Friday, June 30, 2017

The Din - "The Din Does Laundry" CD Review!!

To end the month, here's our 96th monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, as we're looking at local alternative hard rock trio The Din's debut paid release "The Din Does Laundry"! With no public timeframe for the release of their second official studio album, and The Din having played live thrice in June 2017, now's a perfect time to look at their initial live CD, barring their old Mike Haggith & The Din free albums from their acid jam beginnings. Recorded on March 4th, 2016 at The Gore Street Cafe during their acoustic Fishbowl Festival set at the laundromat (hence the album name), the CD was released on April 2nd of last year during their set at the Rednecks Saloon's relaunch party, and features their current lineup, including singer/bassist Mike Haggith, guitarist Tammy Hill, and drummer Brandan Glew on the drums & cajon, given the unplugged setting. Copies of "The Din Does Laundry" ran for $3 last year, and may still be available at shows or on personal request.

Unfortunately, given the inclusion of four covers of outside artists, the album is not available in full online to purchase, but I will link song names to online copies where available to the songs performed, in concert or otherwise. Also, with 3/5ths of the album comprised of songs available in full studio form via The Din's studio album "Give In To The Din" or earlier Mike Haggith solo albums, comparisons to the older recordings are inevitable, especially given the unplugged nature of them, though the covers and two exclusive tracks are completely open. Featuring 15 tracks and 1 bonus song clocking in at around 64 minutes, let's begin our review!

This CD (and concert) starts with "Analog Palace", a cover of Mike's solo song from his 2009 album "I Hate My Life & I Want To Die", and one of the few songs from The Din's acid jam era to return in modern sets. The original version was already a melancholy softer number, so it fits just fine with The Din in this setting, but this cover is noticeably more upbeat, particularly thanks to Mike projecting his voice more and showing his improved singing. Overall, this live version is better recorded and sounds tighter than the original, including solid guitar picking from Tammy, but keep in mind that Mike was 7 years older and more experienced during this concert, so improvement could be expected. Also, keep in mind that full banter between songs is included on the CD, which could be a plus or minus depending on the listener, but it does maintain the live concert feel here! However, the album-long 6 minute run-time for this track is deceiving, as the last minute is just banter.

Second is "Of Cars & Criminals" (or "Of Cars & Coin Machines", as Brandan jokingly named it on their setlist), which is a cover of a song from Mike's final solo CD, 2015's "The Warinside". Much like their fully electric versions of the song, this is much shorter and sans the original's symphonic elements, but it's otherwise similar to the first copy. Brandon gets a good beat out of his cajon on this one, Tammy's solo sounds good for acoustic, and Mike's voice really soars on this catchy number that hopefully makes the cut for their second studio album! That's followed by the first cover of an outside band, which was "Fragile Bird" by acoustic folk notables City & Colour, which was actually making it's live debut in a Din set that night. I'm not a huge City & Colour fan, but the smooth and laid back style is a great fit for the acoustic setting, and it will be a familiar selection for Din fans who saw them live last year, and Brandan (I assume) handles tambourine duties well also!

The fourth song is "Out Of My League", which actually starts at the end of the prior track. Another carry-over from "The Warinside", and the CD's first song to be re-recorded on the "Give in to The Din" studio album that summer, this is very similar structurally to their later studio version compared to the symphonic-infused original, this is one of my favourite Din songs, but it doesn't translate as well to an unplugged environment, with Mike's voice sounding a little scratchy, and the heavier instrumentation is missed compared to the more free-wheeling studio copy. Not a bad rendition, but unless you demand acoustic, The Din have better out there. Next is one of only two completely original Din tracks on the set, "In Search of the Perfect Moment", and while this is another song that sounds slightly forced to fit the acoustic setting, it's a better fit, and the chorus singing is actually an improvement on the later studio version. Tammy gets another solid guitar solo, and Brandan beats the cajon with solid rhythm as well, so fans should be happy with this one at this early stage of the CD!

Sixth on "The Din Does Laundry" is a bonus track (yes, at this point of the CD), namely a cover of "We Met As Surrogates", also known as "We Met At The Circus", which is also taken from Mike's "Warinside" album. Massively simplified compared to the original, complete with a lack of meandering intro or beeping phone at the end, the song is a good fit into The Din's sets, no matter where they met or who they met as! Brandan gets some moments to unload on the cajon, and Mike has a nice melody to his singing on the choruses, and though the song is noticeably slower paced than the original, remember that this was an acoustic show. Next is the advertised sixth song on the album, namely a cover of The Barenaked Ladies' "The Old Apartment", which is a nice fit into Din sets, and that is the same here, though I think drumming would be a better fit than the tambourine on this version. Mike even hits a bit of a falsetto note on this one, and he and Tammy play off of each other well, so fans of the original or The Din's plugged in covers should be right at home!

After some brief subliminal advertising for their then-upcoming set at last year's VM Radio Battle of the Bands, The Din played their original song "Flux" next, and while I find it's a far better fit plugged-in given it's heavier edge, the guys adapt it well to an acoustic setting, and Brandan even has an extended "drum-off" with Mike mid-song, so if you ever wanted to hear that in this atmosphere, here you go! Before that, the song went fine and had a good melody, and it ended strongly too, so fans should enjoy this rendition! The next song is "Spin Cycle", which isn't really a song at all, The Din just titled the 49 seconds of banter before the next track separately for one reason or another, and they don't reference it's title (a presumed allusion to the laundromat) at all either. Why not combine this with the song proper and give "We Met As Surrogates" a proper credit?

The actual next song is "A Drive Through The Peninsula", yet another selection taken from "The Warinside" before making The Din's studio CD,  and honestly, this fits the best so far of any song that had a prior or later studio version by a Mike Haggith project! The song was already a slower mid-tempo number, so it adapts nicely to the unplugged setting, and Mike's singing is clear as crystal! The mid-song instrumental bridge is a little too quiet for my liking, and the instrumental jam at song's end wasn't implemented yet, but it's a solid and effective acoustic rendition that fans of the original will like! Another cover is next, namely The Foo Fighters' "Times Like These" (well, "Tiimes Like These", if you believe Brandan's setlist), and I think they tuned down the song a little too much for the setting here, with Mike's lower register singing not really necessary, as the original song is melodic enough that he could have sung it normally like in their regular shows and got away with it. Other than that, the guys sound good, and Brandan's backing vocals add an extra element too!

Song #12 is another song borrowed from Mike's solo career, namely "Cowardly Hearts Beneath The Stars" from his 2014 EP "A Place Of Our Own". Much like many other solo carryovers in this set, The Din stripped out the orchestral elements for a basic acoustic rock sound (granted, you almost have to here), and as a result, this more has a folk/modern rock hybrid sound, if that makes any sense. The drawn out guitar plucking is handled better electrically, but the song's soft enough to fit in this format, but keep in mind that it feels like a different song somewhat moreso than the others. After announcing plans to hold a contest post-set for Battle of the Bands tickets, the next song of sorts is "Leamington, Ontario", which is simply the spoken word intro that Mike frequently gives to precede the next song in concerts to set up it's inspiration. I've never thought it stood alone as it's own credited song, and would be better served as the first chunk of the next track, but that's just me.

As longtime Din fans will know, the next song is "75", a song borrowed from Mike's old band Haggith's 2013 album "Deuce" (which Mike left the drumkit to sing lead for back then too), but it loses something in acoustic form. The original heavy & freewheeling number is always a highlight of Din shows, and Haggith before them, but in a minimalist acoustic form, it feels like a by the numbers rendition without the life and swagger we're used to. It's not badly done, but this isn't a great fit for an unplugged concert.

The penultimate song on "The Din Does Laundry" is a cover of The Beatles' "With A Little Help From My Friends", and this is a faithful cover that sounds like the original playing to The Din's strengths, and can you ask for any more? Mike could have harmonized more on the final singing of "friends", and this song in particular sounded a little empty without electric guitars, but Beatles fans should appreciate the cover! The album closes with what was then called "This Potato May Be Used As A Flotation Device", another carry-over from Mike's "A Place Of Our Own", though it was renamed "Potato (Should've Known Better)" for the "Give in to The Din" CD. Much like on "75", this song does lose it's fun hard rocking nature in an acoustic setting, and feels more like it was played that night because fans expected to hear it. Good rendition, as everything is on the CD, but many of the earlier songs were better fits for an unplugged set.

So, what are my final thoughts on The Din's debut paid live CD? Overall, it's a fun look at The Din in a more reserved setting with a lot of exclusive tracks, and if you like their softer material, you'll enjoy this a great deal! One big plus to buying this album may be the fact that 8 of the 14 actual songs (4 Mike Haggith solo songs and 4 outside covers) are otherwise not yet available on CD from the modern day Din, and in the latter case, likely never will be, so this is worth tracking down for extra songs in nice recording quality! Mike's singing and bass work are just fine throughout the album, with Tammy Hill adapting effectively to the acoustic setting on guitar, and Brandan drumming as well on a cajon as you'd hope, but fans who prefer and/or only listen to electric guitar-driven rock may be disappointed by this album (remember, this was recorded at The Gore Street Cafe.) Also, only 2 of the album's songs are complete original tracks that debuted with The Din, but remember that this predated their first studio album.

That all said, this gives fans a complete window into their Fishbowl Festival set last year, which wasn't publically filmed for social media, and isn't visibly edited in any substantial fashion, and while heavier songs aren't clean fits to the unplugged style, songs like "Of Cars & Criminals" & "In Search of the Perfect Moment" showcase The Din at their best in this format! If you can find or request a copy, definitely consider it so you too can give in to The (unplugged) Din! I hope you guys liked this month's CD review, but what's coming next in July 2017? I can't 100% confirm anything at this juncture, but here's some hints. In terms of who isn't next, don't expect the AlgomA/Shit Liver split cassette or a SweetKenny album next due to our 6 month anti-bias buffer, but if it's released quickly, the former could be reviewed as soon as August 1st! A new metal, hard rock, or punk album will of course take precedence if it's released, so stay tuned for our next "Where Are The New Albums?" post on Sunday for hints therein on what may be coming out.

If we must dip into the archives for a review, possibilities include A Fall From Innocence's self-titled CD, The Bear Hunters' "Collapse The Sun" single, Haggith's "Apocalypse II" or an archive Mike Haggith solo album (technically, these are separate from The Din), The Rising Tide's second CD, and Integrated System of Machines' self-titled CD, as members of each band are playing live next month, but nothing is final yet. Stay tuned for updates on that front, and for more news and notes in the month of July, with our 10th anniversary fast approaching also! Thanks everyone!

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Bizotic), An Inactive Band Note, And New Out-Of-Town Concert Videos!!

In our last news post of the month, here's some all-Canadian news and notes in advance of Canada's 150th birthday next week! Along with some recent concert videos from out of town events involving local bands, we have a note on a move out of our active band links, and first, a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for next month, so here's what you should know!

Local indie/hard rock quartet Bizotic will make their Gore Street Cafe debut on Friday, July 21st when they play alongside two touring pop bands from Victoria, British Columbia! The bands in question are "lazy pop" quintet Bridal Party (whose laid back indie-pop originals should fit the laundromat well) and Bright Boy (a more dream-like "shoegaze" group who should provide some interesting material of their own next month), so check out both acts to see what you think in advance! Bizotic will provide some extra heaviness and alternative stylings as the local featured attraction, and fresh off of last night's Deathsticks show, hopefully they can continue to ride the forward momentum at the cafe in three weeks' time! Note that Bizotic are actually billed first on the Facebook event page, but so are every local band on the Bridal Party/Bright Boy tour for other stops, so I'm not sure if they're playing first or last. In any event, this is an ALL AGES & "pay what you can" event with a 7:00 PM start time. See above for more details!

Next up, we have a band to move to our inactive band links due to a year's inactivity, they being local/Toronto celtic punk quartet Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide. Now, this is by no means an assumption that they're defunct, especially given members' busy personal lives and outside musical projects, but they have not issued a public statement or played live since opening for Hedley one year ago tomorrow at The Yard, and I have to keep our links current (also, that show is the only public local concert that they've played since August 2015.) Upon their launch in 2007, The Rising Tide united Inner City Surfers frontman Dustin Jones with the violin & stand up bass-wielding Jaaskelainen brothers (of Boot Hill Crooners & Wild Turkeys fame) and a rotating array of drummers, and they quickly became a fan favourite attraction locally and on the road with their unique brand of punk rock, which also saw them release three albums and even rock the Vans Warped Tour.

Dustin and company have been a reliable and original band with a solid reputation over the past decade, and they managed to make punk rock work with ease alongside a violin and stand-up bass! I don't think The Tide are 100% done, and would not be surprised when they announced a return show, but in the meantime, best of luck to Dustin, Sheldon, Marshall, Mikey, and their other former/live drummers in the future, and follow Tidal Records and Mission Control Studios for Dustin's recent work in local music production and promotion, as he's been busy on some great stuff!

We'll close today with a pair of new concert videos from local bands on tour, starting with one from local alt-punk quartet A Dire Setback's out-of-town debut at The Asylum in Sudbury this past Sunday! Filmed by frontman Larry Babic's wife Karen for her personal Facebook page, she has more from this concert, but this video is the only one that the band shared publically onto their own Facebook page the following day. The video features the guys playing their original song "Everlasting Despair" from a good central angle of the stage, and while it's of very solid quality, venue lighting gives everything a blue/green tint. Also, it's worth noting that they're on the front cover of the current issue of Sault This Week, via this photo taken by Ali Pearson at last week's Go Skateboarding Day concert, with skater Mika Lindback grinding the ramp as well. Nice to see A Dire Setback get some visual play on one of our local newspapers, so check out the photo on the cover of this week's issue, and give their Sudbury concert video a look below!

Finally, here's a new video that only just surfaced from local doom metal trio AlgomA's headlining concert in Windsor a year and a week ago! Filmed by attendee Nancy King, this was only just publically shared by guitarist Boyd Rendell on Wednesday onto the Facebook event page for the Uncle Ray concert at The New A in two weeks that AlgomA are opening. There is synergy afoot here, as Uncle Ray opened for AlgomA at The Windsor Beer Exchange during that stop of AlgomA's 2016 summer tour, but now the roles are reversed as Uncle Ray travel north! The video in question was live streamed by Nancy at the time, but re-posted by Boyd this week, and it features AlgomA playing their songs "Extinct Volcanoes" & "The Longest Swim" (well, the first chunk), but it sill adds up to over 13 minutes of crushing sludge metal to kick off their set that night! Inconsistent lighting but solid audio and a nice close vantage point, though unfortunately, it's privacy settings mean that it can't be embedded on external websites, even though it's publically available on Facebook.

Until/unless that's changed, I can't embed it here, but give it a look at this link if you want to see AlgomA live in Windsor last year! That's all for now, but stay tuned for this month's CD review next! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Tym Morrison) & Canada Day Weekend Concert Previews!!

The Canada Day weekend is upon us, and there's some live hard rock action to take in over the next few days in the Twin Saults, so here's this weekend's concert previews, sans potential late notice confirmations! There's even a pair of shows in Sault Michigan tucked in too, but let's start this preview post with a SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERT!

Former Caveman Morrison frontman Tym Morrison will return to The Roadhouse Bar & Grill on Trunk Road TOMORROW NIGHT, joining his regular Gliss Steak & Seafood matinees TONIGHT & TOMORROW! Apologies for the short notice on the Roadhouse show, it was only announced via it's official Facebook event page on Sunday. This nighttime solo show comes four weeks after Tym's most recent Roadhouse stop, and will give fans in the east end another chance to check out his hard rocking yet unplugged covers on this holiday weekend, so keep TOMORROW'S concert in mind if you want to see Tym live at a more typical time! As for his ongoing Gliss run, these could very well be his last weekend of shows there before his likely return to playing Thursdays as well as Fridays and Saturdays weekly (stay tuned for confirmation in that regard), but his acoustic covers should play well at The Quality Inn's house restaurant once again over the next two nights!

TOMORROW'S Roadhouse concert is a 10:00 PM affair with no announced cover charge and a 19+ age limit, while this weekend's Gliss double-header will see 6:00 PM start times and no announced covers or age limits, but remember the locale, it's not a nightclub. Visit the above links and the Facebook event page for the Gliss shows for more details, and for a preview, here's Tym live a few years back!

Moving to entirely previously announced concerts, TONIGHT will see the long awaited local debut by Whitby, Ontario garage/noise rock duo Deathsticks when they headline at The New American Pub! After seeing planned local concerts cancelled in October at The New A and April at The Gore Street Cafe for varying reasons, this "power slop" twosome should deliver a creative and aggressive blast of original music for fans in their belated Soo debut, and hopefully the third time is in the charm for Deathsticks tonight! Alt-hard rock quartet Bizotic will open the proceedings at the site of their live concert debut last year, and they should prove to be a solid choice to kick off the night, so don't be late for them! Promoted by Six, Two, Oh. (who spoke very highly of Deathsticks after AlgomA played with them on tour last summer), this 19+ concert has FREE ADMISSION, as a token of appreciation from the promoters for fans' support over the last few years.

Very nice gesture on Six, Two, Oh.'s part, so consider a trip to The New A tonight at 9:00 PM for all of the action! Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and for a preview, here's Deathsticks live last year!

Also this weekend, let's take a detour to The Rapids Lounge at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino, where Kinross classic/hard rock trio Banned are scheduled to return for concerts TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Last seen on the road in Manistique three weeks ago, these will be Alex, Don, and Wayne's first shows in the Soo in almost two months, and this should be another fine opportunity to check out Banned's varied and often heavy covers, so keep this weekend's shows in mind if you're in the E.U.P.! After all, Banned don't have a scheduled show within an hour of Sault Ste. Marie again until the fall, unless a non-Kewadin show is announced in the interim. Tomorrow and Saturday night's shows are both 21+ events, neither has an announced cover charge, and both are advertised to start at 9:00 PM. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page, and for a preview, here's Banned live!

Finally for today's previews, here's the best bet for metal and hard rock fans for some Canada Day action, as five bands will join forces at The Rockstar Bar THIS SATURDAY NIGHT for a special in honour of Canada's 150th birthday! This Canada Day Bash will be headlined by indie rock quartet K.I.C.K. in the "kick"-off to their busy slate of July concerts, but the rest of the lineup is all hard rock, including punk/metal quintet Jack Spades' new lineup's third concert appearance, funk/hard rock veterans The Elements' second public set of 2017, reunited hard rock quartet Eclipse, and their frontman Curtis McKenzie in his solo Rockstar Bar debut. Not a bad lineup at all, and nice to see some original acts on Canada Day to ring in the sesquicentennial! Note that a previously advertised set by death metal rockers The Bear Hunters was previously removed from the lineup, and while the Facebook event page still advertises that more bands are "to be confirmed", the existence of a poster without any extra acts indicates that may no longer be the case.

Promoted by Paperclip Productions' Daniel Horton (also Eclipse & Jack Spades' guitarist), this show has a $5 cover charge, 8:00 PM start time, and 19+ age limit, while there will be a barbecue on the patio (if weather isn't bad), and the poster notably indicates that there will be prizes and giveaways for the occasion, which isn't stated on the Facebook event page, but prepare just in case! This should be a great concert to rock Canada Day with, so make sure to occupy The Rockstar Bar on Saturday night, and for a preview, here's Eclipse live earlier this month!

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

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Rotaryfest Stage 1), Plus Second Stage Updates!!

For a second day in a row, we have a news post heavily focusing on next month's Rotaryfest and the musical entertainment therein, so let's get things rolling with a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT relating to this year's installment of the Soo's annual summer festival!

Two days following the Rotaryfest Stage 2 lineup reveal, we now know the complete Stage 1 lineup for Clergue Park's main outdoor stage from July 13th-15th, courtesy of the official Rotaryfest program! That said, this year's covers-only lineup isn't quite as heavy as it has been in years past, with only Friday's lineup containing a band I'd classify as "hard rock", but here's a look at who to expect across the main stage this year! Thursday, July 13th's five band roster will be headlined by Coverfly side project Encore at 10:00 PM in this general "party rock" group's Rotaryfest debut, preceded by country quartet Crossroad's fourth straight Stage 1 set at 9:00 PM, local radio DJ Jeff MacNeice's new Neil Diamond tribute band Hot April Night at 8:00 PM, classic rock veterans Flathead Ford at 7:00 PM, and veteran blues/country group The Algo Rhythms playing their first Rotaryfest on record at 6:00 PM.

The lineup on Friday, July 14th will be of the most interest to regular SMS readers, and is also extended to 6 bands this year after running with only 5 for the past three years, so who's on that night? Headlining at 10:00 PM are veteran hard/party rock cover trio Stiffler's Mom in their third Rotaryfest set since 2014, and second straight Friday headlining set. Solid choice to return, so look for more hard rocking renditions from Greg, Mike, and Jon on the 14th! Classic rock veterans Obsession will play their ninth Rotaryfest set in the past decade as the 9:00 PM co-headliners, while local country musician Mark Tarantini will play a special solo tribute set to Garth Brooks at 8:00 PM, much like the one that Mourning Wood members played last August, though he has a new backing band this time around comprised of out of town artists. Classic rock quintet Mustang Heart will continue their run as the iron men & woman of Rotaryfest with their (at least) thirteenth straight Stage 1 set at 7:00 PM, so keep them in mind also!

Veteran blues rock quartet Five Below Zero will hit the main stage for the first time since 2013 (and at least fourth time total) with the 6:00 PM set, while newer classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck will make their Rotaryfest debut to open Friday's lineup at 5:00 PM. Solid lineup overall for classic rock and country fans that's well anchored by some veteran hard rock groups, so don't bypass Friday if you want a bit of heavier classic rock action!

As for the Saturday, July 15th lineup, that will actually be headlined at 10:30 PM by veteran country quartet Bone Yard (playing the festival for the first time since their 2010-2013 run), while previously announced Southern Ontario-based Keith Urban & Blue Rodeo tribute bands Ultimate Urban & Blue Radio will play featured sets at 9:00 & 7:30 PM respectively, and R&B big band The Reptiles will play their seventh festival set since 2009 at 6:00 PM. Blues rock singer/guitarist Paul Dellavedova will reprise his solo cover action from 2015 at 5:00 PM, while Obsession frontwoman Valerie Powley will front a one-off Janis Joplin tribute called Janis Full Tilt! at 4:00 PM, and 1960s-centric classic rock quartet The Peace Vibe will return from last year with a set at 3:00 PM. Finally, newer blues rock quintet Red & The Muscle and improv jazz/R&B quintet The Jazz Cats will play their first Rotaryfest sets on record to open at 2:00 & 1:00 PM.

While the general musical range hasn't changed much for fans who wish for more variance on Stage 1, keep in mind that half of this year's 20 acts have not played a recorded Rotaryfest, and the out of town country tributes mark the first touring country acts to play our summer festival since The Road Hammers in 2009, so that alone is different from the recent norm if you're a country fan! Also, note that recent regular bands like Coverfly, Griphook, Mid Life Crysis, and That's Chester are not back for 2017. All three nights of Stage 1 are FREE & ALL AGES, so visit the above links for full details on this year's Rotaryfest, and stay tuned for updates when & if they roll in!

Finally for today, here's some updates to this year's Rotaryfest Stage 2 lineup at the "redirected" stage beside the Art Gallery on Saturday, July 15th! Courtesy of the mini-write ups on each band in the program linked above, we can glean a little more on some of the band's sets and recent activity, including the first firm public acknowledgement that indie/punk quintet Northwest are working on their second EP! The guys have been busy at Mission Control Studios in recent months, but hadn't 100% stated that a new album (their first with current drummer Marc Santos) was in the works until now. Very encouraging to hear, hopefully more comes out on it soon! Also, the program confirms that alt-hard rock quartet Id Iota will once again feature ex-RedD Monkey cellist Pete Mozarowski as a guest performer for their Rotaryfest set this year, with the program even listing him as if he's a band member, though Id Iota's Facebook page does not list him as such... yet? Either way, Pete should add a neat element once again, so keep his involvement in mind!

The program also notes that headlining indie rocker Jesse Merineau's set will be our "only chance" to "preview the huge project he has been working on", while new opening band All Us Others is a six-piece indie/pop band (not just a duo) with two female singer/songwriters joined by a full backing band, even including a keyboardist. Hopefully they make a good first impression in under three weeks! Be sure to check the Rotaryfest program and above links for full details on the musical and non-musical events for this year's summer festival, and stay tuned for more news and updates soon! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Rotaryfest Stage 2) & Lita Ford/Great White Concert Videos!!

Today's news post at the SMS is devoted to two topics: Videos from a recent major concert, and a huge LOCAL CONCERT ALERT relating to a portion of Sault Ontario's annual summer festival, so here's what you should know on this Tuesday morning!

The lineup for the twelfth annual Stage 2 at Rotaryfest has been announced via it's official Facebook event page, so what should you know about this year's all-original second stage action? For a third straight year, Stage 2 will be held at the "redirected" stage beside the Art Gallery at Clergue Park as a one day event on Saturday, July 15th, but the lineup has been expanded from 7 bands to 8, so who can you look for in three weeks' time? Mostly a new lineup, with only three returning bands from last year, and none from lineups prior to then, including indie rock artist Jesse Merineau headlining at 8:00 PM! It's good to see the 2016 Speak Easy Battle winner back on stage after the cancellation of his Canadian Nightclub show this weekend, so look for him with a full band in his Rotaryfest debut on the 15th! Last year's headliners K.I.C.K. will play the same 7:00 PM timeslot this year with their own indie rock originals, while hard/alternative rock trio The Din are the highest slotted heavier band at 6:00 PM in their own Rotaryfest return.

Indie/punk quintet Northwest will debut on Stage 2 at 5:00 PM (fresh off of theirs and K.I.C.K.'s LopLops show the previous night), while fellow local punk standouts A Dire Setback will do the same at Clergue Park during the 4:00 PM set. Alt-hard rock quartet Id Iota will rock the 3:00 PM set at the Second Stage for the second straight year, while former Pixo Control frontman Mike Mikus and company will play their penultimate local concert before Mike's big move at 2:00 PM, with him saying farewell later that night at LopLops with Id Iota opening, so keep Stage 2 in mind if you're underage and want to see him before he heads east! Opening at 1:00 PM on July 15th are All Us Others, a new all-female singer/songwriter duo signed to Tidal Records, though I don't know their specific genres or much else beyond their Instagram page. See what they have in store next month at Stage 2!

As usual, Stage 2 is FREE & ALL AGES, and is once again curated by Chelsie Parayko, and be sure to visit the above links for full details on this year's lineup. While maintaining the youthful alternative path of the "redirected" era, this year's Second Stage lineup is also largely different from 2016 and completely different from any prior year, so there's lots of variety, talent, and relatively new blood to take in on July 15th! Stay tuned for more updates, as well as the covers-only Stage 1 lineup reveal, when they roll in!

We'll close today with the only public videos that I've located from Saturday night's Lita Ford/Jack Russell's Great White outdoor concert at the Kewadin Shores Casino in St. Ignace, Michigan! These come from YouTube user Annette Chandler (co-organizer of the local hydrocephalus charity walk Troy's Trail), who you may recognize as a filmer of February's Pop Evil concert in Sault Michigan. On Saturday, she filmed one video of each band, including this video of Lita Ford playing her biggest solo hit "Kiss Me Deadly", so what can we glean from it? Performance-wise, she still sounds good, and the band has the chops for the material, so there's no problems there! In terms of the setting along Horseshoe Bay, I really can't judge, as the videos were both taken during nightfall, and I can only really see the stage and lighting with any clarity, but hopefully the outdoor stage was set up well for fans and bands alike! Give Lita's video a look below!

Finally, here's Annette's video of Los Angeles hard rock veterans Jack Russell's Great White covering Ian Hunter's "Once Bitten, Twice Shy", which was their biggest chart hit and most recognizable song. The video's better lit than on Lita Ford's, which helps visibility beyond the stage a tiny bit, but I wish the videos would have zoomed in a little bit to counter attendee heads. Still, this version of Great White sound solid, even if only 20% of the lineup from their 2009 Kewadin gig was back this month, and the crowd get prime opportunities to sing along! Give their video a look below, and kudos to Annette for filming these, hopefully someone has more!

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

Monday, June 26, 2017

YouTube Channel Profile Series: David Mills, LudwigVaanArthans, and meshayeah's Channels

It's now time for this month's YouTube Channel Profiles! This regular feature series looks at 1-3 YouTube channels (three this month) whose posted content is at least half devoted to local metal, hard rock, and punk artists and concerts, in order to spotlight them for readers and potential new subscribers, and we have three channels today as the first two randomly selected channels only had one SMS-relevant video each. There's some talented metal acts in this month's selections, so here's what you need to know on this month's channels!
David Mills (

Owner: Life's Eclipse singer/bassist David Owen Mills, also previously known as the frontman of Moss

Channel Timeline: Launched on March 4th, 2011; Both videos posted the following month

Channel Summary: Though most Werehold Records-related media is posted online by his brother & bandmate Jason Mills, one of David's two YouTube uploads is of a Life's Eclipse original, specifically their song "Undefeated", from their album "Shadow Over Superior". One of the first songs that I ever heard from this Sault Michigan metal band (well before their 2011 relaunch), this is admittedly redundant given that Werehold's YouTube channel uploaded the same song on the same day, but it's still a crushing song with catchy riffs from Jason and Joe Semasky, and it's a shame that the original version with vocals was deleted from MySpace! However, David hasn't visibly updated his channel in at least two years, and his only other video is of his friend getting tased at an army base. For more from Life's Eclipse, check the above links!

LudwigVaanArthans' Channel (

Owner: YouTube user Ludwig Vaan Arthans (real identity unknown, if that's a pseudonym, though I believe he's from Romania)

Channel Timeline: Launched on September 25th, 2008; Videos posted in May 2012 & July 2013

Channel Summary: Ludwig's first of two videos is of defunct local/Toronto blackened doom metal band Woods of Ypres' song "Don't Open The Wounds/Skywide Armspread", from 2009's "Woods IV: The Green Album". Posted five months after frontman David Gold's sudden passing in December 2011, this is an underrated song from their first true doom release, with a solid chugging progression, solid rhythm from bassist & drummer Shane & Evan Madden, and suitably dark lyrics! Though there are far more substantive channels to hear Woods of Ypres songs through, this song is still worth listening to for fans of their doom period, despite the wrong band lineup in the photo (Bryan Belleau was the lead guitarist on "Woods IV", not Joel Violette.) While Ludwig still actively uses his channel, his only other video is of a song by Finnish death metal band Synestesia.

meshayeah's Channel (

Owner: YouTube user and former Sault Ste. Marie resident Michelle Moran

Channel Timeline: Launched on January 1st, 2009; Videos posted in July & September 2013

Channel Summary: Two of Michelle's three videos come from a private house party festival in nearby Garden River from August 2013 named Anti-Capitalist Tacofest, which was headlined by local grindcore trio Shit Liver in their final live concert appearance before moving to St. Catharine's that fall. Both of Michelle's clips from the show are of Shit Liver's set, including their song "Helen Kellers", and as embedded below, three quick originals, starting with their own self-titled song. Though the vertical camera angle isn't a major issue, the staticy audio & bassist Mike Kyle being obscured for much of the video don't help, but these are an interesting look at Shit Liver's last set as a purely local band! Michelle didn't film other acts that night (such as AlgomA, James Watterworth, and the late Sabrina Pelchat), with her only other video being of Pennsylvania hardcore punk band Rodent Lord at that year's Spiderfest in Meyersburg.

I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profiles! Next month in this series, we have randomly chosen former Bad Side guitarist and The Bear DJ Jason Mapes' YouTube channel to profile next, which features dozens of videos from the 2000s Sault Michigan hard rock band and his later solo career. That should be interesting, so look for that on or around July 26th, and stay tuned for more news and notes this week! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Jack Spades & Northwest), A "New" Live @ Six, Two, Oh. Episode, And More!!

Before we begin this post, I wanted to acknowledge a short notice show that, while publically announced, is not being covered here due to the nature of the event. Sault Michigan hard rock quartet Project 906 are playing tonight at Moloney's Alley as part of the Sault Area High School class of 1997 reunion, but according to the Facebook event page, this is "an outdoor private party" intended for 1997 graduates and guests brought with them. It's great to see Project 906 back after a month off, private event or not, so keep this in mind for tonight if you're in the 1997 grad class of Sault High! Now, here's a new video, some assorted updates, and some LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS!!

At least five local music acts will join forces on Saturday, July 1st (one week from today) for a special Canada Day bash at The Rockstar Bar! Unlike recent years at this venue, the Canada Day event won't feature a single cover band, with Paperclip Productions' Daniel Horton booking this showcase of local talent next week, so who can you look for on Canada Day? In apparent performance order, the last listed band are indie rock quartet K.I.C.K., with hard rock populating the rest of the bill, including punk/metal quintet Jack Spades in their new lineup's third show (including Daniel on guitar), funk/hard rock veterans The Elements (in their second show of the year), Daniel's other hard rock band Eclipse, and that band's frontman Curtis McKenzie in his revived solo project's Rockstar Bar debut. Solid lineup overall, and the Facebook event page implies that more is coming, so stay tuned?

Note that a set by death metal standouts The Bear Hunters was originally listed for this event, but it was quietly removed for unannounced reasons. Hopefully nothing bad happened, they'd have added a brutal component next week! An 8:00 PM start time is listed for this Canada Day concert, which has a 19+ age limit and a $5 cover. Everything is adding up well for this holiday weekend concert, with a nice selection of familiar faces joining forces next week, so visit the above links for current and upcoming updates!

Next up, the aforementioned K.I.C.K. will join indie/punk quintet Northwest for a joint concert at LopLops Lounge on Friday, July 14th! Possibly timed on purpose to coincide with Rotaryfest weekend (stay tuned for the lineup reveals on both stages) and the previous day's Downtown Street Party that K.I.C.K. are also playing, this is part of a busy month for the Keep It Cool Kids, but it will be just the second show of 2017 (and first in almost 2 months) for Northwest. If you haven't seen much of them live in the past year, keep this double bill in mind for LopLops in three weeks time, and hopefully both bands have some material from their recent studio sessions in store! A 9:00 PM start time is in effect for next month's show, and as usual for LopLops, this is a 19+ event with a $5 cover charge. This should be a fun concert for indie and punk fans, so keep it in mind for Rotaryfest weekend, and visit the Facebook event page for more details!

Also today, here's a "new" video of local doom/sludge metal trio AlgomA, and in particular, it's the first episode of their studio's YouTube performance series Live @ Six, Two, Oh. to be unveiled on their YouTube channel in six months (and first with a local artist in ten months!) Now, this isn't brand new, as it's actually episode #0 of the webseries, originally filmed in May 2015 for a private upload, presumably as a test or proof of concept before the series proper launched that August. With Live @ Six, Two, Oh. planned to return in full force in December via Six, Two, Oh.'s planned online battle of the bands, this is a nice way to re-introduce fans to the dormant series, even if two years late, so keep it in mind! The episode features AlgomA playing their original songs "Failed Stunt Fatality" (released on their split with Hooded Menace this year) and "Fell Down A Well" from their debut EP, so click each song name to go to that particular track.

Given that this is a 2 year old performance, I'll say that AlgomA sounded brutal and heavy as usual in this video, and I like the multiple camera angles to give an overhead angle of Jamie's drumming to shake things up! The mirror behind him is oddly placed though. Prospective bands interested in Six, Two, Oh.'s online battle may want to watch this episode too so they can get a sense of what to expect if they sign up later this year, so give everything a look for both Live @ Six, Two, Oh. and the battle above & below!

Finally for today, here's three assorted shorter news items from the last little while, and as usual for our short form story groupings, these are in alphabetical order by artist or promoter name:

  • Chronic Demonic are alive! After last posting a public update referencing band activity in 2014, guitarist Kevin Powe updated fans on their Facebook page on Friday that they are still a band, are slowly learning songs, and hope to jam next week with the full band for the first time in over a year. Kevin also left the door open for the death metal quartet to play live for the first time in four years later this summer, and jam photos of Chronic Demonic (sans drummer Jonathan Harvey) were also posted last month. It's very encouraging to hear that Chronic Demonic are still alive & kicking, so see above for more info, and they're back in our active band links!
  • Local concert promoters Live705 have announced that both of their Canadian Nightclub concerts next month (Vaultry in two weeks & Project 421 in four weeks) are now ALL AGES! No word on if they're permanently scrapping their brief experiment with 18+ shows as a result, or if this is an experiment of it's own, but it sounds like a positive move to me, as The Canadian has proven to be a solid venue for Live705 and for all ages events from other promoters, so keep the lack of age restrictions in mind for next month! As with the 18+ Live705 events, bracelets will be issued to 19+ attendees.
  • A woman named Tiffany Cuthbertson is looking for country or rock bands to play an event of some kind on Sunday, August 6th in nearby Goulais River, Ontario, possibly stemming from her Musicians Wanted group search in May for a then-unidentified event, though I can't confirm if this is it. There's already a fair amount of interest, but if you want more details, read her post from that group last week or message her at this link for more details!

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

Friday, June 23, 2017

Inactive Local Band Notes, Go Skateboarding Day Fallout, And More!!

A new news post is upon us for this Friday morning, so what is on tap? Sadly, this post is largely devoted to bands being moved out of our active band links, but we also have a few more assorted recent updates and a new video featuring a recent performance to check out. With all of that said, here's what you need to know!

We have a pair of bands to imminently move to our inactive band links due to a year's inactivity, one being classic/hard rock cover quartet Lucky 13. While the band has made no public statements about their future, they have not played an advertised concert since one year ago on Sunday when they headlined at The Rockstar Bar, and they hadn't posted on their Facebook page since April of last year as it was (though note that guitarist Robin "Bones" Lee left his other band Soundcheck for health reasons earlier this year.) A staple of the bar circuit since debuting at the inaugural Toystock charity concert in November 2012, this union of Aftersight, Turner Up, and Gully Yodelers alumni were frequently seen on stage in solo concerts over the following 3½ years, as well as becoming the only band to play at the first three Toystocks, headlining The Rednecks Saloon's relaunch party last spring, and closing The Rockstar Bar's St. Patrick's Day festivities in 2013.

Featuring a solid selection of veteran presences in the local rock scene, Lucky 13 were always a reliable sight on local stages, and their gritty, workmanlike sound could easily be slotted into numerous events alongside their solo gigs. Hopefully we see them back out there at some point in the future, but best of luck to Ed, Robin, Jeff, and Roger, and don't miss original guitarist Jeremey Salatuk with The 3 Day Millionaires!

The other band we're soon moving to our inactive band links is local pop punk quartet Stereo North, as they have not issued a public update concerning new band activity since one year ago on Sunday themselves. In that Facebook page posting, the guys announced that they were "taking a little break" due to guitarist Matthew Anich becoming a father, but their only updates since have referenced frontman Andrew Pucci's burgeoning solo career, so it appears that the "little break" has grown into an extended hiatus (at least.) Launching publically in late 2014 with a bassist search, Stereo North debuted at the Bon Soo Marquee outdoor concert in February 2015, and next played live at the following month's VM Radio Battle of the Bands, so they definitely got a big start! Fans may also recall seeing them open for The River Jacks, Exes For Eyes, and Broomfiller, perform at 2015's Rotaryfest Stage 2 & last year's second VM Radio Battle, and play numerous all-local events late in their 1½ year run, last seen at The Rednecks Saloon over the Victoria Day long weekend last year.

Stereo North were an entertaining band that acclimated fast to the local scene back in 2015, and their originals and often-unconventional covers were always a fun sight on local stages, and it's a shame that their songwriting for a planned debut album didn't visibly lead to recording sessions before going on their "little break". Best of luck to Andrew, Matthew, Bill, and Brett in the future, but hopefully Stereo North return at some point, and don't miss Andrew's solo work or bassist Bill Bennett's current band Stegadeth!

Next up, here's a new YouTube video from yesterday's fifth annual Go Skateboarding Day festivities at Queen Elizabeth Park! Posted by SooToday to their YouTube channel and attached to this article, the video is similar to their video from last year, only with no interview clip, just skateboarding, vendor, and band footage with an audio track pasted on top in post. Filming took place during blues/hard rock trio Electric Church's opening set, and they are seen from 56 seconds on in the video, but again, their performance is completely muted. Still well edited and shot, so give it a look below, and click here for a live streamed segment of Go Skate Day before the bands began!

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

  • Local alternative punk quartet A Dire Setback will play their second out of town concert on Saturday, July 8th when they open for Peterborough doom rapper Garbageface for a third time, albeit in Timmins! The show comes just a day after the two acts open for Vaultry at The Canadian for Live705's punk/rap hybrid event, and this should be another intriguing opportunity for A Dire Setback to branch out! There's not enough Timmins/Soo connections for concerts in either city. Click here for more details, and good luck on the road once again next month!
  • Local indie rock quartet K.I.C.K. and former Pixo Control frontman Mike Mikus (in one of his last sets before moving to Montreal) have been confirmed as the fifth and sixth acts playing at this year's Downtown Street Party on Queen Street East on July 13th, joining hard rockers The Din and fellow groups The Bearded Lounge, Sometimes Ange, and The Stumpy Coldwater Trio. Solid additions to add some alternative original stylings to the proceedings, so keep them in mind as well for this Thursday event next month! Our source is the street party's Facebook event page yesterday.
  • I reluctantly have to remove Sault Michigan/Isle Royale metal solo project The 1,000,000,000's Who Died from our band links due to the quiet deletion of their Facebook (and only online) page at some point this year. Led by Life's Eclipse mainman Jason Mills, The 1,000,000,000's Who Died were best known from their participation in label Werehold Records' Friday the 13th new music events from 2012 through last May, but nothing has followed in the past year, and their page deletion leaves Life's Eclipse as the only Werehold act listed in our active links. Hopefully we hear more from Jason's musical projects soon, perhaps on October 13th!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates on The Sault Metal Scene in the coming days! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

This Weekend's Hard Rock Concert Previews, Including Lita Ford & Great White!!

Another weekend of concert previews is here, so what do we have to hype up with only a week to go before Canada Day? Shockingly, no short notice events (yet?), but there's a fair amount of intriguing concerts going down over the coming days, including a huge outdoor event in the E.U.P., so here's what you should know in rough chronological order!

We'll start at The New American Pub TOMORROW NIGHT, where local instrumental jam/hard rock quintet Gianni Gagoots will return to the stage as openers for Niagara Falls experimental prog rock quartet The Road Waves! Last seen opening for The Hazytones at this venue two months ago, this will be the Gagoots' first concert appearance since announcing that they were self-promoting concerts of theirs under the Like Ten Productions banner. This creative union of Redefined, Sailor's Tongue, and Rising Tide alumni should have another creative set of instrumental funk and jam rock in store, so don't miss out tomorrow at The New A! As for The Road Waves, they don't quite cross the hard rock line, but their own improvised, ever-changing, and creative original jams should attract a solid audience tomorrow in the second stop of their summer tour, so keep them in mind as well! Doors open at 9:00 PM tomorrow for this 19+ concert, which has a $5 cover charge. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's Gianni Gagoots live earlier this year!

Next up, the ever-prolific Tym Morrison will continue his ongoing weekly concert arrangement at Gliss Steak & Seafood with two more acoustic solo matinee gigs TOMORROW & SATURDAY! With a likely return to thrice-weekly gigs there coming in the near future, Tym's unplugged hard rock covers don't appear to be solely a two night affair for too much longer, so if you can make it down to The Quality Inn's house restaurant tomorrow or on Saturday evening, expect more solid renditions from this prolific veteran artist! As usual for Tym's long-term run at Gliss, expect 6:00 PM start times, no announced cover charges, and no age limits, but remember that this is a sit-down restaurant, not a typical nightclub venue. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and for a preview, here's Tym live!

Also, here's this weekend's arguable main event, as former Runaways guitarist Lita Ford and Los Angeles hard rock legends Jack Russell's Great White will play a special outdoor concert at the Kewadin Shores Casino in St. Ignace, Michigan THIS SATURDAY NIGHT to kick off the venue's summer concert series! The other events in the series are August's Josh Turner concert and demolition derby. A rare major Kewadin headlining concert to not take place at the Dreammaker's Theater in the Soo, fans should take to the regional debut of Lita Ford, whose solo hits like "Kiss Me Deadly", "Hungry", and "Close My Eyes Forever" should rock the stage on the shores of Horseshoe Bay on Saturday night, so don't miss out on her set!  Lita was promoted to headliner last week after April Wine were forced to drop out due to frontman Myles Goodwyn falling ill, so the Jack Russell-led version of Great White will step in to replace them on Saturday, with classics like "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" and "The House of Broken Love" in the repertoire.

Though this isn't the version of Great White that played Sault Michigan in 2009 (they've had an L.A. Guns-like split in two since), frontman Jack Russell is back from that event, and the original voice of Great White and his new band should deliver for fans on Saturday night! This FREE & ALL AGES concert has $18 general admission tickets and $28 for front row seating from the fourth row and back, so click here, call 1-800-KEWADIN, or visit the in-person box offices to get hooked up. This should be a solid concert for 1980s metal and Hair Scare fans, especially given the unique outdoor setting, so see above for more details, and here's Lita Ford live earlier this year!

Finally for today's concert previews, THIS SATURDAY NIGHT will also play host the Sault Ontario debut of all-female Barrie hardcore punk quartet Beaver Slap when they rock The Rockstar Bar! The show was quietly moved upstairs from The Algonquin Pub on Sunday for unannounced reasons, as per promoters Six, Two, Oh. on the Facebook event page, so ignore the venue listed on the poster. This concert should provide a quality showcase for Beaver Slap's aggressive brand of old school hardcore punk with some noise and crust rock touches for good measure, so don't miss out on the ladies as they take the stage on Saturday night! Only two bands are opening this one, including Six, Two, Oh.'s resident doom/sludge metal trio AlgomA in their second ever Rockstar Bar appearance and first concert anywhere since their European tour in the spring, while local punk/metal quintet Jack Spades will play their second show with their new lineup and their first Rockstar Bar set in well over nine months as well, last seen there opening for SNFU.

Solid choices to open, including a rare appearance by Jack Spades at an event not promoted by frontman J.D. Pearce, so don't be late for the local openers! Notably the first ever Rockstar Bar concert promoted by Six, Two, Oh., this event has a $7 cover charge, a 19+ age limit, and a 9:00 PM start time. This should be a great time for fans of hard edged punk with a hint of sludge, so visit the above links for full details on all of Saturday night's action, and here's Beaver Slap live a few years back!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates over the weekend! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Darsombra), An Online(?!) Battle Of The Bands, And New Videos!!

On this summer solstice, here's a new news post to take in this morning, so what will you find? Updates on a recently re-opened and renamed local business, new videos of a reunited hard rock band, and preliminary details on a battle of the bands unlike any you've seen locally before, but first, here's a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for next month!!

Baltimore, Maryland psychedelic hard rock duo Darsombra will make their local concert debut when they headline at The New American Pub on Monday, July 17th! One of the most unique bands to hit a local stage this summer, Darsombra unite a guitarist and synth player (no vocals or drums) into an audiovisual experience with a video screen, extended 10 minute+ jams, and a hard to pin down sound that can be heavy, droning, or trippy at a moment's notice. They're hard to describe, so I recommend watching Darsombra videos online to see what they have to offer (don't just listen!) Local openers will include alternative/funk/hard rock quartet Bizotic and new local drone/noise trio Pointless (featuring Treble Charger, Pillory, and Ashes To Dust alumni), and both should compliment things in their own way in just under a month's time! Promoted by Six, Two, Oh., this 19+ concert has a 9:00 PM start time and a $7 cover charge.

This promises to be one of the most unique concert bills of 2017, with Darsombra an experience all of their own, Bizotic continuing their upward momentum, and Pointless playing just their second concert that we've heard about, so be sure to visit the official Facebook event page for full current details, and see above for more on the bands next month!

Next up, here's an intriguing announcement from the aforementioned Six, Two, Oh., courtesy of their Facebook page yesterday, as the local concert promoters will be hosting an online battle of the bands at some point after December 5th! Rather than host a typical battle as part of a live concert, this is actually an online contest, with the aim being to have at least 7 bands enter with $150 entry fees (which is high, but you have over five months to save money if you're interested.) As far as I can tell, competitors will be featured in individual episodes of the label's dormant YouTube series Live @ Six, Two, Oh. in the winter, and after a one-per-person voting period (specific details not yet clear), the winner will earn the chance to record a fully mastered EP of up to 22 minutes in length at Six, Two, Oh.'s studios. The EP will also be released in a limited cassette tape run (a'la AlgomA's upcoming split with Shit Liver) if at least 7 bands sign up for the online battle.

In terms of who can register, Six, Two, Oh. have opened the floodgates to any acts (including rappers) in the Twin Saults, as long as you can make it to their studios to tape the Live @ Six, Two, Oh. episode for your entry. This is definitely a unique idea, and I'm very curious to see how it shapes up come December, especially if some Sault Michigan bands try their hand in it! Entries will start being accepted on November 20th, so if you want in on Six, Two, Oh.'s first online battle of the bands, start saving that $150, and visit the official Facebook event page for more details!

Also today, here's the first videos of local hard rock quartet Eclipse post-reunion, courtesy of their Facebook page on Monday! Filmed at their Rockstar Bar set on June 10th, no less than ten videos were posted from the show, apparently comprising their entire set, and before anyone's scared off, these are full concert videos, not audio recordings! The identical image of the band was added in post as a thumbnail, similarly to frontman Curtis McKenzie's recent solo uploads. Covers from the show include System of a Down's "B.Y.O.B." (with Handsome Sandwich frontman Johnny Belanger on guest vocals) and "Lonely Day", Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song", Velvet Revolver's "Slither", Billy Talent's "Fallen Leaves", and Seether's "Remedy", while the other four are of originals or songs taken on from the defunct Haggith & Punch, including two with a pair of songs each. Those include both "Metal Cage" & "Wasted", the newer "Upon the Hills", "Tyranny", and as embedded below, both "Cry Wolf" & "Silver Bullet"

All filmed from a stationary camera amongst the tables at the venue, the quality is mixed on these videos, with solid audio undercut by occasional frame rate drops and attendees standing in front of the camera, sometimes for extended periods. That said, Eclipse sound good compared to their first run, and if you look past the obvious newer touches (Handsome Sandwich's banner, Fred's longer hair), it's like they never broke up at all! Give Eclipse's new videos a look above & below!

Finally, here's the latest from Sault Michigan music store Crooked Music, which re-opened two weeks ago after renovations at the former Grooves Music wrapped up! Now owned by former Half Stupid/Plastic frontman Zac Crook and his wife Christy, the "new" store was profiled in this Sault Evening News article by Nick Nolan, which features interview remarks from the Crooks, so what can we glean from the article? Well, it turns out that Grooves owner Gary Hatch was looking to sell the business (hence the ownership change), Crooked Music is open daily except Sundays, they have expanded their inventory to include vinyl records, band t-shirts, and memorabilia, they explain the meaning behind the new yellow table & chairs in front of the 540 Ashmun Street storefront, and more. I like that Crooked Music is expanding more into record store territory, and hopefully local music CDs are still stocked there to go along with the added vinyl!

Crooked Music are still offering instruments, gear, and lessons, with instructors there now including Zac's former Plastic bandmates Matt Williams (bass) and Aaron DePalma (drums), as well as Project 906 guitarist Joe Jenkins, who stars in the store's Facebook page's only video so far, where he demonstrates a Fender amplifier that they have on consignment. Nice bluesy performance from this talented local axeslinger, and I'm sure he'll be a quality instructor! Best of luck to Zac, Christy, and staff with Crooked Music, and if you're a musician or music lover in the E.U.P., consider a trip there in the near future! Give Joe's new video a look below!

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

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Project 421 & The Din), Go Skateboarding Day Preview, And New Videos!!

Before we begin this post, I wanted to apologize for a missed concert on here, as hard rock solo artist Tym Morrison joined Bone Yard side project The Bearded Lounge as musical entertainment at The Roberta Bondar Pavilion on Saturday for this year's Algoma Ride for Autism. The lineup only had a quiet reveal tucked in the end of recent write-ups on the event, and Tym was a late confirmation himself, apparently replacing Soundcheck on the bill, with that band never acknowledging planned involvement publically. Apologies again for missing all of this, hopefully it was a great event for the cause, and it's nice to see Tym at a community event like this again!

Now, we have a preview of a concert taking place tomorrow, and new videos, but first, here's some LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS! First, local alternative hard rock trio The Din will be among the performers at the Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Association's annual Downtown Street Party on Queen Street East on Thursday, July 13th! Marking their first appearance at this annual outdoor community event, this year's street party will see family entertainment, beer tents, live bands, and more activities for Saultites to partake in in three weeks time, so be sure to follow official links above for full details on the schedule, exact locations, and more! The Din are one of four advertised bands playing this year, and they'll be joined by The Bearded Lounge (the new acoustic country duo from Stiffler's Mom's Greg Simpson and Bone Yard bandmate Alex D'Ettore), fiddle-infused rock quartet Sometimes Ange, and country veterans The Stumpy Coldwater Trio.

The latter two acts have played outdoors on Queen before, and The Din should compliment things nicely on July 13th for fans of hard and alt-rock! This year's Downtown Street Party is a FREE & ALL AGES event with an advertised 6:00 PM start time, but keep in mind that the Downtown Association is hosting an ongoing crowdfunding campaign on, with $5,000 the intended top goal. This party sounds like a fun event for locals of all ages, with lots of solid musical entertainment for varying tastes, so stay tuned for pertinent updates when & if they come in!

Next up, local classic metal quartet Project 421 will end their almost nine month concert hiatus with a headlining set at The Canadian Nightclub on Saturday, July 22nd! With CureCon in limbo and Diamond Head not till the fall, this will be your first chance to see Project 421's nostalgic metal blast on a local stage in 2017, as well as their first announced concert as a quartet with Blair Burch on lead vocals in about two years, and their debut appearance at a Live705 event. It's great to have Project 421 back on stage after way too long, so keep this show in mind for next month! The lineup shockingly won't include A Dire Setback for the first time since Live705's launch (no word on why), but it's still stacked with local talent, so who all else is playing? The aforementioned Din, newer local jazz trio The Peach Thieves (featuring Pillory members outside of their comfort zone), blues/hard rock trio Electric Church, indie rock trio The Autumn Roots, and funk/ska/hard rock veterans The Elements.

Solid lineup including three Live705 newcomers, and while it is odd to not see A Dire Setback on the bill, don't miss out on all of the action in a month's time as Project 421 return to the stage! As is recently traditional for Live705 concerts, expect a 7:05 PM start time, 18+ age limit with wristbands, and $10 admission fee unless you get a $2-off voucher from performers. This is shaping up to be an entertaining all-locals event, so visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and stay tuned for potential updates!

Also, here's our preview of a special Wednesday evening concert TOMORROW, as Tidal Records will host their fifth annual Go Skateboarding Day event at Queen Elizabeth Park outside of the John Rhodes Center once again, and yes, live bands are back for a third straight year! As was the case the past two years, the local arm of Go Skate Day will allow local skateboarders and extreme athletes to demonstrate their skills, learn the basics, and compete in some special events, with refreshments and vendors likely to return as well. Visit the official Facebook event page for full details on the non-musical aspect! The lineup tomorrow will be very familiar for attendees of recent Live705 events, as The Din, alt-punk quartet A Dire Setback, and Electric Church will join forces to rock the top of the ramp. The Din played at last year's Go Skate Day and the similar Gnar-BQ midquel, and the other acts should provide a similarly solid soundtrack of their own!

And no, DJ Seith is not advertised to return for year #3, but if anything is announced to the contrary, we'll let you know. FYI, the weather forecast for tomorrow calls for sunny conditions in the 21° range, so it should be a fine evening to go skate with! This is a FREE & ALL AGES event once again, and while the event proper begins at 3:00 PM, bands will play from 5:00-8:00 PM. Check the above links for more details on all of tomorrow's action, and for a preview, here's The Din last fall!

Finally for today, here's some new videos from the aforementioned Electric Church, courtesy of their headlining set at Sunday night's Speaker concert at The Canadian! Both live streamed from the event, one video is a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing", as filmed by Bradley Shingwauk and shared to the band's Facebook page yesterday. Solidly done, and a nice showcase of their instrumental talents on a song that doesn't have a lot of sung lyrics! The vertical camera angle is unfortunate though, especially once the camera zoomed in closer to the stage. The other video (that was live streamed directly to their Facebook page) is embedded below, and features Electric Church playing their slow original "Carey Baby", to quality effect! That said, the video is very blocky, which negates the improved camera angles to make up for the vertical cell phone camera angle yet again.

The stage extender was broke out for this show too (hopefully it got some use throughout the night), and no, your eyes don't deceive you, the reflective painted road signs on the back wall of the stage are gone in these clips. I have no idea if it's temporary or not, but my camera thanks you, Matt! Give these nice sounding new Electric Church videos a look above & below, and don't miss them tomorrow at 5:00 PM as they rock the John Rhodes skatepark for Go Skateboarding Day!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates as the week presses on! Thanks everyone!