly planted themselves back in the local scene. Is this your top story of the year though?

Foggy Notions re-opening: In March of 2008, Foggy Notions shut it's doors. After 21 long months of renovations, hype, anticipation, an owner change, and false starts, the popular local bar returned with a vengeance (and new bathrooms) in December of 2009! And with concerts featuring Caveman Morrison, Sense of Truth, Garden of Bedlam on the slate, they look to build on the great Foggy's legacy! But what do you think?

Garden of Bedlam edging out Lion Ride in the Kiss Battle: In the most talked about battle of the bands of the year, 20 local bands performed to find a winner for the now-postponed Kiss concert at The Essar Center! And when the dust settled, Garden of Bedlam narrowly beat pre-battle favourites Lion Ride by a single point to win the openers slot! Add to that all the buzz and excitement, and you had one really special event! Do you agree?

: The popular local metal act released their first four track EP in April of 2009! A precursor to their 2010 album, the band showcased their obvious talent on the EP, and the songs are all live staples today! Great disc! One of the best local releases of 2009, but is it your top news story?

Gates of Winter going on hiatus: After a successful six year run, local progressive metal band Gates of Winter called it quits, for now. Last seen live locally in the fall of 2008, Gates of Winter remain one of the most accomplished local metal bands ever, including releasing an EP and a full length album, touring Ontario, and developing a huge fanbase! A future return hsn't been ruled out though, but where does their breakup fit in your eyes?

The Grady concert boycott threat: Though maybe not a major "news" event, this was well publicized. Three unidentified bands threatened to boycott The Canadian Nightclub if local rock band Wishbone played support at the Grady concert in October, due to unflattering remarks by then drummer Glen Thomas. So they were dropped. The show went on, but this issue stuck around for a bit. But would you consider this a major news story?

Hempfest ending after 11 years: The Northern Ontario Hempfest was riding high since 1999, delivering marijuana culture and awareness to the masses, along with lots of great music! However, 2009 marked Hempfest's end, due to costs and the R.I.D.E. program. They went out with a bang though, with Garden of Bedlam, Lion Ride, and Aerosmith tribute Mama Kin, among many other bands! How important is this story to you?

Kiss postponing their Sault concert: This has been the talk of the Sault for the last week, and with good reason. After months of anticipation, Kiss were forced to postpone their concert planned for December 15th due to inclement weather, with promises to play a makeup concert here in the summer! Even still, reaction has ranged from disappointment to anger to hope. What say you guys on the Kiss postponement?

Renovations at The Canadian Nightclub: The bar downstairs at The Knights Inn has been quite popular for many years, but this past summer, a facelift was needed. A few months later, The Canadian re-opened and has put on many great concerts since, including Garden of Bedlam, Grady, and possibly most notably, the Kiss Battle of the Bands! Reaction varied to the new look, but does it rank highly as a major local news story?

The Rockstar Bar opens: A new downtown watering hole popped up this fall, with a decidedly hard rock feel to it! The upstairs bar at The Algonquin Hotel became The Rockstar Bar, a brand new hotspot for concerts! Great venue, and it's hosted some great bands to boot, with even more scheduled for 2009 and beyond! I know it's popular, but is it's opening big news to you?

Sault Ste. Marie demanding Kiss in tour voting: When Eventful and Kiss announced that they were letting Kiss fans decide what cities they should visit on the Alive 35 tour, Saultites were quick to jump online and cast their votes! When all was said and done, we finished third, guaranteeing us a Kiss concert (postponed or not, we're getting them!) This was big news, and thousands rallied to get us high in the voting! What do you think?

Stillbroke releasing "Never Enough": The local hard rockers released their debut EP in November, showcasing their talent to a wider audience! Great album, with hopefully more to come! Stillbroke have played these songs live as well, good stuff! As a whole, does this release stack up?

Susan Myers trying to stop the Kiss concert: Ah yes, this got some infamy this summer. Councillor Susan Myers openly declared that Kiss were every negative misconception in the book, and prayed that they wouldn't play here. She's entitled to her opinion, and her opinions aren't enough to actually prevent the show, but this was a major story this summer, for good or bad. Is it top story material, though?

Three Days Grace returning to The Essar Center: 22 months after they last played a show here, Canadian alt-rockers Three Days Grace returned to Sault Ste. Marie for another popular concert, the first major hard rock show at The Essar Center since May 2008! Though attendance was down, the energy was high for Three Days Grace, who delivered a great performance! Is it your big news item for 2009?

Woods of Ypres releasing "The Green Album": One of the more anticipated local metal releases of 2009, Woods of Ypres' 4th album was released in November with some noticeable fanfare! Their first album with Gates of Winter's Bryan Belleau on lead guitar, it featured 16 tracks of effective doom metal, and has been getting great reviews in it's own right! Is it your top local metal story of 2009?

Other: Have another concert in mind that you'd vote for instead? How about a band's formation, return, or breakup? Something else Kiss-related? Anything else that comes to mind? Vote for it here!

VOTE TODAY! I'd love to see this poll crack 50 votes too, make it happen, guys! I'd love to see what you guys thought the biggest local metal story of 2009 was!

And finally for tonight, did you miss V.I.P. Night at Foggy Notions? Well, never fear, Donna Hopper from SooToday has you covered! She attended V.I.P. Night, and took lots of photos of the new Foggy Notions, including some pics of Caveman Morrison from their performance, and some shots of the bar's attendees! Keep your eyes peeled in the photo album for Buzz and Josh Belleau from Garden of Bedlam and the guys from Sense of Truth as well! And yes, there's plenty of visual proof of how Foggy's looks now! On first impression, it looks good, though I don't have the old Foggy's to compare it too cause I couldn't get in then on account of my age. And yes, the bathrooms are renovated, and they look extra nice now, so there you go! Check out Donna's photo album and review of the new Foggy Notions at this location! And remember, the official grand opening is TONIGHT!! Sense of Truth and The Scary Uncles are performing, you don't wanna miss it!

That's all for now, I will try and update the SMS where time permits this weekend, as I will be stuck in Detroit doing family stuff. Have fun at tonight's concerts for me, I wish I could be a part of them! I'll be back Monday, if nothing else! Have a great weekend, I shall be back before you know it!