Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Videos & Updates From Four Different Mikes, And More Recent Notes!!

We're taking a Mike-heavy turn with our final news post of February 2018, as four local hard rock solo artists named Mike are featured in today's post in varying extents! Within, you'll find videos, general updates, and even some shorter updates from a couple of bands with no Mike involved, so here's what you should know, starting with former Din frontman/Haggith drummer Mike Haggith's newest solo original song! Posted to his Facebook page back on February 17th (apologies for the delay), the song is called "Bridges", and it's connected to both his wish to have a bridge to connect everyone he knows and loves that lives far away, while also acknowledging that people in despair can jump off bridges. An acoustic demo via this live performance clip, this is a softer ballad in this form, with Mike using a soft higher vocal register, and it's well performed with good emotion, so fans of Mike's more reserved music should take to this one! Give it a look below, and see more above!

Next up, here's some long overdue updates from local solo hard rock musician Mike McCleary (whose new album "Weight of the Truth" was just reviewed on here yesterday, and you can stream via a Facebook video at this link!) On February 11th, Mike launched the Northern Indies Podcast in an effort to help give more Northern Ontario independent musicians and bands a platform to share and promote their music, as well as publicize resources that could benefit independent musicians as they progress in their career. Mike plans to issue bi-weekly episodes of this podcast, with the first mini-episode being on musical resources, and the second being on Bananas Guerrillas frontman Andrew Pucci's solo project. This sounds like a great idea to promote many different artists, but it's still early days for the Northern Indies Podcast, so if you'd like to submit music for future episodes, or perform/be interviewed in one, click here! Transitioning back to Mike's own music, he has posted a couple of live performance videos onto his Facebook page!

Posted two weeks ago, these are solo acoustic renditions of Mike's original songs "The Working Poor" (complete with film grain effects), and as embedded below, "Be Us" from his "Hourglass" EP. The videos lag a bit, so the audio's out of sync with the visuals, but these are solid performance that capture Mike in a raw, casual setting (fitting for laundry day), and both songs are adapted well here! Give these videos a look above and below, and stay tuned for much more from Mike next month!

Also today, here's a solo YouTube video from another local guitarist/podcast host named Mike, namely Audiofumes showrunner Mike Cliffe! Posted to his YouTube channel on February 17th, this clip is of Mike working on a solo song named "Zombie Cowgirl Awakes", with him playing multiple acoustic tracks simultaneously via different videos in the same window (the second comes in at 0:26.) I'd have either centered the clips or made them portrait orientation to better fill the video resolution, but for an acoustic prog rock number, this is well played and intricate, so Audiofumes loyalists should like where this is going! Check out Mike's newest video below!

Finally for today, here's three assorted shorter news iems from the last while, includine one more mini write-up on another Mike! As usual, these are in alphabetical order by artist name:

  • After an apparent 5 month breakup, local instrumental jam/funk/hard rock quintet Gianni Gagoots have reactivated their Facebook page along with posting a status indicating that they have "been spotted on an ice floe... from an undisclosed location", and "will be back." The status is full of their creative irreverence, and while I have no idea why they disbanded last fall, this is very positive news! The Gagoots are back in our active band links, and stay tuned for more on their 2018 reunion!
  • Ex-Skull After Betrayl frontman Mike Vincent has posted three more songs from his planned second solo album onto his Bandcamp page! Entitled "Vitality", "Opprobrious", and "Sentinels", these have some wildly different imagery for the picture on their Bandcamp copies, but fans of Mike's modern technical brutality should enjoy these songs, which continue to be well performed and produced, so give them a listen above, and hopefully there's more coming!
  • On Saturday, local punk trio Stegadeth posted four photos onto their Facebook page that heavily imply that they are making studio recordings of some kind. Is a debut album in the works, or are they just making professional studio copies of their original songs? This should be interesting either way, so follow along for updates from Stegadeth's camp as they roll in!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for weekend concert previews to start another new month tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Mike McCleary - "Weight Of The Truth" Review!!

To help end the month, here's our 104th monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, as we're taking a look at local solo hard rock musician and Northern Indies Podcast host Mike McCleary's third studio album "Weight of the Truth"! Independently recorded since last year, this album released to Mike's Bandcamp page and other online streaming services on January 29th, just three weeks after his prior "Hourglass" EP, though we chose "Weight of the Truth" for this month's review due to it's length, pre-release hype, and presence of songs carried over from his soon-to-be-revamped 2016 debut album "In Ruins". Featuring Mike on all instruments, this album features 13 songs running for about 49 minutes in length, and can be bought for $9.99 on iTunes and Bandcamp, while it can be streamed for free on the latter and Spotify, with song names linked below to their Bandcamp copies. As well, half of proceeds from sales of both this album and "Hourglass" will go to Michael Landsberg's SickNotWeak initiative, so definitely keep that in mind if you're debating a purchase of either release! Now, let's start this review!

"Weight of the Truth" begins with "So Surreal", a song that Mike wrote about his trip to the Northern Lights Festival Boréal in Sudbury. After a lengthy bass and drum intro, the song kicks in with a familiar rhythm featuring his raw, melodic singing, and it fits the song's laid back nature! The instrumentation sounds like it could use an extra guitar track, but his guitar solo is a nice fit, and the structure has a catchiness to it! Nice casual way to start the album, but he will go into more challenging territory on later tracks. Next is "The Working Poor", which Mike self-describes as "a lighthearted look at how it is living under the poverty line." That lines up with the cheerful, bouncy guitar riff to start things off, but his vocals take on a more determined grit as he makes his lyrical points. The contrast between the music and vocals is effective in this way, and with him really letting loose on the guitar solo, this all helps to put this song higher than "So Surreal" for my personal preferences so far! I just wish the ending wasn't so abrupt, it felt like there was more of this song to come.

Third up is "The Me I Once Knew", which is about being critical about your past, and deciding whether to move on from your old self or live with who you are. An alternative hard rock number in tone, this maintains a casual sing-along nature, and has a clear edge to it without losing vibrance. It's a solid track compared to the prior selections, but my biggest drawback was the layered chorus vocals over-top of the guitar solo, which just seem out of place (I'd have made them a bridge before the solo to set the mood.) The song ends abruptly again too, but this is a quality track, and the leisurely catchiness is a bonus! The album's title track "Weight of the Truth" is next, which is squarely about mental illness and the stigma surrounding it, which has hit close to home for Mike and has been a theme in much of his recent music. Very funk rock-oriented rhythm here (I got Chili Peppers vibes at the start), as Mike continues to contrast a more upbeat rock sound with serious lyrics.

He puts more power into his singing on the choruses, and you can sense the passion and importance of the song here! I don't know if the lyrics and music contrast as well here for my tastes, but for ability and performance, this is a highlight of the album in that respect! Fifth is "Roulette", one of three re-recorded tracks from "In Ruins" last year. Lyrically referencing Russian roulette and it's parallels to struggling with mental illness, this song has another laid back tone, but here, Mike's singing is a fit in tone and mood to the instrumentation, and it has a good pace to it! This is the album's shortest song, and it makes the most of that time with a solid overall performance on all instruments with important lyrics to match, but fans of Mike's more upbeat, harder-edged material may be left wanting more.

The sixth song is "Be The One", which continues recent themes by being about wanting to "be the one" who's free from stress and mental illness. Taking more of a grungy essence here, Mike's singing is at the forefront from the song's start onward, and it's a great usage of his vocal style and tone! His guitar skills get their best showcase yet here, with a lengthy blues-inspired guitar solo that shows a lot of skill and variance! It's almost a tale of two songs here, but both halves are very effective, and this is one of my favourite songs yet on this album! "Clarity" is next, with lyrics about trying to find clarity in life, and wondering if it's worth the effort. By far the heaviest song on the album so far, the pounding guitar work in the verses and melodic choruses give me a bit of a Foo Fighters vibe, and he has the chops to handle that, but the production could have been altered to emphasize the heaviness. Very catchy and aggressive song, and if this is as heavy as the album gets, it's fitting that it comes at the album's exact midpoint!

Eighth on this album is "Date Night With Darkness", which Mike says is "a quick song about ineffective coping methods." Harbouring a sound reminiscent of 1990s indie rock (if that's fair), I like the guitar rhythm and drum beat here, and the vocals are a nice even match to the instrumentation. The verses and choruses are basically one and the same here, but for a shorter track, it's not too jarring, aside from another abrupt ending. Solid song, and with another quality guitar solo to boot! Next is "Snakes & Ladders", which is another song imported from "In Ruins", and is about what can happen when one tried to understand the world. In a return to the contrast of musical tone and vocal style, this song is more of an upbeat hard rocker, but Mike's singing is quieter and more downbeat, aside from some backing vocal input on choruses. In this case, the contrast doesn't work as well to me, but it's a well-composed song otherwise with a good groove to it and well thought out lyrics! I'd just have made the vocals a little louder or passioned.

"Weight of the Truth" continues with it's longest song, "Disease", which Mike wrote about his using alcohol as a coping mechanism, as connected to his love of the shoreline pictured on the album's cover artwork. This effective ballad has more of a dramatic, grandiose feel to it, albeit with a very deliberate pace, and you can feel the emotion in Mike's singing! It's a well performed and structured song with a lot of effort put into it, but for my own personal preferences, I do prefer this album's more upbeat and musically heavier tracks. "The Other Side" comes next as the third and final song to be taken from "In Ruins" (where it was also featured in an acoustic version.) Lyrically about embracing who you really are rather than wearing a mask to cover up mental illness, this has a bluesy vibe while maintaining a hard-edged essence, as contrasted with low downbeat vocals. Again, I like the contrast of the dark, meaningful singing with the hard rocking music, and it's a solid showcase track at this late stage of the album!

Twelfth is "The Best Part", which is about Mike's wife Sara, who has supported and been there for him through thick and thin, and has co-founded the new mental health awareness organization We've Got This with him. Another leisurely paced song, this has solid melodic singing from a clear emotional place, and the lyrics are definitely nice and thankful for all she's done for him personally, so you can't fault this one at all! For the kind of song it is, it succeeds at it's aims, and is a pleasant listen! The album closes with "Overkill", which was a delayed addition to Bandcamp copies of this album, but was always included on the free Soundcloud posting. An minimalist acoustic ballad that Mike always felt connected with, this ends things on a soft, reserved note, but it's a well performed song with good gritty singing and a casual yet emotive mood! I'd have ended the album with a more upbeat song to finish on, but I'm glad this made the final cut!

So, what are my final thoughts on Mike McCleary's newest solo album? Having never listened to one of his albums full through going in, I'm glad to say that he's a very talented musician with mature lyrics and strong ambitions, and he should be able to make a big impact locally if he keeps at it! Given his very real struggle with mental illness and how he's advocated for related causes in recent months, this album's large lyrical focus on it means all the more to it's lyrical impact, so people in similar situations may want to pay closer attention! Musically, Mike takes from numerous inspirations for a sound that, while often hard rock based, could also dip into blues, funk, and alternative rock where need be, and his guitar skills in particular are a boon on these tracks! I was most struck by the contrast between his vocal styles and musical styles on various tracks, often singing in a downbeat fashion against a lighter song in tone, and more often than not, this approach was very complimentary in a positive way!

Songs like "The Me I Once Was", "Be The One", and "Clarity" were among my favourite tracks, but there's something for many tastes here, and I definitely recommend checking out "Weight of the Truth" to see what you think, which you can do at the above links! I hope you guys liked this month's CD review, and look for much more on Mike McCleary's recent music work in an upcoming news post, plus our next CD review of Telephone & Address' "Monster" next month! Thanks everyone!

Monday, February 26, 2018

YouTube Channel Profile Series: gunghoguy & bummer2112

Here's this month's YouTube Channel Profiles for you guys to check out! As usual, this monthly feature series looks at 1-3 randomly selected YouTube channels (2 this month) whose content is at least half devoted to local metal, hard rock, and/or punk bands or concerts, in order to spotlight their uploads and encourage readers to check them our and/or subscribe to them! This month's random choices are our first double dip of 2018, due to the first only having 4 videos from 2 distinct events, so a single video channel was added to fill things out. Punk fans should find something to like here, so here's what you should know for this month's YouTube Channel Profiles!
james whalen (

Owner: Former Polly Pockets Melting In A Microwave drummer and Motion Carried bassist Jamie (or James) Whalen

Channel Timeline: Launched on January 1st, 2008; Videos posted from August 2010 through March 2015

Channel Summary: This personal use channel is mostly devoted to videos of Jamie's local punk band Polly Pockets Melting In The Microwave (a.k.a. PPMM, PPM², or Polly) playing live in the early 2000s, but his final upload there was of a Modern Minds song with no direct local ties.

Why You Should Watch: As a slice of the local punk scene from a decade and a half ago, this is well worth a watch, whether you're familiar with Polly or not, and it captures some young and energetic performances well for the era! However, note that Jamie has not visibly updated this channel in almost three years, nor has he included material from later bands of his.

Our Recommended Videos To Check Out

Polly Pocket's Meltin' In the Microwave - talk to me summer (screeching weasel cover): Two of Jamie's P.P.M.M. videos come from a 2001 concert at The Elks Hall opening for Operation Makeout, where they covered D.B.S.' "Sunday" (featuring Operation Makeout & D.B.S. singer Jesse Gander on guest vocals!), and as featured here, The Screeching Weasels' instrumental "Talk To Me Summer", the most viewed of the four Polly clips. Featuring Jamie alongside future Stripped Of His Wings singer Matt Parent, guitarist Steve Mogg, and bassist Ivan St. Jules, the video isn't an optimal look at the guys due to Matt's lack of vocals, the (intentionally?!) low framerate of the video and fans obscuring view of the band, but this is a solid rendition! Though less popular, the D.B.S. cover is better quality.

polly - look back and laugh (minor threat cover): James' other PPM² videos are from a show at an unclear venue on February 24th, 2002, where they covered Face to Face's "Blind" and, as featured here, Minor Threat's "Look Back & Laugh", both filmed by "Kerry & Fluff". These side-stage videos are by far the best look at Polly Pockets Melting In The Microwave on the channel, thanks to vocal presence, angle, and normal framerate, and they deliver nicely for fans of fast paced modern punk rock! Hopefully the guys will turn up in new bands when the time is right!

Joe Bumbacco (

Owner: Former RedD Monkey, The Fury, and Devastation of the Heavens drummer Joe Bumbacco, most recent seen with the Toronto grind/sludge metal band Theriac

Channel Timeline: Launched on July 12th, 2006; Video posted on November 22nd, 2010

Channel Summary: Joe's only video comes from defunct local/Toronto/Kelowna classical/hardcore punk trio RedD Monkey's November 2010 concert at The Oddfellows Hall where they opened for Total Chaos, with attendee Darcie Piche filming this clip of their song "Monkey's Paw (5th Wish of the Swamp Donkey)", which was on their debut EP "Thought Control Tower" from earlier that year. The incomplete clip captures one of Joe's earlier live gigs with RedD Monkey, alongside singer/guitarist Steve Mozarowski and his brother Pete on the cello. Though the inconsistent and largely dark lighting doesn't help matters, this is a vibrant performance of one of RedD Monkey's earlier songs from their more experimental punk beginnings! Though Joe still uses this channel for personal use here and there, no videos followed, but other channels have far more from their run.

I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profiles! Next month in this series, our new random selection will be defunct all-female hard rock quartet The Danger Cats' YouTube channel, featuring 13 videos from their local heyday, so look for that on or around March 26th, and stay tuned for more news and notes in the coming days, including this month's CD review! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Soundcheck), Big Wreck Videos, Tym Morrison Previews, And More!!

Here's another news post for you guys on this Saturday afternoon, and it includes previews of a few upcoming shows, some assorted recent updates, and some long awaited videos and fallout from a big concert last week. First, however, we have a SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERT and related apology, so here's what you should know! (Updated at 4:38 PM)

Local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck will rock The Esquire Club TONIGHT, after previously playing there last night! Profuse apologies for the short notice and for missing last night's show on here, we only heard about them overnight via members' personal Facebook pages (Soundcheck haven't updated their Facebook page in over a month), though for what it's worth, the picture of the physical schedule at the venue suggests that they replaced country veterans Bone Yard this weekend, possibly on short notice as it was. It's also worth noting that this same schedule (which was up at The Esquire Club long before it went online) also advertised Soundcheck shows two weeks ago. If they did happen, my apologies for missing them, but I can't find any personal or public reference to those shows occurring. As for TONIGHT's (and yesterday's) Soundcheck shows there, the guys enlisted Bone Yard frontman Greg Simpson to fill in for Steven Flint on drums last night, but Steven confirmed on his personal Facebook page that he will be back with Soundcheck for TONIGHT'S concert.

Greg was a solid choice, and it's interesting to see him drumming without singing lead like in Stiffler's Mom! Also, you may notice on the above poster that a planned Stiffler's Mom weekend at The Esquire Club in late March was cancelled before making it's way online, with Cherry Crush replacing them. Hopefully nothing bad happened, though note that we haven't heard from this band online since last fall. TONIGHT'S Soundcheck show is likely a 10:00 PM affair with no announced cover charge and a 19+ age limit, with all being the same last night too. See above for more details, apologies again for missing yesterday's show, and nope, no public videos yet!

Next up, here's some long awaited videos from the Big Wreck concert at The Machine Shop last week, courtesy of prolific concert filmer Christopher Paci's YouTube channel once again! Chris outdid himself once again with ten videos at this show, including two of opening Winnipeg alt-rock trio Attica Riots, with one being of their opening songs "Simply Not Good Enough" & "Misery", and the other being of their song "Give It To Me". The camera work is a little jittery, but Chris got a solid view of the stage, and Attica Riots sound lively and engaging for genre fans! As for Big Wreck, Chris filmed the Juno nominated hard rockers playing their songs "Look What I Found" & "That Song" (both in one video), "By The Way", "Waste", "Blown Wide Open" (accidentally labelled as "Blown Away"), "The Oaf (My Luck Is Wasted)", "Albatross", "Digging In", and as embedded below, "Fall Through The Cracks". Click each link to take you to each song!

As well, SooToday's Donna Hopper posted this article with remarks on the show and 15 photos of the bands online on Valentine's Day, including 11 of Big Wreck and 4 of Attica Riots. Sounds like the show went over very well, and it's great to see Ian and company play here again rather than hanging out in a parking lot between shows! Donna's photos are excellent as usual, so give them and her article a look above, and definitely check out Chris' solid videos from last week above & below!

Also, here's our previews of a trifecta of early-week concerts from local hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison, who will return to Mark's Breakfast Plus in the Market Mall for matinee gigs on MONDAY, TUESDAY, and WEDNESDAY! After previously playing at the former Kackleberry's for three matinee shows two weeks ago, Tym will return for a Gliss-esque scheduling of shows again early next week, and fans should be eager to see his unplugged classic selections again, even at these still somewhat atypical days! No word on if Tym will be playing at Mark's on Mondays-Wednesdays with any regularity once the month is done, but we'll let you know if anything is announced. Much like his usual solo matinees, these three shows are 6:00 PM events with no age limit or announced cover charge, but remember that this is a restaurant, not a typical venue. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's Tym live!

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

  •  A local drummer named John Chindamo is looking to join or start a local band, noting that he is "familiar with the classic rock and some of today's stuff", and is willing to learn country if needed. I'm not overly familiar with John, but it's great to see him wanting something to do with local music, and if you're interested in more details, message him at this link or via his Musicians Wanted Facebook group post from Monday!
  • The newest song from ex-Skull After Betrayl frontman Mike Vincent's solo project (and for his intended second solo album) can now be heard on his Bandcamp page! Entitled "Prevarication", this should please fans of Mike's more technical metal instrumental work of recent years, so give it a listen above!
  • Bear Hunters guitarist Mitch Sirie has revived his Sorrow Fields solo project after a 2 year hiatus, and is apparently working on their long-gestating debut CD at Mission Control Studios! Their Facebook page features a photo of Mitch playing at the studio, and as of Wednesday, he was working on guide tracks. No sign yet of a new online presence for The Sorrow Fields, but it's very encouraging to see Mitch picking up his solo music again, and The Sorrow Fields are back in our active band links, with a "Where Are The New Albums?" return next week also now in the cards!

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

Thursday, February 22, 2018

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (The 3 Day Millionaires & Rob And Jesse), And Weekend Concert Previews!!

The last weekend of February 2018 is fast approaching, so here's this weekend's hard rock concert previews! Though there's not much in the realm of original music to speak of, there's lots of cover action of the electric and acoustic varieties, including a debuting band, so let's begin with SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS!!

Elements bandmates Rob Speers & Jesse Cook will continue their recent dalliance into acoustic hard rock concerts with a return to Room 21 above Low & Slow TOMORROW NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, this show was only announced via it's official Facebook event page earlier this week. Two weeks removed from their Rockstar Bar debut in this setting, this will be Rob & Jesse's first joint unplugged gig at this newer Albert Street West venue of 2018, and continuing with their name ambiguity, they're called The Wyld Stallions rather than The Kariokeheads on the event page. Bill & Ted spelled it "Stallyns", but you can't hate the reference! The guys are again encouraging attendees to jam with them TOMORROW, and at least three guest performers are implied on the event page: Rob's wife Christina on vocals, Rob's Jack Spades bandmate Daniel Horton (who's pictured in the cover photo there), and "the sax man", presumably meaning frequent Elements guest performer Josh Norling.

A 10:00 PM start time is advertised for TOMORROW'S Rob & Jesse/Wild Stallions/Kariokeheads concert, which has no announced cover charge. No word on if these shows are a stopgap during an Elements hiatus or just picking up steam, but things seem to be going well for these acoustic nights, so keep things in mind for TOMORROW NIGHT, and here's Rob, Jesse, and Daniel live at The Rockstar Bar earlier this month!

Next up, local classic/hard rock cover quartet The 3 Day Millionaires will return to Reggie's West for another weekend of hard hitting and fan favourite renditions TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Again, apologies for the short notice, this show was only announced via it's official Facebook event page on Monday. Already having rocked the former Roosevelt Hotel three weeks ago, this will be The Millionaires' third concert weekend at this west end venue of 2018 so far, and this should be another prime opportunity for fans of this veteran outfit to check out their entertaining live show once again! You can see The 3 Day Millionaires TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT at 9:30 PM each night, you must be 19 or older to attend, and there is no cover charge. Visit the above links for more details, and here they are live last year!

Moving to previously announced concerts, prolific local hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison has yet another busy slate of unplugged shows in store for this weekend, including his ongoing long-term arrangement at Gliss Steak & Seafood continuing for matinee shows TOMORROW & SATURDAY, plus a return to The Roadhouse Bar & Grill on Trunk Road TOMORROW NIGHT! Still a regular weekly presence at Gliss for the foreseeable future, Tym's unplugged classics should find another receptive audience over these two evenings, while tomorrow's Roadhouse return will be his fourth of (at least) six bi-monthly shows there through the end of March. Fans have no shortage of opportunities to see Tym Morrison live this weekend, so don't miss out! Note that we will cover his Mark's Breakfast Plus matinees early next week in an upcoming post to give them more timely coverage, while we will address Tym's 10 Gliss and 2 Roadhouse gigs scheduled for next month during next weekend's concert previews.

None of this weekend's three shows have an announced cover charge, and while the Gliss shows are 6:00 PM affairs with no announced age limit, tomorrow's Roadhouse concert is at 10:00 PM with a 19+ age limit. Visit the official Facebook event pages linked here & here for more details, and here's Tym live in concert a few years back!

Finally for this weekend's known hard rock concert previews is the long awaited live concert debut of new local classic/hard rock cover quintet Fluid 5ive as they hit The Rockstar Bar for one night only THIS SATURDAY NIGHT! Almost a year and a half removed from their public launch in late 2016, this new band from singer Colin Nelson, guitarist Joe Miller, bassist Pierre Anthony, drummer Jeff Pennett, and keyboardist Rob Irving should have an entertaining night of hard and classic rock covers in store for their first show, so keep them in mind for something new on the bar scene on Saturday! This is a one-night-only event, no word on if it's due to a separate Friday booking or if they're starting slow. For what it's worth, Fluid 5ive have been unusually quiet on their Facebook page in the past month, but as the venue is still actively promoting this concert, I wouldn't read into anything. There is no announced cover charge on Saturday, this is a 19+ event, and a 10:00 PM-ish start time is likely.

With covers of everyone from Deep Purple and Van Halen to Tom Petty and The Allman Brothers Band teased in their setlist, Fluid 5ive sound promising, but how will they do on Saturday, and might there be videos to follow? Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and stay tuned for more news and notes on the site this weekend! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Peril, Scarkazm, Banned, And Cousin Eddie), Plus A New Local Band!!

Kewadin Casino's entertainment page has been updated to reflect shows at The Northern Pines Lounge at their St. Ignace branch through August of this year (though curiously not The Rapids Lounge in the Soo yet), so we can confirm new shows there from four notable hard rock bands in this all-Sault Michigan-area post! Full band names are given this time, and for reference, "Pard. Excus." were Paradise Excuse, led by recent Broke on Sunday frontman Mark Bowen, and you can see a clip of them covering Chris Stapleton at this link. Now, let's tackle these LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS, starting with a new addition to our band links!

We have a new Sault Michigan band to add to our full coverage on the site, and they are Cousin Eddie! Clearly named after the National Lampoon's Vacation character, we had been aware of this band since late last summer, but only recently confirmed that their genre would fit our range on the SMS. That seems obvious in hindsight, as they are a side project to local classic/hard rock cover veterans Highway 63, with guitarist Nathan Switzer, bassist Chris Leask, and drummer Ron Suchey playing in both bands! The exception is frontman Henry Switzer, with guitarist Greg Smith taking his place in Cousin Eddie, and while I can't be 100% certain, this photo suggests that Nathan and Chris share or trade off lead vocal duties with this project. Describing themselves as playing "classic rock, 80's hits and other genres", Cousin Eddie debuted at an outdoor De Tour Village show last July, and played their first Soo dates at The Rapids Lounge in August, followed by gigs at Huck's Pub & Grill (formerly Joe's Bar & Grill) in Rudyard in November.

As for those new Kewadin gigs, you can see Cousin Eddie at The Northern Pines Lounge in St. Ignace on March 2nd & 3rd, June 29th & 30th, and August 17th & 18th, with possible Sault Kewadin gigs to be confirmed, among other venues. These new Kewadin bookings are all 9:00 PM events with no announced cover charges and 21+ age limits. Though there are no videos yet of Cousin Eddie in concert, their pre-existing chemistry with Highway 63 and extensive local music backgrounds should serve them well, and see the above links for more on Cousin Eddie and their 2018 St. Ignace bookings!

Next up, here's some new Kewadin lounge concert confirmations from Traverse City classic metal trio Peril, but not just in St. Ignace, as their Reverbnation page has dates listed for The Rapids Lounge at the Sault Ste. Marie Kewadin Casino as well, plus shows beyond August! As such, fans can see them at The Rapids Lounge on April 6th & 7th and on July 27th & 28th, while they have St. Ignace bookings lined up for June 15th & 16th and September 21st & 22nd. The April weekend in the Soo will be Peril's first E.U.P. weekend in almost 5 months, and their St. Ignace shows will be their first there in 7 months, so if you're been waiting for Peril to return north, now you have some dates! For reference, Jeff, Adam, and Brooks kicked off the year in Harbor Springs earlier this month. You can take in Peril's metal and hard rock classics at 9:00 PM each night at either venue, there are no announced cover charges, and these are 21+ events. See the above links for more on Peril's 2018 slate of shows in our area!

Likewise, Peril's metal sister band Scarkazm also have Sault Ste. Marie and St. Ignace gigs lined up for 2018 at each town's Kewadin Casino branch, also confirmed via both Kewadin's entertainment page and Scarkazm's Reverbnation page!  Keeping with their generally busier schedule compared to Peril, Scarkazm are booked for Rapids Lounge gigs in the Soo on April 27th & 28th, October 5th & 6th, and December 21st & 22nd, while they will return to The Northern Pines Lounge in St. Ignace for shows on May 11th & 12th, August 10th & 11th, and November 30th & December 1st, so keep these ones in mind for your 2018 concert calendar! The May gigs will be Scarkazm's first in St. Ignace since last month, while April's weekend will be their first in Sault Michigan since October of last year. Scarkazm have proven to be reliable fan favourites from their E.U.P. trips, so don't miss them either in the coming months! Like above, these are 9:00 PM and 21+ events with no announced cover charges. Visit the above links for more details on these shows, and stay tuned for more on Scarkam's local gigs!

Finally for today, Kinross classic/hard rock trio Banned will themselves return to The Northern Pines Lounge at the Kewadin Shores Casino for St. Ignace gigs of their own on May 4th & 5th, July 6th & 7th, and August 24th & 25th! Having just played there a couple of weeks ago, these shows confirm that this fan favourite trio will keep up the rock in St. Ignace through at least the summer, though we await confirmation of Rapids Lounge gigs for 2018, not having played there yet this year. As with all of the above new gigs, you can see Alex, Don, and Wayne live at the St. Ignace Kewadin at 9:00 PM each night, there are no announced cover charges, and you must be 21 or older to attend. Banned's hard rocking covers and occasional originals have been entertaining fans for years now, and these shows should provide more of the same, so visit the above links for more details on these shows!

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

Monday, February 19, 2018

Big Wreck Concert Videos, The Din's New Live Album, And More!!

Happy President's/Family Day, depending on which side of the border you're on! Today's post on the SMS is loaded with some recent news and material from Sault Ontario, including a new album release and linked new solo video, and another new performance clip, but let's start with videos from last Tuesday's Big Wreck concert at The Machine Shop! While videos from this one are surprisingly scant on YouTube, Rock 101's Facebook page has things covered again, with videos of both of last week's bands being uploaded mid-show. One was of opening Winnipeg alt-rock trio Attica Riots playing their song "Misery" from a distant corner angle to the stage, and while it sounds good and lively for the genre, the vertical camera angle and stage setup don't help the view (at least the filmer zoomed in!) As for the headlining Toronto/Boston hard rock quartet, WSUE filmed Big Wreck playing "That Song" and, as embedded below, "Look What I Found", so how'd they turn out?

Both filmed from the back of the crowd section, these are again on a vertical camera angle, but the audio comes through fine, and it's nice to see both a single and a deep cut from "In Loving Memory Of..." filmed for Rock 101's page!  Give each clip a look above and below, and hopefully there's some more footage floating around from this show!

Next up, here's another new album release already for this still-young new year, as defunct local alternative hard rock trio The Din released their posthumous live album "Suburban Sendoff" to their Bandcamp page on Friday! They only announced the release date on Wednesday, so when they teased it was coming soon, they were true to their word! Recorded via soundboard audio at the album's eponymous farewell concert at LopLops Lounge on October 21st, this purportedly comprises of the entire concert's audio without edits, but as they noted in the description, "the human element is on full display." The extended 19 song setlist features every song from The Din's two studio albums, except for "The Rose", plus frontman Mike Haggith's old solo original "We Met At The Circus" (or "...As Surrogates".) In a mild surprise, they also left in the encore cover of The Tragically Hip's "Blow at High Dough", despite previously axing the four external covers from the Bandcamp release of "The Din Does Laundry" last year.

No word on if it's in continued tribute to Gord Downie, worth the copyright hassle to keep the set intact, or a combination therein, but it's welcome to see it make the final cut! "Suburban Sendoff" is available on a "name your price" model through Bandcamp, but consider paying an amount to support The Din's hard work, even after their breakup! With all of that said, when can you expect to see a review of "Suburban Sendoff" on the SMS? Honestly, with our self-imposed 6 month anti-bias buffer period between reviews of albums from the same act, it can't come until June at the earliest, as we just reviewed "Suburban Dream" in December, which was itself delayed a couple of months for similar reasons. That said, our album review schedule is set for the first half of the year (May aside), assuming nothing gets delayed! Also, there is new solo cover video from the aforementioned Mike Haggith from his current Thompson, Manitoba home base, so what should you know on it?

The first posting on his YouTube channel in almost two years, this is an acoustic cover of Stephen Stills' "Love The One You're With", and it's an entertaining cover of this folk classic, with the well-bearded Mike handling this with a light and optimistic air! Give it a look below, and check out his new Thompson pop rock band Between the Ditches!

Finally for today, here's a new video of local acoustic hard rock duo Rob Speers & Jesse Cook (a.k.a./p.k.a. The Kariokeheads) from their show at Room 21 on December 16th, as uploaded by the venue's Facebook page shortly afterward! However, the cover performed is not what you may expect, with the Elements bandmates playing a surprise unplugged version of Khia's "My Neck, My Back" alongside Rob's wife Christina (I think) on guest vocals, and Rob's Jack Spades bandmate Daniel Horton on guest guitar. I'll just say that everyone's got a sense of humour, and it's a nice casual performance, so give it a look if you want below!

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

Sunday, February 18, 2018

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

It's now time to shut down our first "favourite _____ of 2017" poll and launch a new one on the site! As you may recall, we asked this question last month: "What was your favourite new local metal, hard rock, or punk band of 2017?" Unfortunately, this poll only received five votes (can you see why I don't do monthly polls anymore?), but the results are interesting, so thanks to those of you who did vote, and here are the final results!

Vol. (2 votes, 40%)
Handsome Sandwich (2 votes, 40%)
Mike McCleary (1 vote, 20%)
The HTs/You First & The Passive Aggressives (0 votes)
The Kariokeheads/Rob Speers & Jesse Cook (0 votes)
The Noochin' Lanterns (0 votes)
The Soo Fighters (0 votes)
Other (0 votes)

What do you guys think? Aside from the low voter turnout, the results do correlate with a prediction that I had going in, that being that Handsome Sandwich and Vol. would lead the way, given their high profile lineups, early-mid 2017 stage debuts, and multiple live appearances last year. It would have been nice to see more bands receive votes, but with three of the no-vote bands not playing a public show until the fall, and The Noochin' Lanterns arguably being better known from unadvertised "pop-up" gigs, I can't be all that shocked. The biggest surprise was Mike McCleary placing third despite playing a single time at an advertised formal concert in 2017, largely working in studio otherwise, but his skilled and mature hard rock material has been winning fans steadily since last year, and here's to much more from him in 2018! Of the two tied bands, I am again breaking the tie by picking the newer band, as they had less time to garner the same fan support, so while Vol. are the technical winners, it's almost a moot point given the low vote totals. Both bands had a solid debut year, and hopefully they have much more in store to come!

Full disclosure: This poll did not feature The Bananas Guerrillas (previously known as Enema of the Soo), as I believed at the time that they were just a one-off Blink-182 tribute from last fall's Halloween Party at The Algonquin Pub. In any event, "Other" received no votes, but had I known prior to January 18th that they would be continuing as a full band without the tribute theme (a'la The HTs), I guarantee that they would have made the poll!

Thanks to everyone who voted, but what's in this month's poll? Keeping with our "favourite _____ of 2017" theme, I am posing this question to you guys next: What was your favourite local metal, hard rock, or punk album released in 2017? While last year was relatively slow for new band launches, we had a decent crop of new albums and CDs from local hard rock acts, which is on pace to build nicely this year given our quick start to 2018! To make this poll, albums must have been initially released in physical or digital formats for sale in the 2017 calendar year, so the digital reissue of "The Din Does Laundry" is not included. As in the past, "name your price" Bandcamp albums can be included, but the album must be completely packaged in a digital sale format there or elsewhere (so Mike Vincent's solo debut didn't make the cut.) Freely distributed albums, loose physical demos, and Spotify streaming exclusives don't count either, but of course, "Other" exists for a reason! That and seven specific choices are available to choose from, and here's some info on each!

Abhorrent Forest - The End of Life or Ethereal: This new instrumental black metal solo project from Despised Eyes alum Will "Old Man Wyrn" Tholberg is a studio-only project, but they launched with a bang with the release of their debut EP "The End of Life" back on January 9th. Not to be outdone, he also put on the dark ambient EP "Ethereal" on September 17th (which was our 100th monthly CD review!), but did either of these get your attention?

AlgomA & Hooded Menace's split vinyl single: Hitting the middle stretch of local doom metal trio AlgomA's venture into split releases with other bands, January 28th saw the release of their split single with Finnish doom metal quintet Hooded Menace, through the latter's label Doomentia Records. Despite it's short length (one song each) and vinyl-exclusive physical release, fans of each band responded favourably, but were you among them?

AlgomA & Shit Liver - Trading Faces: The third chapter of AlgomA's split chapter saw the release of the cassette tape-exclusive "Trading Faces" on September 5th, where they and local/St. Catharine's grindcore trio Shit Liver each supplied an array of cover songs, including the two bands covering each other! This rare cassette release was a hit, and while AlgomA had to miss most of the release tour for it, did "Trading Faces" win your vote here?

The Apocalypse Afterparty - Bufflesnort: Given a soft release on April 27th at a private Mellow D's Underground concert (though a teased fuller launch never received much follow-through), this is the long awaited debut EP from masked local rap/metal collective The Apocalypse Afterparty. In the works since 2014, their loose, hockey-inspired originals did receive positive notices from fans, but would youc ast your vote for "Bufflesnort" over all the rest?

The Din - Suburban Dream: Once it became clear that frontman Mike Haggith was moving out of town and their demise was imminent, local alt-hard rock trio The Din sped up the recording and release of their sophomore album "Suburban Dream" so it would be released on October 21st during their farewell concert at LopLops Lounge (and on CD!) That was a huge way to send The Din off after a successful run, but did the album win last year for you?

Mike McCleary - In Ruins: Before ever crossing our radar for coverage on the SMS, local hard rock solo artist Mike McCleary had already released his debut album "In Ruins" to online sale sources on June 16th, but it was later pulled from most of them by year's end, with three songs on it being reworked for his 2018 album "Weight of the Truth". Given it's apparent de-listing from his canon, this may be an underdog in the poll, but did you love it the most?

Any of SweetKenny's 2017 score albums: The ever-prolific Ken "SweetKenny" Sutton continued his recent focus on albums intended as scores for other media with four new albums going on digital sale in the 2017 calendar year. These included "Epic", "Music Composed For Film", "The Dogs Are Watching", and "Assassins" (: A Comedy Album?!), so there was no shortage of new material last year! Did any of these earn your vote?

Other: Did we miss your favourite new album from 2017? Perhaps your top choice was Mike Mikus' debut album (which does feature a few Pixo Control holdovers) or another non-hard rock/punk album? Maybe you do want to throw your vote to an unfinished, free, or demo release? If, for whatever reason, your preferred album isn't here, then "Other" is for you!

VOTE TODAY!! You have until March 18th to cast your votes, and hopefully there's a higher turnout than last month's poll! That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes in the coming days!  Thanks everyone!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Pop Evil Concert Video Showcase!!

At last, we have a showcase post of videos from the two major hard rock concerts earlier this week, as Rock 101's Facebook page has got us covered from both events! Much like The Sault's Rock Station did for the recent Theory of a Deadman show (they were presenting sponsors for all three), a station staffer had their camera rolling for both Tuesday's Big Wreck concert at The Machine Shop and Wednesday's Pop Evil concert at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino, with videos making their way to their Facebook page during each. We'll get into their Big Wreck footage in an upcoming post, but there's enough from Pop Evil alone to fill a whole post today, so let's start with the headlining Muskegon hard rock quintet! Rock 101 filmed Pop Evil playing their recent hit singles "Waking Lions" and, as embedded below, the much longer "Boss' Daughter". Compared to the prior YouTube clips from this show, the quality is much better despite the distant camera angle from the stage, and the crowd turnout is solid, so give these a look above & below!

Next up, here's another video of Pop Evil's set at The Dreammaker's Theater on Tuesday, and while this is also from 101.3 FM's Facebook page, it's not from the station proper. Instead, fan Dave Fisher publically shared this clip of Pop Evil playing their hit "Trenches" in a comment reply there on Thursday, and it's the best video I've seen yet for view of the band (and not just because it's on a landscape orientation!) Leigh's vocals still sound strained compared to past Pop Evil videos I've seen from the Soo, but the crowd makes up the difference, and the band sounds solid as usual, so give Dave's clip a look also! Hopefully there's more to come at some point!

Moving to the openers, Rock 101 did get a video from each of them, including this clip of Las Vegas "fashion-art rock" band Palaye Royale playing their single "How Do You Do?" Not a bad band, almost reminds me of a cross between indie/alt-rock and goth, if that makes any sense, and they have a harder edge that comes through here despite the somewhat muffled audio quality! Give Rock 101's Palaye Royale clip a look below!

Finally, Rock 101 filmed San Francisco hard rock trio Black Map playing a song during their set, but I can't title it based on recent concert setlists (either my song recognition skills are off today, it's a new to this tour, or it's a cover.) Regardless, their sound is solid, they get good mileage out of their three-piece lineup, and is it wrong to make Chevelle comparisons? Check out this Black Map video below, and thanks again to Rock 101 for filming these videos, with Big Wreck videos to come!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for last month's poll results and a new poll on the site tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Friday, February 16, 2018

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Banned), Pop Evil Videos, A New Album, And More!!

Here's a Sault Michigan-heavy post for your Friday morning, and it includes videos from a big recent concert, a surprise album release, and even a few Sault Ontario notes, but let's kick things off with a SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for readers in the E.U.P.!

Kinross, Michigan classic/hard rock trio Banned will return to The Runway Bar in Hessel for one night only TONIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, Banned only announced the show via their Facebook event page late last night, though the venue's Facebook page has covered it since Tuesday. TONIGHT's show will mark Banned's first gig since taking a road trip to Engadine (outside of our coverage range) last week, and their first in Hessel since a deer season party in November. That said, this concert is also tied to special festivities, as it coincides with the annual Snowsfest in Hessel, with this taking place during the festival's annual Pub Shuffle, so if you like pub crawls and such, click here for full details on participating venues and the favourite bar contest! And in case you're curious, this year's theme is cartoons, hence the cartoon imagery on The Runway Bar's Facebook page when covering this concert, but if there's a hidden meaning behind only using underwater-set cartoons, I don't know it.

TONIGHT'S show at The Runway Bar (I mean, Bikini Bottom?!) has a 9:00 PM start time, no announced cover charge, and a 21+ age limit. Visit the above links for more details, best of luck with Snowsfest and the pub crawl this year, and here's Banned live!

Next up, here's (so far) the only public videos that I've found from the Pop Evil concert at The Dreammaker's Theater at the Sault Ste. Marie Kewadin Casino on Valentine's Day! Uploaded by YouTube user Om G shortly afterward, these videos are of the Muskegon hard rock quintet playing their songs "Boss' Daughter" and, as embedded below, "Ways to Get High". These aren't optimal looks at this concert due to the vertical camera angle, shaky visuals, and muddled audio, but while the vocals come through fine, Leigh's range doesn't hit the heights I'm used to from Pop Evil's studio versions. These work well enough though, so check them out above & below!

Also today, here's a surprise, as Dafter hard rock solo artist Ken "SweetKenny" Sutton has released yet another studio album to his Bandcamp page! Entitled "Music For The Body", this is officially SweetKenny's 25th official album, and his second of 2018 already, but it does depart from his recent formula of intended scores for other media. Instead, this is an EP-length release featuring 6 instrumental tracks, including his recent song "Bikini", and as it turns out, he's intended "Music For The Body" to be used for fitness purposes, specifically aerobic or Zumba workouts. That's an angle I didn't expect, but hey, it shows his diverse thinking! You can buy this EP at the above links for $7, and can stream it for free there as well. It's great to see SweetKenny release a new non-score album, even if it's a fitness EP, but might we see a review of it on the site? It's possible, but given that we just reviewed "The Dogs Are Watching" last month, it wouldn't be until July at the earliest due to our 6 month anti-bias buffer period.

As well, keep in mind that SweetKenny has released six studio albums since the beginning of 2017, so I'd be shocked if he didn't have anything else put out by July. Given that, a fitness-geared EP likely wouldn't be our optimum choice for a review over a potential full length album (score or otherwise) that follows, but stranger things have happened! Give SweetKenny's new album and more of his extensive back catalog a listen above!

Finally for today, here's three assorted shorter news items (all regarding Sault Ontario acts) from the last while, and as usual, these are in alphabetical order by artist name:

  • Local alt-punk trio A Dire Setback announced on their Facebook page last week that they have begun pre-production for their debut album, and will post updates on it along with "a few surprises." No word on when and where they'll officially begin recording tracks for it, but the guys did note that their planned next concert will be in May. Intriguing, so stay tuned for more from A.D.S. as it rolls in!
  • Local indie/hard rock quartet Id Iota and DJ Seith took a road trip to Espanola for rare out of town concerts last Friday and Saturday as part of the Boogie Mountain Night Jam skiing event there, as cited at this link. Hopefully the shows were a hit, and that both Id Iota and Seith made some new fans out east! However, no public word yet on Id Iota's teased new bassist.
  • Former Bear Hunters guitarist Mike Vincent posted the first track from his planned second solo album onto his Bandcamp page on Wednesday! Entitled "Apocalypse", this is a well recorded technical death metal instrumental that fans of his other recent solo material should like, so give it a listen above! For what it's worth, Mike still hasn't formally released "Ultimate Chaos" in an formal album packaging on Bandcamp or elsewhere that I've seen, with the songs still only posted as separate single tracks.

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

Thursday, February 15, 2018

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Shit Liver, Soundcheck, And Tym Morrison), Plus An Upcoming New Album Release!!

I hope everyone had a good Valentine's Day! It's now time for another batch of weekend concert previews on the SMS, and while things are quiet on the hard rock spectrum, both of this weekend's performing hard rock acts have SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS to address as part of them! To round things out, we have one more huge new concert to address, including a new album alongside it, so here's what you should know!

Local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck will return to The Rockstar Bar stage for one night only TOMORROW NIGHT, with their apparent Water Tower Pub debut following THIS SATURDAY NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice on these shows, the former was announced via their Facebook event page on Monday, and the latter was briefly noted on the Sault Music News Letter Facebook page on Tuesday. However, note that Soundcheck have not publically acknowledged either show on their own Facebook page at press time (or posted there in almost a month), and the Water Tower Pub haven't mentioned it either that I've seen. TOMORROW'S Rockstar Bar show will be the Mourning Wood successors' first at this venue since January 19th, and while it's not clear why they didn't get a double booking for there this weekend, SATURDAY'S Water Tower Pub show will fill in the gap in a rare solo hard rock appearance there from a local band!

An act of Soundcheck's style isn't unprecedented for this Great Northern Road venue, and hopefully they deliver a solid set on SATURDAY, assuming that the show is still on! These gigs are likely 9:30 PM affairs both nights, you must be 19 or older to attend, and there are no advertised cover charges. Check the above links for more details, and nope, no public Soundcheck videos yet! We'll let you know when any turn up!

Next up, prolific local hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison has new nighttime gigs at Room 21 above Low & Slow TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT to go along with his ongoing Gliss Steak & Seafood matinees that take place earlier those same days! Again, apologies for the short notice on the Room 21 shows, Tym only announced them via their Facebook event page on Sunday (concurrently with his Mark's Breakfast Plus gigs earlier this week.) These will be Tym's first stops at this newer acoustic-heavy upstairs venue of 2018, last having played there in September, so if you liked seeing his unplugged hard rock favourites there last fall, here's another chance! Likewise, his ongoing long-term arrangement at Gliss continues for two more matinee shows this weekend, so if you want an earlier and more intimate night of music, you have those options once again too!

These four shows (including at Room 21 TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT) have no cover charges, and while the Gliss gigs are at 6:00 PM with no firm age limit, the Room 21 shows are at 10:00 PM with a 19+ age limit. Click here and visit the above links for more details, and here's Tym live!

Also, here's one more new show with lots of advance notice, and it's a big one, as local/St. Catharine's grindcore trio Shit Liver are coming back home for a headlining concert on Friday, April 6th at The Algonquin Pub, with their new album in tow! Last seen here at The New A in September during the "Trading Faces" split release tour, Shit Liver will make their way back north in support of their second full length album "Hitting The Fan", which never even made our "Where Are The New Albums?" posts because they never publically and firmly acknowledged studio sessions for it. In their album announcement on their Facebook page yesterday, the guys indicated that this is completely a DIY release that they recorded and are releasing themselves with no label assistance, so that may have helped explain the quiet recording sessions. "Hitting The Fan" will be released on Tuesday, March 13th, with local physical copies following at the show on April 6th, but how can you hear it?

An online release is expected for next month (presumably on Bandcamp), but physical copies appear to be limited to vinyl records with no CD pressings implied. If true, this will mean that all three of their studio albums have came out on different physical formats (should we break out our 8-track players for album #4?!) This pressing is apparently limited to 550 hand numbered records, with coloured vinyl, a lyric insert, and a poster, so keep that in mind come April 6th! In terms of that concert, local punk trio Stegadeth will open in their second show of the year, while there will be a third band to be announced. Stegadeth are a solid choice to compliment Shit Liver's punk influences! Promoted by Six, Two, Oh. (who also put on their show here last fall), a 9:00 PM start time is advertised for this 19+ concert, which has an $8 cover charge, and while prices for vinyl copies of "Hitting The Fan" are not out yet, their friends in AlgomA priced their vinyl splits for around $20.

I had no idea that things were this far along for Shit Liver's sophomore original album, but this is huge news, and I know fans will be eager to hear their new originals in studio form next month! Stay tuned for more on the digital release and price, track listing, and more, and assuming there's no release hang-ups, our next three CD reviews are set for the site! Given that Mike McCleary and Telephone & Address have new albums already on sale, that may bump "Hitting the Fan" to an April review, but certainly no later than that. Keep in touch for updates, and for a new news post this weekend, hopefully with Big Wreck and Pop Evil fallout! Thanks everyone!

    Tuesday, February 13, 2018

    LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (I Mother Earth & Redundant), Live705 Updates, And More!!

    Here's a big news post for your Tuesday delectation, and with other big news and announcements piling on, there was no need to delay things! Today's post features some assorted shorter items,

    Three local punk bands will unite for Punk Covers Night at LopLops Lounge on Saturday, March 3rd! A presentation of Tidal Records, this show's lineup will include veteran punk favourites Redundant in a rare LopLops appearance from them, and they definitely know their share of punk classics! While this is a covers-centric show, might we hear originals from their long-awaited debut EP, currently in progress at Tidal's own Mission Control Studios? Sporadically seen punk cover quartet The Cover-Up will play their first publically advertised concert in three years next month, with frontman/Tidal Records head Dustin Jones & ex-Lion Ride guitarist Marco Pedalino now joined by Dustin's Rising Tide bandmate Marshall Jaaskelainen & K.I.C.K. drummer Aaron Dunn, replacing Clint Wilson and Mike Yorke respectively, as per personal Facebook postings. Reasons for the lineup changes haven't been publically announced, but remember that The Cover-Up don't have any known band pages on Facebook or elsewhere. Solid and familiar choices for Tidal loyalists, and they should deliver a fun set!

    The third advertised band is The Bananas Guerrillas, and while the name is new to the site, this band is either a renaming of or successor to Enema of the Soo, the Blink-182 tribute from the Halloween Party events at The Algonquin last year. If the lineup's identical, look for ex-Stereo North frontman Andrew Pucci, ex-Long Shot bassist Adam Dawe, and ex-Gnaeus drummer Brendan Garlick in this band. No online pages yet, but they have an intriguing lineup! A $5 cover is in effect for this 19+ concert, whose doors open at 8:00 PM on March 3rd. Visit the above links for more details, and look for a high impact night of punk rock at LopLops next month!

    Next up, here's a huge show announcement for The Machine Shop on Wednesday, April 18th, as Juno award winning, multi-platinum-selling Ontario hard rock bands I Mother Earth and Finger Eleven will co-headline this already highly anticipated show! Best known for hit singles like "One More Astronaut", 'So Gently We Go", and "Another Sunday", this will be a long anticipated gig for fans of I Mother Earth's alternative and prog-tinged hard rock sound (they last played here at Club Princess, so there's an idea of the wait!) This will be I.M.E.'s first show here with Salads bassist Chuck Dailey in place of Bruce Gordon, while it'll mark frontman Edwin Ghazal's return after his 2 prior stops here with Crash Karma. As for Finger Eleven, this will mark their first stop here since headlining at The Roberta Bondar Pavilion back in 2004, and their first Soo gig since having their biggest chart success with the dance rocker "Paralyzer", so look for that and other hits like "One Thing" & "Living in a Dream" in a couple of months' time!

    Also, this will be Finger Eleven's first local show since Steve Molella replaced Rich Beddoe on drums. Tickets are $40 for this ALL AGES concert, which has an advertised start time of 8:20 PM, and tickets will go on sale TOMORROW at 10:00 AM at this link and at the in-person box offices at The Machine Shop and Station Mall. Fittingly announced the day of tonight's Big Wreck concert at the same venue, it's great to see The Machine Shop booking more non-country acts, and with this double whammy of Canadian hard rock, I know the buzz will only build in the next two months! Visit the official Facebook event page for current and future details as they come in!

    Also today, here's the latest from local concert promoters Live705's Facebook page, starting with a post on January 20th where they held a "roll call" for bands that would be interested in playing future shows of theirs, or to be "placed on our talent list" if they're contacted with information about band-for-hire slots. No word yet on when Live705 will end their concert promotion hiatus (they teased the summer), but send your band's name, contact info, description, lineup, and available links to Live705 above if you're interested! With that said, a Live705 representative was in attendance for Elements bandmates Rob Speers & Jesse Cook's acoustic concert at The Rockstar Bar on Friday, and this is an unplugged cover of Tom Petty's "You Don't Know How It Feels" alongside Rob's Jack Spades bandmates Daniel Horton and Johnny Belanger on guest guitar and percussion. The vertical footage doesn't help, especially at this sharp angle, but it's a solid rendition of this roots rock classic! Give it a look below, and I wonder why there were so many balloons?

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

    • The aforementioned Daniel Horton is thinking about starting a new side project that would play originals and select covers. Influences would include bands ranging from Breaking Benjamin and Chevelle to A Perfect Circle and Tool, among others. No word on what instrument Daniel would primarily play (he's usually a guitarist, but was the bassist in Project 421), so message him at this link or via his Musicians Wanted Facebook group post from Thursday if you're interested in more details!
    • Former A Dire Setback/A Fall From Innocence singer Larry Babic is looking to get back into the scene, and is interested in jamming with other musicians. He is currently learning to play guitar as well, he cited bands like Taking Back Sunday and Tiny Moving Parts as some of his favourite current bands, he likes "making sad lyrics", and he indicated that he loves doing promo work. If you're interested in jamming with Larry, message him at this link or via his Musicians Wanted Facebook group post from Friday!
    • Sykotyk Rampage's Facebook page has quietly returned after being briefly deactivated late last month, so we can quote the posts there that acknowledged their hiatus. On January 16th, the band said "Sorry we have been out of the loop, but we will be back with more", and "we should be getting together soon so we can bring the sweet creativeness to all of you.", while thanking fans for the love & likes. This isn't a firm declaration of imminent activity, so we'll leave them in our inactive band links for now, but I know fans of the crash are hoping that Sykotyk Rampage come back in full force in 2018!

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