Friday, October 30, 2015

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Sabrina Pelchat Benefit), Highway 63 Concert Preview, And Much More!!

We're back with possibly our last post of the month, and within, we have a preview of one more Halloween weekend concert, a packed new live concert video, and where to find some media of a recently passed local musician, but first, here's a related LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for next month!

The previously hinted benefit concert for late Chronic Demonic singer Sabrina Pelchat will take place on Friday, November 20th at The Rednecks Saloon, and a number of familiar faces will hit the stage in her memory! Local doom metal trio AlgomA (in their first show in two months) will headline at 12:00 AM, and they'll be joined by hardcore punk quintet Destroilet at 11:00 PM, death metal favourites The Bear Hunters (the only band that has played at the former Nicolet before) at 10:00 PM, and alternative hard/blues rock quartet Sykotyk Rampage opening at 9:00 PM, and it's great to see all of them join forces for this show! Notably, The Bear Hunters & AlgomA were both interviewed by Sabrina for YouTube videos in 2013. Promoted by her friend Bri Sunshine, all concert proceeds will be donated to Sabrina's family to help cover the cost of final expenses, and as such, the show has a $10 cover (and yes, it is a 19+ event.) For more details, visit the official Facebook event page, and e-mail to donate via PayPal if you can't attend!

This should be a great event to honour Sabrina, who has received many condolences and kind thoughts since the news broke of her passing yesterday, and hopefully it's a great chance for friends and fans to remember her gifts and contributions! I will say that it's a little odd to not see bands with ex-bandmates of hers on the lineup (like the still-active Chronic Demonic, who Nik of The Bear Hunters replaced her in), but this show is a fantastic gesture no matter what, and hopefully there's a great turnout! Stay tuned for more as we hear it!

Next up, here's the last known hard rock concert preview for this weekend (barring an extremely late notice announcement), as Sault Michigan classic/hard rock quartet Highway 63 will rock out at The American Legion TOMORROW NIGHT for their second straight Halloween party there! Though not a common concert venue in our coverage, the Monkey's Uncle successors had a great time last year at The Legion, and hopefully there's another solid turnout with lots of great costumes tomorrow night! For reference, the American Legion's hall is located at 3 Legion Drive, off East Water Street. Cash prizes await in a planned costume contest as well, but if door prizes and the all you can eat buffet are returning from last year, the band's own advertising doesn't mention them. Bring $5 for a cover just in case (though again, the band hasn't indicated a cover publically), expect a 21+ age limit, and there is a special early start time of 8:00 PM. See above for more details, and here's Highway 63 rocking out live at Kewadin Casino!

Also today, here's a packed new video of local classic/hard rock cover quartet Mourning Wood! Uploaded by drummer Glen Thomas to his YouTube channel on Monday, this was shot with a stationary camera at their Rednecks Saloon gig on Saturday, and gives us our best public look yet at their current lineup (at over 21 minutes long, how could it not?) Comprised of 24 song clips played that night, I can't identify three songs in the video, as Terry's vocals aren't terribly clear on the video (I'm sure it was better live), but you'll hear covers of a bluesy song, Jet, a heavier cover, Katrina & The Waves, Nick Gilder, Cheap Trick, Keith Anderson, REO Speedwagon, a country song, Fleetwood Mac, The Black Crowes, Bob Seger (with Steven Flint on lead vocals), The Monkees, Robert Palmer, The Beatles, Grand Funk Railroad, Bryan Adams...

...Duran Duran, Keith Urban, The Outfield, The Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Puddle of Mudd, and Poison, so click each link to hear the songs! While largely not direct hard rock covers until late, they do effectively add an edge to unexpected cover choices and many familiar favourites, and as Glen notes in the comments, they have internet access to pull up songs on stage to cover on the fly if there are requests not in their direct setlist! Despite the dark purple lighting, and the guys' stiff stage presences, the fuller quartet lineup sounds good, so give this packed new Mourning Wood video a look below, and stay tuned in case they do have late notice shows this weekend!

Finally, I thought it was appropriate to collect known public media of Sabrina Pelchat's music for interested readers, especially as I couldn't find anything in a quick search yesterday. She did quietly delete or privatize the vast majority of her solo & Shadowthrone media in the past year, but her Soundcloud page (under her Isla Encanto handle) survived the purge, and it features covers of Megadeth, Neil Young, and Marilyn Manson songs (sadly, that cover of "A Tout Le Monde" may hold more resonance now.) Sault Online's Mike Caruso filmed her doing a karaoke version of The Black Keys' "Lonely Boy" at Reggie's Place in February during Bon Soo's annual karaoke competition, noting that she did "a commendable job", and while it's not the song you'd think she'd be covering, she sounds fine on it! And her old punk/metal band Chronic Demonic reshared their video from their live debut in August 2013 at the former Roosevelt Hotel, where they covered The Misfits' "London Dungeon"! Though still active, this lone song is their only live performance to date.

While it's very staticy, it's a sample of what could have been had any of her bands lasted longer, and kudos to April for filming this! An audio demo also exists on personal Facebook accounts if you know where to look, and it'd be nice to see Robert re-post some old Shadowthrone songs if possible, that was a promising project in it's own right. Sabrina was a talented singer that had a lot of unrealized potential, but hopefully her fans keep her memory close! Here she is live with Chronic Demonic two years ago!

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

Thursday, October 29, 2015

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Gnaeus & Havadder) And Most Halloween Weekend Concert Previews!!

With the Halloween weekend almost upon us, let's kick off the previews of what should be another exciting weekend of shows, including a pair of SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS! Note that we will touch on the Highway 63 Halloween show in our next post, plus potential late night notice concerts that we aren't aware of yet if possible. Here's what you should know!

Local post-punk/garage rock quartet Gnaeus will return to the stage TOMORROW NIGHT for a solo headlining Devil's Night gig at LopLops Lounge! Apologies for the short notice, the show was announced by the venue last week, but with a slow news stretch at the time, we held it for this weekend's previews. Busy working on their debut CD "Loomings" since their Emergency Festival set in August (I don't believe they ended up playing at the Dusty Tucker show after all), this will be their first LopLops concert since June's Lopstock II event, so if you've missed the VM Radio Battle of the Bands winners lately, be at LopLops TOMORROW! No word however on if the venue will welcome attendees in costumes a day early, but Gnaeus have teased a prize for "the best toga." Also, as a note regarding recording sessions for "Loomings", the band revealed on their Facebook page that they were "tracking one of our last songs" on October 20th, and indicated in a comment that the CD would "be out for Christmas."

Hopefully that holds out, I know it's been highly anticipated by fans! Also, look for some new songs during Gnaeus' set TOMORROW at 9:00 PM, you must be 19 or older to attend, and there's no announced cover charge. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page, and for a preview, here they are at Lopstock II!

Also in newer announcements, local classic/hard rock cover quartet Havadder will return to Studio 10 THIS SATURDAY NIGHT for their second straight Halloween party at the downtown gentlemen's club! Again, apologies for the short notice, the band only announced the show via it's Facebook event page yesterday. Two weeks removed from their latest stop at The Rockstar Bar, this will be Havadder's first show at the Hudson Street venue in over two months, but will fit in with their prior pattern of playing there only on holiday weekends. Last year's Halloween party at Studio 10 apparently went well for Havadder, so they're having at 'er again THIS SATURDAY with their fan favourite covers, a costume contest (with prizes), and yes, exotic entertainment from the ladies, if that is your thing. Like last year, there is a $5 cover, you obviously must be 19 to attend, and a 10:30 PM start time is advertised. For more details, visit the above links for more details, and here they are live at Rednecks!

Moving to previously announced concerts, longtime Caveman Morrison frontman Tym Morrison will round out the month of October with his usual weekly matinee gigs at Gliss Steak & Seafood TONIGHT, TOMORROW, and SATURDAY, followed by his usual Harp Bar & Grill shows TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! No word on of this weekend's shows at either venue will have a Halloween theme and/or costume contests (particularly on Saturday), but look for more acoustic hard rock classics from this veteran local favourite at the downtown restaurant and central pub this weekend! And yes, we will touch on his likely November concerts at both venues when confirmed on Facebook. The Gliss shows are 6:00 PM affairs with no announced cover charges or age limits (but remember, it is a restaurant), while the Harp shows are at 10:00 PM with no cover and 19+ age limits. For more details, visit the official Facebook event pages (here & here), and here's Tym live at the former Bossy's!

Finally, local promoter J.D. Pearce (in association with Tidal Records) will host his eleventh annual Halloween Party THIS SATURDAY NIGHT at The Algonquin Pub! Returning there for the third time in four years (and to Saturday night after spending last year on Friday), this local Halloween tradition will once again see three bands hit the stage, but for the first time since 2008, neither Frightlight or Destroilet will perform, and like that year, all of the bands will take on tribute band themes for the evening, with Toronto extreme metal quartet Caym (or "Metallicaym") returning for the second time this year with a Metallica tribute set in store! Local support will include a Sublime tribute set from funk/hard rockers The Elements (replacing a one-off T-Rex Manning reunion covering The Misfits, and a Mitch Sirie-led Korn tribute), as well as a one-off(?) punk tribute band featuring Destroilet's Christian Foisy, Sykotyk Rampage's Tony Briglio, Jack Spades' Johnny Belanger & Jesse Cook, and The Billy Bastards' Greg Beharriel, who are hyped to cover Rancid, NOFX, and Operation Ivy songs.

Notably, this is the first Halloween Party in memory that doesn't feature a band fronted by J.D., but a guest spot with at least one band is extremely likely (Metallica covered The Misfits... just saying!) A costume contest of some description is also likely for this year's Halloween Party, which has a $10 cover, 19+ age limit, and 9:00 PM start time, so get more details at the official Facebook event page! This should be a great Halloween party as usual, and the tribute theme should be very interesting, so don't miss out at The Algonquin Pub THIS SATURDAY, and while I couldn't find them covering Metallica online, here they are live this summer!

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

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

R.I.P. Sabrina Pelchat

The Sault Metal Scene sends it's deepest condolences to the family and friends of former Chronic Demonic/Project Legion singer and Shadowthrone guitarist Sabrina Pelchat (a.k.a. Sabrina Strange, Ririe Lavoie, Isla Encanto, and Riina Rampage), who reportedly passed away yesterday, as per numerous personal Facebook postings. Details on services have yet to be publicized as of this writing, and we will let you know if we hear anything on that front, but you can offer condolences on this memorial Facebook page launched by her friend April Fogal. Sabrina had been a talented, albeit sporadic sight in local metal bands since 2013, and was a skilled singer & karaoke/open mic fan that was also very artistic, parlaying her metal fandom into a brief stint as a YouTube interviewer with 62nd Chamber Productions. In recent years, she had been more enigmatic in her online presence, most recently performing in Shadowthrone with her partner, Pillory frontman Robert Sartini, and she had been aiming to launch a new black metal band this summer.

We had our differences from how she viewed some of our coverage, but I always respected her work, and in recent months, she had e-mailed me private videos of her practicing black metal vocals towards future band projects so she could get input on them. Though she never fronted a band that made a prolonged live impression, those that know her definitely knew her talents. Sadly, most videos of her band work are either private or were deleted as she retreated from social media in the past year, but here's her interview with 4/5ths of The Bear Hunters from October 2013, which is a fun and loose interview, and it's a shame she didn't do more of these. R.I.P. Sabrina, you will be missed!

The Return Of Punk Rock Bingo, New Facebook Videos, And More Assorted Notes!!

(Updated at 6:14 PM) As Halloween creeps ever closer, here's a new news post for your Wednesday morning! Along with some assorted news and notes, and a pair of new video finds, let's kick things off with late updates regarding a well received event that, while not a concert, returns for a second go-around next month, following some late changes. After a successful first installment last month, Six Two Oh had planned to host their second monthly installment of punk rock bingo tonight at The New American Pub, but they have opted to postpone it to Wednesday, November 25th out of respect for the family of late local metal musician Sabrina "Strange" Pelchat, who suddenly passed away yesterday (as originally outlined in this afternoon's post above.) The same format is expected for next month, including punk rock prizes, a 8:00 PM start time, no cover charge, cards cut to 50 cents a piece, and Brenton Ellis as the caller, but right now, Sabrina's loss is rightfully the focus, and as above, our thoughts and best wishes are with her family and friends at this difficult time.

Next up, here's some new Facebook videos, including this retrospective slideshow of moments, concerts, performers, and releases from local independent goregrind/rap label Blood Shed Productions, courtesy of their Facebook page on Monday in honour of their recent third anniversary! Set to assorted audio of label artists (though little of it would cross into the metal spectrum), there's plenty of photos that fans of Blood Shed artists will like, including live concert pictures, concert posters, album artwork, and more, so give it a look below, and stay tuned for more from the Blood Shed!

Also today, here's a new video from local alternative hard rock trio Mike Haggith & The Din's Facebook page on Monday! It's not a full new video of the new lineup, rather a teaser of recording problems during a recent studio session, specifically revolving around drummer Brandan Glew tracking a drum part. Short and light, it's obviously not meant to be taken too seriously, and as the caption says, "it's all about the ride!" Check it out below!

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

  • Former Gates of Winter, RedD Monkey, and Smeltzer drummer Kevin Overton is looking to get a new metal band going, as per his Musicians Wanted Facebook group post on Saturday. Compared to his prior drumming work, he's planning on tackling the guitar for his next project, so if you're interested in jamming with him or getting more details, message him at this link or above!
  • Though largely focused on the main event itself, local blues/hard rock quartet Sykotyk Rampage are featured in one photo from SooToday's coverage of Saturday's 7th annual Soo Zombie Walk, as posted on Sunday at this link! The band's photo is 13th of 35, as taken by Donna Hopper, and it notably features ex-bassist/Aggressive Acoustic frontman Brian Cattapan guest performing during the all-acoustic set (no sign of bassist Tony Briglio, be it for that song, the whole show, or just out of frame.) Great photos from the walk too, so check it all out above!
  • Infinity Grinder/Northern Tragedy drummer Terrence Gomes (under the handle "5minutepoxy") has been posting a handful of new audio demos to his Soundcloud page in the past couple of months, including a heavy new Infinity Grinder song named "A Few Weeks" and a punk instrumental (no band credited) named "Tell The Snow to Frig Off", which sounds promising too! Give them a listen above, and also note that he's posted some electronic recordings labelled as "pisswave" songs too, some with Northern Tragedy bandmate Corry Rideout making a guest spot.

That's all for today, but stay tuned for Halloween weekend concert previews next! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

"Fed Up! A Canadian Punk Rock Split" CD Review!! (Part 2)

As promised, it's time to conclude our special two-part review of "Fed Up! A Canadian Punk Rock Split", so be sure to check out our thoughts on The Ripcordz and Jack Spades' portions of the split in the first half linked above! The second half will feature closing thoughts on the ambitious split CD, but first, let's take a look at the final third of the split, courtesy of local hardcore punk quintet Destroilet! Self-recorded (presumably at The Litter Box) in 2012 and 2015, this is the third official release from Destroilet following their 2011 EP & 2012 full length CD, and like on those albums, it features their classic and current lineup, including singer Mike Hull, guitarists/producers John Conway & Christian Foisy, bassist Adam Larocque, and drummer/album artwork designer Matt Waples. As well, backing vocalists are used on two tracks, including Jack Spades drummer Johnny Belanger on "Bamberg Witch Prison" & "Murderers", Mike Denisch on the former, and John's Billy Bastards bandmate Greg Beharriel & Joni Radford on the latter.

With 5 songs and 1 cover running for about 16 minutes, let's round out our review of "Fed Up!" with the first song, "iBomb"! Beginning with a slower introduction with low spoken word vocals by Mike, the fury soon kicks in for fans of Destroilet's hardcore punk intensity, with a drum-driven attack, nice bass laid in from Adam, and a solid (if brief) guitar solo from John, but Mike's vocals are a little too monotonous compared to the song's energy. It's on pace with Destroilet's prior originals though, if not a bit more technical and diverse in it's competition, so fans will get the best of both worlds here! Second is "Lifer", a shorter song that begins with call and response vocals from Mike and backing vocals before fully launching into the song proper, which doesn't reinvent the wheel from Destroilet's working formula, but it makes good use of Mike's vocals, has a longer guitar solo section (albeit laid under verses), and a hard hitting, consistent pace! I do slightly prefer it to "iBomb" for it's intensity, but Destroilet are on form so far!

The third & final new original song is "Bamberg Witch Prison", inspired by real life German witch trials in the 17th century. Opening with a very heavy and crushing guitar riff before launching into the fastest and most brutal passages yet, Mike's vocals have never been more ferocious than on the verses, though the low spoken-word portion of the choruses is too much of a mood shift. The backing vocals from Johnny Belanger & Mike Denisch are effective as background effects as well. It definitely seemed to end too quickly, and I missed having a guitar solo, but everyone delivered well on this song, another promising entry in Destroilet's recent repertoire! The next two songs are both re-releases of older recordings, not unlike the two old originals from The Ripcordz' third of the split. Those tracks are "R.O.Y.C." and "Eternal Fire", both holdovers from Destroilet's self-titled 2012 CD, not unlike how they re-issued their 2011 EP in full as half of their second disc.

I won't re-review them in full (you can see our original thoughts from our January 2013 review of that album at this link), but I found that "R.O.Y.C." was a solid heavier song that didn't benefit from the lower and harsher vocals, and "Eternal Fire" worked as more of a punk-influenced song with great bass, but also had inconsistency in the used vocal styles. Both were and still are entertaining tracks for Destroilet fans! The "Fed Up!" split closes with a cover of Vancouver punk band The Rebel Spell's 2011 song "Murderers", with the album proper dedicated in the memory of late Rebel Spell frontman Todd "Serious" Jenkins. Similar in structure to the original but given more of a hardcore edge, the song makes good use of Johnny, Greg, and Joni's backing vocals on the choruses, while everyone shows their punk side of things nicely, including quality guitar work from John and Chris! You can sense the emotion on this cover too (Destroilet opened for The Rebel Spell locally and were big fans of theirs), and it's a fitting close to this split album!

Overall, Destroilet's third of the split is a very good continuation of their past releases, slowly growing their sound with more technical and diverse influences while still retaining the old-school hardcore fury that has driven them since the late 2000s, with "Lifer" and "Bamberg Witch Prison" clear highlights! While Mike's vocals could be a little more diverse, and the mix of some songs could be a little smoother, Destroilet have a good formula and shouldn't break from it, and fans of The Rebel Spell should definitely eat up their "Murderers" cover as well!

So, what are my final thoughts on "Fed Up! A Canadian Punk Rock Split"? I find that it's an interesting experiment (split CDs of this magnitude are not an every day occurrence from local bands, let alone with a band of The Ripcordz' heft involved), but a successful one that has three bands from the same musical spectrum delivering eighteen quality songs! If you like even two of the involved bands, this is worth picking up, but as everyone's musical taste is different, many will likely prefer one artist to the rest. Myself, my musical tastes would lean more to Jack Spades, but all three bands delivered for their respective genres, and I didn't have a major issue with any of the songs! I'd have liked to have seen song lyrics in a full album booklet, and having over a quarter of the split comprised of previously released material is a little odd, but you can't complain too much. Fans of only one included artist on the split may want to wait for a digital release though, in case they only want that band's songs for less money.

Considering that fans essentially got a new Ripcordz EP, Jack Spades' sophomore CD, and Destroilet's third release all in one for $10, that's quite a good deal, and it'd be interesting to see more split albums of this quality, involving the same bands or not, in the future! Contact band members to get your copies A.S.A.P., and stay tuned for details on online and possible in-store availability! I hope you guys liked our (extended) latest CD review, and in all likelihood, we'll be looking at local grunge/hardcore duo Bad Back's first full length album "ALbums", which came out in September, so look for that next month, and stay tuned for more news and previews in the coming days! Thanks everyone!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile: She Screams Of Royalty

Before we complete our split CD review, here's this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands profile, as we continue our monthly look at metal, hard rock, and/or punk bands from outside of the Sault Ste. Marie area that have featured a past or present Saultite in any of their lineups! This month's choice had a founding member that used to live here, that you may recognize from one of our profiles this summer, so read on below for what you should know!
She Screams Of Royalty (Petoskey/Holland, Michigan)

Lineup: (Saultites in RED, ex-members in italics. This information is be incomplete, especially regarding ex-bassist Jesse Ripper's likely real last name, and the identity of the band's current drummer. Contact us if you can fill in any blanks!)

Troy Lawson (harsh vocals)
Nathan Post (clean vocals/rhythm guitar)
Dan Hiegel (lead guitar)
Cody Davis (bass)  
????? (drums)

Drew Skowten (vocals)
Jesse Brusseau (vocals) 
Brandon Jones (guitar)
Brady Becker (guitar) 
Daniel Harrell (bass)
Dustin Lantz (bass)
Levi Garrett (bass) 
Jesse "Ripper" (bass)
Vincent Navaroli (bass)
Mikhail Swift (drums)
Elijah Beckett (drums) 
Raeann "R.J." Romel (keyboard) 

Official Facebook page:
Official Bandcamp page:
Official Reverbnation page:
Official YouTube channel:
Official Twitter page:
Official MySpace page:

Local Info: Original She Screams of Royalty drummer Mikhail Swift may be familiar to some Northern Michigan music fans as the former drummer for the Hillman punk trio NA, who were a familiar sight from 2006-2011, though locals may also know him as a 2012 graduate of Lake Superior State University. He wasn't visibly active in local music when he attended L.S.S.U., and we haven't heard a lot from him lately, but hopefully he keeps his music going in some form!

Band Bio: Originally known as I, Accidentally, post-hardcore band She Screams of Royalty launched in 2009 with NA bandmates Nathan Post & Mikhail Swift in their original lineup, but Nathan is the only member to survive numerous lineup changes since then. Updates from their earliest years are in short supply online, but after Mikhail was replaced by Eli Beckett in 2011, updates picked up on Facebook, where their then-lineup announced plans to record their debut EP "The Dawn" in Ohio that summer, started getting radio airplay on what's now Rock 105, and continued playing a number of high profile concerts in Northern Michigan, plus a road trip to Detroit to open for Mushroomhead in October 2012. Their EP was finally released in March 2013, and after releasing a now-deleted music video in early 2014, updates slowed before going on hiatus in late 2014. Nathan revived S.S.O.R. with a new lineup in March of this year, signing with Imminence Records and beginning plans to release a new album entitled "Lucid Dreams a Relationship".

When reviewing She Screams of Royalty, there are two different bands to look at in many respects: their 2011-2014 incarnation, and their current lineup, which only share Nathan Post between them. For old songs, S.S.O.R. had a hard hitting screamo sound that could have been a little heavier than it was, but Nathan acquitted himself well as a clean singer and guitarist from his NA days, and original harsh vocalist Drew Skowten was a solid compliment! It's hard to say how the new lineup will compare original-wise, but hopefully the new lineup can build on things well! Only a cover of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" is online at the moment of the current lineup, building on earlier covers of pop songs, and while it sounds good so far, Drew's harsh vocals were arguably heavier than Troy's. As for Mikahil's drumming in their early days, this YouTube channel features three early I, Accidentally-era songs that I believe Mikhail played on, and while they lack the polish of "The Dawn", the drumming is on point, and fans should enjoy them as well!

The above links all feature public media of She Screams of Royalty, including their EP (which featured guest musicians), pop covers, and teasers of material to come, so be sure to check them all out! Oddly, live concert videos are not in high supply (all I found a guitar solo clip), but here's S.S.O.R. covering "Bad Blood"!

I hope you guys liked this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile! Next month, I anticipate that we'll take our November sabbatical again to update past posts in this series, in order to update them and let readers know what they've been up to lately, if anything's changed! Look for that on or around November 26th, and stay tuned for the second half of our "Fed Up!" split CD review tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

"Fed Up! A Canadian Punk Rock Split" CD Review!! (Part 1)

It's now time for our 76th monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, and as promised, it's of the newly released "Fed Up! A Canadian Punk Rock Split" from Montreal's The Ripcordz and locals Jack Spades and Destroilet! Independently released at the CD launch concert at The Algonquin Pub on Saturday, copies are available for $10 through members of the local bands, and an online digital release is in the cards, but that (and potential in-store availability) is pending further public details. As this is our first ever split CD review on the site, and as this (in effect) is three separate EPs merged together, we're taking the unique step of splitting this review into two, with The Ripcordz and Jack Spades in this half, and Destroilet and summary thoughts in the second half (when complete, we will link the second half in this review for convenience.) With one 50 minute album reviewed in two parts featuring three bands, let's begin our review of "Fed Up!"

Note that because our monthly CD reviews are focused on and devoted to Sault Ste. Marie bands, we won't go into as much detail on The Ripcordz' third of the split as we typically do with our reviews of single-band local releases. That said, as they are the lead band on "Fed Up!", and long-standing local favourites, I'd be remiss to not review their songs and offer my thoughts!

The opening third belongs to Montreal hardcore punk legends The Ripcordz, whose first three songs are newly recorded for "Fed Up!" with their current lineup of founding singer/guitarist Paul Gott, bassist Matty Fortyfive, and drummer Alex Roy, and as recorded by Rene D La Muerte. Entitled "War on Xmas", "Decide", and "Merry Crisis", you can probably surmise that two of the songs have a seasonal yet archaic vibe (good timing with the Christmas season arriving slowly), and they harbour some amusing lyrics therein! Of the three, I definitely prefer "Decide" musically for it's intensity and aggression, but it's also the shortest song on the split, so you take the bad with the good. "War on Xmas" is entertaining as well, with solid drumming in particular, but it did get a little repetitive by the end, while "Merry Crisis" has more of a slower, sing-along vibe that I can see going over well at a December show! I'm more familiar with The Ripcordz live than in studio, but Paul's gritty singing comes through nicely here, and holds up pretty well with their classic older material!

Their other three songs are all older recordings with older lineups, all featuring ex-drummer Francois Demers, and for the originals at least, recorded by Robert Martins. They are "Fuck the USA", (featuring late 1990s bassist Chris Moroz, and previously on the compilation "La Punkerie Vol. 1"), "Man In Black" (featuring current drummer Alex Roy on bass, and from the earlier compilation "North of the Border Vol. 1"), and their cover of Mitsou's "Bye Bye Mon Cowboy" (a bonus track from their live album "Dead or Alive in '92" featuring ex-bassist Danny "Duke" Laflamme.) Of the two originals, I prefer "Man In Black" for it's livelier sound, and glimmers that actually remind me of Motorhead from Paul's vocals and the bass work, but both are solid for longtime fans of The Ripcordz! "Bye Bye Mon Cowboy" was originally a Francophone pop song that was a Canadian chart hit in 1988, and is romantic in tone, so I can only assume that the cover was done ironically. Aside from the French lyrics, you'd never know it was a cover if you weren't familiar with the original song, and it packs a punk wallop!

Overall, while The Ripcordz' third of the CD is the shortest (only running for about 15 minutes, with  "Decide" at an album low 97 seconds long), it'll definitely please long time fans of the band, and if you didn't know that the latter three songs weren't brand new, you'd never know! Paul's aggressive vocals and guitar riffs drive everything nicely, and Matty and Alex compliment him well on bass and drums, as did ex-members on the old tracks! If you love The Ripcordz' old school punk attack, you should be right at home here, and this is a fitting opening to the "Fed Up!" split!

The middle stretch belongs to local punk/metal quintet Jack Spades, who were the only band on the split to record six brand new tracks for the CD, and you could effectively call this their second EP (maybe they'd call it "The Second" if released on it's own?) Featuring their current lineup of singer J.D. Pearce (a.k.a. Johnny Pints), guitarists Jesse Cook and Tiffany Stocco (a.k.a. Tiff Spades), bassist Justin Lam, and drummer Johnny Belanger, their six songs (including one cover) were recorded at Mission Control Studios with producer Dustin Jones earlier this year. Their chunk begins with "Crossroads", about selling your soul to the devil there for whiskey, and it's a fun and upbeat song that keeps the vibes of last year's "The First" going with their hard hitting hybrid sound, effective usage of backing vocals, and a solid guitar solo from Jesse as well! Arguably the most punk-influenced of their songs here, it would be interesting to see more of a blues influence given the subject matter, but fans of Jack Spades will have nothing to worry about here!

Second for their third (eighth total) is "Fear Corps", a faster and heavier song that generally works well, with nice charging riffs, solid drumming from Johnny, and an aggressive bite, but it's a little inconsistent. A guitar solo would have broken things up a bit, and I will admit that having J.D. sit out the choruses in favour of backing vocalists may not have been ideal, as they compliment him well, and without him singing there, there was a fair shift in tone. Still, it's a solid track, and will be up the alley of fans of Jack Spades' heavier material! Then we have the split's longest song "Frederick", inspired by the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, and it improves on the first two songs with some more complex songwriting, a darker horror-influenced tone that will remind some listeners of J.D.'s old band Frightlight, and a catchy sing-along chorus! Justin's bass suits this track nicely, Jesse has a solid solo, and aside from an abrupt ending, it definitely holds up the best of the Jack Spades' songs so far!

Their fourth original is "Motorwolf", though rather than Justin's growl of the title after the instrumental prologue, they instead included audio of a bark (I wonder why?) Arguably the most fastest and heaviest song from Jack Spades' section, this would definitely be the song most likely to get a mosh pit going, and Jesse's solo, while short, is his best yet! It's not as diverse as "Frederick", and the title is arguably leaned on too much in the chorus lyrics, but as a blistering speed metal/punk hybrid, it delivers the goods, and is a highlight on "Fed Up!" Their last original here is "Negative Headspace", which opens with a solid and heavy riff which maintains as the band kicks in until the first verse kicks in, and might be my favourite opening of their section! Here, I like the gradual escalations in speed and heaviness as the verses lead into the choruses, and everyone holds up their end of the bargain, but the chorus vocals seem too quiet in the mix.

Jack Spades' portion closes with a cover of defunct local punk quartet The Inner City Surfers' song "Ten Commandments" (or just "Commandments"), from their 2000 debut self-titled CD (also, note that Surfers frontman Dustin Jones produced Jack Spades for this split.) Compared to the original (which was fairly fast and aggressive compared to the Surfers' best known songs), the cover is a little longer and has less vocal distortion, though it's largely faithful in structure. It's a solid cover choice to fit Jack Spades' existing sound, and a nice treat to see a local band cover another unrelated local band that shared no identical members! Overall, Jack Spades' contribution to the CD (the longest of the 3 bands too, at around 19 minutes) is a successful follow-up to last year's EP, improving on their base sound with even better production, more of a live intensity, and more technical and diverse songwriting! Songs like "Frederick" and "Motorwolf" definitely led the way for me, but there were some repetitive moments, "Frederick" ended way too abruptly, and backing vocals affected the tone a bit when they led the way.

I hope you guys liked the first half of our "Fed Up!" split review, and we'll wrap things up with a look at Destroilet' third of the split and final summary thoughts on the entire release tomorrow! Thanks everyone, and stay tuned for this month's "Where Are The New Albums?" post soon as well!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

"Fed Up!" Split CD Information & Notes, Plus A New Solo Original Song!!

As we enter the final week of October, and slowly approach the Halloween season, here's a new post that mostly takes an extended look at the credits, track listing, and interesting notes on a big new CD release! As it's a three-band split CD with very different recording and performance credits as a result, so we have to give it extra attention in this way, hence why it takes up the majority of the post. We also have a new solo song posting to check out as well, so here's what you need to know!

While I was unable to attend Saturday's "Fed Up! A Canadian Punk Rock Split" CD release party at The Algonquin Pub, I received a copy on Sunday, so what should you know? Independently released, and with artwork of outgoing Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a Big Boy parody by Destroilet drummer Matt Waples, his bandmate John Conway mastered all of the tracks, including 5 originals & 1 cover each. Going band by band, Montreal hardcore punk legends The Ripcordz supply the first six tracks, including new songs "War on Xmas", "Decide", and "Merry Crisis", and three older songs from prior releases ("Fuck The USA", "Man In Black", and a cover of Mitsou's "Bye Bye Mon Cowboy".) Frontman Paul Gott is of course on all six songs, with current bassist Matty Fortyfive & drummer Alex Roy on the three new tracks, while Alex supplies bass on "Man In Black". Ex-drummer Francois Demers is behind the kit on the older songs, while ex-bassist Chris Moroz played on "Fuck The USA", and Danny "Duke" Laflamme played bass on the cover.

For local punk/metal quintet Jack Spades, they were the only band on the split to supply six brand new recordings, all recorded with their current lineup at Mission Control Studios with producer Dustin Jones. Their songs, in order, include "Crossroads", "Fear Corps", "Frederick", "Motorwolf", and "Negative Headspace", plus a cover of defunct local punk quartet The Inner City Surfers' song "Ten Commandments", which fans may remember from their self-titled debut CD from 2000 (albeit simply called "Commandments", though it was the tenth track.) You don't see a local band cover another unrelated local band every day, so this should be an interesting listen, especially with one of the original artists as the producer! The final third of "Fed Up!" belongs to local hardcore punk quintet Destroilet, who self-recorded and produced their songs, including three new originals ("iBomb", "Lifer", and "Bamberg Witch Prison"), which are followed by "R.O.Y.C." and "Eternal Fire", which are holdovers from their self-titled 2012 CD, which also featured new & previously released material.

Their closing cover (also newly recorded) is of The Rebel Spell's "Murderers", and the album is dedicated in the memory of late Rebel Spell frontman Todd "Serious" Jenkins, who passed away earlier this year in a rock climbing accident. The songs feature their classic & current lineup (Brent Ellis did indeed leave the band), while both "Bamberg Witch Prison" & "Murderers" feature guest backing vocals (Jack Spades' Johnny Belanger is on both, Mike Denisch is on the former, and both Billy Bastards guitarist Greg Beharriel & Joni Radford are on the latter.) Copies of "Fed Up!" can now be bought for $10 via contacting band members directly, or at their next concerts to be announced, and I'm unsure about in-store availability at The Rad Zone yet. Online posts have hinted at an online digital release to come, so stay tuned for full details (and you can stream "Murderers" and the older songs online, including at Destroilet's Bandcamp page!)

While it is a little odd that over a quarter of the split is comprised of previously released material, it's great to see this highly anticipated CD finally released, and and I'd consider it the highest profile local split CD in recent memory, so be sure to pick it up A.S.A.P. in case it has a limited print run! And yes, we are reviewing it on the site this week, definitely by Thursday, so look for it in the coming days, and thanks again to J.D. and Blair for hooking me up at a difficult time! I had to miss the release show due to family health concerns, but I believe Local2 was on hand, so keep an eye out for their coverage, and check personal Facebook pages for more media!

We'll close this post with a new solo original recording by ex-Despised Eyes/Death Rise guitarist Willis Tholberg, as uploaded to his YouTube channel on Thursday! His only music upload there at the moment (the rest of his postings are video game related or not metal), this instrumental is called "A Forgotten Mountain", and is shows his songwriting ability that fans of his older bands may not have seen much of! I'm getting a bit of a Life's Eclipse-meets-doom metal vibe, and if he can tighten it up and add vocals & real drums, he'd be on to something! Give it a listen below!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for more news this week, plus our review of "Fed Up!" in the coming days! Thanks everyone!

Friday, October 23, 2015

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Ten Kings), And New Video Uploads!!

I wasn't expecting to have a second post today, but with two more SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS that came to our attention earlier today, I got this mostly Sault Michigan-centric post ready! The rest of the content revolves around new videos, including a song from a Sault Ontario project, so read on below for what you should know, and check out more weekend concert previews and Sault Ontario updates in the post below this one!

Sault Michigan hard rock cover quartet Ten Kings will apparently return to the stage TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT at The Rapids Lounge at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino! Apologies for the extremely short notice, we only heard about the shows via frontman Brandon Carr's personal Facebook page this afternoon (we missed their Facebook page's plug of them yesterday), and Kewadin's entertainment page still isn't updated to reflect October dates at The Rapids Lounge. After about two months off from public concerts, it's great to see this popular and very talented band back on stage, and believe it or not, this is their first announced concert weekend at The Rapids Lounge since February! Of note, Brandon indicated in the personal posting that TONIGHT'S show followed the annual Dancing With The Stars charity event for the Hospice of the E.U.P., and he's among the local celebrities and dignitaries who danced for the mirror ball trophy, so hopefully he got high marks at this great event earlier today!

Presumably due to the D.W.T.S. event's scheduling, TONIGHT'S show only will have a special 10:00 PM start time (TOMORROW'S will start at 9:00 PM as usual), and both have 21+ age limits and no announced cover charges. For more details, visit the above links, and don't miss Ten Kings' entertaining hard rock covers this weekend! Here they are live this summer!

Next up, local metal/classical project Theatre of Night have posted three new videos to their Facebook page last week, so what should you know? Two of them are just 10 seconds long each, and feature keyboardist Craig Harrison working on parts for new original material, and while they're too short to effectively comment on, you can watch them here & here! Embedded below though is a 2 minute clip of Craig performing an instrumental passage for a new song, this time with a stationary horizontal camera. Suitably dramatic (albeit obviously incomplete at this stage), it's good to see Theatre of Night staying busy, so give this video a look below, and see more from the guys above!

Also today, here's a new original song from Sault Ontario goregrind solo project Crucify The Whore, as uploaded to label Blood Shed Productions' YouTube channel on Monday! Entitled "Don Q", the song references Tyler's favourite rum brand (not Don Quixote, the rum's literary namesake.) Aside from a late hiccup of a different song entirely, this is a nice wallop of goregrind brutality for C.T.W. fans, and the song has been teased to be included on their next full length CD, planned to be released by the spring. Give it a listen below, and stay tuned for more from the Blood Shed!

Finally, here's a new solo performance video from Ten Kings guitarist Joe Jenkins, as uploaded to his YouTube channel on Sunday! It's the third version of his own solo composition "Pitch Black" to be posted there, and he noted in the description he re-recorded it for an uncredited friend that wants to add a drum track to it, and he does plan to upload that when complete. Sounds good as before, but definitely empty without added instruments. Give it a look below, and don't miss Ten Kings at the Soo Kewadin TONIGHT & TOMORROW! (Note that the Guitfiddlin reference is to an Instagram page that spotlights guitarists daily, Joe included.)

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

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Mourning Wood), More Weekend Concert Previews, And More!!

Barring even later notice concert previews, let's round things out today with the long awaited split CD release show and SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS from a prolific cover quartet! We're rounding things out with lineup updates for an upcoming Halloween concert and a new live video, so read on below for what you need to know!

Local classic/hard rock cover quartet Mourning Wood will return to The Rednecks Saloon TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, we only heard about the shows via drummer Glen Thomas' personal Facebook page this morning, and as has often been the case, the band hasn't plugged the shows publically on Facebook themselves. Making their first stops at the former Nicolet Tavern in over a month, this weekend's shows will likely see the return of bassist Paul Belair, so if you missed the full quartet lineup at Reggie's last weekend, be at Rednecks TONIGHT and/or TOMORROW! You can take in their varied but often heavy covers there at 10:00 PM both nights, there's no announced cover charges, and you must be 19 or older to attend. For more details, visit the above links! While I wish Mourning Wood would plug their shows more often and with more notice, their talent speaks for itself, so don't miss them, and here they are live!

Next up, here's our preview of the long awaited CD release concert for the "Fed Up" split album, which goes down TOMORROW NIGHT at The Algonquin Pub! Fittingly, all three bands on the 18 song split (5 originals + 1 cover for each band) will take the stage, with Montreal hardcore punk legends The Ripcordz returning to the Soo for the first time since last year's Rad Zone anniversary party upstairs, so if you've missed Paul and company in the past year, be there tomorrow night! Of course, they'll be joined by the same local openers from last fall's show, they being local punk/metal quintet Jack Spades & hardcore punk veterans Destroilet, who will bring their own intense attacks back to the stage tomorrow, including Destroilet's first concert set in about 3 months! However, it should be noted that Destroilet co-lead singer Brent Ellis appears to have parted ways with the band, as per his quiet recent removal from their lineup on Bandcamp and his absence from their cover of The Rebel Spell's "Murderers" on the split (he's also not listed in the album's liner notes, as per personal Facebook posts.)

Nothing public has been said about Brent's status with the band, but hopefully nothing bad happened, and best of luck to Brent in the future if he is indeed gone! Also, note that a brief move upstairs to The Rockstar Bar due to a water leak in the pub has been called off, as the problems were fixed downstairs. Admission is $10 at the door (down from $15), while copies of the "Fed Up" split CD also cost $10 separately. The show itself is 19+, and has a listed start time of 9:00 PM. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! This should be a great concert (and CD) for hardcore punk fans, so don't miss out, and here's The Ripcordz live at The Algonquin in 2013!

Also, here's some late lineup changes for J.D. Pearce's annual Halloween Party at The Algonquin Pub next Saturday, so what should you know now? The planned Misfits tribute band (essentially a one-off T-Rex Manning reunion) has quietly dropped out of the party, as per recent updates to the Facebook event page. A reason for their exit hasn't been announced, but given that J.D. is the promoter and will be in attendance, a scheduling conflict for another member may be to blame (also, note that a drummer was never publically confirmed.) After briefly being replaced by a one-off Korn tribute featuring The Bear Hunters' Mitch Sirie & friends (which would have been interesting), that slot is now being filled by local funk/hard rock quartet The Elements, who also feature Jesse Cook from that night's existing local punk tribute band, and will play a set of Sublime (formerly assorted 1990s rock) covers in their Halloween Party debut. Solid addition on late notice, and regulars of this event will recognize bassist James White from the 2011 & 2012 parties with Redundant!

Of note, this will be the first Halloween Party in memory that doesn't feature a band (one-off or permanent) that J.D. sings lead for, but it's extremely likely that he'll do a guest spot with at least one band, so never fear! Also, the one-off punk tribute supergroup (previously indicated as covering Rancid, NOFX, and Operation Ivy songs) are now listed as simply playing "mixed punk", though time will tell if that is just a simplification, or if their cover range has been expanded further. Sounds like a solid lineup even with the changes, and with the return of Toronto's Caym with a Metallica tribute set, how can you go wrong? Get more details above!

We'll close today with a new video of the aforementioned Elements, courtesy of their set at the Soup Kitchen benefit concert at The Algonquin Pub three weeks ago! This cover of Primus' "Wynona's Big Brown Beaver" was uploaded to the band's new YouTube channel this morning, but despite frontman Rob Speers' Local2 connections, this is not from the same filmer who shot this song for the Tuned episode on the benefit. It sounds good, and has suitable energy, but the blur filter put on the video is very distracting, even if it was an intentional artistic choice. Give it a look below, and don't miss The Elements next weekend!

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

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The First Of This Weekend's Concert Previews, Including The Soo Zombie Walk!!

With the Halloween concert season fast approaching, let's touch on the first of this weekend's hard rock concert previews, including two joint events from an annual seasonal event for you brain eaters! Note that our preview of Saturday night's Ripcordz-headlined "Fed Up" split release party will come in our next post, along with likely late notice show announcements, so stay tuned for that! Now, here's what you should know for this weekend!

We'll start with local hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison, whose usual weekly concerts are advertised to continue this weekend, including matinees at Gliss Steak & Seafood TONIGHT, TOMORROW, and SATURDAY, and more typical nighttime shows at The Harp Bar & Grill TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! As is sometimes the case, these shows have yet to be confirmed via Facebook event pages, but all five are among the extensive concert listings on his website's calendar. As Tym's lengthy runs at the Quality Inn's restaurant and the former Madison's Pub march on, look for more entertaining hard rock renditions in an intimate setting at both venues this weekend, and if you're up for some unplugged action, you have lots of options this weekend! As usual, the Gliss shows are 6:00 PM events with no announced cover or age limits (but remember, it is a restaurant), and the Harp shows are at 10:00 PM with no announced cover, an a 19+ age limit. Check the above links for more details, and here's Tym live at The Harp!

Next up, let's head across the border to St. Ignace, Michigan, where Kinross classic/hard rock trio Banned are scheduled to rock The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! After taking the month of September off, this will be the second of four St. Ignace concert weekends from Banned in a five month span, and while they're certainly no strangers to their Kewadin branch, don't miss out on this weekend's concerts if you can't see them next month! And remember, Alex, Wayne, and Don's annual Halloween show will be at the Kewadin Casino in Manistique next weekend, so keep that in mind if you might be out there. Like Banned's past and future Kewadin Casino concerts, this weekend's concerts take place at 9:00 PM, there's no announced cover charge, and you must be 21 or older to attend. For more details, visit the above links, and here's Banned live earlier this year!

Heading back to Sault Ontario, let's touch on the seventh annual Soo Zombie Walk, which goes down THIS SATURDAY at The Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre for a third straight year, and we'll see bands (the exact same bands, in fact) in both the daytime lineup and at the afterparty! As usual, bring your best zombie costumes for the annual brain-hungry walk downtown, which begins an hour later at 6:00 PM this year, but the pre-walk activities (including games, face painting, photos, contests, and vendors) have been cut down from 3 to 2 hours, with everything beginning at 4:00 PM. For full details on non-musical events and the downtown zombie walk itself, visit the official Facebook event page. This year's acts will include headlining local "blue Chinese metal crash punk" quartet Sykotyk Rampage (marking their fifth straight appearance at a Zombie Walk concert), reunited Sudbury unplugged hard rock band Aggressive Acoustic (fronted by ex-Sykotyk Rampage bassist Brian Cattapan, though we're unsure of the new lineup's composition), and Northwest guitarist Greg Callaghan (in his third straight Zombie Walk set.)

Note that an advertised fourth performer, ex-Phlashback guitarist Terry Becker (brother of Sykotyk Rampage's Paul & Dirk Becker) has quietly been removed from event advertising for unannounced reasons, but hopefully nothing bad happened, it was encouraging to see him listed given his recent health issues! In a unique double booking, all three acts will head to Coch's Corner (in the former Foggy Notions building) later that night to take part in the sixth annual Zombie Walk afterparty, which returns to the site of it's 2010 & 2013 installments after spending last year at Wacky Wings and without live music. As you may know, Coch's Corner has been an acoustic-only venue since it moved to 708 Queen Street East, so to fit that and keep things simple given the double booking, both of Sykotyk Rampage's sets will be acoustic on Saturday, which will be interesting to hear! This will be their first set at the afterparty since 2012, while Aggressive Acoustic headlined the afterparty in their own right in 2013.

The Zombie Walk entertainment at 4:00 PM (and the walk proper) are both ALL AGES with admission via a canned good donation and $3 (kids under 10 only need the canned good), while the afterparty will be at 9:00 PM with $2 admission & a canned good, and it's definitely 19+ there. For more details, visit the above links and the afterparty's Facebook event page! It's great to see bands rocking out at the Soo Zombie Walk (and afterparty) again, so whether you'd rather see the bands in the day at the Bushplane Museum or at night at Coch's, especially if you also plan to hit the Ripcordz concert, you have options! For a preview, here's Sykotyk Rampage at last year's walk!

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

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

YouTube Channel Profile Series: RedDMonkeyMusic's Channel

With news coming in slowly, and because I don't want to rush a post when we'll be previewing this weekend's concerts shortly, we'll bump this month's YouTube Channel Profile up a day to ensure we won't go three days without a new post at the SMS! This monthly feature series looks at 1-3 randomly selected YouTube channels featuring local metal, hard rock, and/or punk-relevant videos as at least half of their posted content, in order to spotlight their content and encourage readers to check out their videos and maybe subscribe! This month's random selection features lots of solid footage of a missed local band on the out-of-town stage, so read on for this month's YouTube Channel Profile!
RedDMonkeyMusic's Channel (

Owner: A member of defunct local/Toronto/Kelowna hardcore punk/classical trio RedD Monkey, identity unclear (though likely one of the Mozarowski brothers)

Channel Timeline: Launched on November 4th, 2009; Videos posted on December 6th, 2011

Channel Summary: The first official YouTube channel from RedD Monkey, this channel features seven videos from four separate concerts during their February 2011 tour run in Southern Ontario alongside defunct local hard rock duo Sounds From The Green Room. The videos include two each from shows in Ottawa & Peterborough, and three from Toronto (with a sliver from Tillsonburg in one of the Toronto videos.) With one exception, each video captures at least two songs performed at the given concert, though regrettably, watermarks from the trial version of the converter program that these videos went through are a common presence.

Why Should You Watch: You should give this channel a look for some solid and fun videos from RedD Monkey's late-era heyday, capturing both older punk and more explosive newer songs, including a few scattered covers, and some songs that RedD Monkey never recorded in studio! Note however that the band hasn't visibly used the channel in almost four years, and there are no videos from shows outside of this tour or of any other content, but this later channel features studio copies of most songs from their first two CDs. Also, there are no performance clips of Sounds From The Green Room's sets, despite getting multiple references within.

Our Recommended Videos To Check Out:

RedD Monkey - Wild International & Zombie Epoch.avi: The most viewed video on this channel is one of two from RedD Monkey's concert at The Rainbow Bistro in Ottawa on February 21st, 2011, joining this video of the guys playing "Lethargic Rampage", the unreleased original "Broken Parts", and a cover of Motorhead's "Ace of Spades". Here, we see singer/guitarist Steve Mozarowski, cellist Pete Mozarowski, and drummer Joe Bumbacco covering One Day As A Lion's "Wild International" and playing their own song "Zombie Epoch", which shows the guys' disparate influences well, going from rap to hardcore punk without missing a beat, and Steve's casual stage presence is welcomed! The audio & camera angle is good, but the lighting is too dark, and I'm not entirely sure of the impetus of the "box" references. For a review of this concert, visit this link!

RedD Monkey - Fifth Wish of the Swamp Donkey & Turbo Sled.avi: Next on RedD Monkey's tour was a stop at The Spill in Peterborough on February 22nd, 2011, which also saw two videos shot for this channel, including their cello rap number "Fo' Dozen Cookies" by itself, and this video of the guys playing "Monkey's Paw (5th Wish of the Swamp Donkey)" and "Turbosledt 2027", which would be released on their "All Baroque" CD with their final titles the next year. While lighting (and the watermark) is still an issue on these videos, the brick walls do add a faux-sepia tint to the proceedings, and the audio is as solid as before! Stay tuned at the end for Sounds From The Green Room's discovery of a green room at the venue!

RedD Monkey - The Attic, Fight Skate, Losing Friends, The Clocks Dement, Jock Song.avi: The other three videos on this channel come from RedD Monkey's concert at the old Rancho Relaxo in Toronto on February 23rd, 2011, including this video of the guys playing "Friar's Ire" & "Bog", and this video of them playing "No Teeth & A Lazy Eye" & their cover of Limp Bizkit's "Break Stuff", though the latter half of that song is taken from their show at Norma Jean's in Tillsonburg the next day, that concert's only feature on the channel. Featured here is a video with no less than five songs from the Toronto gig, including "The Attic", "Fight Skateboard With Fire!", the unreleased "Losing Friends", "The Clock's Dement", and a cover of Steve's old band Smeltzer's "The Jock Song". Strongly done as usual (especially for fans of the "Thought Control Tower" EP), and with the best lighting yet, but the attendees can get in the way of seeing the band.

I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profile! Next month in this series, we'll look at former Intrepid guitarist Nick Pavlat's YouTube channel (featuring 13 solo performance videos from about 2 years ago),  which gives us just enough to do a full profile, our second of a Sault Michigan artist's solo covers in a three month span! This should go up on the site on November 22nd as usual, so look for it then, and stay tuned for weekend concert previews next! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

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

It's now time to close last month's poll and launch our newest poll at the SMS! As you may remember, we posed this question to you guys last month: Which of these defunct or recently inactive bands would you most want to see hit the stage again? Sadly, we only got a dozen votes, with a number of high profile recent bands not attracting any votes from readers, so our usual format of carrying over only bands with votes to this poll next year may have to be tweaked. Until then, here are the final results!

Frightlight (3 votes, 25%)
Gates of Winter (3 votes, 25%)
The Danger Cats (2 votes, 16 ⅔%)
Pillory (2 votes, 16 ⅔%)
The Fury (2 votes, 16 ⅔%)
As It Stands (0 votes) 
Beaumont Avenue/The Suicide Kings (0 votes) 
Bring The Fallen (0 votes) 
Caveman Morrison (0 votes) 
Crimson Crusade (0 votes) 
Giwakwa (0 votes) 
Haggith (0 votes) 
Half A Man (0 votes) 
Late & Loud (0 votes) 
Lion Ride (0 votes) 
The Northern Tragedy (0 votes) 
RedD Monkey (0 votes) 
T-Rex Manning (0 votes) 
This Is Your Band On Drugs (0 votes) 
Treble Charger (0 votes) 
Other (0 votes)

What do you guys think? Well, this poll was not as highly voted as last year's, resulting in only 12 votes, though they went to 5 artists, all getting at least two votes, so at least the results skewed to a few select favourite bands. A three-way tie for third went to The Danger Cats, the recently reunited Pillory (who will indeed return to the stage at next month's second Speak Easy Battle of the Bands), and The Fury, despite that band's similarities in sound to the active Apocalypse Afterparty. Fans can get their current fix of the latter two in a way, it would be great to see The Danger Cats back in the future! Tied for the lead in the poll (albeit with three votes each) were local progressive death metal favourites Gates of Winter (who have not played live in seven years, but are still active in studio) and horror punk quintet Frightlight, who amicably disbanded last fall after a five year run. In cases of ties in a poll like this, we tend to go for the newer band, as there has been less time for them to be in the public consciousness and get the same number of votes.

As a result, I'll consider Frightlight the "winners" of the poll, and while frontman Johnny Pints' current punk/metal band Jack Spades shares a similar sound and Misfits covers, Frightlight's horror-themed concerts and originals have been missed in the mid-2010s, and hopefully we see them back at it (and Gates of Winter too) in some form in the future! Thanks to everyone for voting!

Moving to this month's poll, I wanted to look at the gradual recent dropoff of active Sault Michigan-area metal & hard rock bands. As of this writing, we have just thirteen active bands in our links for the Eastern U.P., definitely much lower than we had listed in year's past. Of those thirteen, jut six have played multiple concerts in 2015, all primarily playing covers in their sets. The rest include the recently reunited Integrated System of Machines (who played just once that we know of this year) and studio-only projects, often through Werehold Records. Cases could be made to include Steelhead, Chump Change, Retro Troop, and The London Gentlemen as active "hard rock" bands too, as well as Newberry's Smashcan (who don't play out here a lot), but even if you did, we still are far from a peak for active original bands in the E.U.P., like in the heyday of late 2000s & early 2010s bands like Bad Side, Clownsack, Elipzis, Half A Man, Nixxon Dixxon, Oddfellow, and Scofflaw, among many others.

It's also worth noting that, with few exceptions (like The Pick-Me-Ups), straight punk bands haven't been recently prevalent across, hence why we didn't acknowledge punk music above. There is a lot of talent and unique qualities for the Sault Michigan side of the scene (including a typically higher ratio of female musicians in bands), but what would be the biggest instigator (to you) to get things moving again? This month's poll question is: "What should be done to get more original live metal & hard rock bands in the Sault Michigan area?", and we have 8 choices below to pick from, so here's what you should know on each!

Book more multi-band concerts/festivals: Most concerts that we cover from the E.U.P. are one band gigs at bars on the weekends, and the ones with two or more bands are often charity or community events. Compared to Sault Ontario, we don't see nearly as much concerts with multiple hard rock bands just for the sake of live music, and the loss of LemmaFest this year didn't help, but would booking more multi-band events like the debuting Superior Festival help spur more live bands along?

Start more musician lesson camps for youths: Early in the SMS' run, we often heard of summer rock camp bands across the river via Joey Beairl's Guitar Studio program (I believe Tantrym Tyme were one of their later products), but the Guitar Studio hasn't visibly been active as of late. Of course, Grooves Music offers lessons in numerous instruments, but given how many young artists came from the Guitar Studio camps, would seeing a new summer rock camp program be a benefit?

Form new live bands: Simple choice, as there's a lot of known talented musicians in the Sault Michigan area that we haven't heard from in a live band lately, or at least an active original band. Be it personal commitments, focusing on cover band work, or lack of available musicians/venues, there are reasons why any given Yooper hard rock or metal musician isn't in an active project nowadays, but should more of an effort be made to form new bands to play live and/or record material?

Reunite defunct and inactive bands: While every band has a reason for their breakup or descent into inactivity, that doesn't mean fans don't want them to come back. As we saw with I.S.O.M.'s surprise reunion earlier this year, a hard rock or metal band reunion could be a cool moment even if for just a one-off occasion, and I know there'd be a ready made audience if bands like Clownsack, Bad Side, or Nixxon Dixxon returned to the local stage in some form, especially if tied to a major multi-band concert event. Would some notable band reunions help the Sault Michigan scene out at all?

Encourage more artists to write & record original material: Maybe the problem isn't that we don't have a lot of active hard rock artists in the Sault Michigan area, maybe it's that said bands aren't recording enough. Not counting active studio projects (such as the ever-prolific SweetKenny), we have seen acts like Banned, Tantrym Tyme, and 415E either record or tease plans to record original songs in recent years. Would furthering those aims lead to an increase in concerts in support of the material?

It's cyclical, things will improve on their own in time: Are you a subscriber to the theory that the local hard rock scene in Sault Michigan will naturally grow in prominence and activity in time, and this is just a lower point in a gradual cycle? Sault Ontario has low and high points too, and maybe you find that the E.U.P. is showing signs of growth, perhaps in conjunction with the summer concert season next year? If you see this as a natural lull in the rotation, this is your choice!

Nothing, we're past it's peak: Every so often, especially on social media, I'll find someone complaining about either side of the border and the level of activity in the music scene in a negative light. Maybe you find that there's no quick fix or clear solution to get hard rock and metal bands going in Sault Michigan again, especially with population declines in the Soo proper in recent years. If you don't see a way to get more active Sault Michigan bands, vote here!

No opinion/I don't follow Sault Michigan bands: Are you a Sault Ontario resident that doesn't actively listen to, read about, or follow Sault Michigan-area bands? Do you just have an indifferent view of band, concert, and activity levels in the E.U.P.? If you don't have a dog in this fight, vote for this option!

VOTE TODAY!! You have until November 18th to cast your votes, so do so in the red voting field on the page's right, and hopefully we get a decent number of votes in the coming month! Also, for sake of clarification, there is not a choice in the poll regarding border restrictions being eased to allow for more bands to play across the border easily. That would no doubt be an asset and a neat attraction (like at the Superior Festival), but that's not something that musicians and fans can control, hence why I left it out. VOTE A.S.A.P., and stay tuned for more news soon! Thanks everyone!