Friday, November 30, 2012

Late & Loud - "Heavy Rockin' Hard Metal" Review!!

November is almost over, so let`s end the month with our latest local metal/hard rock CD review at the SMS! For our 41st monthly CD review on the site, I've chosen a new CD for the second straight month, and this time around, it's for Sault Ontario classic metal quartet Late & Loud's debut (and perhaps only?) EP, entitled "Heavy Rockin' Hard Metal"! Independently released on November 10th during the band's return concert at The Rockstar Bar, the disc was primarily recorded with producer Dave Pihlaja earlier this year at what I believe is now the Smoke & Oak Room Studio, though the last two tracks were self-recorded. Late & Loud's current lineup is present here, with singer/guitarists Jonathan Tiberi & Brendan Christie joined by bassist Benn Garside and drummer Josh Hatherley. Copies of this demo EP are available for $6 at concerts featuring band members, though it's unclear on whether further pressings will be produced. As well, the first 5 songs can all be streamed at L&L's Reverbnation page, so give them a preview listen there!

With 7 songs clocking in at around 28 minutes of music, let's begin with the EP's first song, "Fast as a Bitch"! Kicking into a familiar heavy metal groove from the start, you can immediately tell that there's very good production for this album, and even early, their talent is there! Guitarist Jonathan Tiberi sings on this track, and while he doesn't have a wide range, he uses it to the best of his ability here, and there's enough aggression to suit the material! It's a catchy number that calls in mind a 1980s metal swagger, and the members are (for the most part) firing on all cylinders! If anything's wrong with this track, it's that the chorus isn't melodic enough, as the gang vocals don't have the right "oomph" or melody to compliment the verses. The guitar solo, however, is well done (if not blisteringly fast), and their attitude is ever present! This is a quality first track on "Heavy Rockin' Hard Metal", and hopefully a harbinger of what's to come!

Second is "Rock 'En Roll",  which after a bit of feedback, launches into more of a classic rock rhythm with a catchy swing riff, and it also captures it's sound well as an ever older school song than their sound leans towards! The vocals even have more of a casual flow, and Josh Hatherley actually pulls off this song better as a pure singer than on "Fast as a Bitch"! That said, this isn't quite as heavy as the previous track, and it's way too short, but Late & Loud's talent shows well here, including drummer Josh Hatherley's nicely paced work! It's an even better track to me, and if you like 1970s-era hard rock, this will work out for you! Third of the main 5 tracks is "Machine Gun Maiden", which has a great opening with a nice machine gun-esque drum section and more quality guitar and bass work, and it's definitely the coolest and newest sounding for the song's overall themes! The verses have that omninous dark feel vocally, but the choruses do lack, as they seem to have more melody and intensity live. They almost sound mailed in, but the guitar solo doesn't (and it thankfully longer), and Benn Garside's bass work here is the best that I've heard so far! If the vocals were more energetic, this song would be even better, but it still works well as a more modern metal track!

Track #4 is "Heavy or Bust", which launches into a great heavy metal riff and opening with an awesome guitar solo section and nice energetic singing from Jon, fitting better than ever for his more aggressive singing, and the instrumental section immediately before the chorus is great to headbang with! The choruses could stand to be a bit more melodic, but he's using his voice well, and the members are tearing it up musically, with Jon and Brendan laying down some awesome guitar work, and the late drum solo from Josh Hatherley is a nice little bonus that is often extended live! Easily my favourite song on the EP so far, this packs a great punch with lots of aggression, catchiness, and classic metal attitude! The last properly recorded song on the EP is "Whisper of the Damned", this has the best opening of them all, with an instantly recognizable guitar-driven opening! Brendan Christie handles vocals here, with a higher tone and I'd say a slightly more powerful voice than Jon's, though not as aggressive overall. Here, I find the mix isn't as good as on earlier songs, with the vocals somewhat bleeding with the music, but it's another very entertaining track with great guitar work and solid drumming, and it's a nice standout track to go with the others of the main 5!

"Heavy Rockin' Hard Metal" also includes two bonus tracks (the jewel case labels them as "unreleased Late & Loud recordings", but both are noticeably lacking in production given that they were self-recorded, including more distorted vocals and a somewhat messier overall mix. The first of the two bonus tracks is "Love Letter Lockdown", which goes well with earlier tracks for it's classic metal stylings, including a nice overall melody and effectively used vocals which flow well with the music as a whole, while the drumming fits well, and the guitar solo is proficiently played! That said, the singing does seem to get quieter late in the track, and the song is shorter than I'd have liked. The other bonus track is "Never Again", an older original of theirs that's nice to hear again, but it is noticeably more reserved than it's preceding tracks. More mid-paced with a general rock rhythm and more casual vocals, it doesn't have the blistering aggression or classic feel that better songs on this EP have, and the worse production doesn't help. That said, it's still a nice rock song with some harsher moments, and the last half of this song has a nice extended jam feel that has a spark that could have ignited the first half!

So, how do I grade Late & Loud's debut demo/EP? Well, it's a great selection of entertaining hard rock and classic metal originals from one of the area's most promising metal bands! On the whole, the members shown great talent as musicians, with Jon Tiberi & Brendan Christie's guitar riffs and solos driving this material long and hard, while Benn Garside's bass work tended to be very proficient, and Josh Hatherley shone on drums throughout as well! Vocally, Jon and Brendan did as good a job as they can with their vocal ranges, with Brendan exhibiting a bit better range, while Jon's was grittier and more aggressive. The guys also had good chemistry, and a nice classic metal sensibility that carried them through standout tracks like "Heavy or Bust" and "Whisper of the Damned", that seemed to slowly improve as the EP wore on! That said, it's not a perfect disc, partly due to some shorter than expected tracks, and the recording quality of the bonus tracks, which are a jarring change from the original 5 songs, but I understand that they're bonus tracks and not of the main 5 songs.

It'd have been nice to have heard more songs on the release too ("Live For Excess" is a disappointing exclusion, for example), and of course, a full time singer might have improved these songs, but the core Late & Loud members filled that role at the maximum level that they could! I hope this doesn't mark the end of Late & Loud's run (especially given their recent breakup and related concerns), but if it does, it marks some very entertaining metal originals from one of the area's most prominent recent bands, and don't let this material slip you by, so check it out at the above links, and buy it if you can! That's all for this month, but keep an eye out for a special all-video post tomorrow concerning a recent concert event, this month's "Where Are The New Albums?" post on Sunday, and as for our last CD review of 2012? It's still going to be Mike Haggith's new album "Neighbourhood Watch", and it's coming way sooner than you think! Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Queensryche), Suicide Kings Concert Preview, And Much More!!

It's time for our last news post of the month (with a CD review to go), so what's in store? Today, we have this week's classic video, lineup news for a new local band, and a preview of a hard rock concert this weekend, but first, here's a major LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for early next year, so here's what you need to know!

The first Sault Michigan metal concert of 2013 has been announced, and it's a doozy, as Bellevue, Washington progressive metal legends Queensryche are coming to The Dreammaker's Theater at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino on January 12th! In case you were curious, this is the original band featuring most of their original lineup, not ex-singer Geoff Tate's version that launched in September. This is (I think) Queensryche's first stop in the Sault area, and area fans are bound to recognize them from the late 1980s-early 1990s peak, including their multi-platinum CD "Empire" and for hit songs like "Silent Lucidity", "Real World", and "Sign of the Times", so they're bound to impress with their technical and melodic hard rock stylings, even if Geoff's not on vocals for the original band anymore! If there's planned openers, I don't know of them yet, but I can confirm that tickets go on sale TOMORROW at 8:00 AM for either $32.50 or $28.50 depending on seating! I imagine this show will be all ages, and they'll be on sale at this location, Kewadin's box office in person, or at 1-800-KEWADIN. Check the above links for more details!

This should be a great way to kick off 2013 for major concerts at Kewadin Casino and in Sault Michigan, so hopefully there's a huge turnout, and you know we'll keep you guys posted if updates roll in! I'll need to bone up on Queensryche material too, I'm not a scholar of their work but probably should be. Stay tuned for additional details and info when and if I get it, and get your tickets A.S.A.P.!!

Next up, here's a preview of a concert this weekend (the only heavier one in the area that I currently know about), as new local hard rock quartet The Suicide Kings will make their Rockstar Bar debut THIS SATURDAY to help kick off the last month of 2012! Fresh off of a busy weekend at both the Bushplane Museum and Toystock, this rising local band look to entertain their existing fans and hopefully more new ones on Saturday, so if you've missed The Suicide Kings' first 4 shows, or wanna check them out again, you know where to go! Unlike their debut shows, this is a one night only engagement. Admission should be around $5 for Saturday's show, you must be 19 to attend, and a 10:00 PM start time is advertised. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! Sounds like this should be an interesting concert, and with two originals and plenty of covers in store (including likely some more heavier renditions), you won't wanna miss their debut at The Rockstar Bar on Saturday! For a preview, here's The Suicide Kings playing their song "Into The Fray" at Toystock this past weekend!

Thirdly for this post, here's the latest lineup news from new Sault Michigan hard rock band 415E! On Monday, the band confirmed on their Facebook page that they had enlisted rhythm guitarist Devin Anderson & drummer Sonny Menard to round out their full five-piece lineup, with both taking over duties that lead guitarist Chris Hubbard handled for the recording sessions for 415E's planned debut album. Devin is best known locally as the guitarist in defunct local hard rock band Free Refill (last seen with them in February), while Sonny is a relation of 415E singer Dave Menard (I assume), but I can't say that I know the exact connection, nor remember him from any prior local music work. The family connection is nothing new though, as Chris & Dave's old band Splitshot featured not only Chris' dad, but both Kyle & Gary Beaumont, so it's nice to see this pattern continuing! In the same post, 415E hinted that they hope to begin playing live next month or in January, but any definite concert dates or venues are not yet known. I'm very curious to hear the guys make their debut (and release that CD), so stay tuned for updates and news from the 415E camp as it rolls in!

And finally, here's this week's classic video! With local death metal notables For All That Is Lost returning to the stage this past Monday for The Locals Attack, I wanted to focus on them in this video series for the first time, and we're heading way back to their early days for this week! As previously featured in our CASS Cafe Video Showcase posts this summer, F.A.T.I.L. got their start at Central Algoma Secondary School's concert series in early 2010, and one such performance that April was well documented with two publically viewable videos! One was posted on YouTube afterwards, while the other (which is longer and higher quality) was posted on MySpace on April 21st of that year, featuring both songs that they played at this CASS Cafe set! One (which is embedded below) is a song that I still can't place a name for, and the other was an early version of "Viscosity of Blood", and as both were caught in full on MySpace, I split them up into individual videos for YouTube! F.A.T.I.L.'s original lineup is featured here, with singer Tyler Sperry, bassist Ben Deslauriers, and drummer Kameron Nicholson joined by ex-guitarists Allen Piche & Graeme Caughill.

The performances, though early in their run, show For All That Is Lost's talent well, and the extra dimension of two guitarists is nice to see again! Of course, F.A.T.I.L. have grown a lot since 2010, but these are worth checking out even still, including from the original location of these videos, NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED, and all credit goes to F.A.T.I.L. and the original filmer! So give their "Viscosity of Blood" performance from April 2010 a look at the above links, and here's the first song!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for my review of Late & Loud's debut EP TOMORROW! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (The Suicide Kings), Plus Haggith & Theatre Of Night News!!

For the first time in over a week, we have a news post with no previews, reviews, or monthly feature elements, but we do have some big news to cover today, so what's on the docket? We have news from a band from each of the twin Saults concerning their next album plans and related recent updates (including information on a local label/studio), but first, here's some LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS through March, so here's what you need to know!

New local hard rock band The Suicide Kings have announced five new solo headlining concerts, including the first formally announced local hard rock/metal shows of 2013! As originally plugged last week, the band featuring Wishbone, Limelight, and Bear Hunters alumni will make their Rockstar Bar debut THIS SATURDAY, followed by a return to The Nicolet Tavern on December 7th, while they'll hit Docks Riverfront Grill for three 2013 dates on January 12th, February 9th, and March 16th, so click each date above for each show's respective event page! Aside from the December 7th show, all of these are Saturday night engagements, though oddly enough, none are for the full weekend like their first two shows were. I imagine all of these shows will have a cover charge of around $5 except maybe the Nicolet Tavern date, while all are 19+ events with 10:00 PM start times, so once again, check the above links for more details! These should all be entertaining concerts, and hopefully The Suicide Kings continue their local accession with some entertaining covers and originals at this busy slate of shows, so stay tunes for further updates!

Next up, here's the latest from local grunge quartet Haggith! Already with two studio albums released and at least one more ("Deuce") in the pipeline, they have already announced plans for another album release, that being for a live album named "Flight 75"! As announced on their Facebook page yesterday, This will reportedly feature much of the set that they played at the Bushplane Musical Madness concert this past Saturday, as recorded that night from the soundboard, and will include versions of their songs "Fin" (both parts), "Rage Train", "I Am", and "75" (a partial inspiration for the album title.) A release timeframe wasn't given there, but they're reportedly hoping for it to be released before other PaperClip Productions releases. This may seem very quick and sudden given that they've already put out two CDs this fall, but singer/drummer Mike Haggith's solo output has similarly been prolific in short timeframes like this, so follower's of Mike's solo and Windsor-area work won't be too surprised. I'm very curious to hear how this live album turns out, so keep an eye out for updates on it and all of their next projects!

Now, this and any other future Haggith albums are likely for release on the band's independent label/studio PaperClip Productions, which now has it's own Facebook page, so I thought I'd touch on that as well! Ran by Haggith members Mike Haggith & Daniel Horton, their page indicates that current roster members for the label include the Haggith band and an unknown project (to me, at least) named The Cadets, while it also lists Mike & Daniel themselves as acts on the label, though I have yet to hear any of Daniel's solo material, and Mike's solo work has previously been under the Rotten/Galactic Records branding, but I'm not positive on if PaperClip Productions and Galactic Records have any further connections. Regardless, both guys and The Cadets apparently have releases in the works in their own right through PCP, so if I hear anything further on them, I'll let you guys know! Also, they've announced that other local musicians can record material there, with fees listed at this location, which seem like good bargains to me, so if you're looking to record songs or release a CD, give PaperClip Productions a shout at the above links!

Finally for today, here's the latest updates from Sault Michigan orchestral metal project Theatre of Night! In one note, the guys have announced that copies of their "Christmas Night" and "The Dawn's Early Light" albums are now in stock at Sault Michigan physical retail outlets, including local music stores Grooves Music & Steve's Music Center, along with local art depot Sault Realism (at 205 West Portage Avenue), so if you don't yet have a physical copy of either disc, keep in mind that there's places here with them in stock! The guys have also been gaining some recent press in some major publications, including a review in Grand Rapids Magazine (remember, the Giles brothers currently live there) and some high praise from Hit Parader Magazine, so click the above links to read these positive reviews for their recent work! The three Michigan members were also subject to a new photo shoot which you can check out at the above links, and yes, this photo comes from it. Our last note from their camp for today is that they are planning to re-release their 2010 debut CD "Christmas Night" for a second time next month, in what seems to be a holiday tradition for the guys!

As revealed via the YouTube video below (which was posted on their YouTube channel yesterday), the re-release will apparently include three free downloadable songs (including a Mozart rendition), though I'm not sure how much of a Christmas connection these songs will have, or how the free download process will work. The video itself features photos of the album artwork, some live performance footage (with heavy effect filters), and a plug for "The Dawn's Early Light", and it's well edited! Note however that neither the video nor it's audio samples reference singer Gaby Koss, who was originally slated to sing on Theatre of Night's next "Christmas Night" re-release, though she's still listed for "upcoming" band work on their pages, so I'm not sure what the status is for the vocal additions. This should be interesting to hear when it comes out, and I'm especially curious for the new free tracks, so stay tuned for updates, and give Threatre of Night's newest "Christmas Night" promo video a look below!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes shortly, including weekend concert previews, this week's classic video, and yes, our Late & Loud EP review! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Locals Attack Concert Review!!

It's time for my review of last night's Locals Attack concert! With 6 local bands (including 4 relatively new bands to most in attendance), there was a lot of new young talent and experienced artists gathered on this snowy Monday at The Canadian (in it's second straight multi-band concert event in two days), so how was each band? Read on below to find out!

The first band last night was local/North Shore metal band Crimson Crusade in their Canadian Nightclub debut, and being that this was the first time I've seen them live, there were some unknowns. Yes, their new second guitarist is Pillory frontman Robert Sartini (as I had surmised), but their earlier sound indications hinted at mostly covers, so is that what we saw? Nope, as they blasted through a set of original songs that definitely seem inspired by the band Death, particularly from frontman Devon Lucier's vocals, whose high toned growling was definitely Chuck Schuldiner-esque! Good timing too, and compared to their original version of  "Left For Dead", the improvements vocally are clear. The band shown solid talents on their songs (including "Vanquish the Tyrant" and "Lost Memories"), and though a couple of their songs are simpler in structure, there's promise here, and the Death-connections set them apart from many other local death metal bands! If they can loosen up their stage presences and work on some more technical material, they can go far!

Second was the first of two debuting bands, that being new local quintet Lazer Queen, so what can we say about them? Well, their set was all covers, and though they don't quite cross the hard rock line, they did play a wide variety of stuff, ranging from Franz Ferdinand, Jet, and White Stripes to Deep Purple, Queens of the Stone Age, and Hole material! The members were talented enough, and Kate Drew's singing suited the songs well for the most part, so hopefully we'll see her on stage again sooner or later! Some of the covers did sound a bit messy in parts, and I found that Benn Garside's keyboard work, though very good, didn't fit on songs that didn't originally have a keyboard component. He also didn't seem real happy on stage yesterday, I wonder what was up? Jonathan Tiberi & Josh Hatherley seemed to be in good spirits though on guitar and bass, and they had some fun chemistry at times! I'm curious to see Lazer Queen move forward locally, and even if they aren't the heaviest band, they hopefully can work out some of the kinks!

Tomorrow's other debuting band (also featuring Lazer Queen's Jon Tiberi & Bret Shuttleworth) was new local thrash quartet Pillory, so what'd we get out of their first ever show? Wall to wall thrash, including some long and technical stretches, some blistering riffs, and lots of headbanging! For a first set, they seemed to get a great crowd response on originals like "Cringe at the Cross" and "Shattered War", and their bookending covers of Slayer and Megadeth were also really good! Their biggest issue during their set was with guitar audibility, as I could barely hear Andres Duchesne for much of their set, and some of the solos blended and sounded a bit muddy, which is something that's hopefully amended for their next show. As well, we finally heard Robert Sartini on vocals for Pillory's originals last night, and he wasn't bad for the thrash genre, but the volume could have been louder overall. Very good first set, and it's nice to see a thrash band without death growling locally, but I hope their next set corrects some of the audio issues!

The second half of the night (after a bit of a delay) began with the original crash band themselves, Sykotyk Rampage, in their first Canadian appearance since the Kiss Battle of the Bands three years ago! Their set last night, which seemed somewhat longer than most of their recent shows, was different from it's inclusion of more songs we don't hear much live, while condensing most of their set-ending drinking songs into a medley to start their set. I wonder why they did that, especially as those songs are generally among their most popular? As a result, recently infrequent songs like "Sweet Young Thing" and "Never Ever Life" made it into their set, and by the end, more fans were into their more aggressive material, including Dirk Becker dropping the guitar to go into a fury during "Lowest of the Low"! The members were on form from their more recent concerts, and it was good seeing Dirk sing more, so for what it was, their alternative blues/hard rock stylings went over nicely! It would be nice to see the traditional drinking songs back next time out though.

Second last on the bill was new local punk trio The Northern Tragedy, and while I missed their debut last month, how did they do last night? Their set largely reminded me of drummer Terrence Gomes' earlier work in Good Morning Gorilla, with an energetic and catchy punk sensibility that seemed to go over well, even if fans didn't crowd the floor for much of their set. I'm impressed with the amount of originals they already have in their arsenal (such as "Dragondrums" and "Excuse My Choices"), and while I wasn't overly familiar with their skills going in, guitarist Mike Ivany and bassist Corry Rideout have talent on these songs! They could work on their stage presences though, they were fairly stiff for much of the set. Terrence and Mike both are capable punk singers too (though I think Mike's voice is slightly more aggressive), and while The Northern Tragedy are a far cry from Changing Waves musically (where've they been lately?), this new band should continue to leave an impact locally if they keep at it!

Headlining last night's show was Central Algoma death metal standouts For All That Is Lost, who were back after a three month break from the stage! Not only were they back, but their white masks also returned after not having been used since the spring, which is cool to see and helps set them apart! Luckily, they didn't have much stage rust after the break, and they even had a couple newer originals to go along with established favourites like "Viscosity of Blood" and "The Return of Dionysus", and even a surprise cover or two! You know a set is brutal for moshing and fan activity when you get roughed up by even a small crowd (someone basically clotheslined by shoulder blades at one point), and with F.A.T.I.L.'s skills, I can see why fans would react so well! Tyler Sperry's growling was as good as ever, and all of the guys showed good chemistry, with the double-faced Ben Deslauriers showing particularly good talents! It's great to see F.A.T.I.L. back, and hopefully they'll pop up on stage again before 2012 ends!

Overall, this was a fun concert that could potentially give us a glimpse into the local metal scene's active original bands in 2013 and beyond! I remember that late 2010 was also really big for new band formations and debuts, so could this be the start of a new cycle? It'd have been nice to have seen a larger crowd though, but I know the weather wasn't particularly calm. I did get a bunch of photos, so click here to check them out (or visit our Facebook page), and here's my videos of metal performances last night! Those include Crimson Crusade's original "Left For Dead", Lazer Queen's cover of Deep Purple's "Black Night", Pillory's song "Fatal Woods", Sykotyk Rampage's "Never Ever Life", and F.A.T.I.L.'s newer song "Segregate" (at least, I think that's it's name!)

That's all for today, but stay tuned for a new news post tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Toystock Concert Review!!

Hey guys, here's my review of last night's first annual Toystock, but make sure to check out all of our updates to our Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile Series in the post below this one! Before discussing the bands that I saw, here's a bit about the event's non musical aspects. Inside The Canadian Nightclub, there were many tables laid out on the floor with Christmas candy and seating for attendees, which suited the family-friendly aspect well, and there was lots of nice quality signage from Maxx Graphix for the event near the stage too! The Christmas theme ran nicely throughout the venue, from ornaments and decorations to Santa & Mrs. Claus themselves stopping by, and the kids in attendance had fun early in the evening with their lively dancing on the floor! Plenty of toys and canned goods were donated, and by the time I had to leave, almost $1,000 in cash was raised for Christmas Cheer, which is awesome! There were also draws and giveaways for some big prizes throughout the night, and congratulations to those of you who won! Now, due to some homework and my sick cat, I didn't stay the whole night, so I missed Summer Thunder, Obsession, Cherry Crush, and Boxcar Junction, but I hope their sets went great! Now, how about the bands that I was able to see?

The first band that I saw last night (and third overall) was new local country band Asylum, who are essentially Asylum Country with Mark Tarantini in place of the departed Tyson Hanes. I never saw Asylum Country live during their run, but if you were curious, the new band's sound was similar to what they did with Tyson, including covers of Brooks & Dunn, Thompson Square, and ZZ Top material, among numerous others. I grew up in a family of country music fans, so I'm familiar with many of these songs, but I'm personally not a huge fan, though I do admire the band's talent! Mark's singing was pretty good on a country scale, and it was nice seeing Terry Eaton bust out some solos on some of the tracks, while they all seemed to enjoy playing together and for the dancing kids on the floor, and guest drummer Ric Datson added well on two later tracks! It was good to finally see Asylum (Country), as even though this isn't my thing, they're clearly good at what they do!

Next up was new local hard rock band The Suicide Kings (replacing the still unknown K.I.C.K.), and in just their fourth concert, what did they bring to the table? At least for this show, they played a variety of newer modern rock covers, ranging from Velvet Revolver, Our Lady Peace, and Van Halen to Three Doors Down, Weezer, and Green Day songs, along with two originals ("Into The Fray" and "Red Rover"), which gave them a nicely varied sound, but I wonder if they picked lighter and more general material given the family friendly nature of the event? Singer Mike Gaetano reminds me of Cory Murchison from Skeyes of Seven vocally, and he added some needed aggression and punch to some of their covers ("Seven Nation Army" especially), and the rest of the band seemed talented and cohesive! I just wish I could hear Steven Flint's guitar better, much of his riffs were extremely quiet for some reason. I'm very curious to hear how they do in a longer set, but this was a nice first introduction to The Suicide Kings, and we'll have more on their next concerts in an upcoming news post!

Following them were the second of three debuting bands, that being Lucky 13, but who exactly is in this new band? Their lineup features singer/guitarist Ed Vowels (Aftersight), his former Route 69 bandmate Jeremey Salatuk (Wishbone) on guitar, ex-Turner Up/Johnny Lunchbox bassist Jeff Gray, and drummer Roger Sartini, which is a promising lineup (I'd missed seeing Ed on stage especially!) Their set was largely 1990s alternative rock covers, ranging from Foo Fighters & Collective Soul to Big Wreck & Tragically Hip covers, and they gave each song a raw edge and grit that suited the material well! Ed's singing voice flowed nicely on each track, Jeremey's guitar work was impressive as I remembered it, and Jeff was as solid on bass himself! Not familiar with Roger though, but he seemed to add well to their set, which gave a heavier yet casual spin to these familiar covers! I'd say Lucky 13 would fit for SMS coverage, and hopefully the guys create an online page for the band, as they should attain a local following!

The last debuting band of the evening was next, that being new local cover rock quartet Griphook! As we alluded to their other day, their lineup features singer/guitarists Jim O'Leary (ex-Flat Stanley) and Brian Oja (Bigsuit) alongside former Southern Fried bandmates Dan Beaupre on bass & Anthony Fabiano on drums. Their set featured a definite mix of genres, from AC/DC and Finger Eleven to U2 and Rolling Stones material, and they seem to skew towards classic rock moreso, though they did feature some nice acoustic guitar integration! The members all were very talented in their own right, but I do have to single out Brian's lead vocals on their AC/DC covers, as he sounded really close to Bon Scott on them! I'm probably not the first person to notice that, but I've never seen him sing live before, so I have to compliment that! Griphook's set was entertaining and diverse, and here's hoping they continue forward locally!

Following them was the first of two bands from Toystock organizer Greg Simpson, that being local rock trio Stiffler's Mom, who were great to see live on the stage again after so long! Their set was full of their familiar party covers, ranging from Black Sabbath and Thin Lizzy to Ramones and Johnny Cash material, and the guys seem like they haven't lost a step from their recent breakup! Greg's simultaneous singing and drumming got the crowd going from what I saw, and both Mike Davies and Jon Ferguson rocked out well on their varied covers! I did miss their original material though, I was hoping to hear at least one song of their own last night, but the covers that we got were fun and energetic, and they made the most of this latest concert of theirs! Here's hoping there's much more to come!

The last band I was able to catch was Greg's other band Bone Yard, who play a country music-centric set that also went over well with the crowd, and was a convenient bookend to my evening after catching Asylum first yesterday! Their set included covers of songs by Gary Allan, Jack Ingram, and Justin McBride hits, and like Asylum, I had much the same reaction: A very talented band who are very good at what they do, but country music isn't my cup of tea. Greg and Kevin Tallon's vocals suited the country material, and Ric Datson's drumming was awesome as usual, and the increasing fan numbers enjoyed every minute! Of course, I prefer Greg & Ric's old work in That's Chester, but if you love country, Bone Yard do it very well, and as long as they love what they do, I'm all for them doing it! Here's to much more success for them!

From what I saw last night, I had fun at Toystock, and hopefully Greg and Maxx Entertainment brings Toystock back annually! I'd perhaps like to see more bands playing original material, but it was nice to see some artists that I haven't see often enough (or at all in some cases), and congratulations to everyone for all of the toys and money raised for Christmas Cheer! I did get photos, so click here for pictures of the 6 bands I caught (or visit our Facebook page), and I also shot 4 videos of hard rock/metal performances for you guys to check out! So here's The Suicide Kings playing their original song "Into The Fray", Lucky 13 covering The Stone Temple Pilots' "Interstate Love Song", Griphook playing AC/DC's "Girls Got Rhythm", and Stiffler's Mom covering Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train"!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news soon! Thanks everyone!

Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile Updates (November 2012)

As promised, we have updates to our vast array of Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profiles today, so we'll note edits, photo changes, lineup shifts, recent updates, breakups, and new media for the past bands in this series that we've profiled! All of these bands are/were based out of town, but have featured a Sault-area musician at one point/presently in their lineup, and there's a lot of updates to get to, so read on below to get caught up on all of this series' profiled bands, and if there's anything missing or incorrect, let me know! (Each band's name links to our profile of them.)
Phatstick: I've updated this profile to largely reflect their breakup in July, which was revealed on their Facebook page on August 1st, having last played live at a stag & doe in Hamilton in June. A reason for their breakup wasn't announced, but they hadn't been as active in 2012 as they had been in previous years. I'm disappointed to see them break up for sure (especially as they never returned to their original material beforehand), but hopefully the guys stay active musically in some form! I also updated photos on the profile, removed their deleted Facebook group, and noted that Jesse Aubertin served as a temporary live bassist for them earlier this year.

Will of the Ancients: I updated references to former drummer David "Veillko" Gold, largely referencing the late Woods of Ypres frontman's passing in December 2011. In terms of the band's current lineup, they enlisted Peter Weinrauch to replace the departed Jeff Kurkowski in March, while band members Tristan Biggar, Dean Black, and Colin Attlesley are now handling vocals for the band in place of ex-singer Stephen Walton, retracting them to a quintet. I also deleted the link for their expired website, and added references to their recent concerts and the still-pending release of their third CD "To Our Glorious Dead". They're very much active and roaring, so keep an eye out for more from Will of the Ancients!

Papa Fogals Chair: The only real update was to note that the site of their last two local concerts (Foggy Notions in 2008 & 2010) is now Coch's Corner, Nothing else really needed to be updated, as Papa Fogals Chair have not reunited for even a one-off show in over 2½ years, but hopefully they'll turn up again at some point!

The Sexual Vigilantes: I mostly freshened up some references and reinforced their defunct status, as they have not shown any major activity since 2009 or earlier, and members Brenton Ellis & Curtis Faux have largely focused on Maximum RNR in recent years. However, I did re-add the video of them playing "Motorbike The Song" with guests/future Detroit bandmates Mark Ranᶁ & Mikey Hawdon at the former Foggy Notions in December 2007, as uploader Nathan Sauve re-activated it on his YouTube channel in September, so give it a look below!

Feral Noise: No changes, aside from notes that frontwoman Nathalie Boudreau still uses the band's name on personal pages, while adding links to stream live concert footage from her later Vancouver area bands, which likely are similar to Feral Noise. With guitarist Tym Morrison back home in the Soo for a few years now, the Calgary hard rock quartet hasn't shown any signs of life in years, but who knows what the future holds?

Sadomasochism: Aside from some minor spelling corrections and brief notes on final drummer Mikey Bishop's black metal band Summon's recent inactivity and frontman John Rios' current band From Hell's similar sound, there were no major edits. Sadomasochism have been broken up for 8 years now, and the members have long since dispersed into newer projects.

Levitate: I added references on frontman Cory Murchison's newest local band Skeyes of Seven, while also deleting links for their GarageBand page, as that site is no longer active. Nothing else needed changing, as Levitate are long since inactive, with the members mostly living outside of their Prince Edward Island homebase currently.

Necramyth: Aside from some freshening up of references due to drummer David Gold's passing last December, and notes on David's unreleased "Korea Metal" documentary, there were no major changes. Necramyth broke up while David was still alive, and I've heard nothing about a reunion in recent years, but hopefully the surviving members are still delivering metal in some fashion to South Korea and beyond!

Human Disorder: All I changed was notes on most of the band's later group Phatstick breaking up earlier this year, and I downplayed some exciteable sentences late in the profile. Nothing else needed fixing, as Human Disorder have been broke up for over 13 years, with no reunion in sight that I can tell.

Summon: I updated references to their status (I believe they're inactive now, not having issued real band updates since 2010), while also restoring their posted photos, but that's about all. I'd like to see Summon back in action, as Mikey and company have good talent and chemistry!

The Disciples of Rock: All I changed was a reference to bassist James White's current local band status, as he left Caveman Morrison earlier this year, but it still on bass with Redundant. The rest didn't need changing, as The Disciples of Rock have not been reactivated since.

Violet Fuse: I replaced the expired photos and noted some recent updates from them, including continued concerts and plans for their second album. The rest is about the same as before concerning their lineup and general status, as they still play and record often in the London area!

Jar.: Only minor updates here, including brief notes on their next CD's status and recent concerts, additions of their MySpace & SoundCloud pages, and a photo restoration. Jar. are still very prominent in the B.C. music scene, so watch out for some big news and events from them in 2013!

Thrawsunblat: Like with his earlier bands in this series, I edited and updated references to drummer David Gold, particularly his band history and passing last year. Related to that, I updated their lineup to note the additions of bassist Brendan Hayter and new drummer Rae Amitay (both also from Woods of Ypres' last lineup.) I also added notes on Thrawsunblat's latest studio work towards their second CD "Thrawsunblat II: Wanderer on the Continent of Saplings" and it's fundraising campaign, while amending some of my analysis of their sound, replacing a photo, and adding links to their BandCamp page & new album's Facebook page. More updates should be needed next year as we inch closer to the CD release!

Hellhitch: My only update was to note that I don't think frontman/Saultite Mike Lawrence is still in Brooklyn Fletcher, who have been reduced to a duo at present. The rest is still as up to date as the internet will afford me, as information on Hellhitch was extremely hard to find even closer to their active run.

Kilacel: I overhauled the local info section to give new information on guitarist Chris Webster and bassist Chris Leask, both of which have notable local ties that we had already addressed there. I also removed links to their expired website, noted that their hiatus is likely permanent, and added extra references to the Nunica hard rock band Coldville, who share two members & a similar sound with Kilacel.

Fifth Way: First off, Fifth Way have actually had two bassist changes since we last updated their profile, as Victor Wooten replaced Mike McMann this summer, before Anthony Palsgrove replaced Victor in October. If my math's correct, they've now had five bassists in the past four years! I also added notes on guitarist/Rudyard native Zak Stelmaszek's newest gig as a guitarist in the cover band Cruizin' Jupiter, while freshening up references to their Sault Michigan stops in 2012.

Mark Ranᶁ: I updated references to Mark's current musical status, including his newer bands Cross Dog & Kidshit (the latter of which sounds like his old solo material), his current homebase of Peterborough, and this solo project's inactive status, having not issued real updates since 2011. Hopefully we see him playing live in the Soo again in the future! (I also removed a redundant MySpace link, and restored a photo.)

L'anguisette: Like our profiles on his other out of town bands, I updated this one to note drummer David Gold's passing last year, along with the band's stalled activity in 2012, though they are alive! As of October, they were still hoping to release "Damning the Euphrates" formally, but a timeline for it could not be given at the time. Here's hoping they can return from recent personal setbacks stronger than ever at some point in the future, as they have a lot of promise!

S.C.A.R.: I noted here that this band reunited in January 2011 after being broke up for most of 2010, along with alluding to some recent concerts and album plans. As well, I updated frontman Mike Haggith's local information to cover his building local prominence, including the formation of his grunge band Haggith this year. Finally, I restored photos to the profile, as the links no longer worked for them.

The Northern Ontario Black Metal Preservation Society: As with our other profiles of David Gold's out of town projects, I updated references to him mainly due to his passing last year. As well, I restored the photos on the profile, noted the project's likely inactive status (with David gone and their Facebook page deleted, I figure Aaron isn't carrying on with it), and made appropriate edits to their releases, output, and plans to connect to the finality of it all.

Maximum RNR: Only some minor edits were needed here, including a photo restoration, newer additions to reflect the band's recent local shows and discography, and some extra comments on their current sound. Maximum RNR are still playing often and causing mayhem at many stages, so don't miss them!

Buster Cherry: The only updates needed here were for the members' recent local connections, including guitarist Terry Eaton's role in the Asylum Country successors Asylum, and his longtime bandmate Dan Beaupre's current role in Griphook. The rest was about the same as before, as information on Buster Cherry directly is still hard to find.

The Heatseeking Moisture Missiles:  In terms of lineup changes for Sault Ontario native Ash Richtig's oldest active Windsor band, they added his NeanderTHRALL bandmate Kyle Paulton to the band in June, replacing the departed Nolan Silvaggi. Aside from that, I restored some photos and notes the band's recent activity following a recent break. The guys are still plugging away with new concerts down south, with new studio material in the pipeline!

Gravity Crash: Most of our updates here to reflect Gravity Crash's likely demise, as they quietly deleted many of their online pages this fall following guitarist/Saultite Paul Melanson's second/final departure in September. The profile is updated to that end, including more recent live and studio notes, and some updated on my analysis of their sound. On the positive side though, I did replace the profile's video to include one of a full song, so here's Gravity Crash in December 2011 playing their song "Run Johnny Run"!

Jeff Nisbet: Only minor changes were needed, including a photo restoration and a note that Jeff's solo project is inactive now, having not updated his Facebook page since August 2011. I'd like to see him resurrect his solo work though, as he is very talented!

NeanderTHRALL: This Windsor metal band are now a trio (coincidentally now all Heatseeking Moisture Missiles members), as the band parted ways with singer Chris Wilkins in mid-2012, with no replacement announced yet (though he does sing in Ash's newest band, The Line Drawn.) That's the only major change beyond photo restorations, especially as NeanderTHRALL have offered very few updates since June.

Infathom: Along with photo restorations, I noted frontman/area resident Dillion Semasky's brief stint with Half A Man and recent solo rap material, and the band's June 2012 return at the second LemmaFest in Sault Michigan (though they've been otherwise dormant since members moved away for college in late 2011.)

Paricide: No changes. They're long since defunct, and the members who are still musically active are still credited with accurate information, so nothing needs an edit... yet.

The Lust Boys: I restored photos here, along with noting that drummer Stefano Sxdryv's real last name is Pasta (it really is!), and adding some more up to date information on their current status and happenings, including their cancelled March 2012 local date following their tour vehicle breaking down. Hopefully Benny brings the guys back home soon for a proper local debut!

Repetitions: Restored photos aside, I edited much of the profile to note the release of Repetitions only CD, along with their surprise disbanding in July 2012 following a successful year and a half run in the Windsor scene, though members Ash Richtig & Jay Buston are back in the similar Line Drawn. It's disappointing to see Repetitions end, as they were very aggressive and had a great old school sound, but hopefully the members' new bands work out for them!

Mothership: The Ottawa Led Zeppelin tribute band featuring former area resident Ritch Fullerton appear to have quietly disbanded for unannounced reasons this summer (as per the deletion of their Facebook page), which is disappointing, but Ritch is back musically as guitarist in the Ottawa classic rock cover band Trashed Taxi, so give them a look! All edits to the profile are related to that, aside from a restored band photo.

Constructed Apocalypse: The only edits here were for a restored photo and for Saultite/ex-frontman Jeremy Hannah's more recent work as a singer in local bands like March Into Regression and Like Father Like Son. The rest was up to date, as Constructed Apocalypse have been defunct for over two years.

Winter of Silence: Updates here included a restored photo, a removed band from Ryan DeWinter's past work (as that was a different Ryan DeWinter), and notes on the end of the Winter of Silence project in May for unknown reasons & their succession by his new Nordic-influenced black metal band Brynhildr. At least he's still doing original black metal work, but I liked Winter of Silence's doomy originals, and maybe Ryan revisits this material down the road!

Azriahl: I noted information on their full band's live debut on December 22nd in Peterborough, the recent release of their debut CD, and the departure of bassist Jimi Baldwin this summer for unannounced reasons, who has been replaced (on at least a temporary basis) by Mike Pickett. The rest is about accurate, but I imagine much more will need to be changed in 2013, as their prominence is building! (Yes, there was a restored photo too.)

RedStone Riot: I updated the band's recent activity, such as their recent major Lower Peninsula concerts and their recent studio work towards their planned album, but the biggest update was the addition of a live concert video! About time that RedStone Riot have some live footage, and this is of them covering Evanescence's "Bring Me To Life" at the Muskegon Rockstock Festival! It's a solid performance for sure (but Rachel's singing is a bit shaky), so give it a look below, and stay tuned for more audio and video material from them!

Under Earth: All I did here was restore a photo and update references to Ash Richtig's Windsor-area music work. Under Earth are still inactive, and with how busy Ash is in his three current bands, I don't see him revisiting this project in the near future.

The Georgian Skull: No changes. The band are long since defunct, and no updates have came out since we posted this in the summer.

Beyond Haven: Oddly enough, Beyond Haven's active local connections ended just weeks after we posted this profile, as Sault native Jason Graham left the band last month for unannounced reasons, and was replaced by Matt Davey. Disappointing, but hopefully Jason stays active musically! The only other update was to note some updated info, including their set opening for Finger Eleven next month.

Genocya: No changes. We only just posted their profile in this series last month, so there hasn't been a lot of time for things to change and warrant edits. Stay tuned for big news from their camp though!
I hope you guys liked all of the edits to the bands in this series! I really need to update them more often, this was a lot of work to source and change. We'll return to band profiles next month to round out the year, and we'll cap 2012 with The Dyadics, the London hard rock duo featuring Sault Ontario native Kevin Kennedy! Watch out for that on or around Boxing Day, and stay tuned for my Toystock review this afternoon! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Locals Attack Concert Preview & More Assorted News!!

Hey guys, I'm sorry that I couldn't make Bushplane Musical Madness last night, but my cat fell ill yesterday and I was watching him and keeping him comfortable and all that last night. Barring any downturns, I will try and be there for at least some of Toystock, so I hope to see you there! That said, we have another news-ish post today, and we have another extended concert preview for a show going down tomorrow night! It's longer because there's a lot of new, returning, and debuting bands and lineups among the 6 bands, so we need to touch on everything adequately! We also have three assorted shorter news stories at the end, so read on below for what you need to know!

Tomorrow night, six local metal and punk bands will descend upon The Canadian Nightclub for The Locals Attack, the second such concert under this branding from local concert promoter/singer J.D. Pearce, following March's "Dead In The Van" event! Unlike that concert however, tomorrow's is full of newer bands, with two making their live debuts, and only two who've played live with any recent regularity, so this could be a big moment to see some of the local metal/punk scene's future! The headliners tomorrow will be Central Algoma death metal notables For All That Is Lost in their first concert in three months, and it's great to see them back after a while off the stage! The only returning band from Dead In The Van, this brutal and hard hitting quartet have been hyping their return well, and I'm hearing big things about their set, so don't miss it tomorrow night! In descending order for the opening bands, we also have new local punk trio The Northern Tragedy (featuring Changing Waves bassist Terrence Gomes on drums) in their second local concert and Canadian Nightclub debut, and they should have a solid set of punk rock originals tomorrow as well!

Also tomorrow are local alternative hard rock/blues quartet Sykotyk Rampage in their second show in a 3 day span (following yesterday's Bushplane Musical Madness gig), and look for the Beckers and company to deliver a unique and thoroughly sykotyk set of improvised hard rock madness! Also, guitarist Dirk Becker will be providing sound tomorrow through the "Sykotyk Sound Company", similiarly to J.D.'s other recent shows. Prior to them, we also have the debuting Pillory, the new local thrash metal band featuring frontman Robert Sartini (ex-Roadkill), guitarist Andres Duchesne (ex-Bear Hunters), bassist Jonathan Tiberi (Late & Loud), and drummer Bret Shuttleworth, and it's about time we had a straight thrash metal band around here again! Their videos are very promising, and hopefully they can channel that into a successful concert debut tomorrow as well! Second on the bill are local/North Shore metal quartet Crimson Crusade, in what may be their first public concert in Sault Ontario since last year (though they played at a F.A.T.I.L. event in Laird this summer.)

Though not a consistently visible sight in recent months, Crimson Crusade have promise, so look out for some explosive covers (and maybe originals?) from them tomorrow! Also, this should be their first gig with their new guitarist "Rob #2" following the departure of Brock Pinder earlier this year, but the new guitarist's full identity has not been revealed yet (possibly Robert Sartini from Pillory?) The opening band will be new local hard rock band Lazer Queen (formerly Nite Ruin), who don't have an online page yet, but I can tell you a bit about them! Their lineup features singer/guitarist Kate Drew (ex-Apocrytha), the aforementioned Jonathan Tiberi on guitar, and his Late & Loud bandmate Benn Garside on keyboard (similarly to his old Glass Statues work), alongside new additions Josh Hatherley (also of Late & Loud) on bass, I presume, and Jon's Pillory bandmate Bret Shuttleworth on drums. My source for the updated lineup is Jon's personal Facebook page, and Josh & Bret replace the previously announced Harley Syrette & Anthony D'Agostini in Lazer Queen's lineup for unannounced reasons (though Harley indicated to me that he never fully joined this band.)

Lazer Queen sound promising in their own right, and it will be nice to see a female singer and a keyboardist in a heavier band again locally, which should set them apart if they last for the long term! Note as well that Hamilton hardcore/groove metal band Skynet were briefly advertised as headliners for this show, but they can't make it in time, but if you want to help this brutal djent-influenced band play here soon, contact them at this location! Admission for this ALL AGES concert will be $6 ($1 a band), and a 6:00 PM start time is advertised. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! This should be a very interesting concert for both the established and newer bands alike, and I encourage everyone to come down to rally the new bands and mosh out to them all, and being all ages, don't let that stop you from rocking out! For a preview, here's F.A.T.I.L. playing "Hades, Lord of the White House" at The Canadian in May!

Finally for now, here's three assorted shorter news stories from the last little while! As usual, these are in alphabetical order by band or event name:

  • Local death metal bands The Bear Hunters & Shit Liver will return to the concert stage next month! ....just not in the Soo. Both will make their first concert appearances outside of the Algoma District on December 21st in Sudbury for the "Doomsday Massacre", where they will join Quebec's Cryptik Howling & 7 other Northern Ontario bands, including Thekillingfield & many others. Click here for details, and hopefully we'll see them on the local stage before then as well!
  • The Sault Music Scene's old forum was taken down last month. It was a casualty of the recent migration of all of host Forumer's IPB-based forums to their upgraded Yuku format. Administrators have the option of relaunching it, but it's been replaced twice over since the mid-2000s (now as the 705 Video Magazine forums), so I wouldn't bet on the full archives coming back. This is disappointing for people who liked browsing the old posts, but follow the 705VM above for it's current form!
  • If you're wondering why we didn't post any videos from the Theory of a Deadman/Adelitas Way show on here, it's because none of the heavier opening bands got a public YouTube video that I've found. That said, Theory of a Deadman were subject to videos that you can watch at the links here and here, so if you like their rock sounds or missed the show, give them a look!

That's all for now, but I hope to see you guys at Toystock! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Toystock Concert Preview & This Week's Classic Video!!

It's time for our next local concert preview for the weekend, and because this one ran longer than I expected, we'll bump our preview of The Locals Attack to our next news post, likely tomorrow morning! It's coming though, and it should be a great show with lots of great young local talent! Today's post features an extended preview of a major event going down tomorrow and this week's classic video, so without any further adieu, here's what you need to know!

10 local bands will descend upon The Canadian Nightclub tomorrow for a great cause in the concert known as Toystock! Planned to be the first installment of an annual event, this is being put on by local musician Greg Simpson's event promotion company Maxx Entertanment, and the goal of Toystock is to sercure donations to Christmas Cheer! To that end, admission will be by toy, canned food, or monetary donations, and the Stuff-A-Bus will be on site, while some Facebook postings have indicated that there will be some sort of prize draws and raffles. As well, this is an ALL AGES and family friendly event, so feel free to bring the kids, especially as Santa Claus will be in attendance! For all details on the non-musical elements of Toystock, visit the official Facebook event page! This all alone is awesome to help secure donations for Christmas Cheer, and kudos to Greg for coming up with this great event! On the musical side of things, this might be the biggest concert at The Canadian for band-count since the Ypres Metal Fest, but who all's playing?

The lineup is mostly local cover bands, including many who you can see at local bars and concert venues on weekends, but there's tons of talent present with these 10 bands, including three making their live concert debuts, and one hard rock-leaning act, that being newer local quartet The Suicide Kings! Fresh off their Bushplane Musical Madness set later tonight, what can we expect from Mike, Steven, Mitch, and Ben in their fourth local show? I'm not sure yet, as I have yet to see them and they have no online media yet, but I have a feeling they may be the heaviest of tomorrow's bands! They'll be on at around 3:00 PM, replacing a band named K.I.C.K. (who I have absolutely no information on. If you can help, let me know!) As for the rest of the lineup, the headlining band at 9:00 PM will be local rock trio Boxcar Junction (formerly Cleveland Steamer), and they'll be preceded by local pop rock outfit Cherry Crush at 8:00 PM, country rock quartet Bone Yard at 7:00 PM, and the recently reunited rock notables Stiffler's Mom at 6:00 PM!

The four band slots from 2:00-5:00 PM are largely for newer bands (only one of which has an official online page as of this writing), so bear with me on any missing details. The 5:00 band is named Griphook (presumably after the Harry Potter character?), and their lineup includes ex-Flat Stanley frontman Jim O'Leary, former Bigsuit guitarist Brian Oja (also a veteran of many past metal bands), prolific local bassist Dan Beaupre, and his old Southern Fried bandmate Anthony Fabiano (ex-Gsis Murphy) on drums. Dan had told me that this new band will play a variety of styles to suit a wide audience, which is a good safe bet, but will they have any heavier selections? We shall find out tomorrow! The 4:00 band is named Lucky 13 (a reference to the clothing line?), but I know a lot less on them. All I can confirm is that ex-Turner Up/Johnny Lunchbox bassist Jeff Gray is in their lineup, but I have no idea on any of their other members or their sound/setlist. Again, if you can help, let me know!

The aforementioned Suicide Kings are on at 3:00 PM, and a new local band named Asylum are on at 2:00 PM. Though they are without online pages too, their lineup is essentially local country band Asylum Country with Blind River singer Mark Tarantini in place of the departed Tyson Hanes. Will their sound retain their country leanings, or expand further to new genres? Again, we'll know tomorrow! The lineup tomorrow is rounded out by local dance rock band Obsession at 1:00 PM, and country notables Summer Thunder opening things up at 12:00 PM. Check the above links for more on the bands who have pages! As already mentioned this is an ALL AGES event running from roughly noon-10:00 PM tomorrow, and admission is via Christmas Cheer donations (toys, canned goods, or money.) For more details, check the above links! This is sounding like a great event for awesome causes, and it unites a good deal of talented local bands, so hopefully the turnout is as big as is expected, and I hope to be there for at least most of the night! For a preview, here's Stiffler's Mom playing one of their predecessor metal band Sin Stereo's tracks live at The Essar Center a few years back!

Finally for this post, here's this week's classic video! Late, I know, but it does tie in with Toystock well! When looking for non-YouTube videos featuring Toystock performers, I did find some of Griphook frontman Jim O'Leary from his past work in local progressive rock band Flat Stanley, and while drummer Glen Thomas has uploaded some videos of theirs to his YouTube channel, this video of them covering Jane's Addiction's "Been Caught Stealing" was not there! Filmed at a November 2007 concert at Docks Riverfront Grill (which was the source of various other Facebook/YouTube videos of theirs), their classic lineup is present here, including current members/Wishbone bandmates Tony Kajnar on guitar (and vocals for this song) & Glen on drums, alongside Jim on guitar & Mark Brandow on bass. This is a solid heavier song from a band not explicitly known for them, but Tony's vocals are hit & miss in trying to replicate Perry Farrell's uniquely high singing. The camera work is also very shaky and not entirely focused on the band, but I was able to correct the washed out colours after uploading this video.

NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED!!! This video was originally posted on Facebook by Glen at and all credit for this video goes to Flat Stanley and the original filmer! This is a good video, if patchy for quality, so give it a look below, and go see Jim's new band Griphook tomorrow at Toystock!

That's all for today, but I'll see you guys at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Center TONIGHT for Bushplane Musical Madness, and stay tuned for our review of that tomorrow, along with our Locals Attack preview and more news! Thanks everyone!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Weekend Concert Previews Through Tomorrow Night!!

Apologies for the delay on this post, but we're kicking off our weekend concert previews today! As this busy stretch of concerts goes into Monday, I'll break them up into two posts, with Friday/Saturday shows this morning and the concerts on Sunday & Monday tomorrow. With that said, we have two concert weekend sets in the Sault Michigan area, and a notable fundraiser concert on the Canadian side of the border, so read on below for what you need to know!

We'll kick off our concert previews across the river with two bands' latest concert weekends in the Eastern U.P., starting with Kinross hard rockers Banned's second straight weekend set at The Runway Bar in Hessel! Plugged frequently on the band's Facebook page, these add to Banned's prolific recent live resume, and hopefully the Traynors and company have a great set full of originals and hard rock/metal covers tonight and tomorrow night! Like Banned's Hessel shows last weekend, admission is likely free for both tonight & tomorrow's concerts, both of which are presumably 21+ with no announced cover charge. For more details, check the above links! Sounds like fun to me, so hopefully if you guys are up for the drive to Hessel, you can make it there to witness Banned's latest concerts either tonight or tomorrow night! For a preview, here's Banned covering Alice In Chains' "Man In The Box" earlier this year!

The other verifiably heavier band playing in the region this weekend is Sault Michigan hard rock trio Powerslug, who are returning to The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino tonight and tomorrow night themselves! As always seems to be the case, this talented but online-elusive band have no online pages to plug these shows, but kudos once again to Kewadin Casino's entertainment page for advertising them in advance, so don't miss these ones! Bob and the two Chris' have delivered lots of great hard rock covers all year at varying venues, and if you're up for the hour's drive south to St. Ignace, you'll find some solid live music in the process! Admission should be free for these 21+ concerts, and 10:00 PM start times are likely. For more details (such as they are), check the above links! Powerslug have the necessary talent and chemistry (even if online media isn't around to prove it), so don't miss their St. Ignace dates this weekend, and stay tuned for more from their camp when & if it makes it online!

Lastly for today's concert previews is a special fundraising concert tomorrow night at a new venue for us, that being The Canadian Bushplane Heritage Center! As recently promoted on Local2, the local museum at 70 Pim Street has been opening it's doors lately to some non-historical events, concerts included, and three local hard rock bands are gathering there tomorrow evening for "Bushplane Musical Madness"! The headliners tomorrow are the original crash band themselves, Sykotyk Rampage, who are continuing a busier-than-usual concert schedule with their Bushplane Museum debut, and look for an exciting set of alternative and blues influenced crash music that always show their creativity! I believe guest bassist Tony Briglio will be back tomorrow night, and guitarist Dirk Becker is likely providing sound under his "Sykotyk Sound Company" branding. Directly preceding them is local grunge quartet Haggith, who are putting on this fundraiser concert, and will also make this concert the launching pad for the release of their second album "Apocalypse", which (along with their debut "Dragon Joy Ride") will be on sale for $5 at this show!

Themselves no recent strangers to local concerts, their prolific & entertaining alternative & grunge originals should go over well in what might be their biggest undertaking yet, so don't miss them! The opening band will be new local hard rock quartet The Suicide Kings (featuring Bear Hunters, Wishbone, and Limelight alumni) in just their third local concert, and while there are still many unknowns for how they sound and/or what they play, I've heard positive feedback from their Nicolet Tavern debuts last weekend! I plan on being in attendance for this show, so if nothing else, I'll share more details on The Suicide Kings' sound/set on Sunday! As mentioned above, this concert is a fundraiser event for the Bushplane Museum, so admission proceeds will go towards that cause, so know that the $5 ticket price is going to a great cause! Tickets are available through band members and the Bushplane Museum in person, but I assume it costs the same at the door. The show starts at around 8:00 PM tomorrow, and while the show is ALL AGES, alcohol isn't available (but The Algonquin Hotel's two bars are just down the road.) Concessions will also be on sale, and I understand that there will be some type of prize raffle as well.

For more details, visit the official Facebook event page and Haggith's Facebook page, which features a bunch of Facebook-exclusive promo videos for this event! This should be a very interesting concert given it's setting and fundraising nature, and kudos to Haggith for the great idea to help out one of our best local museums & tourist attractions! I plan on being in attendance for this first show on a busy concert weekend, and hopefully this one is a success to encourage more concerts at the Bushplane Museum! I hope to see you guys there, and for a preview, here's Sykotyk Rampage at last month's Algonquin Pub Halloween Party!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for previews of big concerts on Sunday & Monday likely tomorrow and more news as it comes in! Thanks everyone!