Friday, August 31, 2012

Oddfellow - "Go" Review!!

With August coming to a close, it's time for our last post of the month, and it's our 38th monthly local CD review! With our coverage expansion last month, this band's frontman playing in the area recently with his current group, and with no new recent local metal/hard rock album releases, it made sense to give an overdue look at "Go", the only album from defunct Cedarville, Michigan hard rock quartet Oddfellow! Independently released in 2005 during the middle of their run, "Go" features Oddfellow's classic lineup, including current Chump Change bassist Jason Haske on lead vocals & guitar, his brother/S.C.O.W. bandmate Seth Haske on guitar and vocals, Phil Kasper on bass, and Riot! By Night alum Odin Osogwin on drums. As far as I can tell, "Go" is long since out of print and may be hard to track down physical copies of, but the full album is streamable on YouTube at this location, so it's at least available! Six songs are also on Oddfellow's MySpace page, and there may also be copies floating around on torrent sites, but YouTube is the easiest & most complete, and the song titles below link to the songs there. Impressively long for a debut album, will the 14 songs and hour long length of Oddfellow's only CD sustain it and entertain listeners? Let's find out starting with track number 1!

The album starts with "Tricks", which starts with a solid drum solo intro from Odin Osogwin before the rest of the band slowly joins with some creative and catchy instrumentation. Jason Haske's vocals to start off on this album are solid, and remind me of Cory Murchison from Skeyes of Seven a bit, though maybe not as varied. The choruses don't sound as excitable or different as they probably should, instead just being sort of a fast talking style. The music though is really good, with great guitar work from the Haske brothers and nice low bass work, but the guitar solo is far too short. I will note that this song has a very similar feel to "Save Yourself" by Stabbing Westward (I'm not sure if that's intentional), but it has enough different elements and touches to make it stand on it's own! My only major gripes with "Tricks" are the short guitar solo and minimally varied vocal work, but this is a very good opener to "Go", and if Oddfellow keeps this up, this album should be a success!

Second is "S.O.S.", which has a softer opening with singing that calls to mind 1990s alternative rock bands in some ways. Even the heavier stretches of this song are more reserved & introspective in tone, and there's a familiarity about it. Jason's singing is more melodic than we saw on "Tricks", and he proves he can sing in a softer clean tone fairly well, while the rest of the band play this song about as well as you'd expect given the song's tone. It's not too repetitive, and Oddfellow are definitely playing this song well, but speaking as a metalhead, I enjoy "Tricks" more for it's energy and heaviness. If you like some darker & softer alternative music though, this song will appeal to you! That's followed by "Lost Cause", and continuing with the exploration of different sounds and styles, this is actually more or less a punk song! Unexpected, but this sounds like something that a 1990s punk band might have played, and as a punk fan, I appreciate where this song's going! Honestly, Jason's vocals suit this kind of song better than on the previous two tracks, even singing more melodically, which I welcome! Seth's lead guitar work here is really good, even on the somewhat longer solo section, and this song has a fun and catchy melody, well timed drumming from Odin, and a nice energy that is welcomed! Though not especially heavy, Oddfellow showed off their diverse influences on "Lost Cause", and it works for them!

Fourth on Oddfellow's only CD is "To Go", and once again, they have another sound to show off, that being a softer acoustic ballad of sorts. Though unplugged, the vocals are energetic and emotional, and the guitar work is varied enough to include a solo, so it's not just some sad and downbeat original. If anything, Odin's drumming is a bit too loud, but as it sits, the guys show their ability to play numerous genres well here once again, and Jason's vocal control is very good too! That all said, I think this song would probably play better with electric instruments, as it sounds somewhat like a hard rock song adapted to an acoustic format, but it works pretty well, and is an early album highlight! Then we have "Inspire", a return to the heavier sound of the first song on "Go", and early, the guitar riffing and instrumentation even has somewhat of a progressive touch! The vocals are more varied and creative here, including some rap metal-eqsue moments, but the dual vocal parts sound too nasally for my liking. "Inspire" has more of an original sound though than some earlier songs had, and it has a catchy heaviness going for it that works to it's advantage, so if you missed a harder rocking song after "Tricks", you'll welcome it's return here!

Track number 6 is "Operator", which builds into another heavier guitar-heavy opening, and keeps it up well with a nice and dependably hard rocking original song that's honestly my favourite on the album so far! It's got a heavy and melodic sound without sounding derivative of other songs or too out there, and the band seems to be firing on all cylinders, sans the lack of a full guitar solo. While I like their variance of sounds, a heavy original is always welcomed, and the guys all play well, including nice bass work from Phil Kasper and some well used vocal work by Jason Haske. It might not be the most creative and diverse song on "Go", but as a metalhead, it's my favourite song on the CD's first half! It's followed by "Static", a longer original that seems to mix the sounds of "To Go" and "S.O.S." into a softer and part-acoustic number that switches back and forth a bit and integrating those styles at other points, even having some jazzy interludes between verses. "Static" isn't as aggressive of an acoustic song as "To Go" was, but it has a more downbeat feel that works to it's advantage. Definitely the lightest song so far on this CD, "Static" has sort of a laid back campfire feel at times, and while I prefer their heavier material, this song accomplishes what it's supposed to, and it isn't badly played!

Eighth is "The Game", another softer track that starts in a reserved and melodic way, but I don't get the extremely quiet part a minute in with Jason singing over minimal instrumentation. It came out of nowhere and killed the momentum to me. This beats "Static" for lightness, reminding me a bit of an Incubus-ish band at points, but it has nice flourishes, including the dual vocals late in the track, a nice upbeat vibe, and solid guitar melodies, but pure metalheads who don't like ballads might wanna stay clear. There's not a lot of grit and attitude here, and though you can tell it's a rock song, "The Game" doesn't show Oddfellow at their heaviest, but again, that's the point. The next song, entitled "She Is", returns Oddfellow to a bit of a harder rocking style, with melodic (though more nasally) singing overtop of quiet verses and heavier choruses. Though not a punk song like "Lost Cause", it has that sort of feel about it, and the drum work here is very effective! However, it is fairly short and the bass could stand to be louder, plus the break before the final chorus is abrupt and kills the mood a bit. All around though, "She Is" gives us a fun and upbeat rock number that helps keep things moving, and if the softer ballad stretch wasn't your thing, "She Is" might be!

The tenth song on "Go" is "Change", which builds into a deliberately paced yet heavy opening, and I'm really digging the instrumentation on this song's opening minute, which shows the band at perhaps their heaviest! Jason's singing is about as aggressive and rangy as I've heard so far on the opening verses, but the choruses are too high pitched and upbeat compared to the rest of the song, and break from the mood of the earlier tracks. Ironically, the choruses involve singing "I don't care what you think" twice, so I might wanna move on from that point! The choruses and the lack of a guitar solo are my only gripes with this song, which otherwise shows Oddfellow at their heavy best with awesome guitar riffs and solid low bass work, so while it's a hit & miss song, it's high points earn their quality! Next on the CD is the album's longest track, "For You", and while it also starts heavy, it has those "sing over minimal instruments" verses that are slightly overdone. Like some other earlier songs, this has an upbeat rock feel without fully going into ballad territory, but the singing is melodic and suits the genre, and it has a nice guitar solo section that other heavier songs sorely needed. It's a well done song that has no grievous errors, but I'm finding that these softer originals are a bit overdone, especially late on "Go", and I'd welcome more variety like the first few songs had.

The twelfth song is "Call You", and while it begins with vocals again over minimal instruments, the guitar effects are neat and the singing suits the mood well enough! Unfortunately, the abundance of 4 minute+ softer rock numbers continues with this song, but at least this one has deeper vocals and more of a soaring chorus than some of it's predecessors. Plus, it has another guitar solo, but I have to ask, why don't the heavier songs have them? If nothing else, this song is more creative and original than songs of it's ilk on "Go", but when I hear the first half of this album, I'm really impressed by the diversity and influences heard, so why are we stuck in a light upbeat theme ("Change" aside) on the second half? Luckily, that trend is broken with the CD's penultimate song "Down", which is by far the heaviest song on this album, and regrettably, also the shortest, at just 2:38 long. The verses are nice and aggressive, and the more melodic choruses work to the benefit of the song without wrecking anything, while Jason's singing suits the mood without sounding forced. Phil's bass work also really shines, but the lack of a guitar solo is disappointing, but I will admit that the song might be repetitive if stretched out to add other things. "Down" is not perfect, but it's got lots of spark and heaviness, and it's a welcome boost of intensity!

"Go" closes with "Dandelion", but that title doesn't imply a softer song, as the album does close with another heavier track that has good pacing, solid guitar action, and melodic vocals that flow well with the song as it goes. The chorus could stand to be more original, but this is a nice heavy way to end Oddfellow's CD on a positive note, and it shows them at their aggressive best without getting too repetitive! So, how would I assess this Cedarville quartet's only album? Well, I will say that the Haske brothers, Phil, and Odin definitely had good chemistry and crafted some entertaining and catchy numbers on "Go", and knowing their mid-2000s successes, there was probably no better time to record this album! While I preferred Jason's deeper singing to Seth's often high pitched vocals, they both effectively contributed on both vocals and guitar on "Go", and they have an ear for heavy and proficient riffs, and when we heard them, solos! Phil Kasper's bass work wasn't always prominent, but he had lots of good lines and moments, and Odin Osogwin's drumming tended to be very good and well timed with the music at hand, so their talents aren't a worry! On songs like "Tricks", "Operator", and "Down", you'll find some solid hard rock jams, while they explore some interesting sounds and genres early that show their diversity very well!

However, as much as I enjoy "Go", this is far from a perfect album. My main issue is the lack of diversity in the latter half of the CD, with way too many softer rock songs glutting the latter half of the album. When you see all the different sounds and genres that they explored on the first 5 or 6 songs, it makes me wonder why they weighted it this way, but I imagine if songs like "Call You" and "The Game" were more spread out, it'd play better. As well, there was too many quiet stretches with only vocals and minimal instrumentation, and not enough guitar solos (especially on the heavier songs), but when Oddfellow were on, they were on! They threw a lot of diverse influences into their music when need be, and could be very heavy when the right song arose, and the solid production and the members' talents helped that all immensely! Oddfellow reached some big heights in their mid-2000s peak, and this album definitely helped the cause (especially early and at the end), and it'd be great to see the guys reunite down the road, even for just a show or two! Overall, Oddfellow's only album was a hit and miss effort to me, but when they were on their game, their diverse and proficient take on hard rock was more than listenable, and I do recommend checking out "Go" at the above links!

I hope you guys liked this month's CD review at The Sault Metal Scene! So, what's coming up for our next album review in September? I'm not 100% sure, but like last month, I have ideas in mind. With our recent concentration of Sault Michigan-area album reviews (4 of the last 5 were American), I wanted to focus on Sault Ontario again, and with the wait since we last looked at a Sault Ontario band for a CD review, we have no buffers to get by to look at a local band again for a later or older CD. That said, precedence will go to a new album release, but if nothing new and heavy comes out by the end of September (possibilities of which you can see here), I'll likely be taking a look at Woods of Ypres' 2008 album "Woods III: The Deepest Roots & The Darkest Blues"! Regardless of the month, that will be our next Woods of Ypres CD review, and it'll be our last before we start reviewing their singles & compilations, likely starting with "Independent Nature" next year. For the record, the David Gold tribute album isn't an official Woods of Ypres CD, so that'll likely be reviewed upon release without a large delay. So whether we're looking at "Woods III" or something new, watch for our next CD review by the end of the month, and I'll see you guys at The Canadian TONIGHT for Skull Fist! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Rock Till You Drop) And Weekend Concert Previews!!

Before we get to the concert previews, just a note that if you're curious about the share buttons and new options in the top left corner of the page, that's an addition by Blogger and not something I chose. I guess it's handy if you use Google+ or another social networking site and wanna share the SMS on there, so make use of it if you wanna! That said, today's post is devoted to concert previews from TONIGHT through Saturday, including one big Sault Ontario show (and it's latest lineup news), two weekend sets in St. Ignace, and leading off, a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for TONIGHT relating to a major Sault Michigan-area event, so here's what you need to know!

For a second straight year, the Chippewa County Fair in Kinross, Michigan will be hosting a battle of the bands TONIGHT! I apologize for the short notice, but I was waiting for additional info on it. Entitled "Rock Till You Drop", three area bands will converge at the grandstand at the annual Sault Michigan-area summer fair to compete in this unique battle for a great cause. Though admission is FREE, the winner is actually picked in a busker style, with donations given to each band in a bucket after their set, with the band collecting the most donations winning, and all proceeds from this voting method going to the Eastern Upper Peninsula Home Health & Hospice, which is a nice gesture! I'd prefer charging admission for the charity and have an actual judging panel, but this involves attendees better! Three bands will compete, though regrettably, I can only confirm two (despite my best research attempts to figure out the third), but if I figure out who the third band is/was, I'll be sure to let you guys know! One of the bands however is trying to defend their title, as young local hard rock quartet Tantrym Tyme are among the competitors! They won the Rock Till You Drop battle at last year's Chippewa County Fair under their old name Abstract (defeating local Christian rock band Seeking Reverence and defunct hard rockers Splitshot), but can their current lineup reclaim first place?

The other band I can confirm (both via their respective Facebook pages) is Kinross hard rock quintet Banned, who have faced the current Tantrym Tyme in battles in the past (albeit ones without much online press.) Can the Traynors & company deliver a first place performance in the name of the E.U.P. Hospice tonight, will Tantrym Tyme win first again, or will the third band win it all? Attendees will find out TONIGHT at 7:30 PM for the battle, which is ALL AGES & FREE! For all details (minus the mystery third band), visit the above links! This should be a fun event for fairgoers, and at least compared to other Sault Michigan area battles of the bands, there's at least multiple online sources to document it for SMS notice! Even last year's has info, even if I only heard about it late. Out of fairness, I won't post a preview video given the competitive nature of this show, but hopefully lots of money is raised, and no matter who wins, may the best band win Rock Till You Drop! (Oh, and Banned's "job" in Moran last weekend was indeed on Saturday, like most of their shows.)

Now to the previously known local metal/hard rock concerts in the Sault area (i.e. ones I can 100% confirm online), starting with the long awaited return of Skull Fist to The Canadian Nightclub TOMORROW NIGHT! After two well received headlining performances at The Canadian in the previous two years (the first of which gave us the SMS' most popular YouTube video ever), the Toronto speed metal quartet will be back to melt faces and create some huge moshpits in this first show of their Tear Down The West Canadian tour, and if you saw them in 2010 and last year, you'll know just how energetic and exciting Skull Fist are live! Though three opening bands were originally lined up, only two will be playing tonight following the dropouts of Frightlight, Redundant, and The Valentine's Day Massacre for varying reasons, but one band that remained through it all will be the returning classic metal quartet Late & Loud, who will make their first concert appearance since winning the Sault Humane Society Battle of the Bands over 4 months ago! Though I've heard talk of there being a form of finality to tomorrow's performance, I won't go too in depth until the band makes any official announcements, so for now, get ready for another high impact set of old school metal originals after their summer away from the stage!

With the band dropouts, promoter Tiffany Stocco has enlisted members of her local punk band T-Rex Manning to play short notice tomorrow as the opening band under the name "Pools of T-Rex", even though I believe their lineup will be no different to that of Pools of Booze who played at two concerts earlier this year. That said, Pools of Booze/T-Rex's sound is heavier than T-Rex Manning's is generally, so things should work out for metal fans! Admission will be $5 tomorrow night, with bands starting at 10:00 PM, and despite recent all ages concert examples, this show will be 19+ for unrevealed reasons. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! This should be a great concert full of high impact metal, and two long awaited returns to the stage, so hopefully a good sized crowd turns out despite the lineup changes and the impending long weekend! For a preview, here's Skull Fist's music video for their song "Head of the Pack!"

Now back to the Sault Michigan area for the two weekend bar concert sets that are going down this weekend, starting with the return of Cheboygan hard rock trio Driven to Timmy Lee's Pub in St. Ignace! Though an infrequent sight in Sault Michigan itself, Driven hit St. Ignace a fair amount, and tomorrow & Saturday's shows at "The U.P.'s Official Welcome Center" will mark their first shows there that we've caught for SMS coverage since we expanded our range (though we missed a pair at Timmy Lee's in July.) Online media is hard to come by of Driven (hence the lack of a preview video), but they know and cover lots of hard rock, so if you're up for the hour's drive south to St. Ignace, you should be entertained by Driven's cover onslaught! There's no announced cover charge for either tomorrow or Saturday's show, you must be 21 to attend, and a 9:00 PM or later start time is likely. Check the above links for more details! Driven should entertain at Timmy Lee's this weekend, so consider a drive down to 748 West U.S. Highway 2 for all of the excitement tomorrow night or Saturday night!

And finally for the known weekend schedule, local hard rockers Monkey's Uncle will keep the heaviness going in St. Ignace tomorrow night & Saturday night thanks to their own shows there at the Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino! Shows at non-Kewadin venues from this veteran local hard rock band are very hard to source, but Monkey's Uncle are favourites at both of the area Kewadin Branches with active music schedules, and their covers and originals should deliver some great times and fun in St. Ignace this weekend! As usual for their Kewadin shows, a start time of 9:00 PM or later is likely, with 21+ age limits and no announced cover charges. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! Monkey's Uncle should impress and give some great hard rock sounds all weekend at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino, so if you're up for some live music, a trip to St. Ignace for either Driven or Monkey's Uncle this weekend wouldn't be bad bets! For a preview, here's Monkey's Uncle covering Finger Eleven's "Paralyzer" a few years back!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for this month's CD review tomorrow, as we're looking at defunct Cedarville hard rock quartet Oddfellow's only album "Go"! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Sault Riverview Music Festival) And Lots Of Sault Michigan News & Notes!!

Today's news post is entirely dedicated to Sault Michigan, partly thanks to new stuff I bought and learned on a trip I made there this morning! Though mainly to set up some stuff for classes, I bought a book I'm touching on in this post, and stopped by Grooves Music where I bought a CD by a Lansing metal band named Genocya (featuring Saultite Matt Cunningham) who you'll hear more about on the site this fall, and I got some concert information there for a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT in this post as well! Along with news on a local concert from the 1990s that you can buy, and some more assorted notes, read on below for today's all-Sault Michigan post!

A new local music festival is going down next weekend, and it's The Sault Riverview Music Festival! Presented by The Sault Events Inc., this family festival will see all of it's proceeds going towards the Chippewa County Hospice, and there will be plenty of non-musical activities going down on September 7th and 8th, including beer & concessions tents, family activities and games, a 50/50 draw, and a fish fry, so click here or look at the poster on your right for more details! As for the bands, while a full schedule hasn't been posted, the Friday schedule does feature three local hard rock bands, those being Sault Michigan hard rockers Monkey's Uncle, Kinross classic hard rock cover quintet Banned, and young local hard rock quartet Tantrym Tyme (formerly known as Abstract!) They'll join local indie rock quartet The London Gentlemen (featuring Nixxon Dixxon alumni) on the Friday lineup, while the bands on Saturday the 8th don't lean in a heavy direction. The Saturday bands include The London Gentlemen again, plus members Mike Russo & Steve Sivret's acoustic band Fallen Heroes, along with local southern rock band Bittermoon (featuring Monkey's Uncle alum Jim Belleau), a band named Omega Rock that I can find nothing on (can anyone help?) and The Grooves All Stars, who I believe are a band comprised of employees at local music store/festival sponsors Grooves Music. More bands are possible to be announced, so stay tuned in case I hear anything!

This festival will take place outdoors at the grounds of City Hall at 225 East Portage Avenue, it's definitely all ages, and admission is FREE! Bands will be on from 5:00-10:00 PM next Friday and from noon-10:00 PM next Saturday, and check the above links for more details! This sounds like a fun family festival with lots of talented area bands, and hopefully it's a big success so it can return next year! Also, it's nice to get advance notice of a Monkey's Uncle show that isn't at Kewadin Casino, for what that's worth. Stay tuned for updates on the Sault Riverview Music Festival as they roll in!

Next up, I'm glad to finally note that I now have the book "Yooper Bars" that was released last year! I picked it up for $20 at the Lake Superior State University book store, and if you're unaware of it, it's a travel guide and collection of profiles of most of the bars and taverns in the Upper Peninsula. Written by local authors Randy & Kevin Kluck after an 8 month journey through the U.P.'s bars last year, and published by the Whiskey River Publishing Company in the Soo, it does feature a heavy dose of bars in Sault Michigan & the Eastern Upper Peninsula, including some references to metal bands & live concerts that go down at them! This includes 28 bars & taverns within our current coverage range, 10 more in Chippewa, Mackinac, and Luce County that we'll likely touch on in future SMS expansions, and dozens more in the central and western U.P.. Just on my first readings of it, I notice that it's not entirely comprehensive (the bars at Dondee Lanes & and at any of the Kewadin Casinos aren't covered, for example), and parts are now a bit outdated (i.e. Bullwinkle's Bar & Grill in Moran is now Todd's Tavern), but this looks like it will be a quality resource for barhoppers & revellers in the U.P.! That said, I'll leave full assessments until my formal review, but definitely get more info at this location, and pick it up wherever you can!

Thirdly today, does anyone out there wanna pick up a live video from the old Tumble Inn in Eckerman, Michigan? There's a glam metal band that is actually selling a full concert video from their show there in the 1990s, so here's what you need to know! Some of you guys may be familiar with the Phoenix, Arizona glam metal band Tuff, who may be best known for their ballad "I Hate Kissing You Goodbye" and their Kid Rock parody "American Hair Band", but back in their late 1980s/early 1990s heyday, they came through the area once with cameras in tow! Tuff played at The Tumble Inn on September 8th, 1994, and while online details of said show are minimal, you can purchase the full video of that concert by clicking here or here! The concert (and other past show videos) are $22 plus tax and shipping, which will tip the total cost to $30 and higher depending on where you're having it sent. I don't know whether the show will be on DVD or VHS, but this is an interesting offer, especially knowing how hard it can be to find 1990s concert videos from the Sault area, and I might have to take Tuff up on this offer and buy the Tumble Inn show for SMS uses! If you guys are interested, visit the above links, and check out Tuff online for some fun glam metal originals!

Finally for today, here's four assorted shorter stories across the river from the last little while, and as always, these are in alphabetical order by band name:
  • Local concert promoters Allstar Promotions have posted a photo album from the Buckcherry/Fuel concert at the Sault Ste. Marie Kewadin Casino on August 13th onto their Facebook page featuring shots of the headlining bands and the pre-concert autograph & meet and greet sessions! I wish they'd advertise the meet & greets more online, but everyone looks like they had fun, and for photos of The London Gentlemen's opening set, click here!
  • One of the opening bands for the Evans Blue-headlined concert at the Soo Kewadin Casino on September 29th will be State Your Cause, an Ohio based hard rock quintet who have been opening for them on Evans Blue's current tour run. Local promoters haven't confirmed their addition online, but concert posters in town confirm their involvement. They have a solid radio hard rock sound and should fit in well for this special charity concert, so check them out at the above links! The other band isn't known yet, but my money's on a local band. I'll keep you guys posted!
  • Defunct local hard rock quintet Swayze Train have quietly deleted their Facebook page. A reason for the page's removal isn't known, but the breakup in April is likely tied in with it. That said, as their Reverbnation page is still online (bare as it may be) and as we have online information on them still in good supply, I just replaced their link on our inactive Sault Michigan band listings. Stay tuned for hopeful updates on the members' next moves!
  • I wanted to apologize for another missed concert, as young local hard rockers Tantrym Tyme apparently performed at this year's Sidewalk Sales event in downtown Sault Michigan last month, as per postings on their Facebook page. Bands generally play outdoors for free during this sales event at local stores, such as the recently inactive Free Refill, but these slipped me by, and I sincerely apologize for that! Keep an eye out for future proper concerts from them as I hear of them!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for our last posts of the summer (this weekend's concert previews and our Oddfellow CD review) tomorrow & Friday! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Skull Fist Concert Lineup News, Sebastian Bach's Soo Weekend, And More!!

We're back with some more news and notes on this Tuesday morning, and if you're waiting for news on the battle of the bands at the Chippewa County Fair on Thursday, that's coming, I'm just waiting for word on the complete lineup if possible. Today, we have new material from a local guitarist, some updates relating to links on the site and their connection to a recent feature post, and all of the latest from a notable metal musician's recent weekend in the area, but first, here's some news on the bands playing at the next metal show in Sault Ontario!

The lineup for Friday night's Skull Fist-headlined concert at The Canadian Nightclub has taken a lot of hits in the last few days, with two band dropouts, leaving only the returning Late & Loud as a confirmed local opening band. One of the dropped bands is local deathcore quartet The Valentine's Day Massacre, and though an official reason for their exit hasn't been revealed, frontman Steve Rhodes' personal Facebook page indicated that he was leaving for London (where the band are collectively moving for college) tomorrow, which is earlier than we'd previously heard, so that's likely connected. It'll be disappointing to not see the guys one last time before they head down south (if you saw them at the F.A.T.I.L. Requiem, nice work!), but hopefully they'll be back on holidays & breaks & what have you to melt more local faces, and best of luck to the guys in London until then! The other exited band is local punk trio Redundant (who had replaced Frightlight on the bill initially), as per their quiet removal from the event page, though I have no idea why they're out. I was hoping to see them too, but they'll be back for some more shows sooner or later, especially with the recent frequency of them!

Whether new bands will be added to replace The V.D.M. or Redundant isn't known yet, but knowing how big Skull Fist shows here tend to be, there's already visible interest from some bands in potentially jumping on board! Besides, we still have Late & Loud opening (even with some disappointing news I'm waiting for more confirmation on before mentioning here), so keep posted for more on this show in a couple of days, and I hope to see you guys there!

Next up, here's more notes and information from ex-Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach's weekend jaunt to Sault Ontario for the "Swearnet" film shoot with The Trailer Park Boys cast! Beyond just filming scenes for the movie, some lucky Saultites were lucky enough to see Sebastian at some local bars over the weekend, including a stop at LopLops Lounge on Saturday night to see local country band The Wild Turkeys, and I heard he stayed for their whole set too, which is awesome of him! Before leaving, Sebastian also shared this Last Supper-esque photo from the Soo on his Facebook page of him with Swearnet/T.P.B. stars John Paul Tremblay, Robb Wells, and Mike Smith, along with two more familiar guest stars in the movie (comedian Tom Green and Pat Roach, a.k.a. Randy from The Trailer Park Boys), so it sounds like the deck is being stacked for names in "Swearnet"! For the record, I heard that Tom Green was at LopLops on Saturday too, which would have been cool in & of itself! Finally for our Sebastian Bach notes, while he didn't play a live solo concert while in town, lucky fans at The Canadian Nightclub on Friday night got the next best thing, as Sebastian stopped by for karaoke night, and there's video footage online to prove it!

Filmed by YouTube user sisuunicorn705 and uploaded on Saturday, this is of Sebastian and Bubbles himself, Mike Smith singing AC/DC's "T.N.T." in honour of Mike's early birthday, and though the quality isn't great (dark lighting, extremely loud, and staticy audio), it's great to see this footage, and it must have been something else to see Sebastian live (and doing karaoke at a local bar no less!) I'm still kicking myself that I missed this, as I live right near The Canadian and really enjoy Skid Row's later work with Sebastian, so this is like missing Michael Moore at Sault College all over again. Still, this must have made many a night this weekend, so check out Sebastian Bach singing karaoke in the Soo below, and trust me, turn your volume down!

Thirdly, here's a couple of notes relating to some research and links that I took in for our profile of As It Stands drummer John Mignacca's YouTube channel on Wednesday. First, I've added a new link to our Other Local Metal Links section on the left of the page, that being the MySpace page for John's old concert promotion company Infamous Productions! John promoted concerts (mostly of the hardcore variety) from roughly 2006-2007 under this banner (including the 2006 Blind Witness show promoted in this commercial), though as far as I can tell, the company itself fell inactive by 2008. There's not a whole lot on their MySpace page beyond some old concert advertisements & lineups, but there's some neat looks back in the comments and so on, so check out Infamous Productions at the above links, and stay tuned for future concerts that John puts on! The other note is a link removal from that section, as the Facebook group for GLOW Nightclub has been taken down for unknown reasons. The Gore Street bar/concert spot previously known as The Nite-Life Dance Club & The Other Place was last used in November 2010, but the closure of the Facebook group came much later than that, and it probably wasn't a huge surprise. Still, it's a nice venue that I'd love to see restarted, but who knows what the future holds!

Finally, here's a brand new solo performance video from local solo guitarist and AudioFumes podcast host Mike Cliffe! Though he's been busy with his podcasting over the summer, this video is Mike's real solo performance clip in 3 or 4 months, so if you've missed his original music, rejoice! Entitled "SoundBacon", it's a work in progress experimental instrumental that Mike adlibbed and filmed, and while he notes the mistakes, it has promise and creativity! It ranges from what sounds like progressive rock elevator music to some more melodic and heavier melodies later on, and Mike shows his skills well here even if refinement is needed! Why play so far off to the left though, and in the dark? Uploaded to his YouTube channel on Saturday, you can check out "SoundBacon" below, and also, you guys should check out and submit original material to Mike's AudioFumes podcasts! He's increasing his local playlist selections for Audiofumes streams, which are sort of like an internet streaming radio show without a station if you're not familiar with podcasting. Mike gets worldwide airplay and he plays a wide variety of bands and musical partners from all over on AudioFumes, so listen in and get schedules at this location, message Mike at this link if you wanna submit any songs to play on air, and AudioFumes are now in our Other Local Metal Links!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes soon, including weekend concert previews and our review of Oddfellow's only CD! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile: The Georgian Skull

It's hard to believe that we're profiling our 39th band in our Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile Series today, but we've now hit that number with this latest band that featured a Sault Ste. Marie native in their lineup at one point! This month's profile is on a band that only briefly had a direct connection to Sault Ste. Marie, but what a connection this was, so check out this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile below, and if anything's missing or incorrect, please let me know! Yes, this is the same band we mentioned would be next last month, they just changed their name in links newer than the one I originally sourced.(UPDATED: November 27th, 2013)
The Georgian Skull (Windsor, Ontario)

Lineup: (Saultites in RED; members not in their last full lineup in italics. This information is incomplete. E-mail me at if you have any additions or corrections!)

Alex "The Yeti Bones" Petrovich (vocals/guitar)
Steve "Beard" Dugal (guitar)
Sash Wilczynski (bass)
Adam Saitti (drums)

William "H. Skulls" Cochran (bass)
Rob Hare (bass)
Anderson Lunau (bass)
Aaron Palmer (bass)
Karsten Shreve (bass)
David Gold (drums)
Adam Michalzuk (drums)
Kevin Mitchell (drums)
Ace Piva (drums)
Derek Gibson (?????)
Jeff Ohler (?????)

Official MySpace page (1):
Official MySpace page (2):
Official Facebook page:

Local Info: Only one local musician is known to have been in any of The Georgian Skull's lineups, that being late Woods of Ypres frontman/drummer David Gold! Years before Woods of Ypres' local peak and his drumming stints in all kinds of far flung metal bands, he briefly drummed for what was then Mister Bones in 2001 early in his time living in Windsor, but he left the band to form Woods of Ypres the following year (alongside Mister Bones bandmate Aaron Palmer) before their first CDs were recorded, though he & his old bandmates remained good friends after the fact. While information on David's tenure with Mister Bones is lacking, you can read all about frontman Alex Petrovich's close friendship with & respect of David in this memorial article he penned for The Windsor Zene earlier this year.

Band Bio: Launched in 1999 following the band's initial conception in Montreal, Mister Bones were active in the Windsor metal scene through the mid-2000s with varying lineups, including a high amount of differing bassists & drummers, with only Alex and guitarist Steve Dugal surviving through each incarnation. David Gold's stint with Mister Bones was brief and the timeframe of when each member was in the band is hard to source. They released two studio albums & one live album under the Mister Bones name from 2002-2006, along with playing many high profile concerts & tours alongside bands like Brand New Sin, even attracting the notice of major artists like Zakk Wylde & Pepper Keenan with their blend of doom and stoner metal genres. After changing their name to The Georgian Skull in 2007, the newly renamed band and their last lineups also saw noticeable success, releasing two EPs and a full length album "Mother Armageddon, Healing Apocalypse" by the time of their 2009 dissolution. Since then, Alex and final drummer Adam Saitti have been highly visible in the Windsor metal scene in their current (and similar) metal band Gypsy Chief Goliath alongside members of other dissolved Windsor-area metal bands.

While I'm more familiar with Alex & Adam's current work in Gypsy Chief Golitah, I will give The Georgian Skull/Mister Bones a lot of credit for their blend of doom and stoner metal that definitely has an old school feel! Sort of if a band like Crowbar or Down were launched in the early 1970s. Probably their main difference from Gypsy Chief Goliath based on my experiences is that The Georgian Skull have less of a jam session feel and take things a bit more seriously, but that may vary on the person. Alex Petrovich's gruff singing voice fit his older material well, and Steve Dugan's guitar work meshed well for their heavy (though often slow) riffing! I can't comment first hand on how David Gold contributed in his brief Mister Bones stint, but I'm sure he was as good there as he was on Woods of Ypres' early work. As for how Mister Bones compared to their later Georgian Skull work, I'd say that The Georgian Skull were a bit heavier and tighter than they were with their old name, but no matter what, they delivered some great material in their decade run that doom, stoner, and G.C.G. fans should really enjoy! Nice and sludgy with plenty of grit, and a to the point sensibility that helped get the message across on their albums and live, so definitely give Mister Bones/The Georgian Skull a look!

There's a good selection of media online to satisfy any craving for Mister Bones or The Georgian Skullfootage and audio recordings! Most of their songs from their albums are floating around online on YouTube and torrent sites and so on (and on their pages linked above), but their CDs are all likely out of print, so I can probably encourage you to download them (though The Georgian Skull's full length CD is on iTunes, so you could support them by buying it there!) YouTube has dozens of live videos and audio tracks of the band in action from their more recent live concerts, but I'll feature The Georgian Skull's 2008 promo video for their song "Hunting The Ghost" here to check out, so give it a look, and go check out Mister Bones/The Georgian Skull!

I hope you guys liked this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile! Next month, we'll be taking a look at Beyond Haven, a Barrie hard rock quartet who feature Sault Ontario native Jason Graham on lead guitar. We've featured them in a poll on out of town bands with Saultites you guys would wanna see here once, but we haven't talked about them a lot, so on or around September 26th is as good as ever! Watch out for that profile next month, and stay tuned for more news (and our review of Oddfellow's CD "Go") in the next few days! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Likely Inactive Local Band, New Videos, And Sebastian Bach In Sault Ontario?!

With weekend concert previews out of the way, we've got a new news post for you guys on this Saturday morning (beats the lack of good cartoons anymore), so here's what's on tap! Today, we have a new video from a newer Sault Ontario trio, some old 1990s videos from a band who played in the Sault Michigan area on tour way back when, and a note on a likely inactive local metal band, but first, here's some really intriguing news that connects metal with the recent growth of movie productions in Sault Ste. Marie!

Former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach was in Sault Ontario yesterday... but not for a concert. As it turns out, he has a role of some type in the movie "Swearnet" that's being filmed here, which you guys will probably better recognize as the new movie from Trailer Park Boys stars Robb Wells, John Paul Tremblay, and Mike Smith (a.k.a. Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles!) Trailer Park Boys fans will be sure to understand the connection with Sebastian Bach, as he guest starred on the show's final season, where we saw his affinity for model train sets (the central one of which inspired the name of defunct Sault Michigan hard rockers Swayze Train), so if this connection seems random, watch season 7. My source for this info is Sebastian's Facebook page, where the photo on your left came from. I have no idea how big of a role Sebastian has in "Swearnet", or if he's even still in town, but from what I understand, the movie either is based on or will help launch an internet-based television channel full of uncensored vignettes & sketches, so Sebastian may only feature in one part of the film. It'd be awesome to see him book a concert here (I enjoy his solo stuff way more than new Skid Row material), but this is cool in & of itself, so check the above links for more, and I can't wait to see the completed film!

Next up, I've regrettably decided to move Sault Ontario metal quartet Borderline Divine to our inactive band links. Normally, I wouldn't act so fast after a band declares a hiatus (as they did on July 3rd via their Facebook page), but an immediate future for the former Stillbroke is looking unlikely following frontman & founding member Jesse Frigault's move to Alberta earlier this month, where he's already found a new job. He is in many ways Borderline Divine's driving force, so that (plus guitarist Mitch Sirie's ongoing primary work in The Bear Hunters) leads me to think that if we ever see them back, it won't be for a long while. Maybe the hiatus declaration was more to leave a bit of hope rather than abruptly shut the door? If they're for sure functionally inactive now, it ends a successful (albeit scattered) 4 year run that saw the band's many incarnations reach a number of heights, including opening for bands like Helix, West of Hell, and Columbia, their 2008 Case's Music Battle of the Bands victory, and of course, releasing Stillbroke's 2009 EP "Never Enough". Though their success arguably peaked in 2009, fans will be sure to have some solid memories from their shows before and after that year, and their brief mid-2012 activity as Borderline Divine left a lot of heavier promise that honestly topped Stillbroke to me in many ways!

I know the guys have put in tons of work from their inception to their last show in June to make it locally, and in some ways, they did, if not as long as was hoped. Hopefully this isn't the last we'll ever hear from Borderline Divine, but for now, best of luck to Jesse, Mitch, Justin, and Sam (and the array of former members) in the future, and when I hear about the members' next moves in the local scene, I'll be sure to have them here!

Thirdly today, I was alerted to some old school concert videos from a show at the old Tumble Inn in nearby Eckerman, Michigan yesterday, and these definitely belong on the SMS! Life's Eclipse frontman Jason Mills sent me the links to these videos as part of some assistance for a reader in finding videos from one of his old Northern Michigan bands at their local stops in the 1990s, and while this isn't either band in question, they're definitely heavy & could use an SMS spotlight! They were a 1990s Michigan metal band named Collision, and while I don't think they're from the Soo originally, they did play at The Tumble Inn at least once in the mid-1990s. The videos from said show include covers of Alice In Chains' "It Ain't Like That" & "Would?" and (as embedded below) Dio's "Don't Talk To Strangers", so check them out if you wanna! Uploaded in late 2008 by YouTube user budachiba (who may be bassist Jeremy DeLawrence), Collision had a solid groove and a versatility that allowed them to handle grunge and more traditional metal really well, and I'd like to find out more about them! Decent video quality too given the age and format this concert was filmed on. Check the above links for more, thanks to Jason for sending me the links, and if I find any more old school Tumble Inn footage, I'll have it here, but for now, here's Collision's local Dio cover!

Finally for today, here's some more news from Sault Ontario grunge band Haggith! Bad news first, as the band has announced that Wishbone bassist Steven Flint is not joining their lineup as was previously announced. A reason for the backtrack wasn't announced, just that it came after "some discussion" and there appear to be no bad feelings with Steven, who the band complimented the talent of on their Facebook page on Wednesday. As a result, frontman Curtis McKenzie is trading his guitar for a bass and Haggith are remaining a trio going forward. Hopefully this is the best move for the guys, and Curtis does have bass skill, but we'll have to see how they sound in their next gigs! On a more positive note, YouTube user paperclipprojectX uploaded a new video on Monday of 2/3rds of the band (minus drummer Mike Haggith) playing an unplugged version of their original song "I Am", and it sounds pretty good! The lighting is effective (if still dark) and Curt & Daniel add some nice grit to this acoustic rendering, so check it out below, and stay tuned for more Haggith news in the coming weeks!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes shortly, including this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile TOMORROW! Thanks everyone!

Friday, August 24, 2012

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Evans Blue & Banned) And Weekend Concert Previews!!

It's time to preview this weekend's slate of metal and hard rock concerts in the Twin Saults and area (or at least the ones that I know about, so if Powerslug have any late notice shows, I don't know of them yet.) Along with the previously announced shows, we have LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS, one for this weekend, and another for next month that's very notable, so read on for everything you need to know!

Kinross hard rockers Banned are returning to the live concert stage THIS WEEKEND at Todd's Tavern in Moran, Michigan! Over a month after their first gig at the former Bullwinkle's Bar & Grill (20 minutes from St. Ignace, an hour from the Soo), this hard-travelling band will be back in Moran for another night of hard rock & metal covers, but oddly, I'm not entirely sure what night they're playing. Usually, Banned only play once at a given venue over a weekend, but their announcement of this show didn't indicate a date. Most of their recent concerts were on Saturdays, but their first Todd's Tavern stop was on a Friday, so which is it? If I hear anything for certain, I will let you guys know, but for now, play it however you choose until we hear 100% (For the record, I'd bet on it being tomorrow.) Admission should be free for this show, a 21+ age limit is likely, and the band will actually be on at 8:00 PM, which sounds early for a bar concert. Click here for more details!

No matter whether they're on for tonight or tomorrow, Banned should have plenty of metal and hard rock hits in store for Todd's Tavern, so whether you go tonight or tomorrow (And I hope to get clarification shortly), Banned will be ready to rock! For a preview, here's Banned covering Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine" earlier this year!

Before we move to the rest of the post, just one more Banned item, as I wanted to apologize for missing a show of theirs for coverage on the site. Apparently, Banned returned to The Sundown Lounge in Pickford on August 4th (3 weeks ago) for the first time since October, and while there was a few days notice for it, it somehow slipped me by and I only just heard about it today. I apologize profusely for missing this show on here, and hopefully they had a great turnout and set on the 4th!

The other new show (which we'll break from the weekend previews briefly to touch on) is a big new concert at The Dreammaker's Theater at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino, as Evans Blue are returning there for a headlining show on September 29th! The Toronto hard rock quintet (best known for their song "Cold (But I'm Still Here)") previously rocked Sault Michigan in February 2010 as one of the opening bands for the Pop Evil-headlined benefit concert at The Dreammaker's Theater, and this time, they're headlining a very similar event two & a half years later for very similar causes. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Kids Driving Responsibly Challenge, which was formed in memory of Kelsey Raffaele, a local student who was tragically killed in a car accident in January 2010. She was one of two local girls (the other being the late Kim Rogers) who were in memoriam at the 2010 Pop Evil/Evans Blue show, and it's great to see Kelsey's memory being remembered and honoured again for this new Evans Blue concert! Three bands in total will be playing, including Evans Blue (alongside new drummer Dusty Saxton, who replaced Howard Davis earlier this year) and two yet-to-be-announced opening bands. For reference, the other bands in 2010 were the now inactive Graveyard Tan and defunct locals Nixxon Dixxon, so the other bands could be similar in genre.

This show is being promoted by Allstar Promotions, who put on the 2010 benefit show early in their run as well. Tickets are $10, which is a fantastic value that will go to a great cause, but I don't believe they're on sale yet. Like the Pop Evil show, the hope is for some tickets to be bought for charitable purposes too by non-attendees, who can distribute them for free to willing concertgoers, which helped the last show sell out, and they're hoping for the same to occur this year. Yes, this is an ALL AGES event, and a 7:00 PM start time is likely. Check the above links for more details! This sounds like it will be a great event for an amazing cause, and if we can help get more youths driving safely and not texting while driving by attending this concert, we'll be fighting the good fight for sure! Stay tuned for updates on this show as I hear of them!

Now to the rest of this weekend's metal & hard rock concerts, starting with Peril's return to the Eastern U.P.! The Charlevoix metal trio are hitting The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT (in their first shows there since our coverage expansion last month), and you know that Jeff, James, and Brooks will have plenty of hard hitting classic metal covers to entertain their Sault area fans with this weekend! As always, their shows this weekend will be 21+ affairs with no announced cover charge and a likely 10:00 PM start time, so check the above links for more information & details! Peril always entertain when they make their way to the Sault Michigan/St. Ignace area, and with their proficient and crowd pleasing blend of genres, you definitely won't wanna miss them over the next two nights, so keep Peril's St. Ignace shows in mind tonight & tomorrow! For a preview, here's Peril covering Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" a few years back!

Finally for the weekend concert previews, we'll head to Sault Ontario for the return of Caveman Morrison TONIGHT AND TOMORROW NIGHT at The Roosevelt Hotel! Tym, Dutch, and Johnny are sure to be all primed up for another weekend of heavy hitting covers at The Rosie for the next couple nights after two weeks off, and hopefully some good crowd turn out to take in their face melting metal classics! As you would expect from a Caveman Morrison concert weekend, they'll be on at around 10:00 PM tonight and tomorrow, you must be 19 to attend, and there's no cover charge. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! It's always good to see Caveman Morrison back on stage, and hopefully these next shows are huge for them as they wind up their summer dates, so head on down to The Rosie if you need your Sault Ontario metal fix this weekend! For a preview, here's Caveman Morrison covering Living Colour's "Cult of Personality" at what's now Coch's Corner in 2010!

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

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dead & Divine Concert Review!!

For the first time in almost three weeks, we have a concert review at the SMS, as I was in attendance for last night's Dead & Divine-headlined hardcore concert at The Canadian Nightclub! Nice to have a bigger metal show going down in the area to help break from the recent slow stretch of metal shows that aren't mainly covers at the bar on weekends. Before we get to the bands, just some notes on the environment last night. The attendance was alright given that it was a Wednesday near the beginning of the school year, but I figure it'd have looked more impressive at a venue like The Oddfellows Hall, where Dead & Divine's previous local shows were. That said, given the nature of this concert, The Canadian was much more fitting of a venue, especially thanks to the HUGE merchandise area, very likely the biggest I've ever seen at a non-Essar Center show in recent years! When you see a wall of shirts like that, you know something's up, and it's neat that D&D made up some special shirts for their farewell tour! That said, it was weird that there was tape cordoning off some areas (even though they weren't off limits) and the amounts of band gear led to the normal entrance being blocked off, but it's all good, and it didn't affect the music!

Opening last night was local hardcore quintet As It Stands in their first concert appearance in almost 3 months, and though they had somewhat of a slow start, they were quickly back on their A-game in their six song set! They played originals like "Oh Herm, Herm, Delish" and "Big Problem, Little Lock City" and their cover of Blink-182's "Stay Together For The Kids" (among other tracks), which got a good reception, even if the crowd wasn't as active on the floor as it would be later in the evening. Justin Pregent's singing voice sounded scratchier than I'm used to, but his screams were suitably aggressive, and the rest of the band sounded pretty good musically, though their energy was lacking early. I did note that Garrett Masters and Albert Bourrier really shined on guitar though, their melodies and riffs were on par with their best early-2012 gigs! If anything, I wish their set was longer, especially as all of the opening bands only got a half hour each, but the timing felt more like an all ages show in that respect. Good stuff nonetheless, and hopefully As It Stands are back for some more fall gigs!

Starting the out of town bands last night was Toronto straight edge hardcore quintet Liferuiner, who delivered a blast of energy into their set of well thought out and noticeably heavy original material! Though their set was capped at a brief half hour too, they packed everything they could into it, and a lot of the credit for their on stage spark goes to frontman Jonny O'Callaghan, who combined brutal hardcore screaming and some growling essences with a constant motion, which most of the other band members had as well! They had a bit more breakdowns than I like though, and some more guitar solo integration would have been nice, but Liferuiner fit right in for this type of hardcore concert, and they definitely injected their own spin on the genre while keeping a positive message (especially in their newer song "Fissure"), and hopefully we'll see them back in the area down the road!

Co-headlining last night was Madison, Alabama hardcore quartet Mychildren Mybride, and they immediately left an impression visually with large band logo banners, a largely dark stage lighting setup, and even some steel steps to stand on up front (which Dead & Divine also had for their set.) Musically however, M.C.M.B. might have stole the show with their positive yet brutal blend of hardcore and heavier metal genres, and fans up front definitely seemed to eat up their set! With songs like "On Wings of Eternity" in their also-30 minute set, the guys shown lots of aggression and proficiency in their originals, from Matthew Hasting's harsh and searing lead vocals to Hunter Walls' skilled lead guitar work, but I'd love to see Mychildren Mybride expand a bit more into some groove metal or thrash styles. They have the capability and look to do that, hopefully they can integrate some more varied stuff in future releases! Still, I really liked Mychildren Mybride's set, and it's be great to see them back in the region at some point!

Headlining last night's concert was, for one last time, Burlington, Ontario hardcore quintet Dead & Divine, in what was their last ever Sault Ste. Marie show and their third-to-last ever concert! As you may know, D&D are amicably disbanding at the end of their Farewell Tour to focus on other endeavours, and after their first three or so stops here, they have built up a solid local fanbase who predictably gave them a great sendoff for their hour long headlining set last night! The crowd went nuts for D&D classics like "Chemical Valley", "Like Wolves", and "Slumlord", and aside from the on-stage banter, there was no indication of an imminent end, as they played with the same hardcore fury that we've come to expect in their increasingly better local concerts in past years! If you were at their 2007 stop here, and compare it to this show, you can see the improvements. Matt Tobin's vocal intensity was in top form, and I especially thought Kellan Lindsay and Kelly Bilan (a.k.a. Optimus Prime) were playing at a great proficient level last night! I'm not the biggest hardcore fan going, but I appreciate a talented hardcore band and what they bring to the table, and if this is indeed the last time we see Dead & Divine in Sault Ste. Marie, they gave us a great show to say goodbye with!

Overall, this was an entertaining (if short) concert, and though the attendance wasn't fantastic, the environment and talented bands lent a special ambiance to the night that you wouldn't have got at the earlier local Dead & Divine venues! I got plenty of photos, so click here to check them out or visit our Facebook page, which also has this show's "Tag Yourself!" crowd photo. As for videos, here's As It Stands playing "Embay the Terrible", Liferuiner's original song "Fissure", Mychildren Mybride performing "Terra Firma", and Dead & Divine's set opener "Creature"!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for weekend concert previews and more news tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

YouTube Channel Profile Series: johnmignacca & sarahforcexo's Channels

It's time for this month's YouTube Channel Profiles, and it's funny how random selection works sometimes, as the first of the two channels we're looking at this month is linked to the drummer of a local band opening for Dead & Divine TONIGHT at The Canadian! Tickets are $20 at the door, so click here for full updates on it! As always, this series looks at 1-3 YouTube channels with a 50% or more concentration of local metal-relevant videos, and as the first channel we randomly picked this month only had two videos, we added one more with one video to fill things out. So, what should you know and check out on this month's channels? Read on below to find out! (Edited on October 16th, 2013)
johnmignacca's Channel (

Owner: As It Stands & ex-Out Of The Mouth Of Babes drummer and local concert promoter John Mignacca

Channel Timeline: Launched on September 10th, 2006; Videos posted from November 2006 to March 2010

Channel Summary: Ostensibly a personal use YouTube channel, John used this channel off and on from it's 2006 creation through last year, though only two videos have been posted there (with a short combined length of 2:13.) These include an early concert commercial and a sample of live concert clips for both of John's recent primary bands, both coincidentally linked to winter concerts that John's bands opened.

Why Should You Watch: This channel is more for diehard fans of As It Stands and Out Of The Mouth Of Babes based on it's minimal use and content, but the videos included are unique and not posted elsewhere, so it's worth checking out on that basis! That said, John has not actively used his personal channel since February 2011, and official As It Stands videos from after their 2010 reunion have primarily been posted on their official YouTube channel instead, so keep that in mind in case you're wary of subscribing.

Our Recommended Videos To Check Out:

Out of the mouth of babes LIVE: The longest, newest, and most substantial of John's videos is this 1:50 collection of clips from his old band Out Of The Mouth Of Babes' only concert on February 20th, 2010 at the former GLOW Nightclub (then the Nite-Life Dance Club) as part of the Algoma Hope4Haiti fundraiser event that weekend, where they opened for Bring The Fallen & DJ Spruceau at that venue. Featuring As It Stands' instrumental members alongside singer Matt Maccarone (ex-A Fall From Innocence) during A.I.S.' 2009-2010 breakup, this video has the only publically available footage of O.O.T.M.O.B. playing their original material live, though it's cut into four small portions, the camera's focus & lighting are inconsistent, the audio is scratchy, and there's a watermark on the video as it's converter program was a trial version. Still, Out Of The Mouth Of Babes had promise in their brief run, and this video has glimpses of it, but hopefully some fuller video footage pops up at some point!

infamous: Though oddly named after John's old promotion company Infamous Productions and not the concert itself, this video (which is his both his first & most popular) is a 23 second commercial for a show that John put on & played at on December 16th, 2006 at The Oddfellows Hall. Featuring Quebec hardcore notables Blind Witness alongside As It Stands and touring out of town openers The Love & Terror Cult, Foxfight, and April Silenced, the commercial is somewhat minimalistic, though well done, but I have to ask: Why use a techno song ("Insomniac" by Faithless) instead of Blind Witness for the backing music? Watch after the band names for a shot of the poster for this concert!

sarahforcexo's Channel (

Owner: YouTube user Sarah Force

Channel Timeline: Launched on February 12th, 2012; Only video posted that same day

Channel Summary: Though a resident of the northern Lower Peninsula, Sarah did make the trip up to Sault Ste. Marie to see Poison frontman Bret Michaels' most recent headlining concert at The Dreammaker's Theater at the Sault Ste. Marie Kewadin Casino on December 27th, 2011, and she uploaded one video from said show early the following year on her then-new YouTube channel! It's of Bret Michaels covering the Poison classic "Something To Believe In" as preceded by some kind words and thanks to the actions & sacrifices of the American armed forces (awesome gesture!) I'm not a huge Poison fan, but this song is well performed, and if you like their & Bret's softer material, you'll like this video, especially thanks to it's nice quality and Sarah's very close seat! Note that this is Sarah's only upload, though she does still use the channel here and there.

I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profiles! So, what's coming up next month? Well, by completely random selection, I've chosen just one channel for the first time since the spring (following a stretch of 11 profiled channels in 5 months), as we're looking at YouTube user soundguyjoe's channel! If the name's not familiar, some of the bands he has footage of might be: Fabio, Sindicate, and Creatures of the Night (just to name a few), so look out for that profile on or around September 22nd! That's all for today, but I'll see you guys at The Canadian TONIGHT for Dead & Divine! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Caveman Morrison), The Dead & Divine Concert Preview, And Much More!!

News is still coming in somewhat slowly right now, but we've got some interesting stuff to talk about today, so here's what's on tap! Alongside some random assorted news stories from recent weeks, we've also got the latest news from Theatre of Night and the great causes they're supporting, a preview for a big hardcore concert going down tomorrow night, and a finally confirmed lineup change in a local band, but first, here's a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for this coming weekend!

Local metal cover trio Caveman Morrison will return to the live stage THIS FRIDAY & SATURDAY for a pair of concerts at The Roosevelt Hotel! After taking the last two weekends off, Tym and company will bring their entertaining and diverse metal & hard rock covers back to The Rosie, in what will surely be another entertaining weekend of live music for you guys to check out! Especially with the recent dearth of newly announced metal/hard rock concerts in Sault Ontario, this might be even more noteworthy than some of their earlier summer gigs were. Admission should be free for both of this weekend's gigs, you must be 19 to attend either, and a 10:00 PM start time is advertised. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! These should be some interesting concerts, and Caveman Morrison always deliver some fun live metal and hard rock at their live appearances, so keep these shows in mind for your weekend plans! That all said, if you've missed their summer concerts and are still curious who their new bassist is, Caveman Morrison finally (and quietly) confirmed that former bassist Dutch Vanderploeg has indeed returned full time, officially reuniting Caveman Morrison's late 2010 lineup!

The former Browbeat frontman had filled in on bass temporarily in June after James White left Caveman Morrison, though official word on their full time replacement didn't come until this past Saturday via their Facebook group, but it looks like he has stuck around. For the record, Dutch's last music-related statements on his currently deactivated Facebook page denied he would ever re-enter music, so this is encouraging to hear, as his talents deserve to be utilized and heard! Hopefully the new/old lineup lasts for the long term, and stay tuned for more from Caveman Morrison as it comes in!

Next up, here's a notable concert preview for a big show TOMORROW NIGHT at The Canadian Nightclub, as Burlington hardcore standouts Dead & Divine will rock Sault Ontario one last time! The guys are amicably disbanding after this Farewell Tour, which has to be a bummer for D&D's strong local fanbase, but at least they'll end on a high for their fourth (I think) & final Sault Ontario stop, as The Canadian seems more fitting than The Oddfellows Hall for this event! Dead & Divine will be joined by two more out of town tourmates, those being Alabama hardcore quartet Mychildren Mybride and Toronto straight edge hardcore band Liferuiner, and these three bands should add up for one great night of hardcore mayhem! Mychildren Mybride have something about them that I'm really liking, and Dead & Divine's reputation and back catalog alone show a lot of promise for this show, but all three should be more than capable of melting faces! There will only be one local opening band this time, but they're the most fitting choice of all, that being local hardcore quintet As It Stands, who opened for Dead & Divine three times locally since 2007, so expect them to be on their A-game in their first local show in almost three months and likely their only show of the summer!

This ALL AGES concert will go down at 7:00 PM tomorrow (which is early for a Canadian gig, but on par with past Dead & Divine shows here), and tickets are $15 in advance & $20 at the door. Advance tickets are available at The Rad Zone at the Wellington Square Mall and by contacting promoter/As It Stands drummer John Mignacca by phone, so for more details on that and for the official Facebook event page, click here! I know there was some disappointment at slow ticket sales early for this concert, but hopefully there's a huge crowd tomorrow night to take in all of the metal and hardcore in store! I'll likely be there (I'm due for a concert, especially this month), and I'll hopefully see all you guys there to send Dead & Divine off in style! For a preview, here's the music video for Dead & Divine's 2009 song "Neon Jesus"!

Also today, here's the latest updates from Sault Michigan classical metal standouts Theatre of Night! The guys have announced the charity that will receive some proceeds from their new album "The Dawn's Early Light", and it is The Folds of Honour Foundation, an Oklahoma based group who support and assist the families of American soldiers who were killed or disabled in combat. Everything I'm reading indicates that they are a standup and honourable charity, and hopefully Theatre of Night's contributions can make a positive impact! With that in mind, band members Steve & Greg Giles and Craig Harrison will attend the Patriot's Shootout golf tournament in Gaylord over Labour Day weekend as part of this year's Patriot Golf Day event nationally (more details here.) In other recent news, the guys were close to home in Hessel on August 11th for this year's Les Cheneaux Islands Antique Wooden Boat Show, and they were selling physical copies of their two albums alongside posters & shirts at a vendor table, which is awesome to see, and hopefully they made some more local inroads there! Photos are available at this location. Awesome to see Theatre of Night hard at work for great causes, and hopefully there's much more to come from them, so keep an eye out for more Theatre of Night news!

And finally, here's three assorted shorter news stories from the last while, and as usual, these are in alphabetical order by band or artist name:
  • If you guys aren't familiar with Thessalon photographer Liam Best, then give his photography Facebook page a look at this location, especially as it features members of Central Algoma/local death metal bands For All That Is Lost, Inhuman Methods, and Crimson Crusade in some of the shots! More specifically, they're in this album, and they include shots from one of F.A.T.I.L.'s recent Laird concerts. Very solid work, kudos to Liam!
  • I've moved local progressive hard rock band Route 69 to our inactive Sault Ontario band links. Though mainly active in the mid 2000s, bassist Glen Thomas had been working on relaunching Route 69 with a female singer as recently as March 2012 (source here), hence why we counted them as active, but Glen confirmed on his personal Facebook page earlier today that they're now defunct. It's disappointing to see Route 69 finally end, especially with the talent of their main earlier lineup (including Wishbone & Aftersight alumni), but hopefully the members all stay active in local music!
  • Sudbury hard rock quartet Set are still looking for a local concert booking this year, so if anyone out there can help out, shoot frontman Jamie Rowlings a message at this location! It's be great to have them here, and we could use more out of town bands (especially in this recent lull of advance concerts), so see if you can help out!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news hopefully soon, including our next YouTube Channel Profiles TOMORROW, and I should see you guys at The Canadian tomorrow evening for Dead & Divine! Thanks everyone!