Monday, June 30, 2014

Two New Band Breakups, A New Song, And Theatre Of Night Updates!!

In a very odd coincidence, today's post will mean that we'll have had exactly 29 posts a month on the SMS for five straight months. We didn't even have that exact amount in a month at all last year! I just found that a little strange. For our last post of June 2014, we have new updates from a Sault Michigan band, and a new studio track from one in Sault Ontario, but first, here's two likely inactive metal bands on this side of the border to take note of, and check out our review of Mike Haggith's newest CD in the post below this one!

One band that we're now considering to be defunct on the SMS is local funk/metal trio The Strange Coyotes, as per the recent deletion of their Facebook page, which followed a few months of band inactivity. A reason for the band's end wasn't made beforehand, but updates were minimal following drummer Mike Haggith's departure in February, and while a name change to the singular "Strange Coyote" implied that frontman Chase Wigmore was once planning to continue the project solo, announced concerts in early 2014 became either straight solo sets or shows for his newer death metal duo This Is Your Band On Drugs. Succeeding their similar predecessors Project Legion after that band's last show in October, The Strange Coyotes (also featuring James Watterworth on bass) surprisingly released a digital album just two weeks later, which they followed with a well recieved opening set at Haggith's "farewell" show in December, though activity slowed in 2014, with members splintering off into new and old projects alike.

The Strange Coyotes were a creative mix of three diversely talented local musicians, and they had a lot of promise late last year (even finishing second in our poll on your favourite new bands of 2013), but who knows what happened behind the scenes this year. We don't have to delete them from our links entirely though (I just replaced their Facebook with their Bandcamp page), and hopefully everyone stays active musically, so best of luck to Chase, James, and Mike in the future!

The other likely defunct band is local classic/power metal quartet The Hydra's Teeth, as their Facebook & Reverbnation pages were recently deleted without explanation. As above, there hasn't been a known public reason for their breakup, but there have been rumours relating to a key band member moving out of the area, so that may be related. Launched as The Hydra in the fall of 2012, the band ostensibly served as the successors to frontman Brendan Christie & bassist Benn Garside's more successful band Late & Loud, whose future was in flux around that time. After a year's worth of preparation, lineup additions, and songwriting, the renamed Hydra's Teeth finally debuted at The Algonquin Pub on September 20th to a great reception, and later unveiled optimistic plans for future song recordings and concerts, but no finite news followed in 2014. It's disappointing to see The Hydra's Teeth likely end operations, as they had tons of talent and experience that seemed likely to take them far in the area, but it's anyone's guess why they only played live once during their run.

Sadly, The Hydra's Teeth no longer have an active online page (I wish bands wouldn't do that), so I regrettably have to remove them from our band links, but videos still exist on YouTube of some of their surprisingly large array of original songs. Hopefully everyone stays active in music wherever the road takes them, and best of luck to Brendan, Anthony, Benn, Roy, and Talon in the future!

We'll close with new videos, including the long awaited debut studio single from local hard rock quintet Skeyes of Seven! Uploaded to their YouTube channel late last week (though sadly after the band deleted all of their concert videos), the song is named "Fallen Faith", and existing fans should like this track, possessing a dark yet heavy essence with nicely written lyrics that builds well on itself! If you've heard members Cory Murchison & Ron Baxter's unreleased Sense of Truth EP, this is a worthy successor to that material as well. Nicely done, and we'll have to see where else this leads, so check out Skeyes of Seven's new song below!

Finally for today, here's some new studio session videos from Sault Michigan classical metal band Theatre of Night! Before them, I just want to note that their website has recently been updated to reflect coming changes that will showcase both drummer Greg Giles' artistic work and the band itself, along with a teased side project, though the band's other online pages now only list guitarist Steve Giles and keyboardist Craig Harrison in their current lineup, without Greg or singer Gaby Koss, with many older photos and posts deleted. Did something happen recently? We'll let you know when/if we get confirmation! In any event, three new studio clips have been shared via Craig's personal Facebook page over the weekend, and they include this 20 second clip of Steve running effects on his iPad, this similar longer video that gives more of a glimpse of the material, this filter-laden clip featuring a solo piano composition with backing orchestration featuring close-ups of Craig playing and the band's gear. Dramatic and effective without teasing much of what's to come, give the full video a look below, and see more at the above links!

That's all for this month, but stay tuned for an all-Sault Michigan post tomorrow, plus this month's "Where Are The New Albums?" post on Wednesday! Thanks everyone!

Mike Haggth - "A Place Of Our Own" Review!!

Today marks out 60th monthly CD review at the SMS, closing our 5 straight year of new reviews each month, so thanks to everyone for following along, and here's to many more to come! This month, we're looking at Haggith drummer & prolific local solo musician Mike Haggith's 48th solo album "A Place Of Our Own", marking our fourth review of one of Mike's solo albums on the site! Independently released in physical formats on May 10th with the digital copies following two days later, this concept EP was originally put out to coincide with Mike's solo set at the fourth annual Sewer Swampstravaganza last month, with recording sessions taking place in early 2014 at Galactic Records and PaperClip Productions. Like on Mike's other solo CDs, he sings all vocals and plays all instruments on this release, which can be bought locally at The Rad Zone for $5 or online for a price of your choosing via Mike's Bandcamp page. Streaming copies of each song can be heard on YouTube at this link, and are linked below too, but please buy this album to support Mike's music! Featuring 6 songs at 36 minutes in length, let's begin this month's CD review!

The first song is "Let Me In", which begins slowly before kicking into a steady instrumental rhythm with a noticeable use of symphonic keyboard effects. Mike's singing is consistent with earlier solo albums of his, harbouring a deep melody that fits the song well! Instrumentally, "Let Me In" is well composed, and I like the orchestral ambiance, but the guitar riffing and overall rhythm seems too monotonous and repetitive, and it seems like the original verse was extended beyond 3 minutes rather than a full ranged track. Solid opener though, especially for longtime fans of Mike's! Second on the EP is "Cowardly Hearts Beneath The Stars", which has a dark effect filled opening to contrast with a more optimistic sounding number, which uses piano parts to good effect, along with really solid drumming and more forceful vocals. More diverse and structured than "Let Me In", this song has a grand & important feel to it, though it's not "heavy" in the metal sense. I will say Mike's singing does sound a bit processed at points, but the songs are trending upward!

"Long Talk" comes next, with a catchy drum and orchestration beat leading into a softer verse with a minimal guitar presence, and while the vocals seem a bit too upbeat for the tone of the instrumentation, the choruses are arguably the best so far on this disc! Feeling much shorter than it's 6+ minute runtime, the orchestral effects add a lot, especially with the eerie ending, but fans of Mike's heavier songs may dislike the lack of prominent guitar work, and I concede that it'd have pushed this song over the edge if included. Effective all the same though!

Fourth on "A Place Of Our Own" is the 12 minute "To Kansas: The Ballad of K4/K5", which I presume is the sequel to "The Ballad of K2/K3" from 2012's "Neighbourhood Watch", and it's by far the heaviest song on this EP so far! I really like the symphonic elements here, with Mike's guitar & bass work contrasting with them nicely over the first 3 and a half minutes. When the vocals kick in, Mike uses more of a speedier aggressive bite than on earlier tracks, and while some melody is sacrificed, there is a passion within! The song seems to end at 6:38, but it builds back up slowly into a reprise of sorts which fits the themes and style of the first half of the song, but in retrospect, these songs might have been better served as either separate tracks or slashed down into one shorter original. Overall though, "To Kansas" will please hard rock fans the most, and has a nice orchestral essence, merging the best of both worlds if you don't get turned off by the length!

Fifth is the EP's shortest song (with the longest name), "'This Potato May Be Used As A Flotation Device'", but does this song named after an in-joke hold up? After an epic keyboard introduction, the song itself kicks in with a nice natural groove, and while the verses are minimal like on "Long Talk", the choruses are more active, and the fast-moving structure and nicely balanced vocals fit well! The song's almost got a punk vibe, it'd be interesting to see how Mike could have taken this song down that road in another project. Effective and catchy number, but extra guitar work and a less abrupt ending would have helped! This disc closes with it's title track "A Place Of Our Own", which begins softly with a piano intro before slowly introducing other instruments, with the song taking the form of an orchestral rock ballad when all the pieces arrive. The darker vocals create an interesting contrast with the grand-feeling music around it, though the song develops more of an aggressive streak on the last verse. Effective closure to the EP, and it flows along well with earlier songs!

So, what are my final thoughts on Mike Haggith's newest solo EP? I find that "A Place Of Our Own" continues the orchestral themes from last year's "Neighbourhood Watch II: Where It Ends" to good effect, and in ways, it could have been the third in the trilogy if not harbouring it's own existing concept. Mike's singing is effectively melodic and uniquely deep like on earlier solo releases, and he shows lots of musical talent throughout, especially on drums, while his orchestral compositions on the keyboard added a lot to the themes here, giving many songs an epic feeling! I like that less songs had abrupt endings too, but there were areas that could have used a darker or heavier tone, and on a few songs, more of a prominent guitar role rather than just singing over drumming. Overall though, "A Place Of Our Own" is a solid continuation of Mike's recent solo work, and fans of melodic hard rock and orchestral music should definitely check it out or buy it at the above links!

I hope you guys liked this month's CD review! We'll begin our sixth straight year of CD reviews next month, and we'll likely take our third look at Dafter, Michigan hard rocker SweetKenny's prolific discography next, but which of his 2014 albums is next for the SMS? With last year's "Cracks In The Wall" now a bit too old to be a "new" disc, I chose Ken's 8th solo album "Ink!" from March of this year over the newer "This End Up" as it's slightly heavier, so that will likely be next up for our monthly reviews! Watch out for that next month, and stay tuned for more news shortly! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

New Videos From The Alice Cooper Concert & LemmaFest!!

In what could be our last news post of the month (though this month's CD review is still coming by tomorrow), we're 100% focused on Sault Michigan this morning, as new videos from two recent major events are now online, with one clarifying a new (or renamed) band's sound, if only for one song, so here's what you need to know! (Updated at 10:09 AM)

We'll start with the first new YouTube videos from Friday night's Alice Cooper concert at The Dreammaker's Theater at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino, as there's a lot more now online than you might realize! "MissOutDoors" was the first known YouTube user with videos from the show, and believe it or not, she uploaded 29 videos from the concert onto her channel on Saturday! However, I will note that of them, only 8 are longer than 2 minutes (and only three run for over 3 minutes), while another 8 videos are all under 1 minute, including two running for just 12 seconds. Despite the amount of incomplete & abbreviated videos, many do capture readily recognizable songs, such as "Feed My Frankenstein", "Welcome To My Nightmare", "Dirty Diamonds", and this surprising cover of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick In The Wall", but be sure to check the above links to see all 29! MissOutDoors had a good central angle to capture everything, plus the on-stage theatrics that have became such a trademark of his sets, but it'd defeat the purpose to spoil them here!

Audio-wise, the songs do sound muffled and they may be hard to make out on the shorter clips, but these are solid videos otherwise, if chopped up a ton beforehand. Alice and company sound on form from other recent gigs, he's held up well! Embedded below is the longest of MissOutDoors' videos (of a straitjacketed Alice singing "The Ballad of Dwight Fry"), but be sure to check out the other 28 above!

The other currently known YouTube videos of the show come courtesy of the YouTube channel of user nottheonlyboy, who has shot concert footage at other E.U.P. events, but as far as I can tell, never in the Soo until yesterday. His videos include "Hey Stoopid", "Poison", "Feed My Frankenstein" and, as embedded below, Alice singing his classics "Hello Hooray" & "House of Fire", though note that his footage of "Hello Hooray" is incomplete. Filmed at a similar angle to MissOutDoors' videos (if more to the left), the audio quality on nottheonlyboy's videos is much clearer and louder, and he got some nice zoomed in shots of the band in action, so Alice Cooper fans should really like these videos! Check them out above & below!

We'll close today with new videos from the fourth annual LemmaFest outside of the Dondee last week, including 26 minutes worth of local alternative/hard rock trio Plastic's set that day! Shot by local filmmaker Wayne Kozeyah and uploaded to frontman Zac Crook's YouTube channel yesterday, this is all of a very nice quality on a largely stationary camera near the stage, but does the music match up? Edited into highlights with dead air between songs clipped out, the songs include covers of The White Stripes' "Ball & Biscuit", Stevie Wonder's "Boogie On Reggae Woman", and Tom Jones' "It's Not Unusual", followed by their originals "Be My Angel" & "Butt Touchers" (I think?), and covers of The Misfits' "Return of the Fly" and the previously filmed cover of Thin Lizzy's "Cowboy Song", so click each link to go to the individual songs! Eclectic cover choices, but the guys effectively grunged them up like they did last year, and the excellent video quality doesn't hirt at all, despite some heads occasionally getting in the way! Awesome video, and a good sign for the future, so check it out below!

Finally, we have a video glimpse of the (sort of) new band named Mr. Fister that played at LemmaFest, so what do we now know? They definitely are either successors to or a renamed version of Dirtbag In A Dress (formerly Bucksaw), who were one of only two bands to play at the first three LemmaFests, and their lineup does indeed feature Blind Baby guitarist Bill Ogston, Scofflaw bassist Barney Gravelle, and Chump Change drummer Jason VanLuven (returning to replace Mikey Bishop.) Jason also appears to have taken over lead vocals from the departed Ryan Franklin, as seen in the video below, while Ryan wasn't replaced on rhythm guitar either. I have yet to see either a new page or an update to the old D.I.A.D. page to reflect Mr. Fister (including on if this was a one-off performance or not), but the aforementioned Wayne Kozeyah filmed the guys covering Black Sabbath's "Fairies Wear Boots", which he posted on his YouTube channel on Thursday, so how's this clip turn out?

Well shot from two different cameras (one overhead), the band sounds good on this cover, and while Jason's vocals take some adjusting to, they end up fitting well! I will nitpick about the overhead camera though, as it accentuates the lack of fans up front during this song, but other than that, this is a very solid rendition with nice guitar work, and it's nice to see the guys keeping some ties to all four LemmaFests via their participation last weekend! Check out Mr. Fister below, and I wonder if Wayne got any more videos, perhaps of Nightmare Grin?

That's all for now, but stay tuned for more news this week, plus our review of Mike Haggith's newest EP by tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

More Heart Concert Fallout, A Band Breakup, And Much More!!

Before we get too deep into this post, I'll send a special good luck to the guys in AlgomA, Bad Back, The Bear Hunters, Crucify The Whore, and Shit Liver as they all rock the Touch of Death Metal & Punk Festival in Cochrane this weekend! Knock it out of the park, and make the Soo proud! Today, we have new local ties from a recent local news article, a band breakup to note, and a new interview featuring a prolific local artist, but first, here's some more fallout from a major recent hard rock show!

We'll begin with some more fallout from last weekend's Heart/Jason Bonham concert at The Essar Center, including an interview with The Sault Star's Jeffery Ougler that was published on their website (and presumably in the newspaper proper) last Wednesday! Apologies for being so late with this, I only just found the article the other day. Entitled "Straight From The Heart", the interview is with Heart guitarist Nancy Wilson, and while it's largely based around the contents of Nancy and sister/lead singer Ann Wilson's new autobiography "Kicking & Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul and Rock & Roll", she does talk about the current tour and working with Jason Bonham too. Solid read, if not too focused on the local date, so read it at this link or in last week's paper (though note that you'll have to watch a 15 second advertisement for access to it online, which is new to me for Sault Star articles.) Lastly for the known Heart fallout are some new concert videos, so what should you know on them?

These are 9 new Heart videos from YouTube user hbogie123, who only had 4 up on their Youtube channel when our original post was written up (it was auto-posted during the Anciients show, and the last of these videos went up yesterday.) All incomplete, the new videos include Heart playing their originals "These Dreams", "Alone", "Magic Man" (in parts linked here & here), and "Crazy On You" (also in 2 parts, here & here), plus covers of Led Zeppelin's "The Battle of Evermore" & "Four Sticks", but embedded below is one of the longer videos, of Heart covering "No Quarter". Like before, these videos have a good quality and angle from close to the stage, so check out hbogie123's new videos above & below!

Next up, Haggith drummer & local solo musician Mike Haggith received some cool promotion the other day as the featured artist on Betty on the Go, an online music webseries from XEAYZ.TV out of his Windsor hometown. As originally streamed on Thursday evening, it's now posted to watch on YouTube, so what should you know? After introductions, host Betty Gudel and Mike talk about numerous topics in this half hour video, including his recent work towards becoming a licensed pilot & what that could mean for his music career, his songwriting inspirations, his musical beginnings & preferences, his work with Paperclip Productions and the band Haggith, among other subjects. This runs for about 20 minutes before Betty does some local advertisements (with Mike providing some running thoughts), and after a brief clip of a local summer theater camp, Mike sings his original song "This Potato May Be Used As A Flotation Device" from his newest EP "A Place Of Our Own", which you can jump straight to at this link if you're interested.

There isn't a lot in terms of breaking news for future shows & such, but Mike did elaborate on the formats of his earliest out-of-print albums, and detailed the story of how he joined what became Haggith in the interview. While I'm a little surprised that Mike didn't go into details about his Windsor-era band work with bands like S.C.A.R., this was a solid interview, and way more extensive than I'd have guessed going in! The webstream video quality is what it is, but Mike sings well at the end, and it's nice to see him get this kind of a feature, so check out the full interview below!

Also, I have deleted local hard rock duo Re-Born (formerly the original Brutaly Fatal) from our band links due to the closure of their Facebook (and only online) page in recent weeks, which was likely related to the band's recent breakup. A reason for either has not been announced, but there was a falling out between members & Blood Shed Productions co-founders Tyler Gibson & Austin McCrea after Austin and the second version of Brutaly Fatal (now The Revolution) left the label last month. Out of respect to both parties, I won't go into further details on the split, but it didn't sound amicable. The original Brutaly Fatal (which was largely Austin's solo project) were one of the launch acts for Blood Shed Productions in late 2012, releasing a handful of demo CDs and playing a few live sets through last fall. In early 2014, Tyler joined on drums, and they changed their name to Re-Born, along with drifting to hard rock & punk covers, but their activity was limited to scattered video posts & some unannounced gigs, last making an online update in February.

While their original solo death metal style was an acquired taste (and I never understood the missing L from "brutally"), Austin always had bass talent and growling ability, and if he can shore up his stage presence, he should go far with The Revolution! Re-Born might always be one of those "what if?" projects due to the minimal online media and lack of announced shows, but hopefully things aren't as bad as they appeared late last month. Tyler's also got a good thing going with his current grind projects, so look for more from both this year, and best of luck all around!

Finally for today, remember how Toronto hard rock quartet Public Animal headlined at The Rockstar Bar yesterday? Well, there were more local ties beyond The Role Models' opening set and the C'Mon show two years ago, as Public Animal drummer Ryan Gassi is actually from Sault Ste. Marie! As outlined in a new SooToday article from Donna Hopper,  Ryan drummed for notable local bands like blues rockers The Rhythm Rats and punk notables The Kite-Eating Maples before moving to Toronto, where played in bands like The Lying Cheats & Memory Bank. In the article, Ryan discussed how he was almost going to quit drumming in bands before frontman Ian Blurton asked if he wanted to join his new band Public Animal, who are heavier than Ryan's past bands. I'm not sure how I didn't connect the dots before on Ryan's local past when researching Public Animal, but it's great to see him still playing and coming back home for a show! In fact, Public Animal will be the next band profiled in our Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile Series next month, so look out for that, and hopefully Public Animal come back to the Soo down the road!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for more news soon, plus our review of Mike Haggith's new EP by Monday! Thanks everyone!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile: Gatgas

After a day's delay due to the extra and late notice weekend concert previews, here's this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile! As usual, this is our monthly feature series where we profile a band that's based from outside of the Sault Ste. Marie area, but has had at least one local resident in their past or present lineups, so that local readers can get more information on them and possibly become new fans as a result! This month's band was picked in advance of their local debut at a well anticipated show this fall, and they actually feature two familiar names, so read on below for this month's out-of-town profile! (Updated on November 27th)
Gatgas (London, Ontario)

Lineup: (Saultites in RED)

Jack "D-Ass" Gibbons (vocals)
Brian Gibbons (guitar)
Bob Bromley Jr. (bass)
Garry Ingram (drums)
Corey Shipp (guitar)

Official Facebook page:
Official Reverbnation page:
Official MySpace page: 

Local Info: Two Sault area natives and former local musicians handle the rhythm with Gatgas, those being bassist Bob Bromley and drummer Garry Ingram! While there isn't a lot of widespread details on their local music work before relocating to London, Bob was notable as the bassist for the early-mid 1990s hardcore band The Harsh Heads, and Garry produced the 1994 studio sessions at Dysentery Studios that led to their posthumous CD "First Hated Then Forgotten". By the 2000s, both had moved from the area, but Bob & Garry are still more than active musically!

Band Bio: Gatgas are a hardcore punk band that launched online pages in August 2010, after previously jamming together since at least 2008. Quickly building a solid reputation in Southern Ontario, Gatgas have shared the stage with the likes of The Ripcordz, Alcoholic White Trash, and fellow Sautlite-infused bands like Repetitions, Maximum RNR, and Violet Fuse. The band began recording a debut album in February 2012, and though I can't verify if it came out as planned, Gatgas have made appearances on regional split releases and compilations, such as this album from It's Trash! Records. Still playing frequently in Southern Ontario, Gatgas made their local debut on September 13th when they opened for Random Killing at Hardcore Homecoming concert at The Rockstar Bar, garnering a strong reception in the process! Fans of bands like The Dayglo Abortions or locals Destroilet should take to their hardcore punk intensity, and they have the requisite punk attitude to go along with it!

I'll admit that Jack Gibbons' vocal style (which reminds me of Tom Waits at times) can be somewhat of an acquired taste, but everything fits well after further listening, and their songs have a familiar groove that should appeal to punk and hardcore fans equally! Bob and Garry also handle their roles well, and Gatgas' battle-tested sound delivers the goods, so don't miss them in September! You can check out Gatgas media (mostly original songs) at the above links, though there sadly isn't much in the way of online videos of theirs. Here's the guys playing their song "Back To The Asylum" at Hardcore Homecoming earlier this year!

I hope you guys liked this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile! Next month in this series, we'll be taking a look at Toronto classic hard rock quartet Public Animal, who I just recently learned features former Rhythm Rats and Kite Eating Maples drummer Ryan Gassi in their current lineup! Thank this SooToday article for connecting the dots that I couldn't, and we'll mention this article more in-depth in an upcoming news post (and go see them live TONIGHT at The Rockstar Bar!) That's all for now, but stay tuned for a new news post either tonight or tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sault Michigan Weekend Concert Previews (Including Alice Cooper), Plus New Videos!!

For our second weekend concert preview post today, we're covering a major concert going down tomorrow in the Soo, plus a popular cover band's return north in St. Ignace this weekend! We also have new videos from two very different acts to round things out, so read on below for what you need to know, and get your Sault Ontario weekend concert preview fix (plus a new concert video) in the post below this one!

The legendary Alice Cooper will play his sixth Sault Ste. Marie-area concert TOMORROW NIGHT when he headlines at The Dreammaker's Theater at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino! The Detroit shock rock icon was last seen locally at the same venue in August 2007, which followed two Kewadin gigs in August 1998 and one more in 2001, along with his Sault Memorial Gardens show in 1990, so Alice and company are definitely no stranger to the Soo! The second to last gig on his current Raise The Dead tour before he heads out with Motley Crue, Alice will surely have a lot of memorable songs like "Under My Wheels", "Poison", and "I'm Eighteen" in store for fans, as well as his iconic and highly elaborate stage show that has to be seen to be full appreciated, so don't miss out on all of this classic hard rock action tomorrow night! For reference, this will be among Alice's first live dates with new guitarist Nina Strauss, though aside from bassist Chuck Garric, his backing band is entirely different from his last local date in 2007, so take note of that just in case.

A few dozen tickets are still available for tomorrow's show, and while the center seating is sold out, some side section seats are still available from the fourth row and back. Tickets are $68.50 a seat or $58.50 for general admission, and you can pick them up at this link, at the in-person box office, or at 1-800-KEWADIN. This is an ALL AGES show, there's no announced opening band, and everything starts tomorrow at 7:00 PM. Check the above links for more details! Alice Cooper is well worth the money for his awesome stage show and classic repertoire of original songs, so if you missed his last 5 local dates, do not miss TOMORROW'S show! For a preview, here he is live last summer in Germany!

Finally for our announced weekend concert previews, Cheboygan classic/hard rock trio Driven will return to The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Last seen at this venue (or in our area in general) 9 months ago, this weekend's shows will also end a short 2 month break that the guys have been on since April, so it'll be nice to see their hard rock cover attack back on stage this weekend! Notably, these shows coincide with St. Ignace's 39th annual car show weekend, and Driven are likely anticipating a great turnout to go along with it, so keep that angle in mind as well! Also note that Driven's Facebook page teases a St. Ignace gig on August 9th, but it's part of a "party", and won't be at the casino, so unless we hear otherwise, it's probably a private event. Admission should be free for this weekend's 21+ shows, and everything should start at 9:00 PM. Check the above links for more details, and for a preview, here's a rare concert video of Driven from last month of them covering Metallica's "Enter Sandman"! Short, and an odd choice for fans to dance to, but great to finally see!

We'll close today with new videos, including another new clip from Sault Michigan hard rock cover trio Power Slug! Fresh off of a weekend road trip for shows in Manistique, the guys posted this new video of last week of their cover of Eric Clapton's "Cocaine" at The Savoy Bar & Nightclub in the Soo, presumably at their show there a couple of weeks back. While the filmer was quite far from the stage again, the angle is more central, so the quality's a bit better than on their Midnight Oil cover (also, is drummer Bob Helsten singing here? Solid job either way!) Check out Power Slug's new video below, and stay tuned for more from their camp!

Finally, here's a new cover video from the Lupine Festival in Brimley a few weeks back that I thought would fit on here! The largely acoustic festival played host to the local hard rock trio Train Wreck, but their frontman Erik Rintamaki filmed numerous other performers for his YouTube channel, uploading the videos last week. Mostly, the videos don't fit on the SMS (some could argue for this Black Crowes cover though), but embedded below is a cover of what is sometimes considered the first metal song, Steppenwolf's "Born To Be Wild". This was done by singer/guitarist Stephanie Sabatine (who recently sang with the acoustic band Aftermath) and two other unidentified musicians, and while this is a very different form to hear this song, Stephanie & company effectively soften it for this setting, so give it a look below!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile on Gatgas tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Tym Morrison), Sault Ontario Weekend Concert Previews, And More!!

Due to the amount of hard rock/metal concerts this weekend (and to give proper emphasis to TOMORROW'S Alice Cooper show), we're breaking up this weekend's concert previews into two posts, with the Sault Michigan half coming tonight, so look for that then! As a result, I'll also postpone this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile on Gatgas to tomorrow, so look for it then so it's not lost in the shuffle! Now, we have previews of Sault Ontario shows this weekend (including a SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERT), plus a bonus new concert video, so here's what you need to know!

While his weekly concert arrangement at The Harp Pub & Grill will enter it's 30th straight week THIS FRIDAY & SATURDAY, Caveman Morrison frontman Tym Morrison has added a late notice new show to his schedule, as he'll be playing at The Water Tower Pub at 360 Great Northern Road TONIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, Tym just announced this show via it's official Facebook event page yesterday. Until this month, Tym had not played a public solo concert outside of The Harp in 2014, but tonight's "Acoustic Thursday" set will actually be his second straight Thursday nighter at a different venue, following a return to The Road House Bar & Grill on Trunk Road last week for their monthly customer appreciation night, which was only announced on his website's calendar and not on Facebook. Our sincere apologies for missing it, hopefully it was a huge hit! Tonight's Water Tower Inn gig won't be Tym's first live set there (he & Caveman Morrison played there last year), but like with his Harp run, tonight's show will double as the Water Tower Pub's weekly jam night, which has different weekly hosts.

And like usual, Tym will be rocking The Harp on Pine Street on Friday and Saturday (the former as the jam night, the latter as a normal solo gig), so whatever your favourite location, keep all three of this weekend's shows in mind! TONIGHT's show at the Water Tower Inn starts at 9:00 PM & both Harp shows start at 10:00 PM, while all three have no announced cover charge and 19+ age limits. For more details, check the above links and the Facebook event page for the Harp shows, and here's Tym live at The Service Grill!

Moving to 100% previously announced shows, a "Rock and Roll Mindwarp" will hit The Rockstar Bar TOMORROW NIGHT when Toronto hard/garage rock quartet Public Animal take the stage in their local debut! Featuring former C'Mon frontman Ian Blurton on vocals & guitar, he should bring similar energy and talent to the stage tomorrow as C'Mon did a few years back, as Public Animal have a nice mix of classic rock and heavier action (plus nice complimentary keyboard work & female vocals), so do not bypass them tomorrow night! The local openers will be a reunion of local punk supergroup Brad Example & The Role Models, who were last seen opening for The Saigon Hookers in 2011 at the same venue. Their current lineup merges Inner City Surfers alumni Brad "Example" Lacell (apparently also this show's promoter) & Dave Bahun with Lion Ride alumni Marco Pedalino and Marc Muto, and Brad has told me that the band has been working on original material, so might The Role Models' current reunited form lead to some big new things? Be there tomorrow to find out!

The Rock & Roll Mindwarp will kick off at 10:00 PM tomorrow, there is a likely $5 cover charge, and you must be 19 to attend. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! Fans of Black Wizard from Tuesday's metal show at The Canadian will be right at home with Public Animal's classic-influenced sound, so don't miss this show TOMORROW NIGHT, and for a preview, here they are live in Toronto last year!

Lastly for announced hard rock shows in Sault Ontario this weekend is what could be the first annual installment of a new concert festival, as local concert promoters Ears & Eyes Online are hosting Lopstock THIS SATURDAY at, of course, LopLops Lounge! A self-described "bohemian conclave" that's taking obvious inspiration from Woodstock, this event will see 5+ live acts playing music from noon-7:00 PM on Saturday, and while the final lineup isn't known yet, there will be one hard rock band playing at Lopstock, that being alternative rock trio The Pixo Control! Fresh off of their set opening for Jon McKiel earlier this month, Michael, Steve, and Keeghan should have a solid set of grungy originals in store for Saturday, so don't miss them if you're going! The Pixo Control are currently slotted in the second slot for bands at Lopstock, behind local blues rock quartet The Frasiers, while the other known acts are a band named Mashagama (genre & identity yet unknown), acoustic rock trio K.I.C.K., and newer garage punk quartet Gnaeus. All of the known bands are very talented in their genre, so be sure to check them out!

More acts have been teased online, but it's unclear whether a late announcement of them is forthcoming, or if they'll remain secret until showtime. If anything comes out, we'll have it here! Lopstock is definitely ALL AGES, the festivities kick off at 12:00 PM on Saturday, and there is a $10 cover charge. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! If the reports of the Rotaryfest Second Stage ending are substantiated (still awaiting official word), Lopstock could become a replacement of sorts given the common LopLops ties, and hopefully Jackson Reed and all the bands have a great first go on Saturday! For a preview, here's The Pixo Control live at Superior Heights earlier this year!

Finally for today, here's a new concert video upload from local goregrind duo Rotopsy! Uploaded to label Blood Shed Productions' YouTube channel on Tuesday, this is from their set at the Commencing Human Desperation show at The Oddfellows Hall on March 21st, and the video is of them playing their original "T.F.T." (full name: "The Funky Track".) The audio is very tinny and inconsistent, and the lighting is only what it is, but the filmer got a nice close-up of Tyler & Dylan in action, so if you're a fan of Rotopsy or the label, give their newest video a look below!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for Sault Michigan concert previews (including the return of Alice Cooper) later tonight! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Anciients/Havok Concert Review!!

It's now time for our review of last night's Anciients/Havok concert at The Canadian Nightclub, but be sure to check out lots of fallout from Friday night's Heart concert in the post below this one! The attendance last night wasn't great, and likely not at the level that promoters were hoping, but the Tuesday scheduling and ticket prices may have factored into some fans' attendance or lack thereof. The fans that did come out had a visibly great time though! It was also weird seeing ribbons cordoning off some paths in the bar area, but I wasn't sure of the purpose. Now, let's talk about all 5 bands!

Opening last night's show was local doom/punk trio The Revolution (formerly the second Brutaly Fatal) in their first show under their new name, and while there's a lot of work to do, they have a unique blend of styles that will appeal to metal and more melodic rock fans! Mostly playing originals (though ending with Weezer & Kiss covers), Austin McCrae's clean vocals continue to develop nicely, Rainey Vincent's bass work was pretty good, and Brandan Glew was equally up to task on drums! Where they fell short was in stage presence and crowd engagement, as the guys barely interacted with the crowd and did very few introductions, and compared to their Swampstravaganza set, things seemed more aloof. As well, Austin strummed the same chord on his guitar repeatedly between song breaks, which seemed to throw off fans who didn't know if the song had ended, and I think it contributed to a lower crowd response during their set. It's all growing pains though, and hopefully The Revolution can build on this in time for their next live set!

The first of four out of town bands last night was psychedelic/doom metal quartet Black Wizard, who rolled through a rollicking set of 1970s-inspired metal that any The Sword or Black Sabbath fan would instantly take to! Though not harbouring the all-out aggression of some of the day's later bands, the melodic and classic sound definitely took many in attendance by surprise, especially with some of the bluesy touches! Frontman Adam Grant had a nice command of the stage with his excelelntly matched vocals and guitar skill, and both he and Kenny Cook are solid compliments on the six string! Eugene Parkomenko also was a standout on drums, and while I will say that they'd probably have gotten a better reaction if they were at a local show with bands closer to their sound, Black Wizard definitely left their mark, and hopefully they'll roll back through the Soo in the future!

The middle band was Charlotte, North Carolina death metal quintet Wretched in their second local concert appearance, and while the crowd wasn't as large as the 3 Inches of Blood show two years ago, Wretched definitely did something right, as they got the first moshpit of the evening, and didn't play any differently compared to the crowd level! Like in 2012, singer Adam Cody was a sparkplug, completely owning the stage with his aggressive growling vocals and intense stage presence, and the instrumental members held up their end of the bargain too! Steven Funderburk & Joel Moore provided some of the best guitar solo moments of the night, and Andrew Grevey's bass playing was skilled and well ranged as well! Wretched played this show just like they would any other, and their intense death/thrash hybrid would be more than welcomed back to town again!

Co-headlining last night's concert were Denver, Colorado thrash quartet Havok, and they may well have stole the show with their blistering old school speed metal onslaught! Fans of the recent thrash metal renaissance will have been right at home with Havok's proficient set, which seemed to go by way too fast as they played tracks from their numerous releases, including select cuts from their new album "Unnatural Selection". Keeping on-stage banter to a minimum (aside from a rant about karate kicking in the moshpit), Havok were on fire from bell to bell, and though I could barely hear David Sanchez's vocals up front, he and the guys completely overcame that, with Pete Webber's drumming particularly impressing throughout the night, and the guitar work melted many a face! I just wish Havok had more guitar solos, but overall, they had quite the impressive set, and it's proof that the Soo needs more thrash bands!

And finally, your headliners last night were Vancouver progressive metal quartet Anciients, and they definitely made up for their exit from last year's Skeletonwitch tour with a technically impressive set of melodic metal! I will say right now that they might be the most similar band to Woods of Ypres that we've seen in the Soo in quite a while (yes, that's a compliment), with frontman Kenny Cook (also a guitarist in Black Wizard) demonstrating a darker and more complex angle of his musical talents on songs like "Raise The Sun" and "Giants". Shorter set than you might expect given the length of some songs, but the creative time signatures and doomy yet melodic sound (plus the skilled guitar work of Kenny and Chris Dyck) kept things rolling well! The balance of dark rhythm and harsh passages was a nice appealing fit, but in retrospect, their set was somewhat of an anticlimax coming after Havok, as many fans had their peak reactions and energy for them, but that owes to their stylistic differences only. Great set, and hopefully Anciients come back here down the road!

Overall, this was a great concert and full of something for the taste of every metalhead in attendance, but I just wish the attendance was better. I will note as well that SooToday and Local2 were on hand filming and getting photos of the bands, so might we see a review/photo album and Tuned episode in the coming days? Stay tuned when/if we do! Our photos from the show can now be seen at this link or via our Facebook page, and as for videos, here's The Revolution playing "Murder For Sport", Black Wizard playing "Eliminator", Wretched playing "Morsel", Havok playing "Give Me Liberty... Or Give Me Death", and Anciients playing "Faith & Oath"!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for our first of the weekend concert previews tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Heart Concert Fallout, Including Videos & Local News Coverage!!

Before our review of last night's Anciients/Havok concert goes up, we have our long awaited post with fallout from Friday night's Heart & Jason Bonham concert at The Essar Centre, including articles and media from local news websites and some new concert video footage, so without any further adieu, here's what you need to know!

In terms of coverage of the show, SooToday's Donna Hopper was in attendance to photograph and review the proceedings on Saturday night, with her article on the show (entitled "Part Zeppelin, all Heart"), which she definitely praised in the write-up! It also confirmed an attendance of around 3,000 people,and detailed much of their setlist, which included numerous originals, a Paul McCartney cover, and the promised Led Zeppelin cover set. As for the photos, there are 18 nice quality shots above (though sadly, none of the audience), and they also provide the interesting sight of Jason Bonham drumming simultaneously with existing Heart drummer Ben Smith (that's something you don't see every day!) Leading from Village Media related coverage of the show, another staffer was filming video footage from the other side of the stage for Local2, and you can view their highlights video at this link, though note that we can't embed videos from their video host on here. So, what lies within this video of the concert?

The 7 minute clip includes assorted segments of Heart playing their songs "Barracuda", "Heartless", and "What About Love", before concluding with clips of them covering Led Zeppelin songs like "The Battle of Evermore" and "Four Sticks". Very nice footage, and you can see how well Ann Wilson's voice has held up over the years on their classic songs, plus the Led Zeppelin material! I did notice "Barracuda" was slowed down a bit, but other than that, all's well if you're a Heart fan! Lastly for SooToday-related Heart fallout, editorial writer Mac Headrick reviewed the show as part of a new opinion piece named "It's Only Rock and Roll" that went up on the site on Sunday. Mac said that he liked the show, but he was more inclined to attend based on the Led Zeppelin tribute aspect of it, which he tied into a comparison of major concerts today in relation to the late 1960s & early 1970s, specifically Led Zeppelin's 1971 Toronto show and the Heart gig this past Friday, both of which he attended. Very interesting read, especially from someone who's lived and experienced both eras, so give that a look at the above links, plus Village Media's other Heart coverage!

We'll close this post with videos that we can embed on the SMS, including two videos of Heart originals by attendee Cami Hubbard, who posted these to her YouTube channel on Monday! Her first hard rock concert uploads since her (sadly now deleted) videos of her son Chris' band 415E's debut show last year, she filmed Heart playing "Heaven" and (as embedded below) "Crazy On You" at the concert, plus a preceding acoustic guitar solo by Nancy Wilson, so how'd these turn out? Cami had a good angle of the stage from the left hand side of the bowl, but the video can be fuzzy when zoomed in, and the lighting distorts many details through this camera. Nice encompassing view of the stage though, and everyone sounds great, so give the "Crazy On You" video a look below, and check out "Heaven" above!

The other new videos are courtesy of attendee hbogie123, who uploaded their videos from the Heart show to their YouTube channel yesterday. Far from the first Essar Centre concert videos shot for this channel (Kiss and various others came first), hbogie123 filmed four incomplete videos from Heart's set, including their cover of Paul McCartney & Wings' "Let Me Roll It" and Heart's own songs "Dreamboat Annie", "What About Love", and (as embedded below) "Even It Up", so how do these videos compare? Far closer to the stage from the floor seating, they got a nice central angle for the Wilson sisters on this camera, and the quality is nice when not impeded by fans walking in front! I just wish hbogie123 had gotten longer clips of the songs. Check out "Even It Up" below, and see much more above!

That's all for now, but hopefully some more videos turn up, including hopefully some more from the Led Zeppelin portion of the night! Keep an eye out, and stay tuned for our Anciients/Havok concert review later today! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A New Album Release, LemmaFest Fallout, And More From Sault Michigan!

Before we touch on fallout from the Heart concert this past weekend, we have an all-Sault Michigan post on this Tuesday morning, including some fallout and updates from this past weekend's LemmaFest, some assorted recent notes, and first, news on a recent album release, so here's what you need to know!

Dafter, Michigan solo hard rock artist Kenneth Sutton (a.k.a. SweetKenny) released his ninth solo album "This End Up" last week, and our sincere apologies for being late to the party on this one! Self-described as a "heavy rock, beer drinking, bar band, high energy, fun album", this album features 10 songs (including instrumentals and tracks with vocals), with Ken promising freestyle playing and something for everyone to enjoy within! Like on most of his past records, Ken handles all instruments and vocals, with no credited guest input. Copies of "This End Up!" can now be bought on Bandcamp for $12, and while physical copies are likely in the works through CDBaby, he has yet to post sale copies there. In any event, you can stream all 10 tracks at this link, which also includes brief info on the songs' themes. Everything sounds good for this newest album (with SweetKenny's next CD "Amazonian" already in the planning stages), but when can you expect a review of "This End Up!" on the site?

Perhaps as soon as next month if all goes according to plan, as our review of Mike Haggith's newest solo CD is still in the works for this week(end), though I'll note that we have yet to review either "Ink" or "Cracks In The Wall" from his recent repertoire either. The latter is a bit old now for a "new" review, but I plan to listen to both of his 2014 albums to pick the heaviest for our next SweetKenny review, and we'll let you know when that's determined! Pick up "This End Up!" and more SweetKenny albums above!

Next up, here's some early fallout from the fourth annual LemmaFest, which was successfully held this past Saturday outside of the Dondee Lanes! While we await some extra lineup and sound confirmation from Nightmare Grin and Mr. Fister (plus the usual giant photo album), the first known concert video from this year's installment is now online courtesy of local alternative hard rock trio Plastic, so what should you know? Obviously, the tarp over the stage from 2012 didn't make a comeback, but aside from that, the staging was similar to past years. The video below was filmed by attendee Christy Nealen (and publically shared by Plastic yesterday from her personal Facebook page), and it's of their cover of Thin Lizzy's "Cowboy Song", so how does their new lineup sound? The audio quality could be a bit cleaner from the video, but the guys have a good handle on this classic, with Zac Crook's vocals fitting nicely, and Aaron DePalma fills Paul Burns' shoes well on drums! Check out the full performance below, and hopefully more videos turn up!

Also in the realm of LemmaFest videos, local filmmaker Wayne Kozeyah released his short documentary about LemmaFest and the late Mike Lemma at Saturday's event, but he finally gave the OK for fans unable to attend to check out the final product on YouTube, as per his post on the LemmaFest 2014 event page! Originally uploaded to his YouTube channel in April (albeit in a still unlisted form), this was produced as part of a course project at Lake Superior State University over the past year. Along with host bumpers & narration from Wayne, remarks from Mike Lemma's friends (including LemmaFest founder Scott Green) are included where they remember Mike and their time hanging out with him, their reactions to his sudden passing in 2010, and the inception and organization of LemmaFest the following year and beyond. Assorted clips of some bands from last year's event and scattered other gigs are featured along with numerous event photos, and for reference, Scofflaw's Barney Gravelle contributed a music piece named "Lex" for the film as well.

This documentary short is great to see why LemmaFest is such a well anticipated event, and it does a great job of selling it to prospective attendees, so kudos to Wayne on a job well done! It'd have been nice to get more remarks on Mike or the festival itself from the band members, but that's all I'd have recommended. I urge fans of LemmaFest to give the documentary a look below, and stay tuned for more on this annual event!

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

  • Due to the quiet deletion of their Facebook page in recent months, I've replaced defunct local funk/hard rock band Clownsack's link on the SMS with their still-active MySpace page, which still features songs, videos, and photos of theirs from their mid-late 2000s heyday. They were a unique and entertaining band, hopefully they reunite at some point down the road!
  • I've deleted defunct Pickford metal band Dust N' Bones from our local band links, as their Reverbnation page has been converted into a repository for the members of Theatre of Night's collective music ideas that aren't guaranteed to make it to official T.O.N. material. This isn't a Dust N' Bones evolution or officially a new band, just an apparent space for stuff they're working on in general, but there's some promising ideas, so give the new Harrison/Giles material a listen via the above link!
  • Power Slug/Nose Dive drummer Bob Helsten (a.k.a. Orb Hearthstone) has made his long awaited return to metal singing, albeit in a non-local project. The band is Astrogenta (a self-described "internet band" largely based out of the Ukraine), who actually added Orb to their lineup last October, and they're currently working on an album named "Distance Does Not Matter", which you can hear samples of (with vocals) at this link. Hopefully he finds some big success with Astrogenta, so keep an eye on them!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for a new news post tomorrow morning (featuring Heart videos), and I'll see you guys at The Canadian TONIGHT for Anciients, Havok, Wretched, Black Wizard, and The Revolution! ALL AGES, $20, don't miss this awesome metal lineup! Thanks everyone!

Monday, June 23, 2014

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Lopstock & The Danger Cats), Plus The Anciients/Havok Concert Preview!!

In what's shaping up to be a big week at the site, we're starting with a post half dedicated to LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS, and half to a special extended concert preview for a major metal show going down TOMORROW in Sault Ontario! I know many of you guys are waiting for Heart fallout, and some recent uncovered Sault Michigan stories, and I guarantee that they're coming this week, so look out tomorrow and beyond for them! Now, let's begin this post with the two new shows!

Local alternative/hard rock trio The Pixo Control will be playing at a special ALL AGES concert event THIS SATURDAY at LopLops Lounge, appropriately called Lopstock! Obviously playing on the Woodstock name and motif, this will be an all-day show featuring 5 confirmed bands and more artists to be announced, as promoted by Jackson Reed at Ears & Eyes Online, and while The Pixo Control are the only "heavy" band on the lineup, there's lots of young local music talent to discover this Saturday! The announced headliners will be local blues rock quartet The Frasiers, with the other announced acts including a band named Mashagama (genre & identity yet unknown), the aforementioned Pixo Control, acoustic rock trio K.I.C.K., and newer garage punk quartet Gnaeus, with more acts to be announced this week. Admission will be $10 on Saturday for this all ages show, which begins at noon and is projected to run until 7:00 PM. For more details on Lopstock, visit the official Facebook event page! It will be interesting to see how this show does, especially if it's a test to make this an annual event, so keep Lopstock in mind for your weekend plans, especially if you like softer and more varied styles!

Next up,another new concert will take place in just over three weeks, as Jamie Vincent and Oh! Right Arm! Promotions will bring more mayhem back to The New American Pub for the first time in 2014 when they promoted a show there on Tuesday, July 15th! The headliners will be Edmonton garage/blues rock quartet The Archaics, who aren't metal, but have an old school rock sound that many fans of the classics should take to, so don't let them pass you by if you love retro and psychedlic sounds! The local openers will cover the hard rock angle for you guys though, as all female quartet The Danger Cats (in their first ever New American set) and grunge/hardcore duo Bad Back (fresh off of their Cochrane gig at the Touch of Death festival) will set the tone with their diverse and engaging sounds! A rare 19+ show from Jamie's usually all ages promotional work, this show will begin at 9:00 PM on July 15th, and there is a $5 cover charge. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page, and stay tuned for more on this intriguing concert!

Finally, here's an extended concert preview for a special Tuesday night concert TOMORROW that many local metalheads have been anticipating, as four out of town bands will descend upon The Canadian Nightclub for an ALL AGES night of brutality! The headliners of this show will be Vancouver progressive metal quartet Anciients, who'll make their local debut at around midnight tomorrow, over a year after dropping out of last summer's Skeletonwitch concert at the same venue! Recent Juno Award nominees, their melodic and intense sound should find an audience for fans of brutality, so be there for their set! The opening bands (in what amounts to a merger of two separate tours) include Colorado thrash quartet Havok at 10:45 PM, North Carolina death metal quintet Wretched (last seen making plenty of fans 2 years ago at the last 3 Inches of Blood show) at 10:05 PM, and Vancouver stoner metal quartet Black Wizard at 9:25 PM, for what should be an explosive night of metal! Remember, San Francisco doom metal duo Black Cobra are not playing this show anymore, having dropped out due to a conflicting concert on the same date.

The local openers will be local doom/punk trio The Revolution (formerly the second Brutaly Fatal), who will replace Pillory tomorrow in their Canadian Nightclub debut, and they should provide their own improving sound to help set the pace, so come early for their set! They'll be on at 8:00 PM or shortly after for this rare all ages show from promoter J.D. Pearce, and advance tickets can still be bought at The Canadian, The Rad Zone, or at this link for $20 (note that the door price may be higher.) For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! This might just be the heaviest lineup of the year in the Soo, and I know that J.D.'s really hoping this is a hit so he can bring in more pure metal & all ages lineups, so come occupy a venue TOMORROW NIGHT, as this is a great deal for any metalhead!  There's a little something for every taste, as Anciients' talent speaks for itself, Wretched alone should pull in fans who loved them at The Rosie in 2012, Havok have been making waves among thrash fans, and doom lovers will want to be here early themselves! I really hope to see you guys there, and for a preview, here's Anciients live in Vancouver last summer!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news tomorrow, be it Heart-related or from Sault Michigan (or both?) Thanks everyone!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

YouTube Channel Profile Series: AlterWhite's Channel

As expected, it's now time for this month's YouTube Channel Profile, our monthly look at 1-3 YouTube channels with at least a 50% concentration of local metal/hard rock concert videos, so fans can discover, read up on, and check out the content on them! Our third straight installment with a single randomly selected channel, this month's profile is courtesy of a prolific and talented local musician who seemed to be on his way to good things in the early 2010s, so read on below for this month's profile!
AlterWhite's Channel

Owner: Local solo musician & former AlterWhite singer/drummer Mike Matthews

Channel Timeline: Launched on June 10th, 2011; Videos posted from May 2012 through October 2013

Channel Summary: Originally the official YouTube channel for Mike's early 2010s metal project AlterWhite (whose main activity was limited to online song postings), 9 original songs under the AlterWhite banner were posted there through August 2012, with the channel switching to focus on original songs recorded solely by Mike starting that fall. 21 songs were uploaded over the following year, with all but the last four being designated as part of "albums", though none received a paid public release. As well, this channel featured some early AlterWhite originals (including select covers) in 2011, but all were deleted by the following year.

Why Should You Watch: You should give Mike/AlterWhite's channel a look for some solid and developing original material that it'd be interesting to see Mike revisit! While his James Hetfield-reminscent vocals often sound very overdone, he does have guitar and drumming skill on his song postings, and AlterWhite guitarist Kevin McCarthy also contributed well on those early songs. There was work to be done to shore up both projects' sound, but don't let them slip you by! Note however that Mike's uploads are all song postings only, and he hasn't visibly used this channel since last fall.

Our Recommended Videos To Check Out:

AlterWhite - Watch With Eyes Closed: Before transitioning to solo material, Mike's band AlterWhite produced some promising (if incomplete) original songs in their 2012 heyday, with "Watch With Eyes Closed" from that August being possibly the best showcase for their diversity, with slower melodic verses & aggressive choruses. Though the vocals sound forced (especially in the verses), Mike and Kevin have good chemistry, and it'd be interesting to hear this with a fuller lineup and a tighter arrangement! For more from AlterWhite, check out songs like "Taking Back My Life" and "Wolfbane Blooms" via the above links.

Mike Matthews - Too Late: The planned third song on Mike's unreleased debut album named "Connected By Light" from September 2012, "Too Late" is the most viewed song at present on his channel. More of a straightforward metal rocker, his vocals are a stronger fit on this hard hitting original, but the lyrics can be very repetitive, and a guitar solo would have been a nice addition to shake things up. Fans of AlterWhite shouldn't be too worried though, and check out other "Connected By Light" tracks like "When You Left Me" and "Wasted" above for more similar material!

Mike Matthews - Fade Away: Mike's last original postings from last summer saw him diversify his sound a bit to include more softer acoustic material (as seen on songs like "One Week"), with "Fade Away" also showing his quieter side. He has nice command of the guitar on songs like this, and the lyrics fit the tone, but on a song of this style, his singing definitely sounds a bit out of place. Still, Mike was in a good place here, and hopefully he's still working on new music!

I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profile! So, what's getting profiled in this series next month? Through completely random selection, I've chosen a single channel for a fourth month in a row, as we'll next be taking a look at prolific local punk/metal musician Rick "Styles" White's YouTube channel, featuring videos from his work with Fitswitch, Frightlight, Redundant, and more, dating back 8 years! That's all for now, but stay tuned for some big news and updates this week! Thanks everyone!

Friday, June 20, 2014

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Banned) & The LemmaFest 2014 Concert Preview!!

We'll close up this weekend's metal & hard rock concert previews with a well anticipated annual event in Sault Michigan today, including some extra info on some of the "mystery" bands, but first, here's a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for this August, with a related apology for a missed show from them!

Kinross hard rock trio Banned will return to The Runway Bar in nearby Hessel, Michigan for a one-night-only gig on Saturday, August 9th! Announced on the band's Facebook page on May 27th, this will be their first Hessel appearance in 6 months, and their first non-Kewadin bar gig within our coverage range since drummer Don Traynor's surgery in the spring, so it's great to see the guys playing more like normal again! In fact, this was one of numerous new events confirmed last month, including shows outside of our coverage range this summer in Gould City & Engadine and a handful of private gigs, though we regrettably did miss one local public gig announced then, as Banned headlined a community dance in Pickford this past Saturday as part of S.P.E.A.K.S. Education's Summer Festival. Not sure how that slipped by our radar, but our deepest apologies for missing it! Hopefully it was a great event, it sounded like it was for an awesome cause! As for Banned's Hessel show on August 9th, that has no announced cover charge, a 9:00 PM start time, and a 21+ age limit. Check the above links for more details, and stay tuned for more from Banned!

Next up, here's our extended preview of the fourth annual LemmaFest, as the annual Sault Michigan concert festival will return for another highly anticipated installment outside of Dondee Lanes TOMORROW! The first year that LemmaFest falls on the third weekend of June rather than the fourth,  this year's event will honour both the late Mike Lemma as usual, but also fellow Sault resident Jon Hackworth (a.k.a. Hot Tub Johnny), who suddenly passed away in January, and festival proceeds will go towards his family & related expenses, which is an awesome gesture! Like previous years, there will be a pig roast, prize and cash draws, drink & bowling specials, and t-shirt & mug sales, while local filmmaker Wayne Kozeyah will be distributing final copies of his LemmaFest documentary short that he made at Lake Superior State over the past year, and hopefully an online copy turns up online soon as well! The band lineup this year features just 8 acts, with only 3 or 4 bands returning from past years, and with regular bands like Half A Man and 3 time LemmaFest veterans Scofflaw not back this year, but there's still some known faces!

A full timeslot schedule hasn't been announced, but the descending order on the above poster looks reasonable for when bands are playing, so we'll go up from the bottom! If accurate, this year's headliners are Munising metal quartet Infathom (featuring area resident Dillion Semasky on vocals) in their third LemmaFest appearance, and their modern metal attack should be welcomed once again tomorrow night! A new (and maybe one-off?) band named Nightmare Grin are scheduled right before them, and while I can't confirm their sound yet, their lineup does include former I.S.O.M. drummer Bart Rennels and RedStone Riot/ex-Elipzis bassist Ryan Harrison, so they have some solid talent that we haven't seen in the Soo in way too long! Newer local rock quartet Division of Sanity (who have teased metal material in online postings) are also scheduled for around 7:00 PM in what should be their biggest local concert yet, so we'll have to see how they sound live, as they have talent on the acoustic demos that I've heard!

The fourth-last band will be local alternative hard rock trio Plastic (who debuted at last year's LemmaFest) in their first show of the year and first live set with new drummer Aaron DePalma (replacing the departed Paul Burns), so look for them at around 5:30 PM! 2012 LemmaFest performer Caitlin LeBlanc will play a set of acoustic pop/folk songs right before them tomorrow, while a band named Mr. Fister are advertised for the third slot tomorrow, so who exactly are they? It looks like they're essentially the current version of the band previously known as Bucksaw and Dirtbag In A Dress that played at each of the last 3 LemmaFests, though it's unclear whether they're a renamed version or a separate successor band. According to personal Facebook posts, their lineup includes Bucksaw alumni Bill Ogston on guitar, Barney Gravelle (also of Scofflaw) on bass, and Jason VanLuven (returning to replace Mikey Bishop) on drums, with singer/guitarist Ryan Franklin not recently mentioned. Though there's some uncertainties on Mr. Fister's (current?) form, it's nice to see lots of ties to all of the past three LemmaFests via their involvement!

The opening two performers will be new local hard rock quartet The Bottom Line (featuring Highest of Fives bandmates Mitch Goetz and Jack Slater), while a local solo musician named Mike Kowalski (genre unknown) will kick off the day's events at noon or shortly after. This ALL AGES event goes down tomorrow from 12:00 PM until the evening, with a $10 admission, so visit the Facebook event page and the above links for more details! This should be another great installment of LemmaFest, and hopefully the Lemma and Hackworth families are given lots of rememberances and financial help respectively at this great annual event! LemmaFest is one of the most notable annual concert festivals across the river, so don't miss out TOMORROW at the Dondee, and for a preview, here's Infathom covering Papa Roach live last year!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news this weekend, plus this month's YouTube Channel Profile! Thanks everyone!