Friday, July 31, 2015

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide), And Much More!!

In our last post of July 2015, we're tackling a SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for TOMORROW and a related news article, but we also have a band's returning singer to note (and just in time for their next show, also tomorrow), with a new music video with punk ties to wrap things up. Now, here's what you should know, and check out our review of SweetKenny's new CD in the post below this one!

Local/Toronto Celtic punk quartet Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide will return to the local stage TOMORROW NIGHT when they head to The Voyageurs Lodge in Batchewana Bay (Highway 17 North, 45 minutes from the Soo) for their annual Musicfest! Apologies for the short notice, we only just heard about this show yesterday via this Sault Star article, more on that in a second. The second of two shows from Dustin and The Tide (with Late Shift's Clint Wilson on drums) this weekend, TOMORROW'S show will follow a Thessalon gig tonight, and will see the talented local band open for Waterloo folk sextet The Royal Streets, a talented and easy-going band that should get a good reception up in Batchewana tomorrow! As best as I can tell, this will be The Rising Tide's first regional show since The Boot Hill Crooners' CD release party in the spring, and they should be in great spirits to rock this show for their return,so keep a trip north in mind if you've missed them!

TOMORROW'S show starts at The Voyageurs Lodge at 7:30 PM, admission is $20 or $15 in advance, ans ask ahead if there will be an age limit in effect. For more details, check the above links, and as for the Sault Star article (entitled "No Rush for Rising Tide") is courtesy of the paper's own Brian Kelly, who talked to Dustin Jones about his recent Tidal Records focus and dialed down Tide tour schedule, how the guys will tackle planned covers tomorrow night, and plans for their fourth album, which will apparently begin writing sessions this fall, but Dustin emphasized that they hope to relax and take their time for it. Solid, if brief, article and interview that gives some good insights into Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide's recent activity, but note that the included photo features former drummer Mikey Hawdon, rather than Clint or another recent skinsman.

Check out the article above, don't miss The Rising Tide's return in Batchewana Bay TOMORROW (or in Thessalon tonight), and here's the guys live!

Next up, here's a late notice lineup addition/return for TOMORROW'S Elements-headlined concert at The Rockstar Bar, as local openers Project 421 have welcomed former singer Curtis McKenzie back to the band, once again making them a quintet. The news was quietly revealed on the classic metal quartet's Facebook page in recent days, with Curt confirming his return yesterday on his personal Facebook page. Curtis (also well known from The Din & Haggith) sang for Project 421 in early 2014 before departing the band due to personal commitments, but with Haggith reportedly breaking up next month, there appears to be renewed time in his schedule! Of course, Blair Burch remains with the band on guitar and backing vocals, like during Curtis' first stint with the band, while his return reunites him with former Haggith guitarist Daniel Horton.

This is great news, especially given Curt's vocal talents, so be sure to welcome Curt back to Project 421 TOMORROW NIGHT (and remember, this is new drummer Chris Thompson's second show with ther band as well!) Check the above links for more on this Gonqshow event!

Finally for today, I wanted to give special mention to the new music video from local/Ottawa folk/indie artist Kalle Mattson, who doesn't normally cross into the SMS' genre range, but is a talented and extremely accomplished musician whose new music video definitely is worth a look! Yesterday, Kalle's new music video for his song "Avalanche" (off of the EP of the same name) went online on YouTube, and it's already attracting a lot of attention based on the creative theme, which sees him and bandmates recreating 35 of his favourite album covers in-studio, with most clumped for quick costume, prop, and effect changes. Though his music doesn't skew to this genre, punk fans will enjoy the Clash, Ramones, and Sex Pistols recreations within, plus many more classic & alternative rock covers, and overall, it's very well done and deserves the attention it's recieved!

Musically, I'm not the right person to judge this song, as folk and indie rock isn't in my wheelhouse, but it's well performed for the genre, and Kalle is a creative talent! Give the "Avalanche" video a look below,and keep an eye out for many familiar covers (I won't spoil them further!)

That's all for today, but stay tuned for much more as we enter the month of August! Thanks everyone!

SweetKenny - "Fleabag Hotel" Review!!

At last, it's time for our 73rd monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, as we're taking a look at Dafter, Michigan solo hard rock artist Kenneth "SweetKenny" Sutton's newest album "Fleabag Hotel"! Recorded in Dafter at Waterfall Records, and released digitally in May in advance of an "official" June 15th launch, this is the prolific regional hard rock veteran's 12th official solo CD, and second of three likely releases in 2015. Another self-described "heavy rock, vocal, instrumental, high energy, fun album" with Ken on all instruments, "Fleabag Hotel" again combines instrumentals and songs with vocals on this album, which you can buy for $10 and up on Bandcamp, CDBaby, iTunes, and other online sources, while Bandcamp and his website feature free streams of the album as well, but support Ken's work and consider buying this album! Featuring 11 songs clocking in at around 49 minutes in length, let's begin our 5th SweetKenny CD review!

"Fleabag Hotel" begins with "Call Out My Name", a bluesy yet dreamlike mid-tempo song that, despite the name, has no names (or any lyrics) to be called out. A good use of Ken's guitar experimentation, the song definitely has a psychedelic trance vibe that works to it's advantage, but the drum programming sounds artificial here, and at times, the instrumentation can meander a bit, despite it's relatively short length. Not the heaviest song, but it's a fun and well written start to the CD! Next is "A Rockstar's Life", which is about exactly what it says on the tin, and is the album's first song with vocals. More of a straightforward rocker, the song brings back more of Ken's Elvis Presley-inspired vocal tone, but at times, the song has an AC/DC-reminiscent sound that would be interesting to hear with a vocalist of that style! It's a solid song with amusing spoken word, but the choruses are anticlimactic and don't add anything to it's overall structure.

Third is "It's Time, I'm Out", an instrumental that has more of Ken's usual freewheeling hard rock sound than "Call Out My Name" had, but with more of a serious, determined impact at the same time. The song sounds like vocals should have been added, but weren't, especially in the pre-solo section where drums take the front seat, but it's well performed with Ken showing off his multi-instrumental talents to good effect! The next track is the amusingly titled "You Can Pet My Cat", which Ken says "is about a kinda freak girl", with singing to match the story. Sort of a sped-up blues rock number with lots of spoken word, it's admittedly hard to hear some parts of the story over the music, but it's a fun rocker that's right up the alley of past SweetKenny releases in tone and heaviness! The song is a little too long, especially given the dead air with no singing, but this is easily the best overall song on "Fleabag Hotel" so far!

Song #5 is "Cartoons In Life", which is the CD's longest track. Starting with sound effects of people screaming (perhaps did cartoons really come to life?), the song has the most fun and heavy sound yet of the included instrumentals, showcasing Ken's quality guitar work and songwriting talents in his usual hard-edged yet fun style! Like on a couple of earlier tracks, this one seemed to run a little long, and could have used an extra solo for variance, but it's a very good song that holds up well! (Also, jingle bells at the end?!) Next up is "Busted & Broke", which amps up the sped-up blues vibe from "You Can Pet My Cat", complete with a surprisingly upbeat tone given the subject matter of really being busted & broke. This song doesn't reinvent the wheel from what Ken does well already, and it'd be nice to see more melodic vocals here, but the consistency works well!

The seventh song is "Destruction of the Room", which maintains nice opening guitar squeal effects throughout the song, but admittedly doesn't have the vibe of any sort of destruction in it, more like constant tremors and gradual change. The consistent guitar melody and change of pace is welcomed, and it's unlike anything on "Fleabag Hotel" yet, but the title implies heavier and more aggressive than what we got from this instrumental. That's followed by "Sleep Is For Sissys", which Ken described as "a funky flowing guitar track", and breaks the alternating pattern as the album's second straight instrumental. Ken's own description fits this lively hard rocker that showcases his guitar solo and riffing to good effect, with the drum programming fitting the pace. The song sounds a little empty during tempo changes, but it's a more effective instrumental that plays to Ken's strengths!

Then we have "A New Dawn", which is the official theme song for WoodBangers Magazine, a music publication/online community that Ken is an active supporter and contributor with, and some readers may recognize this song from being released online on it's own for Woodbangers projects earlier this year. Easily the slowest and most dramatic song on "Fleabag Hotel", I still find that this instrumental doesn't sound like what a magazine named Woodbangers would use as their theme, but it's intricate, deliberate, and atmospheric qualities help deviate from the album's norm, and it does give the vibe that a new dawn of some kind is coming!

The penultimate song on "Fleabag Hotel" is "Check Out!", which Ken says is "about being dead", so there you go. Luckily, the song is much livelier than the title suggests, save for the return of vocals in a spoken word style during verses, with Ken apparently speaking (and shouting in choruses) from beyond the grave about what it's like being dead. Interesting contrast, especially given that his speaking lines are hard to hear, but it's a fun song that's arguably the heaviest on the album yet during instrumental sections, if you can get past the morbid themes! The CD closes with "Out Of The Mist, A New King Is Born", which would seemingly maintain his usual trend of having an religious song on his albums, but this is an instrumental. Contrasted with "A New Dawn", this has more of an optimistic beginning sound to it, complete with thunder effects, and it gives it's own dramatic end to Ken's newest album, almost as if it was a sequel to the prior instrumental!

So, what are my final thoughts on SweetKenny's newest album?  It's another positive release for fans of this prolific Eastern U.P. solo musician, continuing (largely) the consistent freewheeling hard rock sound that he's kept up since his solo project's debut! Much like our last reviewed album of his (last fall's "Amazonian"), this CD has a large focus on instrumental songs (one more than that one had), but is also shorter, and more varied in it's themes, with fun and amusing songs contrasting with more experimental material and some dark instrumentals. Of the four songs with vocals, "You Can Pet My Cat" was my favourite, and there's a lot of solid work in the instrumentals, but the dramatic and darker tone of the last songs was an adjustment, and fans of his Elvis-esque vocals might be left hanging. If nothing else, "Fleabag Hotel" maintains the positive path that SweetKenny is on, and hopefully things continue down that road as 2015 rolls on!

I hope you guys liked this month's CD review, and buy "Fleabag Hotel" at the above links! For next month's review, we have nothing firmly committed yet, but for reference, SweetKenny has revealed that his next solo CD will be called "Charlie Hidelburg: Ancient Hunter", with a fall 2015 release likely. In any event, our next review on the site will not be of a SweetKenny, Haggith, Mike Haggith, or Telephone & Address album, as all are within our 6 month buffer period still to avoid showing a bias, but if Telephone & Address' "Monster" comes out soon, a fall review is very likely! If we have nothing new to review in August, we'd of course dip into the archives for a review, likely of a band tied in with an artist performing locally next month, but we're not at the point to pick one yet. Stay tuned for next week's "Where Are The New Albums?" feature and other upcoming SMS posts to find out our next CD review identity, and stay tuned for more news soon! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Mourning Wood) & This Weekend's Concert Previews!!

Before we begin this weekend's concert previews, I'll note that there was briefly a Facebook event page online for a Stiffler's Mom concert on Saturday at The Rockstar Bar, but that has since been deleted, as one of this weekend's previously announced shows was moved there. Hopefully we hear more from them soon though! Now, let's touch on the hard rock shows that we currently know about through Saturday, starting with SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS!

Local classic/hard rock cover trio Mourning Wood will make rare appearances at The Esquire Club TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Apolgies for the short notice, the band only confirmed these shows via the official Facebook event page earlier this week, but at least these shows got that much for advance advertising! Unless a publically unadvertised show took place there in the interim, these will be Terry, Steven, and T.J.'s first shows at this west end venue in over three months, and following their OLG Casino and Rotaryfest debuts earlier this month, it's nice to see the guys continuing to spread their wings into unfamiliar and less frequent venues! Like usual for Mourning Wood shows, there are 9:30 PM start times in effect, no announced cover charges (but bring cash just in case), and you must be 19 to attend. For more details, visit the above links, and here's the guys' country side earlier this month, plus special guests!

Moving to previously announced concerts, longtime Caveman Morrison frontman Tym Morrison's ongoing weekly concert arrangements will continue this weekend, as he's back at Gliss Steak & Seafood near the Station Mall TONIGHT, TOMORROW, AND SATURDAY, all preceding his long running Harp Bar & Grill shows TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Like recently usual, SooToday confirmation of these shows came prior to any Facebook announcements, but Tym recently began using his official website's calendar again to confirm upcoming concerts at both venues, so we can source from there again! However, shows listed there are once again for an exceedingly long period (Gliss shows are listed weekly through February 2020, and Harp shows are listed through June 2022), but whether theis is all accidental formatting, positive hopes, or truthful long term booking for both venues is up for debate.

Given the presumption of Tym playing at The Harp and Gliss for the forseeable future, we will address his shows in our calendar a month at a time like usual, as it's way too excessive to list 5-7 years worth of shows on the SMS. Stay tuned for details on his August gigs though!  His matinees at Gliss are all 6:00 PM gigs with no announced cover or age limit (but remember, this is a restaurant), while the regular Harp nighttime gigs are 10:00 PM events with no cover and a 19+ age limit. Check the above links for more details on this talented local hard rock veteran, and here he is live at Mill Square!

In a brief detour to Sault Michigan, Kinross hard/classic rock trio Banned will return to The Rapids Lounge at the Sault's Kewadin Casino TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Making their first appearances at this Kewadin branch in four months, these will be Banned's last shows before returning to the annual Sugar Island Music Festival next Friday. Alex Traynor and company are always staying busy, from Banned shows to Alex's own recent solo recordings (seen here, including a new Britney Spears cover), and fans should know their quality and often heavy covers by now, so definitely consider a trip to The Rapids Lounge this weekend for their own entertaining live show! There's no announced cover charges for this weekend, you must be 21 to attend, and there are 9:00 PM start times in effect. For more details, visit the above links, and here's Banned live last year!

Finally for this preview post, we'll head to The Rockstar Bar for an apparently relocated (upstairs) installment of J.D. Pearce & Tidal Records' Gonqshow concert series THIS SATURDAY NIGHT, which will be headlined by Edmonton hardcore metal quintet Elements in their local concert debut! Not to be confused with the recently dormant local funk rockers The Elements, Elements' brutal modern hardcore sound with progressive hints should find it's way to a solid audience this Saturday! Guelph progressive metal quintet Becomes Astral will open this concert in their own local debut, and their extreme technical sound is also making them many fans, hopefully with more to come this weekend, so check them out too! Avoiding a name conflict by adding the local Elements to the bill, local classic metal quartet Project 421 will open things in their second show with new drummer Chris Thompson, so don't be late for their attack!

Originally scheduled for The Algonquin Pub, the show has apparently been moved upstairs to The Rockstar Bar, as per the venue's own Hayley Warnock on the Facebook event page on Monday. A reason for the move wasn't announced, but it may be due to the venue's new Rockstar Republic events kicking off this weekend (more on that in the coming days), but in any event, J.D. himself questioned the move, feeling that metal bands of this style "wouldn't fly" upstairs. We'll let you know if there's any clarification! In any event, a $5 cover charge is likely for this 19+ concert, which has a 10:00 PM start time. Check the above links for more details, and for a preview, here's an Elements music video!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for this month's CD review likely next! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Ten Kings), Rotaryfest Fallout, And More!!

We're back on this Tuesday morning with some recent news and notes for you guys, including some anticipated fallout from local news media on a pair of major linked concerts, and a light new video from a rising young band, but first, here's some LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS for next weekend across the river!

Sault Michigan hard rock quartet Ten Kings are scheduled to return to The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino on Friday, August 7th & Saturday, August 8th! The only new hard rock show confirmations from Kewadin's entertainment page's updated August listings (the rest were either confirmed by bands already or not hard rock for our coverage), these will be this fast-rising band's first shows since rocking The Northern Pines Lounge two weeks ago. Ten Kings are definitely making a name for themselves with their solid covers and fan favourite talent, so definitely consider a trip to St. Ignace next weekend to see the guys in action! These shows, like usual, have no announced cover charge, 9:00 PM start times, and 21+ age limits. For more details, check the above links, and stay tuned for much more from Ten Kings as the summer rolls on!

Next up, here's some long overdue fallout from Rotaryfest's music stages over a week ago! I apologize for being so late on these, personal commitments, other stories, and video-only posts pushed these back. Starting with SooToday, two different correspondents were on hand for our annual summer festival, with Darren Taylor covering Thursday activites at this link (including a photo of local Elvis Presley tribute artist Larry Tschekalin from his Stage 1 set), while Donna Hopper got more of her great concert photos during the Saturday entertainment on both stages! As seen at this link, her photos include 3 each of Second Stage bands Caroline Divine & The Pixo Control, plus 3 of classic rockers Domina and 5 of The Band tribute The Big Waltz, both from the main stage. Though it'd be nice to see some more bands included, Donna got some great shots once again, so give them a look along with more Rotaryfest entertainment above!

Speaking of Domina, Sault Online's Mike Caruso uploaded a separate final video of Domina covering The 4 Non Blondes' "What's Going On" onto his YouTube channel last week, so give that a look for more from this talented all-female cover band! No, there still isn't a summative video of Saturday's main stage bands, one likely isn't coming now. Finally from known major news coverage from Rotaryfest, CTV News Northern Ontario (yes, the former MCTV) covered Rotaryfest for a brief  video report on the regional newscast at the time, which is unexpected, but what's covered? Anchored by Carrie Trownson, the report itself was filed by Jordan Allard, and talks mainly about the musical aspect of the event, with footage of Second Stage-openers The Boot Hill Crooners and interview remarks by all three members of the alt-folk trio (primarily Sheldon Jaaskelainen) and new Stage 2 director Chelsie Parayko.

Nice comments by the guys and Chelsie about what Rotaryfest and local support mean for original music, and hopefully The Crooners' second Stage 2 set helped further things for both them and Tidal Records! However, note that the piece itself is short and features no video footage or comments from other bands that day. Still, nice to see CTV News covering some local music events, so give their report a look at the above links, and stay tuned in case we find more fallout from this year's Rotaryfest (Local2, in particular!)

Finally, we'll close with a short new video from Stage 2 co-headliners The Pixo Control, which isn't Rotaryfest related at all, instead of the alternative hard rock trio "leaving the suburbs" while on their brief Southern Ontario tour run. Fun, carefree, yet brief, it's a light watch, so give it a look below, and see more from their Instagram page at this link!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news this week, plus this month's CD review! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile: NA

It's now time for our monthly Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile! This feature series once again looks at a metal, hard rock, or punk band from outside of the Soo area that just happens to feature a past or present Saultite in any of their permanent lineups, and we're taking a rare dip into the Michigan side of things this month for a late 2000s fixture in the Northern Michigan punk scene with a local tie! Here's what you should know!
NA (Hillman, Michigan)

Lineup: (Saultites in RED, ex-members in italics)

Nathan Post (vocals/bass)
Dustin "Doc" Vanderveer (guitar)
Mikhail Swift (drums)

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

Local Info: NA's only member with a local residence was drummer Mikhail Swift, who is a 2012 computer sciences graduate from Lake Superior State University, and lived in Sault Michigan during his enrollment. While he played in the Lower Peninsula hardcore band She Screams Of Royalty during that time, he wasn't active in any local bands while in the Soo from what I can tell. Now residing in Grand Rapids, Mikhail's local tenure definitely counts for us to cover NA in this series!

Band Bio: Launched in August 2006 under the name Nothing To Lose, NA (short for The Noise Addicts) were a ska punk trio from Hillman, Michigan, a small town outside of Alpena. Debuting at that summer's Fieldstock Music Festival in Presque Isle, the band transitioned from covers to originals in 2007, recording their debut EP "Gotta Live Sometime" that year. Amidst various Northern Michigan concerts, the band recorded one final demo named "The Original Copy" that was released in 2008 featuring altered & new tracks. After sporadic concerts through mid-2009, NA went on hiatus, during which time Nathan Post & Mikhail joined forces once again in She Screams Of Royalty, before NA reemerged in August 2010. That band played their final announced shows at a Hillman church in early 2011, concluding with a show that June, and falling inactive for good by year's end, with members now focusing on separate musical projects.

Surviving media of NA is mostly limited to videos from their original 2006-2009 run (save for one studio MySpace track & the video below), but what I've seen & heard paints a promising young punk band! Nathan, Dustin, and Mikhail had good chemistry and had solid songwriting ability, especially considering their ages at the time, but I will concede that I don't detect a lot of the "ska" influence" in their media. Nathan had a solid voice for the genre, and I imagine NA had a good following, but give them a look to see what you think! The above links feature select videos and materials from their run, along with this MySpace video and a handful of videos on Dustin's YouTube channel, including this posthumous music video for their song "No More Incentive" featuring live concert, jam, and recording footage, and assorted other moments from their run together!

I hope you guys liked this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile! Next month in this series, we're planning to look at Parallel Truth, a multi-national progressive metal band featuring Saultite and former Gates of Winter collaborator Jon Morrison, so look for that on or around August 26th! That's likely all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes soon! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Rotaryfest 2015 Concert Video Showcase (Part 3)

At last, here's our overdue video showcase post from last week's Rotaryfest Second Stage action down at Clergue Park, as YouTube user (and frequent local concert filmer) Christopher Paci was on hand to get videos of bands at the returning all-original stage! Like myself, he was in attendance for the last four bands only (so he didn't film Aldous, The Wild Iris, and The Boot Hill Crooners), while there's no included videos from DJ Seith and/or Conika's mini-sets either. From Chris' videos, we'll start with headliners Gnaeus, with his clips of the risding post-punk quartet being of their songs "Fire" and, as embedded below, "When You're Gone". Solid audio quality compared to the often scratchy audio from Chris' Kewadin videos, and while he wasn't up close to the stage, the angle's good of the VM Radio Battle winners in action! A little jittery, but nothing unmanageable. Give Gnaeus' Rotaryfest videos a look above & below!

Chris also filmed two videos of local alternative/grunge trio The Pixo Control's co-headlining set,  these being of their songs "Scratch" and, as embedded below, "Potpourri" (I believe. If I'm wrong, my apologies, but I don't have my picture of the setlist at hand.) Same quality and angle as the Gnaeus videos, so if you like The Pixo Control's own rising blend of hard rock, you'll like this footage as well! Strong stuff, so give their videos a look!

The other two new videos from Chris' channel are single videos, including this one of newer local hard rock/glam trio Caroline Divine, and while I don't have a finite song name here (possibly "Shotgun With The Devil"), Chris filmed it from a closer angle to the left of the stage, so we have some different angles of things! Nice quality look at this upstart young trio, so check out their Rotaryfest video below!

Finally, Chris got a video of local pop punk quartet Stereo North playing their original "Heart Collider", which we also filmed for the SMS, but Chris' angle is much better, at the same close spot as the Caroline Divine video, more or less. Nice original that shows the guys' growth and potential, so give it a look below, and stay tuned for more Rotaryfest fallout next week!

That's likely all for today, but stay tuned for this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile TOMORROW, I hope! Thanks everyone!

Friday, July 24, 2015

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Mourning Wood), That's Chester/Tommy Updates, And More!!

Given my recent personal family commitments, SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS, and not wanting to break up our upcoming Rotaryfest and Kewadin Casino-centric posts, here's a somewhat abbreviated second post for this Friday evening, with only three main stories. I can't project when our next post will be, but it'll likely either be a Rotaryfest fallout post or this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands profile, so look for them in the coming days when possible. Now, here's what you should know!

Local classic/hard rock cover trio Mourning Wood are apparently making their debut at The OLG Casino TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT! I apologize for the short notice, the shows were only announced by bassist Steven Flint on his personal Facebook page this afternoon, similarly to most of their recent shows. Fresh off of their Rotaryfest debut last weekend, these shows will mark rare hard rock-tinged appearance from local bands at the Sault Ontario downtown casino (which hosted Glitch in the past), and it's nice to see Mourning Wood continuing to spread their wings! Also, these will likely be just regular gigs (unfamiliar venue aside) following their country-focused weekend with guest performers, in case you missed their heavier songs. Both shows this weekend have 9:30 PM start times, 19+ age limits, and no announced cover, so check the above links for more details, and here's Mourning Wood live last year!

Next up, here's some updates on this fall's live stage production of The Who's Tommy at The Machine Shop (featuring local classic/hard rockers That's Chester as the house band), including some updates on a variance in theme for the opening night on Wednesday, November 4th. As per this SooToday article from earlier this month, the opening gala performance will be a charity event in support of the Canadian Mental Health Association, as Tommy deals with mental illness in it's story. Nice connection for a great cause! The opening CMHA gala of Tommy will have $60 tickets exclusively through producer Marion Widgett at this link, with no general admission availability for that day. If you attend the gala, you'll get cocktails, food, and be able to participate in a silent auction and CMHA presentations. Sounds like a good time if you want to support a great charity! Remember, regular shows take place from November 5th-8th, though the above article clarifies that Friday the 6th is now an off day.

As a preview of this fall's production, That's Chester invited the Tommy cast to join them on stage at Rotaryfest's main stage at Clergue Park last week, and we now have a public video to share from it! Drummer Ric Datson posted this onto his YouTube channel earlier today, and it's of That's Chester and the cast's rendition of The Who's "Sensation", which is a nice surprise, as "Pinball Wizard" would be too predictable. The video is regrettably filmed from behind the band and cast, so the view and scope isn't too hot, but things sound good, and we get an angle of the stage that we rarely see! Give this Tommy video a look below, and stay tuned for more as it comes in!

Finally for today, here's a short new video from Sault Michigan classical metal band Theatre of Night, as per keyboardist Craig Harrison's YouTube channel! A brief 22 second clip of him demoing a new track on keyboard, it's a short but sweet clip that has promise from what we can hear! Give it a look below, and stay tuned for more from Theatre of Night as we hear it!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and such when I have some free time! Thanks everyone!

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Havadder), More Weekend Concert Previews, And More!!

With some serious personal family matters going on this weekend, I don't anticipate posts to be as frequent for the next few days (at least), so if we miss any late notice concert alerts from a band like Mourning Wood, my apologies in advance. Today's post features some assorted recent notes, a local band's recent activity, and more of this weekend's hard rock concert previews, starting with a SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERT!

Local classic/hard rock cover quartet Havadder will return to the stage TOMORROW NIGHT for one night only at The Rednecks Saloon! Apologies for the short notice, the band only announced this show yesterday via it's Facebook event page. After taking the Rotaryfest weekend off, this will be Jugga & company's first show since rocking Rednecks and Ride For Sight a couple of weeks back, and their hard hitting and often varied covers should find a solid audience once again TOMORROW! No word though on why they're not playing at Rednecks tonight. Like usual for Havadder concerts, tomorrow's show is a 19+ affair with no announced cover charge and a 10:00 PM start time. For more details, visit the above links! Havadder are always a reliably good time for your weekend entertainment, so keep tomorrow's show in mind, and here's the guys live last month!

Moving to a pair of previously announced concerts, Sault Michigan hard rock trio Power Slug are slated to return to The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT! The local cover favourites featuring I.S.O.M. members Bob Helsten & Chris Leask will be making their first announced public concert appearances in over a month this weekend, and while the band hasn't acknowledged them on their own Facebook page, Kewadin's entertainment page confirms them (note also that we have new shows through September to announce at local Kewadin branches, so stay tuned for that!) As usual, this weekend's shows have 21+ age limits, no announced cover charge, and 9:00 PM start times. For more details, visit the above links! Power Slug haven't played as much lately, but hopefully the guys have a great weekend in store, so make sure to chug your mug with them! Here's the guys a few years back!

Next up, here's some long overdue updates from local rap/metal quartet & VM Radio Battle finalists The Apocalypse Afterparty, so what have they been up to in the past month? As per their Facebook page on Sunday, the masked bandits are still working on their debut EP, planning to be "reclusive & ghost-like" while recording brand new tracks at Mission Control Studios, and upon release "after many, many moons", it'll be a 3 song EP on USB sticks, mp3 downloads, and a limited vinyl pressing (no word on CDs though.) The guys also elaborated on their earlier teases of a comic book on the band, which is apparently in it's final draft, will have work by a professional comic artist, and a cover will be posted in a few weeks upon completion. In terms of concerts, the Afterparty teased an upcoming Gonqshow appearance (presumably August 7th's Hard Up show) and other upcoming concerts.

There's no direct reference within to their drummer vacancy, but the post includes some vague remarks including an apology to "Rotary support", and plans to start a war with "a loud, public figure", but you can read into things however you want. Nice to see that The Apocalypse Afterparty are still active and running through some ambitious plans, so follow the band above, and stay tuned for more from their camp as it rolls in!

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

  • With their announced breakup following their Rotaryfest set last week, we have moved local hard rock quartet Beaumont Avenue to our inactive band links, albeit under their original name The Suicide Kings, as they accomplished more & were active longer under that name. If a defunct band has had multiple names, we usually list them in our links under their most prominent name for familiarity's sake, not unlike with bassist Mitch Sirie's old band Stillbroke, who closed their run as Borderline Divine. If Beuamont Avenue ever reunites under that name, they'll be re-listed accordingly!
  • This might just be re-stating the obvious, but we might as well confirm that next month's planned Das Bunkerfest II concert from Six Two Oh appears to have been cancelled outright. Promoters had hoped to host the Garden River-based house party festival in a new location after ceding control of the original venue, but with the Facebook event page now deleted, that presumably ends plans for the sequel event. Keep an eye out for new Six Two Oh shows!
  • If you noticed that SooToday's "Soo To-Do List" from last week listed an appearance by Kingston country solo artist Tom Savage at the Pixo Control/Gnaeus concert at LopLops Lounge, you're not alone, but that appears to be a typo. Savage did play a LopLops event on July 10th opening for Brock Zeman, so that might be where wires were crossed, and no advertising for the Pixo Control show credits extra performers beyond the Gnaeus teases. Hopefully that show was a hit!

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

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Most Of This Weekend's Metal, Hard Rock, And Punk Concert Previews!!

I'm out of town for the weekend (at least), but the SMS can't stop, as there's another big concert weekend upon us! We're focusing on previously announced shows today, with a nice mixture of sounds and styles within, including a big returning hardcore punk band, so here's what you need to know for this concert preview post, starting with Thursday nighters taking place tonight!

The announced seventh installment of J.D. Pearce & Tidal Records' Gonqshow concert series goes down TONIGHT, as Toronto folk/death metal quartet Vesperia will play Sault Ontario for the first time as headliners at The Algonquin Pub! An extreme, brutal, and mature sounding band featuring Hallows Die drummer Dylan Gowan in their lineup, the former Bolero should devastate The Gonq TONIGHT, so don't bypass them for some Thursday night entertainment! Though there is one other out of town band on the lineup, local death metal veterans The Bear Hunters are the listed co-headliners, and you know what aggression and excitement they bring to the table, so expect a great set from Nik, Mitch, Justin, and Johnny tonight as well! The listed openers are Sudbury "sci-grind" quartet Ruptured Birth in their own local debut, and with members of Before The Black Gates in their lineup, their unique take on grindcore shouldn't be missed, so don't be late!

Note that a previously announced set by Sudbury death metal trio Fractal Generator will not take place as they couldn't make the show, while a hoped headlining set by Crimson Shadows didn't reach it's Kickstarter goal to fund it. Now promoted by Destroilet's Brenton Ellis despite still being a listed Gonqshow event (Bear Hunters guitarist Mitch Sirie passed the job to Brent), admission will be $8 for this 19+ show, which will start between 9:00 & 10:00 PM. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! A nice throwback of sorts to the Rosie's Thursday metal nights, there's a solid lineup here, so keep this show in mind for TONIGHT! Here's Vesperia live last month!

Next up, former Caveman Morrison frontman Tym Morrison will continue his pair of weekly concert arrangements with solo headlining gigs at Gliss Steak & Seafood TONIGHT, TOMORROW, AND SATURDAY, followed by his long running Harp Bar & Grill series TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Though we haven't found Facebook event pages for these shows yet, all are confirmed on SooToday's entertainment page. Fans of Tym's acoustic rock covers once again have a wealth of options to check out this weekend, whether you want suppertime entertainment at the restaurant at the corner of Bay & Dennis, or nighttime revelry at the former Madison's Pub, so keep all five of Tym's shows in mind for TONIGHT through Saturday! The Gliss shows are all 6:00 PM events with no cover and no age limits (but remember, this is a restaurant), while the two Harp shows start at 10:00 PM with no cover and a 19+ age limit. For more details on Tym's busy weekend, check the above links, and here he is live a few years back!

Also this weekend, local hard rock quartet Long Shot are scheduled to return to The Fraternal Order of Eagles' clubhouse in nearby Heyden TOMORROW NIGHT! Though oddly not plugged recently on their Facebook page, this will be the guys' first show since their Rotaryfest debut last weekend, their last local gig before taking a road trip to Sarnia for a show there, and (at least) their third show at this sporadically-used Heyden venue since last year. Evan, Adam, Nathan, and Jeremy have steadily been growing in profile in recent months, and while this is somewhat of an unfamiliar venue to some, this should be a solid location for Long Shot's next show! If last fall's Eagle Club show is anything to go by, tomorrow's concert will have an earlier 7:00 PM start time & no announced age limits, and bring cash just in case, but we'll let you know if something finite is announced. Check the above links for more details, and here's Long Shot on Saturday!

Finally for today, here's the main event of the weekend, as Vancouver hardcore punk legends SNFU will make their long awaited return to the Soo TOMORROW NIGHT at The Rockstar Bar! Yes, this is officially the eighth Gonqshow event in that series, but given the size and hype, it's naturally upstairs rather than downstairs. After the cancellation of their planned 2013 local show, this will be the first Sault Ste. Marie appearance by Mr. Chi Pig and company in over six years, so it's way overdue for a local audience to open up and say "SNFU"! Notably, this show is during the band's 30th anniversary tour for their debut album "...And No One Else Wanted to Play", which will be performed in full tomorrow, so keep that in mind! Local support will come via by local punk/metal bands (and upcoming split CD participants) Destroilet & Jack Spades, the latter of whom finally getting a chance to open for SNFU after the 2013 show was called off. Very fitting choices, so don't be late!

Note that local grunge/hardcore duo Bad Back are listed as performing on the poster above, but are not credited on the Facebook event page, and the band hasn't recently acknowledged the show, so they appear to have dropped out. A $20 cover charge is in effect for this 19+ concert, which has an announced 9:00 PM start time. Given how successful SNFU's 2009 show was at The Grand Theater, there are high expectations for tomorrow, so if you love old school hardcore punk, be at The Rockstar Bar TOMORROW NIGHT for SNFU! Here they are at The Grand 6 years ago!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for Sault Michigan and late notice previews next! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

YouTube Channel Profile Series: CoryMurchison & WhiskeyBar1's Channels

It's now time for this month's YouTube Channel Profiles, courtesy of this monthly feature series spotlighting YouTube channels with at least 50% of their content comprised of local metal, hard rock, and/or punk-relevant videos! Like before, this spotlights 1-3 randomly selected channels in order for you guys to check out their content and subscribe to them if you want, but as the first randomly chosen channel only had two distinct video types, we added one extra to fill it out. Now, here's what you should know, and check out our latest Rotaryfest fallout post below!
CoryMurchison's channel (

Owner: Skeyes of Seven frontman Cory Murchison, also well known as the prior frontman of Sense of Truth and Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island's Levitate

Channel Timeline: Launched on July 7th, 2006; Videos posted from that May 2008 through January of this year

Channel Summary: Cory's channel was originally focused around his now-defunct local hard rock band Sense of Truth, with 3 videos from their 2008 debut concert posted there, but nothing from that band or any other projects were posted there until January, when he posted two copies of a very personal original song.

Why Should You Watch: I'd give Cory's channel a look to see some quality early videos of Sense of Truth, who were a very popular local band in their day, while the two versions of "Just A Fiction" are powerful and very personal, and may have extra value if you're a friend or family member of his! Note that no videos of Cory's current band Skeyes of Seven are featured there yet, but that band does have their own YouTube channel that will keep you filled in, and Cory still uses his personal channel.

Our Recommended Videos To Check Out:

Sense of Truth live @ the speakeasy: The only concert videos on Cory's channel come from Sense of Truth's debut set at The Skid Row Battle of the Bands at The Speak Easy at Algoma University on April 26th, 2008, where they won the $500 top prize and an opening slot at that summer's (later cancelled) Skid Row concert at Runway Park. Then featuring Cory on vocals & guitar alongside lead guitarist Steve Myers (The Wild Iris), bassist Patric Belanger, and drummer Ryan "Kev Riain" Haryett, Cory's videos are of the guys playing their songs "Vicious Cycle", "Anything At All", and as embedded below, "Everything Explodes", which is the channel's most popular video. Strongly done all around, especially when you consider that this was Sense of Truth's first show ever, and you can see the talent and enthusiasm that won the judges over! Arguably, the band got tighter and more technical as a quintet later in their run, but this was still a great first step!

Just a fiction: Oddly uploaded twice in identical copies, "Just A Fiction" is an original compositon that Cory wrote about his father's struggle with depression after having a stroke last year, and his aim to bring attention to mental illness and depression. Featuring a text introduction to set up the story, a slideshow of family photos, and an epilogue about how his dad is doing now, this is an Alice In Chains-esque ballad that does outline the message concerning mental illness awareness pretty well, especially coming from the point of view of someone witnessing a loved one going through this kind of pain. It's worth checking out whether you know Cory's family or not!

WhiskeyBar1's channel (

Owner: YouTube user WhiskeyBar1, identity unclear

Channel Timeline: Launched on November 16th, 2008; Only video posted on December 20th, 2010

Channel Summary: WhiskeyBar1's channel only features a video of defunct local extreme metal quintet Winkstinger playing their original song "Where'd We Go Wrong" at Foggy Notions (now Coch's Corner) during their set opening for Garden of Bedlam there in December 2010. Featuring Winkstinger's classic lineup (singer Alan Wells, guitarists Jesse Cook & Jason Ladouceur, bassist Ryan Sherman, and drummer Jonas Gasperas), the lighting is very dark when not lit up (but the red lights are suitably evil for the genre), and the guys sound at their explosive best here (plus, gotta love Jesse's dress!) Winkstinger have been missed in recent years, so this is a nice glimpse back at their early run, but note that WhiskeyBar1 hasn't visibly used this channel in at least 4 years.

I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profile! Next month in this series, we've randomly selected local progressive/death metal band Gates of Winter's official YouTube channel, featuring select older videos and recordings, and newer "Perihelion" teases, so check that out if you want on or around August 22nd! That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and concert previews shortly! Thanks everyone!

Rotaryfest 2015 Concert Video Showcase (Part 2)

Keeping this busy stretch going at the SMS, here's our second Rotaryfest concert video showcase post, and of course, give yesterday's a look below as well for Thursday, Friday, and Mourning Wood videos! Continuing our look at Stage 1 videos (Stage 2 and more is coming), these are split between Sault Online's Mike Caruso's YouTube channel once again and the YouTube channel of attendee Paul Von Voss, whose channel also includes assorted vocal covers of his own, but he's not familiar from recent local bands. All from Saturday's closing lineup, we'll start with Mike Caruso's video of local hard rock quartet Long Shot covering Queen & David Bowie's "Under Pressure" early in their set, and this is a strong rendition of this classic, with the Dawe brothers nicely handling the vocal harmonies! Give their Rotaryfest a look below, and don't miss Long Shot in Heyden this weekend!

That's followed by local blues rocker Paul Dellavedova & friends covering Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble's "Pride & Joy", while the next band was now-defunct local hard rock quartet Beaumont Avenue, who both Mike & Paul filmed on Saturday! Mike's video is of the prior Suicide Kings covering Collective Soul's "Shine", and it's also a strong rendition of this 1990s rock radio hit that the guys do justice to! Note that the description for this video labels this as Beaumont Avenue's second Rotaryfest set (it was their third), and Mike noted that "they are getting better all the time", which may be true, but it's sort of anticlimactic given their breakup. Still, great video, so give it a look below!

Moving to Paul Von Voss' channel, the first video that he shot was also from Beaumont Avenue's set, though a bit unfortunately, it's also of their "Shine" cover! The audio's very good on this alternate take, but the video quality is lighter and fuzzier, and look for Mike in action as he films the performance as well! Give Paul's take of this song a look below!

The rest of Mike's videos from Saturday include all-female classic rockers Domina covering OneRepublic's "Love Runs Out", one-off The Band tribute The Big Waltz playing "The Shape I'm In" (though not with the full advertised lineup at that point), classic rock veterans Mustang Heart covering Journey's "Don't Stop Believing", two videos each of the out of town tribute bands (Fleetwood Nicks playing Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop" & "The Chain", and Practically Petty playing Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' "American Girl" & "I Won't Back Down"), and closing country favourites Thin Ice covering Thomas Rhett's "Something To Do With My Hands", so check out all of those videos at the above links! No, as of this writing, there still isn't a summative video of the Saturday lineup like the other two nights got, so there might not be one at all. We'll close today's Rotaryfest post with Paul's last Rotaryfest video, this time of the aforementioned Domina's set!

A cover of Heart's "Barracuda", this is more in the ladies' usual classic rock wheelhouse, and it's a great display for Valerie Powley's impressive vocal range! This video has the same blurriness and brightness issues as Paul's Beaumont Avenue clip, but it's solid all the same, and with a nice crowd by that point, so give Paul's Domina video a look below!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for our latest YouTube Channel Profile later today, with more from Rotaryfest to come also! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Rotaryfest 2015 Concert Video Showcase (Part 1)

With a lot of Rotaryfest fallout to get to on the site, let's not keep things waiting, so here's our first all-video post relating to this past weekend's music entertainment, but check out some other non-Rotaryfest news in the post below this one! We'll start with the videos shot by Sault Online correspondent Mike Caruso, who filmed the vast majority or all main stage bands each year, with all uploaded to his YouTube channel in the last couple days, so what should you know from them? All filmed on two alternating camera angles (one stationary at center stage, one manually controlled by Mike on the stage's left), these generally all come from the bands' opening 2 songs. Starting chronologically on Thursday, the videos include jazz veterans The Bob Jenkins Band playing this song with vocals (whose title that I couldn't verify), country quartet Crossroad's cover of Merle Haggard's "Workin' Man Blues", and Elvis Presley tribute artist Larry Tschekalin playing "That's Alright" & "Rubberneckin'", the only act that Mike uploaded two videos of.

The last Thursday videos were of classic rockers Flathead Ford covering Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats' "Rocket 88", and the first hard rock cover from Mike's YouTube channel, classic rock cover sextet Coverfly tackling Led Zeppelin's "Rock N' Roll" during their headlining set! Not a bad rendition, with Janet Brown's voice fitting the song's range nicely, and everyone knows the song pretty well, though Mario Naccarato's backing vocals don't really add a lot here. Solid though, so give Coverfly's Led Zeppelin rendition a look below!

Moving to the Friday lineup, Mike's videos include classic rockers Obsession covering The Eagles' "Heartache Tonight" and the next video we'll feature on here, hard rock cover quartet Griphook covering The Arc Angels' "Living In A Dream". A bit of a throwback (at least in style) of Joel & Dan's old band 100 Gran, they put a hard edged spin on this early 1990s blues track, and everyone holds up their end of the bargain! Check their video out below!

The next two Rotaryfest videos were of songs that later saw attention from early Saturday bands, including classic rock favourites Mid Life Crysis covering The Mamas & The Papas' "California Dreamin'" a day before Long Shot tackled it, and country quartet Summer Thunder covering Darius Rucker's "Wagon Wheel" (which seems to be very popular around here lately) the night before Mourning Wood covered it. Friday's lineup closed with the return of classic/hard rock cover quintet That's Chester in a break from their recent Tommy preparation, but did they tackle songs from this fall's local production of the classic Who musical? Of course, and while the band hasn't posted or shared any of this publically, there are personal Facebook videos floating around showing That's Chester performing with numerous members of the Tommy cast on stage, so that must have been a nice sample of what's to come in November at The Machine Shop!

They didn't just cover The Who though, as Mike filmed the guys covering Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back In Town", and while the lighting is very smoky for this one, it's nice to hear That's Chester again after their lengthy stretch away from the public stage, and they don't appear to have lost a step! Give That's Chester's Rotaryfest video a look below, and click here for full details on the Tommy production in November!

The last video we'll touch on for this post comes from Saturday's lineup, of openers Mourning Wood (with guests Mark Tarantini & Scott Infanti) covering David Lee Murphy's "Dust On The Bottle", fitting with the country-only theme of the first half of their set. If you prefer Mourning Wood's classic/hard rock sound, this might not be for you, but it's well done for the genre, and Mark is a natural country frontman! Give their video a look before, and stay tuned for more from Saturday and other channels soon!

There are also summative videos of the Thursday & Friday lineups that you can check out here & here, but they just collect clips of the full videos Mike already posted, so they're best seen if you want a quick recap of the day's events (no word on if one for Saturday is coming though.) We will touch on the rest of Mike's videos and clips from other filmers in the coming days, but his footage is excellent once again with great visual and audio quality, so check them out above or via the linked titles! That's all for now, but stay tuned for this month's YouTube Channel Profile tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Superior Festival) And New Videos!!

Before we dip back into Rotaryfest fallout, let's touch on some non-Rotaryfest updates today before they fall way behind on us, so what's on the bill for this Tuesday morning? New videos from bands on each side of the border, and leading off, a huge LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for early next month, so here's what you should know!

A long teased outdoor concert festival is now official for Sault Michigan on Saturday, August 8th, as Superior Entertainment are bringing us the first annual Superior Festival that day at the Aune-Osborne Campground at 1225 Riverside Drive! As previously revealed but not yet 100% finalized in this Sault Evening News article, the minds behind the P.O.D. concert will bring back Mississippi hard/modern rock quintet Saving Abel as headliners, following their concert at Kewadin Casino in April, while a stacked and varied lineup of regional and out of town talent is also secured, so who else is on board? In listed order, bands will include local epic metal quintet Integrated System of Machines (in their second show since reuniting), Rochester, New York post-hardcore band Lights Out Paris (who played the P.O.D. show), Muskegon hard rock quartet Voodoo Theory, young local hard rock trio Tantrym Tyme, and veteran local hard rockers Power Slug.

The lineup is rounded out by young Detroit punk trio Heroes of Charlotte, Chump Change frontman Terry Talentino in a solo set, and in the biggest surprise of all, Sault Ontario classic/hard rock trio Mourning Wood, in a rare cross-border set by a local band (Touch of Class aside.) Very encouraging, hopefully more of this can happen! Note that the above Sault Evening News article listed Nashville country band Lonestar, Chump Change proper, and local country/pop artist Missy Zenker as tentative acts for the lineup, but none are listed on the Facebook event page as of this writing. An ALL AGES event at the campground/park by the waterfront and the East Portage Avenue transition to Riverside, the Superior Festival will start at 12:00 PM and run until 11:00 PM at night, though a full schedule of set times is not public yet. The event will have $25 tickets (great deal!) or $10 for youths 15 and under, though if you're 17 or under, you must be accompanied by an adult (bummer for 16 & 17 year olds though.)

Though not being hosted at Kewadin Casino, their website and the in-person box office will have tickets, so head to either to get hooked up, and check the above links for more details! This sounds like a great event, if very ambitious, but hopefully there's a great turnout and weather to match in just under three weeks! If we couldn't get LemmaFest V this year, the Superior Festival will fill the gap just fine, so stay tuned for updates when & if they come in, and get your tickets A.S.A.P.!

We'll close today with new videos, including this new concert video from Sault Michigan hard rock quartet Ten Kings! Filmed during one of their St. Ignace concerts this past weekend at their Kewadin Casino, this was filmed by attendee Dawn Brown and shared on the band's Facebook page on Sunday. Like most of their videos, this is a short one (77 seconds), and mostly spotlights guitarist Joe Jenkins covering Van Halen's classic instrumental "Eruption" (which I assume segued into "You Really Got Me", but the video cuts off before then.) Strongly done, Joe's a clear talent, so give it a look!

Finally for today, we'll close things back in Sault Ontario with a new video from local alternative hard rock trio The Pixo Control, as per their Facebook page last week! Labelled a "Caroline Divine tribute" (complete with members of that band jokingly replying in the comments), it appears to be a short style parody of their sound and live show from Pixo Control members Michael Mikus and Steve Edwards (on drums here), but see what you think below!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for the first of our Rotaryfest fallout posts later today! Thanks everyone!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Rotaryfest 2015 Review (Stage 2!!)

At last, here's our review of Saturday's Rotaryfest Second Stage action, but be sure to check out our Stage 1 review in this morning's post below! As you may remember, the original-focused Stage 2 ("Redirected") made it's return on Saturday after a year's hiatus with many changes, including a relocation from Queen Street East to Clergue Park beside The Art Gallery of Algoma (at least partly due to the Downtown Association fight), with the stage set up to the left of the gallery, and bands facing the waterfront. Unique visuals had the bands playing within view of trees, the gallery, and Rotaryfest vendors, so there was a lot to take in that way! Myself, I do wonder how the stage would have looked if the bands played with the waterfront as the backdrop instead, but the setup was nice, and organizers picked a spot with huge shady trees to help relieve the heat & humidity a bit! Rather than the chairs of Second Stages past, seating was primarily picnic tables, but much like Stage 1, no one got on the floor to take in the bands, so it was hard to get photos without being "that guy" that's in the way of everyone else.

Attendance was good but uneven, with many concertgoers coming & going, and the bands got a good reception overall! No word on if this will be a one year change due to the S.D.A. debate, or if Stage 2 is now in Clergue Park for good, but the new setup worked (complete with a Tidal Records merchandise tent), and there was no competing audio-bleed from Stage 1 either! Also, the Stage 2 MC was named Mike Sacchetta (I think), and he handled the role well, albeit while admitting that he struggled with some performer names.

As I was at the main stage for the first chunk of the day, I do apologize to Aldous, The Wild Iris, and The Boot Hill Crooners for missing your sets, but I know you all knocked it out of the park! After catching the first half of Beaumont Avenue's farewell set, I headed to the Second Stage to check out new local punk quartet Stereo North in the middle of (fittingly) Jimmy Eat World's "The Middle", which they followed with covers of the likes of The Foo Fighters, Our Lady Peace, and The Rolling Stones, plus originals like "Heart Collider". Very covers-heavy for Stage 2, but Stereo North hinted that they are planning their debut album during the set, and we'll have to see where that leads! Frontman Andrew Pucci was solid throughout, Matthew Anich was excellent on lead guitar, and Bill Bennett had the requisite stage presence while on bass, and fans seemed to respond in kind! Some of the cover choices are a little unexpected, but Stereo North are on their way, and even Smokey The Bear's a fan! You had to have been there.

Following their set was the last of three mini-sets by DJ Seith and rapper Conika, marking the first time that I've seen their collaborative work (I've seen both solo before.) I can't speak for the first two sets' structure and material, but during this last 10 minute stretch, Seith played the first half solo with his usual turntable mixes, before being joined by Conika for an original song named "Trying To Make A Name", and unlike the bands, they performed on ground level right in front of the stage. I didn't get a huge glimpse at DJ Seith or Conika to really give a representative opinion of their Second Stage performances, but the record mixes that we heard were fun and upbeat, and Conika has clear skill as a rapper, and compared to the last time I saw her, has more of a stage presence and look for the material! That said, I'd have to see them play more songs to accurately judge, but so far so good!

The next band was local glam rock/power pop trio Caroline Divine, and they put in a solid set of their own in their Stage 2 debut! Their mostly original set saw frontman Anthony Marcello be more chatty and engaging between sets, even introducing more songs than he did at Go Skateboarding Day (including songs named "Looks Kill", "Trouble In Paradise", and "Mr. West".) Musically, the guys were as strong as they were at that show, with their retro look and modern sensibility colliding well , with their songs and overall appearance still reminding me of what would happen if Dirty Virgin and Gnaeus were put into a blender. Anthony's gaining confidence as a frontman, Devin Williamson's a solid drummer of his own, and Brenden Fitzgerald's bass skill was present throughout! Caroline Divine are definitely on the rise, and hopefully we hear much more from them in the near future!

Co-headlining in their Rotaryfest debut on Saturday were local alternative/grunge trio The Pixo Control, in their last local concert before their upcoming Southern Ontario tour run, and they delivered a strong set of familiar originals for fans and Rotaryfest attendees! Along with teases of their upcoming debut album (titled "Probably Not"), the guys rocked out with familiar original songs like "Tall Ships", "Scratch", and "Growing Pains", plus late addition covers of "Twist N' Shout" and... the Juicy Fruit jingle?! Despite the humidity, Michael Mikus was once again a spark of energy during their set, with him and Steve Edwards contrasting well during their well received set, with The Pixo Control again effectively channeling the 1990s grunge era for a modern audience, and you know that their talents and stage presence will take them even further! Good luck on tour, guys!

And your headliners on Saturday were local post-punk/garage rock quartet Gnaeus, who became just the fifth local band to close a day's Second Stage lineup, so kudos to them on that level! Also confirming publically that they are indeed recording their debut album "Loomings" at present, they performed originals like "Circles", "Fire", and "Lovers" to close the Second Stage, with covers bookending everything, including an abbreviated Primus cover and their fan favourite rendition of The Cold War Kids' "Hang Me Out To Dry". Gnaeus ended the day's entertainment nicely with quality renditions of their existing originals, with Aaron Alessandri (with nice hat in tow) displaying his gritty vocals to good effect, and  Brad Irwin added effectively on guitar and synth! After the year's absence, the Second Stage chose well by having the VM Radio Battle winners as the headliners, and remaining fans definitely seemed to enjoy their hybrid of styles! Hopefully we hear much more from Gnaeus in the neat future!

Overall, the return of the Second Stage was a good time from what I saw, and while this is strictly a personal preference note, the transition from folk/roots & partially out-of-town bands to an all-local alternative rock base was a refreshing change of pace! Now, I wonder how close we are to seeing full metal bands there again? Whether the Second Stage is back on Queen Street next year, or if it remains in Clergue Park, it looks like things were successful for it's grand return, and here's to year #11 in 2016! Of course, we will cover Rotaryfest fallout from other local news sites from both stages in the coming days, but you can check out our photos from the event at this link or via our Facebook page. As for our videos, here's Stereo North playing their new original "Shot Caller", Conika rapping "Trying To Make A Name" with DJ Seith, Caroline Divine playing an original song (I didn't catch the name, will add when confirmed), The Pixo Control playing "Feather", and Gnaeus playing "An Exercise In Self-Awareness"!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more Rotaryfest fallout and other recent newsd and notes in the coming days! Thanks everyone!