Monday, August 31, 2015

Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide - "Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide" CD Review!!

It's now time for our 74th monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, and this month, we're taking our far overdue first look at an album from local/Toronto celtic punk favourites Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide! With no new metal or punk albums in my possession this month, we're dipping into the archives, and The Tide are a good fit to tie in with shows this month from The Boot Hill Crooners locally and the band itself in Southern Ontario. We'll logically start with the band's self-titled debut album, which was independently released on October 5th, 2009 and recorded over the previous year, though specific production and studio credits aren't readily available online (I don't own a CD copy yet to have liner notes at hand.) "Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide" features the band's original and current main lineup, with singer/acoustic guitarist Dustin Jones joined by fiddle player Sheldon Jaaskelainen and his brother, stand-up bassist Marshall Jaaskelainen.

Note that the band did not have a drummer when the album was recorded (Danno O'Shea didn't join until shortly after the album's release), and though 4 of the first 5 songs were re-recorded with Mikey Hawdon behind the kit for 2011's "Whiskey Will Be Our Sun", we won't touch on those versions until we review that album on the SMS. Copies of this CD can be bought for $10 on iTunes, their official website, and presumably both locally at The Rad Zone and at their concerts, while you can stream the whole thing on Spotify as well. Featuring 10 songs at 28 minutes in length, let's kick off this review!

The first song is "Molly Malloy", which also received a music video prior to the album's release. Opening with Sheldon's talented fiddle work, this song nicely shows The Rising Tide's sound, which was a change of pace from members' prior work in The Inner City Surfers and The Wild Turkeys. Taking on a clear drinking song vibe (as clearly indicated in the lyrics), you still get the punk sensibility from Dustin's raspy voice, and the carefree nature is fun, but the lack of drums may leave fans preferring the 2011 version. Solid opening that sets the tone well for The Tide's musical path! Next is "Hideout (Holy Church of Ol' T.O.)", a shorter number that has a slower, more country-influenced pace, with Dustin affectionately singing about the title location, a bar and concert venue in Toronto that the band often plays at on their Southern Ontario tour runs. Rousing number that has a nice sing-along cadence, and I imagine this is a crowd favourite when the band plays in ol' T.O., but it seems to end when it's just getting going.

That's followed by "Time Well Spent", an effective ode to good times with friends, and this continues the positive friendly vibes while still maintaining that punk kick, and the backing vocal harmonies are a nice touch! Good melody on this one, and it continues the laid back vibe that definitely feels like Dustin and the Jaaskelainens had fun recording and playing these songs! Fourth is the band's own self-titled track "Rising Tide", which is the only song of the album's first half to not have a re-recording in 2011, but honestly, the studio version doesn't need drums. Opening with harmonized vocals from all three guys about how "the rising tide is rollin'" (also the chorus contents), this is a more deliberately paced number that mostly strays from Dustin's punk background, so punk fans may prefer other tracks on the album, but it is effectively done and has easy to follow lyrics if you want to sing along!

The first half of the CD concludes with "Tick Tick Tock", also the album's shortest song, barely surpassing 2 minutes in length. Arguably the most punk-leaning song so far (complete with shouting of the title during the chorus), this song is aggressive while still maintaining the acoustic Celtic rock flavour, and it's arguably the song that would most fit a Surfers album so far! I just wish it was longer with more instrumental sections. Song #6 is "Summer Honey", a song about the title woman and affection for her, and I like the melody on the instrumental bridge, including some more prominent bass work from Marshall, but again, it's a little short. Still, another upbeat number with a nice Celtic flair that's been maintained from bell to bell!

Seventh is "Don't Know", which is the softest song so far on this disc, and arguably the most lyrically introspective so far, so fans of the upbeat drinking songs from before might need to adjust a bit here. It's well composed and a good change of pace, with Sheldon getting a nice extended solo section midway through. Personally, I do prefer the faster and more rousing songs to this one, but it shows The Rising Tide's depth and range well, and it's effective on that level! Then we have "Old Lady Luck", which is one of the album's longest and most country-centric songs, with the structure and lyrical content definitely giving off a classic 1950s-era country vibe. It's a good showcase for the Jaaskelainens' instrumentation, and Dustin handles the tone shift admirably, but strictly for my own personal preferences, I don't dig this the song at the level of earlier tracks. If you love country or bluegrass though, you'll be right at home!

The penultimate song on "Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide" is "Guy Like Me", which takes on a folksier vibe as Dustin sings about his personal traits and habits. It's seemingly a simple song, but there's a grand sort of ambiance to the backing music, and it's got a catchy quality. It's not as country-based as "Old Lady Luck", but it continues the slowed down pacing of the album's latter half, and it's strong for it's style! Also, I have a feeling this song in particular would probably work well solo compared to the rest of the album. Things wrap up with the album's longest song, "Don't Stop", which concludes the album on the more reserved, less punk-flavoured trajectory of prior songs, with a soft, introspective, and fiddle-heavy melody that would be the closest thing to a ballad on the CD. Personally, I would have ended the CD with an upbeat closer rather than the relative downer ending, but it's a nicely composed song with a nice message, and everyone holds up their end of the bargain, so give this one a listen if you like their folk/country side!

So, what are my thoughts on Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide's first album? It's a solid first effort that set the band's musical direction nicely, especially on the first half! Though a departure from Dustin's prolific prior band work (including for the all-acoustic instrumentation), he kept the punk attitude and sensibility with The Rising Tide, carrying his punk snarl and strong musical talent to this acoustic Celtic rock venue, and he's complimented well by Sheldon & Marshall Jaaskelainen, forming a skilled union of differing styles, with both handling their fiddle and bass roles with ease! However, Marshall's bass was often low in the mix on the songs, and I will concede that I do far prefer the punk-influenced first half of the album to the slower and more country/folk-based second half, which helped end the album on more of a melancholy note from the fun and carefree opening songs. It all depends on your personal preferences though, but that's just how I saw it.

The lack of a drummer was noticeable too, but the band has since answered that live and in studio. The Rising Tide fit somewhere in the middle of the spectrum between punk and Celtic folk, but they've found their groove and a loyal following in the last decade, and their first album definitely helped the cause, so give it a listen above, and don't miss their next local concert dates when announced! I hope you guys liked this month's CD review, but what album will get reviewed next in September? It's up in the air again, but you can get an idea of upcoming metal, hard rock, and punk albums in our next "Where Are The New Albums?" post on Wednesday, so stay tuned for that then! For reference, our next review will not be of a Rising Tide, Haggith, Mike Haggith, or SweetKenny album, as we're not past our 6 month buffer period for them to avoid potentially showing a bias, but a review of a 2015 Haggith CD could happen as early as November if things fall into place the right way.

Also, if you were wondering why we didn't review a Billy Bastards CD this month to tie in with their return to the stage in Ophir this weekend, it's because I don't own any of their albums yet (surprisingly enough), and full copies of them are not readily available online, save for scattered MySpace tracks. I hope to rectify that soon though! Of course, a new CD release gets precedence for a review next month, but if none come out or are acquired, another archive review (likely tied in with a show or shows in September) will follow, so stay tuned for our next review next month, and for more news this week! Thanks everyone!

Friday, August 28, 2015

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Banned & Telephone And Address), Plus More Recent News!!

We haven't had what could be termed as a full "news" post on here since Sunday, so let's rectify that with a surprise second post on this Friday afternoon, but be sure to check out our Northern Vibe Festival & Biker Pirate Party concert previews in the post below this one! Now, we have new video postings, assorted updates, and LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS to take note of today, so here's what you should know!

Local punk/grunge solo project Telephone & Address will return to the stage on Monday, September 14th when they open for Victoria, British Columbia psych-pop band The Backhomes at The Gore Street Cafe! This will be Telephone & Address' first show since the IRN concert in July (that is, if they played, given that Chris' side project The Red & Black's debut may have replaced them entirely), and it might come in time for the release of their new album "Monster", which Chris noted earlier this week will be pressed next month. Keep that in mind, especially as "Rust Orchid" got a CD release show at The Gore Street Cafe earlier this year! As for The Backhomes, their spacey-sounding alt-pop is a good fit for the venue, and they have talent to display, so give them a listen to see what you think! This ALL AGES Monday nighter will operate under a "pay what you can" model, and it has a listed start time of 7:00 PM. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page, and stay tuned for updates on the show and "Monster"!

Next up, Kinross, Michigan classic/hard rock trio Banned have announced their first concerts of the fall and winter, as per their Facebook page on Tuesday, so when can you see them next? After a road trip to Gould City tomorrow and a private wedding next weekend, the guys have no currently confirmed bookings until late October, but they're busy after that, with returns to The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino planned for October 23rd & 24th, November 27th & 28th, and December 25th & 26th (so if you want live rocking on Christmas, here you go!) They'll also be back in Hessel at The Runway Bar on November 20th & 21st. Curiously, there's no dates listed for the Sault Ste. Marie Kewadin, but they will take a road trip out to Manistique to play the Halloween weekend at their Kewadin branch. If more dates are announced, we will be sure to let you guys know, but all of these have 9:00 PM start times, 21+ age limits, and no announced cover charges.

Check the above links for more details on these shows, and also, a new live concert video of Banned was posted on their YouTube channel on Sunday! Filmed at The Sugar Island Music Festival earlier this month (making this the first video we've seen of them at this annual event in four years), this video is of Alex, Wayne, and Don covering AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long", with Don Traynor handling lead vocals, though Alex Traynor joins in for most of the choruses. Not a bad cover, the guys make it work, but it does sound a little empty with only one guitar. Well filmed too, so give it a look below!

Also today, here's a pair of new studio track uploads from Din frontman and prolific solo artist Mike Haggith! While we wait for his and The Din's next concerts, Mike uploaded two "single versions" of his recent solo original songs "We Met As Surrogates" and, as embedded below, "Of Cars & Criminals" onto his YouTube channel on Monday. Compared to the original "Warinside" versions, these are shorter by at least a minute each (including the removal of each song's non-musical intro), with Mike hyping them as condensed and more focused than the originals. Personally, I didn't find the original songs to be overly long, and I prefer the production and fuller sound on them, but hey, it never hurts to experiment, and the songs are effectively pared down! Note as well that Mike's original Facebook page post for the singles hyped that he and The Din were continuing their "studio progress", but no word what the end goal of that is. Give Mike's new single versions a listen above and below!

Finally for today, here's three assorted shorter news items from the last week or so, and as usual, these are in alphabetical order by venue, company, or artist name:

  • The Canadian Nightclub is apparently planning to bring back regular live bands on weekends! In conjunction with Maxx Entertainment, the Pim Street venue will kick things off with country cover quartet Bone Yard in two weeks, but more local & out of town bands are planned, and there will apparently be NO COVER CHARGES. In lieu of the karaoke and "mix & mingle" nights on weekends, bands will play an hour early from 9:00 PM-1:00 AM, with DJs playing between sets and closing the night. Great to see The Canadian booking regular bands on weekends again, so stay tuned for updates, and see the above links for more info!
  • Local independent label/studio Six Two Oh has launched a new performance video series called "Live @ Six Two Oh" that will feature performances by local and out of town bands from their headquarters. The first episode (recorded in June) features Edmonton garage rock favourites The Archaics from when they were in town for their headlining LopLops concert, though given Six Two Oh's usual genre focus, metal & punk bands are sure to follow if this continues. Check out the first episode above!
  • Local pop punk quartet Stereo North are looking for suggestions for new covers to tackle in future concerts, even saying "the more outlandish, the better", as you may remember that they have no qualms playing non-punk songs in a punk style, like Katy Perry's "Dark Horse". If there's something off the beaten path that you'd like Stereo North to cover, mention it on their Facebook page!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and this month's CD review in the coming days! Thanks everyone!

Northern Vibe Festival & Pirate Biker Party Concert Previews!!

Barring extremely late notice concert previews, let's close out this weekend's hard rock and punk concert previews with some events taking place just outside of Sault Ste. Marie, so if you're living on the outskirts of town or are up for a road trip, here's what you should know for this weekend!

The first annual Northern Vibe Festival begins TODAY at the old Hempfest location on Poplardale Road in nearby Ophir, Ontario, and will welcome punk/country favourites The Billy Bastards back to the local stage TOMORROW NIGHT! Two years after Hempfest's local swan song, the guys over at Planetary Pride (who put on the first 11 Hempfests) are throwing their hat back into the concert festival game for this freshman event, which will focus on the music for this summer-ending bash featuring musical performers on two stages, so who all can you expect in Ophir this weekend? One stage is the "Beach Stage", as it's backdrop is the waterfront in that area, and will be devoted to DJs and turntablists, so click here to find out who's playing and on what day! Yes, the Northern Vibe Festival's website lists performance orders finally, but oddly, not set times (no word on why, but it may be in case of lineup changes or set length uncertainty.) Bands and solo musicians will be playing on the "Forest Stage", so who can you expect on the lineup there?

TONIGHT's abbreviated band lineup features Burlington reggae rock favourites The Killin' Time Band as headliners, with local support via alt-folk favourites The Boot Hill Crooners and local/Toronto folk musician Cody McMillan and his band The Soft Shoe Shufflers. TOMORROW'S main band lineup will be headlined by Kitchener folk quartet Drew Leith & The Foundation, with the aforementioned Billy Bastards (with relocated guitarist Paul Michael Stos in tow) co-headlining in their first concert since December 2013. It's been way too long for The Billys' punk/country attack on the local stage, and might we see their long teased new material during their set? In listed order, other Saturday bands will include veteran local soul/funk outfit The Hustle Brothers, blues rock notables Al Wood & The Woodsmen, cover rock quartet Changing Lanes, roots rock collective Frank Deresti & The Lake Effect, and in a late replacement, solo folk musician Kylie Precepa, who is filling in for Britta Wolfert on Saturday due to personal family matters overseas.

And finally, local/Wawa keyboardist and busker Damjan "Spider Fingerz" Binda will open Saturday's lineup, if there are no late notice changes. As well, Sunday's action on the Forest Stage will be devoted to group jamming, drum circles, and open mic performers, so keep that in mind, as you never know who'll be playing! Also, keep an eye out for fire spinners, hula hoopers, yoga, and art installations during the festival's duration. Tickets are $125 for the full weekend with no single day rates advertised, while there are group rates if you have a party of 10 people. Tickets can be bought locally at Planetary Pride on Queen Street East or online at this link, and while The Northern Vibe Festival is a 19+ event, kids and pets can come (if absolutely necessary) with an adult attendee if you follow the instructions at this link (which includes has full info on festival guidelines.) For full posted details on The Northern Vibe Festival, visit the above links!

It never hurts to have a new summer concert festival in the area, with shades of Hempfest (in organization and location) and the LopLops-ran Second Stage (in band content), so keep those angles in mind, and if you love punk with a splash of outlaw country, don't miss The Billy Bastards' first public set in over a year and a half TOMORROW NIGHT! I have heard some grumbling over the ticket cost and lack of single day pricing, but hey, you've got to start somewhere, and if all goes well, we'll see The Northern Vibe Festival back in 2016! Stay tuned in case there's fallout from the event, and for a preview, here's The Billys live a few years back!

Finally, we'll take a look at local party hard rock cover trio Stiffler's Mom's next concert, as they're hitting the road for a rare St. Joseph Island concert TOMORROW for the Biker Pirate Party at The Island Bar & Grill in Hilton Beach! That's an hour southeast of the Soo. Fresh off of last week's one-nighter at The Rockstar Bar, Greg, Mike, and Jon will rock out at this motorcycle show & shine event, which will raise funds to help repair Hilton Beach's baseball diamond fence, so keep the cause in mind, and remember to dress in your best pirate costume for the costume contest if you go! Stiffler's Mom's set itself will take place at 1:00 PM, the Biker Pirate Party itself is presumably all ages, and there's no admission fee unless you're entering the motorcycle show. As for the address, everything will the place at The Island Bar at 3117 Marks Street. For more details, visit the above links! Nice to see Stiffler's Mom spreading their wings and helping out for a cause, so consider checking them out tomorrow afternoon in Hilton Beach! For a preview, here's Stiffler's Mom live at another charitable event a few years ago!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for more news and this month's CD review soon! Thanks everyone

Thursday, August 27, 2015

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Mourning Wood) And Most Of The Weekend's Concert Previews!!

Let's dive into weekend concert previews on this Thursday afternoon, and yes, we will touch on the first annual Northern Vibe Festival (and potential late notice gigs) TOMORROW, so stay tuned for that! Now, here's what you should know for regular concerts in the area this weekend, including SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS!!

Local classic/hard rockers Mourning Wood will return to The Rednecks Saloon TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT, albeit with a new lineup in tow! Apologies for the short notice, they only announced the shows via their Facebook event page on Monday. The band have officially expanded to a quartet lineup with the addition of ex-Rainhorses bassist Paul Belair to the fold (Steven Flint is moving to rhythm guitar full time), while Flat Stanley/Peace Vibe drummer Glen Thomas also joined Mourning Wood's lineup, replacing T.J. Case. A reason for T.J.'s exit wasn't announced, but you may remember that he had been posting about searching for a new band on the Musicians Wanted Facebook group recently, so that may be related. This is fairly sudden, especially given that he had just played with the band at last week's Superior Festival, but he's a very talented drummer that would be an asset wherever he lands next, and best of luck to him for sure! Paul and Glen are established local veterans who should bring a lot to the table, so welcome them to the fold this weekend!

If I would have gambled on a new Mourning Wood lineup so soon, I'd have (incorrectly) predicted an extension of their country guest performers from Rotaryfest, but this works well, and given Glen's recent propensity to film his live concert appearances, might there be some new videos to come of the new lineup? Like usual for Mourning Wood's concerts, TOMORROW & SATURDAY's shows are 19+ affairs with no announced cover charges and 10:00 PM start times. For more details, visit the above links, and good luck to the new lineup this weekend at Rednecks! For a preview, here's Mourning Wood live this summer!

Moving to previously announced concerts, local hard rock solo musican Tym Morrison will once again have 5 concerts to play this weekend, including his regular Gliss Steak & Seafood matinees TONIGHT, TOMORROW, and SATURDAY, and his regular Harp Pub & Grill run will continue on SATURDAY NIGHT, but his usual Friday nighter at The Harp will not occur this weekend for unannounced reasons, with the show now moved to his old regular stomping ground, The Roadhouse Bar & Grill on Trunk Road, so go there TOMORROW, not The Harp! Our source is this Facebook event page. As best as I can tell, this is just a one nighter, and his official website still lists tomorrow's show as being at The Harp, but east enders and Roadhouse regulars should like Tym' return there for the first time this year! You can take in Tym's acoustic hard rock covers at Gliss downtown at 6:00 PM on all three nights, and the Harp & Roadhouse gigs are 10:00 PM affairs.

All 5 shows at all 3 venues have no announced cover, and while Gliss doesn't have a 19+ age limit like the other venues, remember that it is a restaurant. For more details, click here, here, and the above links, and we'll update the site with his likely September gigs when the first set is confirmed on Facebook! For a preview, here's Tym live at Mill Square!

In a brief detour to the Eastern U.P., Sault Michigan classic/hard rock quartet Highway 63 will return to The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! The first announced St. Ignace gigs from this rising veteran outfit in 3 months, the guys are fresh off of their most recent Satisfied Frog gigs 2 weeks ago, and you know their sets will be full of hard hitting classics, so definitely consider a trip out to St. Ignace for all of the action! With a lineup full of Monkey's Uncle, Power Slug, and RamWagon alumni, how could it not be a bad time? Like usual for Highway 63's Kewadin gigs, there's no announced cover charges, you must be 21 to attend, and 9:00 PM start times are likely. For more details, visit the above links, and for a preview, here's Highway 63 live last month!

Finally for this preview post, pageless local funk/hard rock quartet Late Shift will return to the stage THIS SATURDAY NIGHT at The Rockstar Bar when they open for Ottawa alternative/power pop trio The Red Rails in their third local appearance! This will be Late Shift's first announced  concert since Algoma Ride For Autism, and will see members John Barber & Matt Sibilo share the bill with former Driving Dave Home bandmate Steve Brogno, who drums for The Red Rails, so might we see a mini-band reunion on Saturday? Be there to find out! The Red Rails, though not all that heavy, carry a fun and energetic rock sound that should find a solid audience again on Saturday, so if you've missed them and/or Steve in the past year, consider a trip to The Rockstar Bar for this one! A special $7 cover charge is in effect for this 19+ concert, and everything starts at 10:00 PM on Saturday night. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page, and for a preview, here's Late Shift live at The Rockstar Bar earlier this year!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for our Northern Vibe Festival preview and more tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile: Parallel Truth

It's now time for this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile, our monthly look at a band that, though not based in the twin Saults, features a past or present Saultite in their lineup, and deserves a spotlight for current local readers! Today's choice is a unique band in their international makeup, but they have a lot of talent to go around, so here's what you should know!
Parallel Truth (Melbourne, Australia/Vancouver, British Columbia/Los Angeles California/China)

Lineup: (Saultites in RED, ex-members in italics. Note that the band's vocalists, alongside saxophonist Rick Morrison, are listed as "guest performers" on Facebook, but are credited as band members on their Bandcamp page.)

Reggie Hache (vocals)
James Lawrence (vocals)
Jeffrey Kesler (guitar)
Kyle Roche (bass)
Jon Morrison (drums/guitar) 
Junshou "Jason" Hou (keyboard)

Official Facebook page:
Official Bandcamp page:
Official MySpace page:
Official Reverbnation page:
Official Soundcloud page:

Local Info: Drummer Jon Morrison is a familiar face for local metalheads from both past local band work (including a brief stint as a Gates of Winter session drummer) and extensive work in multiple Vancouver-area bands in recent years, such as Alpha Trion, Avatara, and Nylithia. Given that he's a Berklee graduate, don't bypass Jon's high quality band work since his move from the Soo, including the multinational Parallel Truth!

Band Bio: Launched in 2010, Parallel Truth are a progressive metal collaboration featuring performers from four different countries, and as such, are a studio-only project. Calling their music  "the soundtrack of a parallel universe", the band posted their debut singles online in December 2011, and soon began work on their debut album "City of God", which was finally released after a lengthy writing process in August 2014. Updates have been slow since, apart from re-postings and shares of album material, but stay tuned for more on Parallel Truth when it comes in! Inspired by the likes of Dream Theater, Opeth, and Pain of Salvation, their studio material is every entertaining for fans of progressive metal, with songs ranging from technical and heavy instrumentation to songs influenced by 1970s progressive rock, with Jason Hou's keyboard talents and Jon's excellent drumming a constant! 

Some of the vocal performances aren't 100% fits for the material, but Parallel Truth's complex and well-crafted originals should be up the alley of progressive metal and Gates of Winter fans, so be sure to check them out via the above links, and it would be very interesting to see them play live if at all possible! Check out "City Of God" at the above links, and here's a YouTube copy of their song "Life I've Lost"!

I hope you guys liked this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile! Next month in this series, we plan to look at Sideblinder, the Toronto punk project fronted by Rising Tide/Inner City Surfers frontman Dustin Jones, so watch for that on or around September 26th! That's all for today, but stay tuned for weekend concert previews tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Superior Festival Video Showcase!!

At last, we have some YouTube videos to share from Friday night's first annual Superior Festival, and that's the focus of today's post, so what should you know? All courtesy of frequent regional concert filmer Christopher Paci's YouTube channel once again, he filmed 10 videos from the show, including every band save for Sault Ontario openers The Elements and Mourning Wood (not sure why, but they were the opening two bands, so if he was running late, that'd explain it.) Oddly, I haven't heard a whole lot from those bands online concerning how their sets went, and I've only found a single photo from Mourning Wood's set, but to be fair, both bands only sporadically update their Facebook pages. There is some big lineup news to note from Mourning Wood though in time for their next shows, so stay tuned for that later this week! And yes, the festival was held inside The Savoy Bar & Nightclub rather than outside for unannounced reasons, despite the lack of rain on Friday. Maybe it was logistically easier?

Six of Chris' ten videos are of the headliners, Mississippi hard rock quintet Saving Abel, whose videos from the show were of their songs "Addicted", "18 Days", "15 Minutes To Fame", "The Sex Is Good", their set-opener "Ready To Burn", and as embedded below, "Drowning (Face Down)", complete with frontman Scott Austin calling fans to come up closer to the stage. It's odd seeing a platinum selling band like this at a venue like The Savoy, but the more intimate environment is great to interact with the fans, and I like how their sound has gotten a bit heavier since Scott took over on vocals! Good audio, and Chris got a nice close angle of the festivities, so give his videos a look above & below!

Rochester, New York post-hardcore band Lights Out Paris co-headlined on Friday in their second local concert appearance, and Christopher filmed them playing one of their more melodic originals, "Rochester To Rochester". Not bad for the genre, and it's definitely something different compared to what Sault Michigan shows often get, but their more aggressive material had more of an impact on me than this one. Not bad though, so check it out below!

Chris also got two videos of Sault Michigan metal quartet Tantrym Tyme (with debuting second guitarist Michael McLeod) covering Alter Bridge's "Metalingus" and, as embedded below, The Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Dani California". We already featured the band's own clip of the Alter Bridge cover on here yesterday, hence why the Chili Peppers cover is in this post, but I will concede that this song is not a good fit for Tantrym Tyme. They excel on heavier and more melodic songs, and Jacob Hotlen is almost inaudible on vocals here, but their talent still comes through, and give their videos from the Superior Festival a look above and below as well!

Last of Chris' clips from the festival is Muskegon hard rock band Voodoo Theory (in their local concert debut, I believe) covering The Foo Fighters' "Everlong". Not a bad rendition of this Foo Fighters classic, but like above, this cover doesn't fully show their energetic modern hard rock sound seen on their originals. Still solid, so give it a look, and hopefully they're back again!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes on the site this week! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Emergency Festival Fallout, Sykotyk Rampage & Tantrym Tyme Updates, And More!!

Let's tackle most of our backlogged news on the site today, including some assorted recent notes, bug updates and news from prominent bands on each side of the border, and first, some extra fallout from a recent local concert festival, so here's what you should know!

Here's some more notes relating to last weekend's second annual Emergency Festival, including the anticipated new episode of Local2's music webseries Tuned with Donna Hopper! In this episode, Donna (who also MCed the festival) talks with festival founder/LopLops owner Stephen Alexander after the conclusion of the festival about how the festival went overall, how Stephen decided on the lineup, and what plans they're looking at for 2016's installment. He didn't address the Downtown Association issues and related move to Rocky DiPietro Field in the interview other than to say that this was the first year that they ticketed the event, but he expressed hope that the festival will get more local sponsor support next year and allow them to get even bigger acts from out of town (no word though on if it will move back downtown next year.) I did find it interesting that Stephen noted that the local bands were partly chosen as they hadn't had a chance to play the festival last year, even though all but Northwest did (maybe he meant the main stage?)

As for footage from the festival, there is some unique footage in the Tuned episode not previously seen in the prior Local2 video from the event, including clips of headliners The Fast Romantics at the start, and every band sans Gnaeus at the end (though muted Gnaeus clips can be seen during the interview), so if you were hoping to see footage of The Pixo Control, Northwest (well, just Marc Santos), and The Poor Young Things, here you go! Quality episode, especially if you attended the successful sophomore installment of The Emergency, so give it a look above! Remember, we can't embed Local2's videos here.

Next up, here's the first video that we've found from Friday night's first annual Superior Festival at The Savoy Bar & Nightclub, though surprisingly, it's not of one of the out of town headliners. This is actually of young Sault Michigan metal band Tantrym Tyme covering Black Stone Cherry's "Lonely Train" and Alter Bridge's "Metalingus" at the end of their set, as per their Facebook page yesterday, but the video appears to unveil the band's new lineup, as they've finally found a replacement for the already departed Quinton Jacobson. Though their sporadically updated Facebook page doesn't confirm his identity yet, personal Facebook postings confirm that the new guitarist is Grooves Music instructor Michael McLeod, giving the band a quartet lineup and a long haired member once again. I'm not familiar with Michael from other local bands, but as he is a guitar instructor, you know he has the chops, and he sounds pretty good from what I can tell in the video!

As for the video itself, it's filmed on the vertical cell phone camera angle, close to the corner of the stage. The guys are on form, handling the songs with relative ease, and the double guitar attack helps fill out their sound again! Also, singer/guitarist Jacob Hotlen is sounding more and more like Ten Kings' Brandon Carr as his voice develops! Give this new Tantrym Tyme video a look below, and stay tuned for more from the guys when posted!

Also, here's the latest from the original crash band, "blue Chinese metal crash punk" quartet Sykotyk Rampage! First, the veteran rockers will return to the stage for the first time in four months (and only the second time this year) on Monday, September 21st when they will join The Bear Hunters as openers for Mexican death metal band Evilheart at The Algonquin Pub! While not yet confirmed by promoters, they'll reportedly replace The Apocalypse Afterparty on the lineup for unannounced reasons (though note that they still haven't publically clarified their new lineup either.) Nice to see Sykotyk Rampage hopping on the Gonqshow train, and don't miss their creative crash rock next month! Also, Sykotyk Rampage have posted two new "albums" onto their Reverbnation page in the past month, those being "Kalos Kagathos" (an ancient Greek term for a military ideal of personal conduct) and "Soaked To The Nipple" (they titled it, don't shoot the messenger!), bringing their official discography to 54 albums.

Though the band no longer releases sale copies of their albums (these and other recent "albums" are all available as free streams), the fun, improvised, and irreverent nature of Sykotyk Rampage's albums come through as usual on these albums and other recent works, so if you like puppies snoring and stars decaying, give Sykotyk Rampage's newest material a listen above, and see them next month at The Gonq!

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

  • After some prior uncertainty about it's status, local music instrument/lessons store Music Depot has apparently closed it's doors permanently. While the sign in the door of the Gore Street business still says "Closed until further notice" (as it has since December), it's Facebook page was quietly deleted this year, and Google Maps lists it as "permanently closed", joining Colosimo's Music Store & Sault Michigan's Steve's Music Center in local music store closures in the last two years. Disappointing for fans, but at least we still have four other regional music store options!
  • Local classic metal quintet Project 421 have launched an official YouTube channel, and they've already stocked it with lots of videos from their concerts! Created by bassist Daniel Horton, I believe we've featured or acknowledged every video on the channel on the SMS in the past, so there's nothing brand new there yet, but it's a nice convenient spot for their videos, so check it all out above!
  • Ex-StrykerGC frontman Troy Isaac Kulka is looking to join or start a new local band project, as per his post on the Musicians Wanted Facebook group on Tuesday. He sings and plays guitar, is in a place where he can focus more on music, and while he shared the StrykerGC Reverbnation page as a sample of his work, he described it as "a home recording project" that "was just a learning experience", and he's not requiring the songs to be played in his next work. Troy's a talented music veteran, so give him a shout above or at this link if you want to jam with him!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for much more news and updates this week! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

YouTube Channel Profile Series: gatesofwinter00's Channel

It's now time for our monthly YouTube Channel Profile, as this recurring feature series again looks at 1-3 randomly selected YouTube channels, whose content is at least 50% devoted to local metal, hard rock, or punk artist or concert videos, in order to spotlight them and encourage readers to view and subscribe to them! This month's random choice is of one of the highest profile local metal bands of the 2000s, and they're still plugging away on their long awaited new CD at last word, so here's what you should know!
gatesofwinter00's Channel (

Owner: Gates of Winter bassist Steve Furgiuele, though the channel is credited to the band as a whole

Channel Timeline: Launched on July 17th, 2006; Current videos posted from August 2008 through September 2013

Channel Summary: The official YouTube channel for local progressive death metal favourites Gates of Winter, current content includes five studio tracks, two live concert videos from one of their most recent concerts, and two sneak peek videos at their planned next release "Perihelion".

Why Should You Watch: Basically, it's the best completely public and official spot to check out Gates of Winter media on YouTube, so if you've missed the guys in the past seven years, don't bypass this channel! However, note that a number of videos have been deleted or privatized by the band since their stage hiatus began, in order to emphasize their newer and more technical material, so all actual video footage shot prior to 2008 is gone, and no material from their self-titled demo EP is featured either, but some unaffiliated YouTube channels feature select G.O.W. media.

Our Recommended Videos To Check Out:

Gates of Winter - Omega: The channel's earliest surviving videos are of four of the nine songs from Gates of Winter's second release and only full length CD (to date), 2008's "Lux Aeterna", including "Burning Kingdom II: Heavenly Insurgence", "Burning Kingdom III: Lux Aeterna" ("I: A Dark Affliction" isn't featured), "The Wildwood Pariah", and as embedded below, "Omega", which has over 10,000 views. Featuring the band's 2006-2007 lineup (singer/guitarist Lee Maines, guitarist Bryan Belleau, bassist Steve Furgiuele, keyboardist Brian Holmes, and drummer Jonathan Harvey, who left before the album's release), this is a well written, heavy and dramatic track from a CD that I think the band underrates a bit nowadays, with's Lee's voice in fine form, and everyone holding up their end instrumentally! Also note the press quotes and nice hype for the album in the description.

Gates of Winter - Torment (Live 2008): In November 2011, the band uploaded two previously unseen concert videos to their channel, both from one of their last shows (to date) at the then-Lock City Grand Theatre in the fall of 2008, during their brief tenure with late Woods of Ypres frontman David Gold on drums. One video is of "Winter Flight" (whose "Lux Aeterna" studio track isn't featured on the channel), while the other is of "Torment", a fan favourite early original that the description notes "has not, and will not be featured on any albums", though a studio demo of the song does exist. It's not representative of the direction Gates of Winter's studio work has taken in the 2010s, but it's a heavy and catchy song, and a nice throwback to their local peak! For more videos from this era of the band, visit David Gold's YouTube channel.

Gates Of Winter - Sneak Peeks & Orchestral Production: Three current videos have been posted relating to the ongoing recordings for Gates of Winter's third release "Perihelion", which will likely be their first album without keyboardist Brian Holmes, and at last word, would feature programmed drums. One video from November 2011 is of Steve announcing that their hiatus was over and that they'd be releasing "Perihelion" in 2012, complete with a sample of the song "Dimensions". A demo recording of another new song ("Prometheus") was uploaded in April 2013 as the planned album opener, but embedded below is the latest clip from September 2013, a sneak peek of clips & orchestral tracking for a planned song, and it sounds very promising! As of April 2015, progress on "Perihelion" was ongoing, but with Lee, Steve, and Bryan all living apart at the moment (only Lee's in the Soo right now), things have been slow. The wait's been excruciating, but Gates of Winter have come so far with such promising hints, so keep the faith, and hopefully "Perihelion" is in our hands soon!

I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profile! Next month in this series, we have randomly chosen ex-Elipzis bassist Ryan Harrison's old "freakwoog" YouTube channel, which features 14 videos of him performing solo hard and modern rock covers, and might be of interest for fans who miss his old cover band Riot! By Night, which he fronted! Look for that on or around September 22nd, and stay tuned for more news and notes in the coming week! Thanks everyone!

Friday, August 21, 2015

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Havadder), Pixo Control Updates, And More!!

We're back with a new news post on this Friday afternoon, and remember not to miss any concerts this weekend, there's a lot going down! Today, we have some assorted recent notes, lots of updates from a rising young band, and first, here's a SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERT!

Local classic/hard rock cover quintet Havadder will return to Studio 10 TOMORROW NIGHT for one night only! Apologies for the short notice, the band only announced this show yesterday via the Facebook event page. Fresh off of a recent one-nighter at The Rockstar Bar, this will be Jugga & company's first show at Studio 10 since Canada Day, and marks a rare show at the Hudson Street "gentlemen's club" from the guys to not fall over a holiday weekend (no word on why it's a one nighter either.) Aside from the band's classic favourites (and, yes, the "dancers"), the ongoing draw for AC/DC tickets in Toronto continues this weekend, so consider that as well if you're coming out for the entertainment tomorrow! A 10:30 PM start time is advertised for this 19+ concert, and there is no announced cover charge. For more details, visit the above links, and here's Havadder live last year!

Next up, here's the latest from the alternative hard rock trio The Pixo Control's camp! First, if you happened to have seen a concert poster advertising that they were playing with local folk/indie project Great Chamberlain at LopLops Lounge this Wednesday (complete with poster), you're not alone, but all of The Pixo Control's allusions to the show have quietly been deleted for unannounced reasons. The concert is still going on (source here), and will notably be Great Chamberlain's last local show before project leader Chris West moves to Ottawa, so keep that in mind if you're a fan and want to send him off in style! We will, of course, let you know if The Pixo Control are still playing, but their posts must have been deleted for a reason. Also, Pixo Control members Michael Mikus & Steve Edwards were interviewed by Boxes of Boom's Sam Decter on his blog The Tinderbox two weeks ago (in his first interview of a heavier local band), so what should you know from this interview?

Within, Sam asks the guys about what sets them apart from local bands, what local bands they currently like, how things are going with Tidal Records, how recording sessions for "Probably Not" went, their retro influences, the journey from Michael's earlier solo music, how he handles being a band frontman, why drummer Keeghan Rosso left The Pixo Control, and their future tour plans. In terms of scoops, there's nothing dramatically new to report, but Michael confirmed that Keeghan left as he's "just not really in the right mindset to devote himself to playing music right now", but they've got to keep moving forward as life won't always be the same (Matthew Thibert debuted as their new drummer on Sunday.) Solid and informative interview that shows the guys' maturity and musical knowledge, and it'd be interesting to see Sam interview more local bands! Read the full interview at this link, and get more from the guys above!

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

  • Local celtic/punk quartet Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide will take a road trip out to Ottawa to play two shows at D'Arcy McGee's this weekend! Personal Facebook posts imply that My Son The Hurricane drummer Cooper Hannahson will be behind the kit this weekend, as he often is for the band's Southern Ontario gigs. Best of luck to the guys, and hopefully we see them back on a local stage soon! Our source is Tidal Records' concert listing page, which also notes a D.J.R.T. private event on Sunday, location not given.
  • Long time Sault Michigan music instrument/lessons store Steve's Music Center quietly closed last year, as per posts on their Facebook page. A public reason for the closure of the Ashmun Street store wasn't announced, but personal Facebook postings note that owner/ex-Full Throttle guitarist Steve Pevarnic moved to Washington state at some point in the past year, so that could be related. Disappointing for fans, but best of luck to Steve with his new home, and if you need music gear in Sault Michigan, Grooves Music is seconds down the road from Steve's!
  • In advance of TONIGHT'S first annual Superior Festival in Sault Michigan, SooToday's Donna Hopper interviewed Saving Abel guitarist Scott Bartlett for this article on the event, where Scott discussed why the Mississippi hard rock notables don't mind playing an smaller debuting event, the switch from Jared Weeks to Scott Austin on vocals (even though they already played with this lineup in the Soo in April), and the influence of southern rock on their music. Good article, so check it out above, and remember, if you're at The Superior Festival TONIGHT at The Savoy, you can hang out with Saving Abel post-show!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for this month's YouTube Channel Profile TOMORROW! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Stiffler's Mom & 415E) And More Weekend Concert Previews!!

Let's cover the rest of this weekend's currently announced weekend concert previews today, all including most of the weekend's Saturday night hard rock shows, but we'll start with SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS, so here's what you need to know, and check out more weekend concert previews (including for shows today) in the post below this one!

Sault Michigan hard rock quartet 415E are playing a house party concert THIS SATURDAY (with publically announced address) in honour of drummer Tony Hubbard's 60th birthday! Apologies for the short notice, the event was announced on the band's Facebook page on Monday. Oddly described as a "surprise birthday bash" despite being publically announced on Facebook (and Tony playing at the event, no less), this will be 415E's first show since their Rockfest charity gig in Brimley, and continues a string of summer concerts outside of their usual Kewadin Casino range. The band said that there will also be a block for open mic performers on Saturday, so if you can sing or play anything, keep that in mind! To be held at 3000 South Radar Road in Sault Ste. Marie (at the corner of West 3 Mile Road, near the theatre/future Meijer site), there is no announced cover charge or age limit, and everything starts at 4:00 PM. For more details, visit the above links, and happy early birthday, Tony! Here's 415E live!

Next up, Sault Ontario party hard rock cover trio Stiffler's Mom will return to The Rockstar Bar for a one-nighter THIS SATURDAY NIGHT! Apologies again for the short notice, this show was only announced on Sunday, so we held it for this weekend's previews. This will be Greg, Mike, and Jon's first announced concert since their Rednecks Saloon gig two months ago, and first at The Rockstar Bar since June 4th, and it's great to see this popular veteran outfit back on stage for another night of hard rocking classics! Note that this is a one-nighter due to the new Rockstar Republic club nights continuing tomorrow across both bars at The Algonquin Hotel.As usual for their Rockstar Bar gigs, there is a 19+ age limit, 10:00 PM start time, and no announced cover charge (but bring $5 just in case.) For more details, visit the above links, and for a preview, here's Stiffler's Mom live last year!

Closing with previously announced concerts, we'll stay in Sault Ontario with the long awaited return of Toronto hard rock quintet Diemonds for a headlining concert TOMORROW NIGHT at The Rednecks Saloon! Making their (at least) third appearance in the Soo tomorrow, this female-fronted outfit have a hard hitting and energetic blend of originals that definitely left fans on a high in their 2009 & 2013 shows here, and fans should expect more of the same from this high impact quintet tomorrow night! Local support will come via death metal standouts The Bear Hunters and punk/metal quintet Jack Spades (in their last announced show before their split release show in October), and the latter are especially fitting to open, given that J.D. Pearce & Tiffany Stocco opened for Diemonds with T-Rex Manning two years ago! Promoted by Destroilet singer Brent Ellis (a.k.a. Buck Norris), this 19+ show will have a $5 cover charge and a 9:00 PM start time. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page, and don't miss what should be an explosive concert TOMORROW! For a preview, here's Diemonds live!

Finally, we'll head back to the Eastern Upper Peninsula, where Kinross, Michigan hard/classic rock trio Banned will headline at The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Fresh off of a road trip to Drummond Island last weekend, these will be Alex, Don, and Wayne's first shows in St. Ignace in over three months, so if you live in that area and have missed Banned in recent weeks, here's your chance! This popular cover trio (with select originals) should entertain at The Northern Pines Lounge all weekend long, so be sure not to miss Banned this weekend, as it's anyone's guess when their next shows will be announced! These 21+ concerts start at 9:00 PM, and neither has an announced cover charge. Check the above links for more details, and for a preview, here's Banned playing a song whose title is something many locals have been wondering about lately!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for a new news post, possibly with more late notice show announcements, tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

The First Of This Weekend's Concert Previews, Including The Superior Festival!!

Now, let's dive into the first of this weekend's concert previews in a fairly busy weekend for hard rock and metal concerts! We'll get into the Diemonds, Banned, and Stiffler's Mom shows, plus potential late notice ones, tomorrow, so stay tuned then for them, but today, we have a big debuting festival and some performers with gigs TONIGHT, so here's what you should know!

Local hard rock solo singer/guitarist Tym Morrison's ongoing weekly concerts at Gliss Steak & Seafood and The Harp Bar & Grill are expected to continue this weekend, including matinees at Gliss TONIGHT, TOMORROW, and SATURDAY, and regular nighttime shows at The Harp TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Though yet to be acknowledged on Facebook, his website and SooToday's entertainment page confirm them. Tym's been staying busy in recent months by playing five shows almost every weekend, and it looks like more of the same this week, so if you enjoy his acoustic renditions of hard rock classics, head down to either Gliss or The Harp this weekend for all of his solo action! None of the shows have an announced cover charge (but remember that Gliss is a restaurant), the Harp shows are 19+ and start at 10:00 PM, and the Gliss shows start at 6:00 PM. For more details, visit the above links, and here's Tym live in Heyden a few years back!

Next up, pageless local classic/hard rock quartet RPM will make their Roberta Bondar Pavilion debut TONIGHT as part of the city's annual Summer Concert Series! Yes, the veteran quartet featuring Lindsay Pugh and alumni of his adult music camp will hit the downtown outdoor stage as the third last of 16 bands this summer, and the only one that we cover on the SMS as playing hard rock in any high quantity. RPM are developing well, and though their announced concerts are sporadic at best, consider a trip down to the Pavilion to see them tonight for some entertaining cover favourites! This is a FREE & ALL AGES event, and they'll be playing for two hours starting at 7:00 PM. For more details, visit this link, and here's RPM live!

We'll close this first preview post with the first annual Superior Festival, which goes down TOMORROW NIGHT! Promoted by Superior Entertainment, this Sault Michigan concert event was originally scheduled to take place two weeks ago at Aune-Osborne Park, but after concerns with possible rain (that barely came, for the record) impacting the outdoor festival, promoters postponed it and moved it 5 minutes up the road to The Savoy Bar & Nightclub where it will be held outdoors a'la the venue's Summerfest events (it would be moved indoors if there was inclement weather, but the festival should beat tomorrow's storm forecast.) Fitting a big debuting summer festival, the headliners are Mississippi Mississippi hard/modern rock quintet Saving Abel, best known for hit songs like "Addicted", "The Sex Is Good", and "Drowning (Face Down)", so if you missed Saving Abel at Kewadin Casino in April, here's your next chance! The co-headliners are Rochester, New York post-hardcore quintet Lights Out Paris, who you may recognize from last month's P.O.D. concert.

Other openers will include young local metal trio Tantrym Tyme in their first publically announced concert of the summer, Muskegon hard rock quartet Voodoo Theory in their local concert debut, and in a bit of a surprise, two Sault Ontario bands, marking rare cross-border appearances by local bands that aren't Touch of Class. Those bands are local funk/hard rock quartet The Elements and classic/hard rock trio Mourning Wood, and though neither band has acknowledged their involvement on their own pages, it's great to see them expanding their presence, and hopefully they make some new fans tomorrow! Note that a number of acts were removed from the lineup when the date and venue changed, those being Integrated System of Machines, Power Slug, Retro Troop, Terry Talentino, and Detroit punk trio Heroes of Charlotte, while early coverage of the festival listed Lonestar, Chump Change, and Missy Zenker as tentative acts, so don't expect to see any of them at The Savoy tomorrow night.

Presented by SooToday & sponsored by Kewadin Casino despite not being held there, the Superior Festival tarting TOMORROW at 7:00 PM, tickets are a flat $25, but previously purchased tickets (including the old discount kids rate) will be honoured upon entry. You can buy them at The Savoy, by phone at (906) 430-5242, or at the door, and yes, minors under 21 can attend if accompanied by an adult. For complete festival details, visit the above links! Though original plans didn't fall into place for the Superior Festival, hopefully this is a huge hit to ensure that it comes back next year! If you love hard and modern rock, be at The Savoy TOMORROW, and here's Saving Abel live!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more previews and updates shortly! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Last Month's Poll Results & Our Newest Poll!!

It's now time for the results of last month's poll and the launch of our newest poll at the SMS! As you may remember, we posed this question to you guys last month: What was your favourite local metal, hard rock, or punk concert in the first half of 2015? 23 votes, respectable for a poll on the site, and there was a clear winner on our hands, so here are the final results!

Anvil & Jack Spades at The Rockstar Bar on April 1st (7 votes, 30%)
The Rockstar Bar's Summer Bash on June 26th (3 votes, 13%)
Project 421 & Haggith at The Rockstar Bar on January 23rd (3 votes, 13%)
Caym & Jack Spades at The Algonquin Pub on May 15th (2 votes, 9%)
Benighted & Bookakee at The Oddfellows Hall on March 7th (2 votes, 9%)
The VM Radio Battle Of The Bands from March 4th-25th (2 votes, 9%)
Other (2 votes, 9%)
The Archaics at The New American Pub on June 1st (1 vote, 4%)
 Swampstravaganza V at The Canadian on May 9th (1 vote, 4%)
Treble Charger at The Machine Shop on February 6th (0 votes)
The Cover-Up at The Rockstar Bar on February 20th (0 votes)
The Speak Easy Battle Of The Bands on March 5th (0 votes)
Shit Liver at The Rednecks Saloon on April 28th (0 votes)
Biipiigwan & AlgomA at 180 Projects on April 30th (0 votes)
Destroyer & Griphook at The Rockstar Bar on May 29th (0 votes)
Jack Spades & Destroilet at The Algonquin Pub on May 30th (0 votes)
Id Iota & Skeyes of Seven at The Algonquin Pub on June 5th (0 votes)
Pixo Plays For Food in Garden River on June 12th (0 votes)
Scott McLurg Benefit at The Rockstar Bar on June 20th (0 votes)
Garden of Bedlam at Go Skateboarding Day on June 21st (0 votes)
Gatgas & Destroilet at The Algonquin Pub on June 27th (0 votes)

What do you guys think? In ascending order, I am surprised that 12 of 20 shows that were in the poll received no votes (no one voted for Treble Charger or Garden of Bedlam's returns?), while there were some light surprises from shows that did receive votes. Of the three concerts to earn the same amount of votes (or higher), all were Rockstar Bar events, and I did not predict the Summer Bash or January's Project 421-headlined concert to tie for second place. Both were well received shows though, and it's great to see them get a good response! The winning choice (with 7 votes and 30% of the total) was the Anvil-headlined concert on April Fools Day, a solid choice that received a great turnout and response for the Toronto metal legends, and I know that if (hopefully when) Anvil come back to the Soo, they'll rock the house once again! Thanks to everyone who voted!

As for this month's poll, we're exploring the topic of split albums, which haven't been a common occurrence in the local metal, punk, or hard rock scene in recent years, but are starting to gain a big foothold among current acts. Arguably the biggest example will be this fall's anticipated three-way split between The Ripcordz, Destroilet, and Jack Spades, but they're far from alone, with AlgomA planning a split CD with Saskatchewan's Chronobot, Chris Shoust's projects The Red & Black and Orange planning a split as well, and the kids at Blood Shed Productions having both released and plans to release a number of splits with both local and out of town bands alike, most notably the 11-way split from early this year. With all of this mind, this month's poll question is "Should more local bands release split CDs with other artists?" There are plusses to the idea, and also minuses to consider, but which side do SMS readers fall on?

Note that this is not intended to be about compilation albums featuring a song each from various artists (i.e. Dunnplugged CDs, Local Steel, the Foggy Notions albums, etc.), we're getting at CDs featuring multiple songs split between two or more equally billed bands. So, what is your opinion on split CDs? Here are 5 choices to vote from in the coming month!

Yes, it's good for marketing and joint exposure: When it comes to split CDs, benefits often cited include splitting the costs of recording and releasing the album between the involved bands, gaining some underground or independent attention away from a big label, and/or increasing exposure with each other's fan base, especially if the two bands aren't from the same area. Locally at least, the split album concept hasn't been recently common, but in black metal, grind, hardcore, and punk circles, it's certainly not strange. Vote for this choice if you like what releasing a split brings to the table!

It depends on the individual bands: It can also all boil down to personal taste. You may not like each band on a split album, and might not want to buy it at full price on that basis. Maybe the metal, hard rock, and punk subgenres you like aren't ones that commonly release splits, which would explain why you don't buy them. If I voted, this would be my pick, but is this the choice you most identify with?

Only for special circumstances or events: Given the nature of a split CD, you may like the idea in moderation, as a special occasion to mark a charitable cause, anniversary, or rare concert featuring the bands in question. Maybe you only like them as a stunt or limited release, or an indie exclusive for diehard fans of the bands in question? This choice is for you if you agree with the above!

No, bands should just release their own albums: While split CDs have a market, it's not necessarily one that everyone will like. There likely are fans that would rather see a band release a solo EP for less than a split album for possibly double the amount, especially if they don't like the other band. Maybe you find a split CD to be a cheaper way to release material, especially when there's no guarantees that the band will put the material out on a solo album. Or, maybe you just want to keep your bands separate in your album collections without splits to muddle it up? If you prefer bands releasing their own regular albums, this is the option for you!

No opinion/I'm not sure: If you don't have a strong view on local bands releasing split albums, don't really know what to think of them yet, or just want to hear bands releasing original material in any form, we have you covered, so vote for this option!

VOTE TODAY!! You guys have until September 18th to cast your votes, and hopefully we get some interesting responses so we can get a bead on how readers view the increase of local split CD plans! That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes in the coming days! Thanks everyone!