Monday, July 30, 2018

Mike Vincent - "Ultimate Chaos" Album Review!!

It's now time for our 109th monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, as we're taking a look at former Skull After Betrayl frontman and Bear Hunters guitarist Mike Vincent's debut solo album "Ultimate Chaos"! Released on March 25th (concurrently with his sophomore album "Apocalypse") via his Bandcamp page, this independently released and recorded album was recorded between 2016 and 2017, and it unites what were originally planned to be two solo EPs named "Six, Six, Six" & "We're Of Nothing", though those titles do survive as song names. True to it's solo nature, Mike performs every credited instrument on the album, save for a guest appearance on "Times of the Unforgotten" by his uncle. That said, this album is completely instrumental, despite Mike's past work as a singer with Skull After Betrayl and Devastation of the Heavens. "Ultimate Chaos" is available solely on a "name your price" model at the above links, with no stated CD pressings.

You can also stream this album on Bandcamp, and song names linked below are via these copies, but consider paying for Mike's album to support his work! Note that we won't be sharing individual pictures from each song's respective Bandcamp link due to the politically charged imagery used. While they may reflect the songs' themes, I don't want to divide or provoke readers, and they're not of Mike himself anyway. With 13 songs running for about an hour in length, let's begin this review!

The album begins with six songs whose names all begin with the letter S, as they were originally planned to comprise the suitably alliterative "Six, Six, Six" EP. "Shoah" is up first, which happens to be a cover of Mike's old band Skull After Betrayl's self-titled song, obviously renamed following that band's demise. This song has flourishes of groove and death metal, and some catchy chugging riffs, though the drumming is monotonous on the slower parts, it starts and ends very abruptly, and the vocals of the original song are definitely missed. Not bad on it's own merits though! Next is "Sacred Sins", which has more of a thrash metal base, and his guitar work has a steady yet fast rhythm while never sticking to a specific formula for too long. There is a hardcore-style breakdown late, which is a bit of a surprise addition, but not unwelcomed! Better production would benefit this song, but Mike's guitar skills are given a better showcase on this faster and heavier original track!

Third is the album's shortest song, "Soulless Sanctuary", which gives me a bit of a Sepultura or Soulfly vibe in it's structure and riffing, especially in the first half, if that's fair. This song harbours the first real guitar solo of the album, and while it's not overly long or complex, it does give Mike a chance to let loose! Well structured and paced, this shows Mike's range a little more, and it an early highlight! That's followed by "Screaming Serenity", which has more of a progressive, technical flair to it, while maintaining a fast and aggressive pace. As a pure musician, this is Mike's strongest performance on guitar yet, but the abrupt breaks after where the chorus would likely go are a mood-killer. The bridge does have a doomier, slower rhythm before Mike turns on the jets to end things, but to me, it's just an aural barrage that doesn't add anything new to the song. Early on though, it's top notch!

Next here is "Systematical Satan", which has a slow and ominous opening (which reprises near the end) that calls Slayer to mind, before picking up into suitably thrashy territory, with some groove-inspired sections to help break things up. The cymbals in the percussion often have sound too much like a dinging bell, and the song strikes me as a little too long (especially without vocals), but the body of the song moves at a ripping pace at it's peak, and will definitely please established fans of Mike's original music! Song #6 is "Six, Six, Six" (naturally), which was the originally planned EP's title track. Another ominous opening leads into a track that bounces between speedy thrash and more progressive riffing that honestly comes across as a little meandering to me. The mood changes are otherwise fine, and the guitar solo is definitely stronger than on "Soulless Sanctuary"!

I'd have ended the song with a fade-out, but "Six, Six, Six" is a fine showcase of Mike's talents to end the album's first half with! The remaining seven songs were to have comprised his planned EP "We're Of Nothing", and do not share the same first letter. First from this side is "Times of the Unfogotten", which features a guest appearance by Mike's uncle Jason Ladouceur (ex-Winkstinger) on guitar. It's hard to pin down Jason's exact involvement, but the guitar work is solid and it sounds fuller and better layered here! Mike's drum tracks sound more natural on this song, which has a groove metal vibe while echoing a bit of System of a Down on the faster stretches. A guitar solo would have been a welcome addition, but this is a good sign of things to come for the second half of "Ultimate Chaos"!

Up next is "Chapters of No Light", which is a slow, dark, and minimalistic song for it's first 3 minutes that particularly serves as a showcase of Mike's bass abilities. No drums, not much guitar, and not much to really say until the full instrumentation kicks in for the final 100 seconds, with the song getting more technical there, but the drums sound out of place at a key moment. As a pure song, this is not my favourite on this album, but Mike does let loose at the end! Then we have "We're Of Nothing", the intended title track of the EP in question. This is a return to Mike's prior form, with melodic yet heavy riffing, rapid fire drumming, and some heavy breakdowns for good measure, though his guitar solo isn't layered well at all, and I really had to crank my speakers to hear it with any clarity. Otherwise, this is a quality song on Mike's solo debut!

"Phases of Pain" follows next, whose sinister opening leads into a fast and heavy song that calls to mind some NWOAHM bands, with the guitar work in particular having a catchy melody at it's height! The drum tracks benefit the song, and the bass is solid too, but I'd have cut down on the false endings, but this is one of my favourite songs on this album for a reason! Then we have "Filters of Fire", which is a slower but still heavy and darker-edged song with nicely suited bass work and pounding guitar riffs that is another album hightlight, effectively showcasing Mike's talents without feeling a need to go too fast. Mike arguably has his strongest guitar solo yet, but again, it's not layered well, coming across as too quiet. Other than that, things are going well again on this track!

The penultimate song is "Chapter 2: Glow Of The Dark" (I presume "Chapter 1" was "Chapters of No Light"), and this track is definitely heavier out of the gate than it's predecessor! More of a hardcore-based track, the pounding riffs mesh nicely with the steady drum tracks, and the aggressive steady pace is only a boon at this stage of the album. It could stand to be a little more melodic, but it's a more brutal and full "chapter" than we saw before! The album closes with it's title track and longest song, "Ultimate Chaos", which has another dark softer opening before the song proper kicks into fully metal gear. Though a strong performance technically, the song's structure isn't as cleanly put out as we had previously seen, and even the guitar solo suffers a bit in that regard, despite being louder in the mix. It's an entertaining song on it's own merits, the the softer closing stretch sends the album out easy, but earlier songs showcase Mike's songwriting abilities better to me.

So, what are my final thoughts on Mike Vincent's debut solo album? Overall, I think "Ultimate Chaos" is an entertaining debut album that effectively showcases Mike's musical growth! Having followed his music career since the pre-SMS days when we were both attending Bawating C&VS,  I can attest to his improvement in skill and technicality in the past decade+, and he is a talented songwriter and multi-instrumentalist when fully focused, as songs like "Screaming Serenity" and "Filters of Fire" attest! Since Skull After Betrayl's last shows in 2011, we haven't really seen Mike as a live concert presence, but if he shored up these songs with vocals, most would be quickly ready for the stage! There is room for improvement though. Production quality could be better, especially in how guitar solos (when featured) are layered in the mix, drum tracks could sometimes be monotonous, and the structures of a few songs could stand to be tightened up.

Some songs are also begging for the inclusion of vocals, especially given the political themes implied on Bandcamp, but for a debut solo effort, Mike's firmly on his way, and hopefully "Apocalypse"  builds on this base with even more quality original metal! Buy "Ultimate Chaos" at the above links! So, what is our next album review of choice for this month on the SMS? It will be a new album, but I'm unsure which at this juncture. As it currently stands, I'm torn between three albums (Mike McCleary's "Weight of the World", Sykotyk Rampage's "Live at the Paris Hilton", and SweetKenny's "Management"), with Redundant's debut EP a wild card contender, pending local on-sale availability, not to mention potential releases that haven't even been firmly announced yet. Will we review one of these four albums this month, or something else entirely? Stay tuned to find out, and for more news and notes on the site shortly! Thanks everyone!

Friday, July 27, 2018

YouTube Channel Profile Series: ThisIsTheEndGame

Now is the time for this month's YouTube Channel Profile installment, as we continue our monthly spotlight on YouTube channels whose content is at least 50% comprised of metal, hard rock, and/or punk concerts and/or musicians, in order to showcase them and encourage viewership and subscriptions of them! This month's randomly selected channel is from a prolific local musician that will be very familiar to metal fans of the mid-late 2010s, so here's what you should know regarding this month's selection!
ThisIsTheEndGame (

Owner: Pillory frontman, Peach Thieves guitarist, Id Iota bassist, and Twistory drummer Robert Sartini, also previously known from the bands Crimson Crusade, Roadkill, Shadowthrone, and Gorrifier

Channel Timeline: Launched on July 9th, 2010; Videos posted from August of that year through July 2014

Channel Summary: Robert's channel is almost half devoted to solo guitar performances of his from the early 2010s, with remaining videos including jam session footage of Pillory and Roadkill, plus the 5 songs on Pillory's 2013 debut EP "Cringe at the Cross". The sole video on Robert's channel that doesn't feature him performing is it's first upload, his personal ranking of Metallica's top 10 guitar solos.

Why You Should Watch: Fans will most want to check out this channel if they were fans of early thrash-era Pillory and/or Robert's early years as a prominent local musician, with his talent and potential clear even at this stage! While Robert still uses this channel for personal needs, no footage has made it's way there from his current projects, nor from any past live concerts, in case that changes your mind on subscribing.

Our Recommended Videos To Check Out

Roadkill - Speed Therapy (Original): Before launching Pillory, Robert and drummer Jarrod Sachro performed together in a two man metal band named Roadkill, with four videos from mid-2011 jam sessions being posted to this channel at the time. These include a cover of Diamond Head's "Am I Evil?" and three original songs, namely "2083... E.D.I.", a self titled original, and, as featured here, "Speed Therapy". Sort of a prototype of Pillory's early sound, Jarrod hangs well with Robert on these instrumental jams, but the chemistry isn't quite there compared to with Bret, and the rough nature of the recordings doesn't help matters. Still, these are an interesting early look at Robert in action before he became a familiar presence!

Pillory - Shattered By War: In August 2012, Pillory launched to the public with 4 jam session videos on Robert's channel, including three early originals ("Onward To Death", "Fatal Woods", and "Shattered By War"), plus a cover of Megadeth's "Hangar 18". At this stage, Robert was joined by longtime drummer Bret Shuttleworth and former Bear Hunters guitarist Andres Duchesne, who suddenly passed away just four months later. While not an optimal look at Pillory's 2012-2014 run as a thrash outfit (partially due to the lack of a bassist at that time), these instrumental jams showcase the fast paced technicality that would come through so well in the live concerts ahead, and Andres is a solid presence! Studio versions of these songs from the next year's "Cringe at the Cross" EP can also be heard on this channel.

Putrid Pile - Blood Fetish (Guitar Cover): After previously posting nine thrash metal cover videos onto his YouTube channel from 2010-2012, Robert's uploads focused on Pillory until mid-2014, when he uploaded three covers of death metal bands, including Dying Fetus' "Your Treachery Will Die With You", and two Putrid Pile songs ("Food For The Maggots" and his most popular video, "Blood Fetish".) Though not labelled as such, these were likely intended to reflect on his then-death metal solo project Gorrifier, and they do foreshadow Pillory's transition to that sub-genre after their 2015 relaunch. The more brutal and technical renditions benefit from better recording quality, and the evolution of Robert's musical skill and proficiency is impressive when comparing these to his early uploads!

I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profile! We're looking at multiple channels to end the summer with next month, as our first randomly selected channel only has one video, so we added a second channel with only two distinct videos to round things out. As such, the random choices coincidentally all focus on Kewadin Casino concerts, as we'll be looking at the YouTube channels of Jolene Barens (featuring a Theory of a Deadman video from last year) and Reckage35 (featuring videos from the Shinedown and Pop Evil shows here in 2013.) Look for these on or around August 26th, and stay tuned for this month's CD review next! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (The Costanzas), Peril Concert Previews, And More From Rotaryfest!!

Before we kick off this news/weekend concert preview post, I wanted to apologize for a missed show on here, as Tym Morrison was among the live entertainment at the launch of this year's Sault Pridefest outside of the Civic Center on Monday afternoon. Though not publically advertised in advance by organizers, Tym confirmed the set on his personal Facebook page on Sunday, and he's featured in a photo from Darren Taylor's SooToday article on the event. Profuse apologies for missing this set, we'd have covered it here had it gotten advance notice online, but hopefully Tym's set went well, and that Pridefest is another huge hit this week!

Now, today's post features some more Rotaryfest fallout, this weekend's slim pickings for hard rock concert previews, and first, here's a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for next month, as Montreal ska/jazz punk quartet The Costanzas will make their Sault Ste. Marie debut as headliners at The Rockstar Bar on Saturday, August 4th! With an upbeat, noise-filled blend of punk sub-genres, free spirit, and sense of humour, The Costanzas have a solid and edgy sound that should attract a good crowd next weekend, so don't miss out then! Local punk trio Stegadeth will open in their first show since returning home from Spiderfest, while a second local opener is to be announced. It is worth noting that one of the event hosts is The Killenials, who launched their Facebook page locally last month, but I cannot confirm if they're co-organizers, the planned second opening act, or something else entirely. You may be able to infer who's involved based on Facebook likes, but I won't speculate yet.

Promoted by Six, Two, Oh., this early stop on The Costanzas' Canadian tour has a $5 cover charge, a 9:00 PM start time, and a 19+ age limit. This should be a fun night of punk rock action, so visit the official Facebook event page for current details, and stay tuned for more on who exactly The Killenials are!

Next up, we have a very quiet weekend for hard rock concerts in the area (even Tym Morrison isn't advertised for a public gig at press time), so for a heavier fix, Sault Michigan is your best bet. There, you can check out Traverse City classic metal trio Peril, who are advertised to return to The Rapids Lounge at the Soo's Kewadin Casino branch TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Note that Peril have oddly not plugged these shows on their Facebook page this week, but their Reverbnation page announced them earlier this year, and we'll let you know if their status changes. This weekend's shows are surprisingly their first in Sault Ste. Marie this year, following the cancellation of their April weekend at the same venue, so if you've missed Peril's fan favourite covers attack, head down to the Soo Kewadin this weekend! Expect 9:00 PM start times, no cover, and 21+ age limits both nights. See above for more details, and here's Peril live!

We'll close today with some more fall-out from this year's Rotaryfest musical entertainment, startinw with coverage from The Sault Star, who conducted interviews before the festival with Stampeders frontman Rich Dodson and Stage 2's Thursday headliner Mark "M.D." Dunn, which are both highly worth reading, and they include some new (to me) information, like the makeup of M.D.'s Innocent Weapon Ensemble backing band, and that Rich Dodson's kids are in Parallels, the Toronto electronic band that headlined Stage 2 on Friday! The Sault Star's Brian Kelly was on hand for all three days of the festival, getting scattered pictures from both stages, and you can click here for photos of four bands from the stages on Thursday, here for a photo of Treble Charger's Bill Priddle on Friday night, and here for photos from The Stampeders' set on Saturday. He did tread some of the same ground on Thursday as Donna Hopper did for SooToday, but each batch of photos is worth checking out on their own merits!

SooToday did post one video to their YouTube channel of performers on the Stage 2 (they sponsored it this year, after all.) Unfortunately, it is only 57 seconds long, and it only features three bands from the first two lineups, oddly out of performance order. It starts with The Barn Board Trio's set on Saturday afternoon, before transitioning to Friday co-headliners Id Iota (albeit for just 9 seconds) and closing with The Elements' opening set on Saturday. I wish there was more to this video, but the recording quality is excellent while it lasts, so check it out below!

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

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Rotaryfest 2018 Fallout & Videos, Plus Treble Charger Updates!!

At long last, here is our Rotaryfest fallout post concerning musical action on Stages 1 & 2, so what is there to say from this year's installment of the Soo's summer festival? Well, let's start with local news coverage, starting with Stage 2 presenting sponsors SooToday, they were definitely on hand for this year's Rotaryfest, with correspondent James Hopkin getting 18 quality photos of Thursday night acts on both stages for this article, including some identical acts as Brian Kelly's Sault Star album (more on that soon.) Donna Hopper was on hand for Treble Charger's headlining set on Friday, snapping 18 photos of the local/Toronto indie/punk veterans for this article, while also including some remarks on the set. Bill reportedly introduced their performance of their song "Drive" by noting that it was "the last song on our last album ("Detox"), but it might not be our last album."

There had been scattered teasers in recent years that Treble Charger were planning to record a new album, so is this more fuel for the fire, or just a hopeful nudge? Donna's photos are predictably excellent, so give hers and James' a look above, and we'll have more local news coverage soon!

Video-wise, there isn't as much currently online as you may expect, but hopefully that will change. Of course, Sault Online haven't posted videos of the full Stage 1 lineup since 2016, though maybe with their new ONNtv service, there's some exclusive content there? Also, keep in mind the rainy conditions that persisted on Saturday, which may have impaired many Rotaryfest attendees' efforts to attempt filming certain bands. There is a SooToday video, but we'll hold that for our next post to spread things out, as there is a YouTube channel with a couple of concert videos from Rotaryfest weekend to cover! These come from veteran local musician Randy "Dutch" Vanderploeg (of Browbeat, Nikkfitt, and Caveman Morrison fame), who has recently been vlogging for his channel Randy's Rides, where he takes his e-bike around the city to tell stories about the city and showcase it's sights. Great idea, I'll definitely have to see more of his videos!

Randy posted three videos from the festival on YouTube, with the first largely focused on his ride to the festival and his footage from the car show, with the only musical tie being some video of the Saturday lineup announcement on Stage 1. His first video with a musical performance is of the aforementioned Treble Charger playing their opening song "How She Died" on Friday, though there was an odd moment where the MC was corrected as to who's drumming for Treble Charger. The festival program credited Richard Mulligan as their current live drummer, seemingly backing up Wikipedia edits, but their actual drummer on Friday was prolific London musician Ian MacKay, who also played with Treble Charger in Brantford last summer. Is Richard just a studio musician, or is their Wikipedia page just a victim of unsourced updates? For what it's worth, Wikipedia also says that Rosie Martin's back on bass, even though Darcy Yates played at Rotaryfest as advertised.

Maybe Greig or Bill should do one of those "Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction" videos? In any event, Randy's video is solid and captures Treble Charger in fine form, with Dutch at a good close angle of the band, so fans will be well served to check this video out below!

Randy's other video is of Rotaryfest on Saturday, which he had intended to be longer and more all-encompassing, particularly with footage of The Stampeders, but the heavy rain wrecked those plans, which I can fully relate with! However, he did film a video of local funk/hard rock quartet The Elements (and guest saxophonist Josh Norling) playing an apparent original song that afternoon on the Second Stage from two different angles. Remember, Dutch & bassist James White were long-time bandmates. The far angle of the whole stage is much better than the close-up angle for audio quality (I fear that the rain was partly to blame with it), but luckily, that's only the view for under 40 seconds. As for the song proper, it's a solid mid-tempo number with a casual feel balanced out by gritty low singing from Rob Speers, so fans will want to check it out below!

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

Monday, July 23, 2018

A Look Back At PureVolume, It's Local Band Content, And It's Impact On The SMS!!

If you've been a fan of or performer in the local music scene since the mid-2000s, you'll probably be somewhat familiar with PureVolume, an independent music/social networking website which launched in 2003 to help rising musicians promote themselves and interact with fans. Locally speaking, PureVolume was a popular site for local musician pages in the mid-late 2000s, especially from 2005-2007, with dozens of musical acts in the Twin Saults and surrounding area launching pages with substantive content there between 2004 and 2014. However, it was announced earlier this year by parent company Hive Media that PureVolume would be closing at the end of April, later revised to "shutting down in its current form" this month. You can read more on the closure at this link. With the news, PureVolume teased that "we look forward to sharing with you the new in the coming months."

 "The new" launched by July 12th, and appears to be of the clickbait/listicle-sharing variety themed around general entertainment, with no shred of old band pages to be found. Users were encouraged to download posted material before June 30th while they still could, and as you'll recall with MySpace's massive layout changes in the early 2010s, a lot of content can be lost when a music website like this overhauls it's structure and/or ends active operations. I don't know if many local artists backed up data from PureVolume directly, but last month, I rushed to archive every possible shred of local music content from 120+ extant band pages that I could find on PureVolume, (metal, punk, or otherwise) to ensure that it didn't all become lost as a result of the site's closure. This isn't to say I'm going to post everything back online imminently, as that's a massive undertaking, and I'm sure some musicians wouldn't mind some of their earlier songs not seeing the light of day again as it is (not that it ends the matter...)

How does the end of PureVolume as we know it affect The Sault Metal Scene going forward? This only really changes our defunct band links sections, as 16 metal, punk, and hard rock bands linked on the site last month were via PureVolume pages, but luckily, 8 were salvageable via their MySpace or Angelfire pages, namely 2 Minute Warning, Apocrytha, Dark Salvation, Dreamscape, Fitswitch, Infrastrate, Mike Libertoski (the only Sault Michigan act directly affected in our links by PureVolume closing), and Redefined (the earliest local band to create a surviving PureVolume account.) All of the above acts have songs or profile information on these pages, and most have photos, so hopefully those will prove useful going forward! Unfortunately, we have to delete 8 bands from our links, as PureVolume was their final/only active online page. Three of them are 2000s metal bands led by future Skull After Betrayl frontman and solo artist Mike Vincent, namely Death Rise, Devastation of the Heavens, and M7K.

Two of K.I.C.K. frontman Simon Shearsby's old bands (hard rock quintet Bad Habbit and pop punk band Starlit Sins) have also been deleted, and the other three are Jamie Vincent's old punk trio Fuller, comedy metal band No More LandMines, and Northern Tragedy predecessors Portable Glory. Admittedly, there are other bands on PureVolume that, in retrospect, I should have linked on the SMS long ago, but they slipped us by at the time.

When I was first compiling band links for The Sault Metal Scene in mid-2007 before our launch, PureVolume was an invaluable resource, especially as the site was still being used by many local bands. Facebook wasn't as ever-present as it is now, and not everyone liked/used MySpace. This site was always worth checking to see what bands had new updates and music, especially with many having free mp3 downloads (recent "ERROR 93" messages aside.) PureVolume often had an association with emo bands, but I only found 6 that listed that as a genre in my research last week (one being The Crossed, PureVolume's most listened to Sault Ontario act.) The site was far more popular in the Soo with acts who identified as alternative or acoustic performers, and though new local band registrations largely fell off after 2010, a number of high profile musicians used the service in varying forms. Bands like Woods of Ypres, The Inner City Surfers, Bad Side, Gates of Winter, Lion Ride, As It Stands, Fitswitch, The 12 Gauge Ready, and Sykotyk Rampage were all still on PureVolume last month.

Of course, some bands used PureVolume more than others. No More LandMines crafted an amusing back story and lengthy blog postings about their voyage from Mexico to jail to local high school(?!), 2 Minute Warning and their successors Starlit Sins posted numerous updates on their active runs, and Bad Side used PureVolume extensively to hype their last album's CD release concerts. Members of the old rock band Lankee branched out to create many new bands and solo projects on PureVolume, while Sault Michigan electronic project Digital Audio Child posted at least 70 songs on their pages as late as 2017, among many others from all sorts of genres. Even yours truly had a PureVolume artist account circa 2007, but I didn't back that up, as it was admittedly just karaoke to impress a friend in the States (Kirsten Garringer, if you ever read this, I hope all's been going well for you, and that the turnips finally returned your lawn mower!)

Since 2012, PureVolume had been a shell of it's former self, locally speaking, with almost all new local accounts either being skeletons with little info or obvious spam (Troy Isaac's StrykerGC project and Sault Michigan's Missy & Chelsea being rare exceptions.) The site proper hadn't been updated with major new content since last year, so I suppose the writing was on the wall, but hopefully everyone remembers all of the good PureVolume served for independent musicians here and elsewhere! Thanks for indulging me in my trip down memory lane, and if the need arises, I have lots of backed-up songs, pictures, and profile data from the site. Thanks everyone!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Project 906), Tym Morrison Concert Preview, And More!!

On this Saturday morning, let's finally wrap up this weekend's hard rock concert previews (and a related missed show apology), while also tackling a recent concert video, some assorted recent updates, and leading off, some LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS for next month in the E.U.P.!

Sault Michigan hard/blues rock quartet Project 906 have a busy month ahead, so where can you see them live in August? After a couple of weeks off (a private event this weekend aside), this fan favourite band will make their debut appearance at nearby Pickford's annual Hay Days festival on Friday, August 3rd on an outdoor stage on Main Street, as part of the varied festivities and events on the festival's fourth of six days in operation. Other "local talent" is hyped as part of the day's program, but aren't outright stated by name. In any event, 906's set is slated to begin at 7:30 PM, and this is a FREE & ALL AGES event. Click here for full festival details on the 3rd and elsewhere! Next, Project 906 will play a solo concert at The Superior Cafe in Sault Ste. Marie on Friday, August 10th, in a rare headlining appearance in their hometown, so look for more hard rocking hits from them there! This show will be an 8:00 PM evening affair with no announced cover charges or age limits.

These join another new show in Paradise on Saturday, August 18th as part of their annual Wild Blueberry Festival, but Paradise is just outside of our coverage range (1 hour's drive time from Sault Ste. Marie.) That said, if you're not near Rudyard for that afternoon's Musicians Festival set, this is another valid option! Project 906 have a lot of fun family concerts lined up for August 2018, so visit the above links and their Facebook page for complete details on these and other previously announced dates!

Next up, here's one more concert preview for this weekend, as former Caveman Morrison frontman Tym Morrison will play a belated birthday concert at Room 21 in Sault Ontario TONIGHT! Originally scheduled for last night on his birthday proper, this concert was postponed to (Sangria) Saturday due to yesterday's concert from Toronto guitarist Harley Card, which hopefully was a hit! This is Tym's second straight appearance there as the Sangria Saturday headliner, and for the occasion, there will be drink specials and half-price drinks when bought for Tym, so keep those angles in mind, and we do wish Tym a happy birthday as well! This may seem like a quiet weekend for Tym, especially in week one of his Gliss Steak & Seafood hiatus while that venue relocates, but not really, as he actually played an acoustic set on Thursday evening during the Downtown Street Party, playing outside of Tamar's Trends & Flower Shop. Unfortunately, we didn't hear of that set until it was too late to cover here.

I profusely apologize for missing that, but hopefully Tym had a great outdoor set, and we'd have covered it here had it Tym announced earlier than Thursday afternoon! As well, while he's never played Rotaryfest as a solo artist, he will be performing there today as part of the one-off classic rock band The Sun Dogs that's on Stage 1 at 3:00 PM, so look for him at Clergue Park too! As for tonight's Room 21 show, that has no cover charge, a 19+ age limit, and a late 11:00 PM start time, presumably to avoid conflicting with The Stampeders' featured Rotaryfest set. Visit the official Facebook event page and the above links for more details, and here's Tym live!

Also today, here's a video of Reading, Pennsylvania technical death metal band Rivers of Nihil from their headlining set at The Rockstar Bar two weeks ago, as live streamed onto promoters Live705's Facebook page! Apologies for the delay in this making the site. While unfortunately filmed on a vertical camera angle, the audio quality is solid, and you do get 25 minutes of the headliners' set to enjoy! Don't let appearances deceive you either, the video's only filmed so distantly for the first 4½ minutes, before the filmer moves to the corner of the stage, which gives a nice angle of Jake's interaction with the front row fans in particular. Give this video a look below!

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

  • It looks like reunited local funk/hard rock/improv collective Gianni Gagoots did indeed drop out of the Road Waves concert at LopLops Lounge last Friday, as per their quiet removal from the Facebook event page's description, with no replacement opener stated. This, combined with the second deletion of their Facebook page, does not paint a good picture for their active status, though for what it's worth, they are still listed for the Northern Vibe Festival next month in Ophir (date unclear.) At this rate, I doubt they're playing that event, but stay tuned in case something is said either way!
  • Before rocking Spiderfest in Meyersburg once again last week, local punk/metal quintet Jack Spades and their sister band Stegadeth played a concert at The Atria in Oshawa the previous day. Hopefully that concert was a blast, and look for both bands on a local stage near you in the coming weeks!
  • As part of this article from The Other Side Reviews featuring performers on the final Vans Warped Tour, an unidentified member of local punk trio Redundant was interviewed briefly about their Warped Tour memories and 2018 plans. Short but sweet promotion! Aside from teasing a possible fall tour, there wasn't anything new to report there. Redundant's one-off Warped Tour date in Toronto took place on Tuesday when they co-headlined the Full Sail Stage to a positive reception, and while copies of their debut EP were reportedly on hand (source here), we have seen no reference to their contents or local availability yet. Stay tuned!

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

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Rotaryfest Stage 2 & Dinunion Concert Previews!!

Today's second weekend concert preview post is here, but before we get into that, just a clarification that the Sault Music News Letter Facebook page is advertising 3 Day Millionaires shows at Reggie's West this weekend despite their recent break-up. I assume those were once official bookings before The Millionaires decided to call it quits, but word didn't reach that page beforehand. SooToday's entertainment page lists The Peace Vibe & Algo Rhythms in their place, so hopefully this clears up some loose ends!

Now, let's begin the second half of our Rotaryfest weekend concert previews with Stage 2 at Clergue Park, which takes place across 3 days for the first time in it's history under any curator! Presented this year by SooToday, musical acts (largely of the original folk, indie, and alternative vein) will take to the "re-directed" stage beside the Art Gallery of Algoma for the most ambitious Second Stage lineup yet, so who all can you expect to see for the 13th installment of Stage 2? Unlike with Stage 1's "Rewind" theme, there is not a theme around band reunions and comebacks here, but there's still a lot of talent to be had! Things start today for the first Stage 2 lineup on a Thursday since 2006, though like with Stage 1, today's roster is hard rock and punk-free, instead harbouring a folk focus. M.D. Dunn (in his third Stage 2 set as a lead performer) and his new backing band The Innocent Weapon Ensemble will headline tonight at 9:00 PM, with remaining acts all being solo performers making their Second Stage debuts.

Those performers include Ears & Eyes promoter Jackson Reed's solo project at 8:00 PM, Hannah Lindsay at 7:30 PM, Shae Tull at 7:00 PM, and Jeremy Hannah's now-solo project The Autumn Roots at 6:00 PM. Though not the optimal lineup for hard rock fans, there's a lot of talent and creativity to be had tonight, so keep these performers in mind! TOMORROW will mark the first Friday night lineup on Stage 2 in five years, and it's been equally as long to see a featured out of town band with no local membership, as Toronto electro-pop trio Parallels will bring their up-tempo hybrid stylings to the local stage at 8:30 PM! The condensed Friday lineup will only see three local opening acts, namely hard/alt-rock quartet Id Iota (just the third act to play Stage 2 in three straight years) at 7:30 PM, alt-punk trio A Dire Setback's second straight appearance at 6:30 PM, and Christian rapper Tristan "Bold Noize" Goslow's Rotaryfest debut at 5:30 PM.

Tomorrow's Stage 2 bill is arguably of the most interest to punk fans, if not metalheads, and while the four band roster seems short, Parallels should wrap up in time for you guys to head to Stage 1 for Treble Charger at 10:00 PM, and then to LopLops for the aforementioned Id Iota's afterparty! As usual for Rotaryfest's stage lineups, tomorrow's (and tonight's) entertainment is FREE & ALL AGES, so visit the above links for more details, and here's Id Iota live at Rotaryfest 2016!

As for SATURDAY, that's the longest lineup of all, and it will be headlined by local/Toronto indie rock standout Jesse Merineau and his solo band at 8:30 PM, in their second straight set on the Second Stage, which will also be a preview of his CD release concert at The Machine Shop next week. Soft/prog rock notables The Wild Iris will play Rotaryfest for the fifth time (and third on Stage 2) at 7:30 PM, while online page-less noise/drone/indie trio Pointless will make their festival debut at 6:30 PM. Progressive rock veterans Machines Dream will tie Porter's record for Stage 2 appearances with their 5th set there at 4:30 PM, while three Stage 2 newcomers will open the proceedings on Saturday. These include reunited indie rock band Great Chamberlain (replacing All Us Others as per this link) at 3:30 PM, country/blues band The Barn Board Trio at 2:30 PM, and funk/hard rock quartet The Elements and guest saxophonist Josh Norling at 1:30 PM, notably making them the only heavier band on this lineup.

No word on what happened to All Us Others, though note that they never acknowledged this year's Rotaryfest on their Facebook page. Hopefully all's well, and that Great Chamberlain have a solid debut set! There's lots of local talent to take in on Stage 2 on Saturday, and with a nice progressive and indie bent to the proceedings with a heavy appetizer, things should operate smoothly for music fans of all stripes that day! Like preceding nights, Saturday's entertainment is FREE & ALL AGES, so visit the above links for complete details on this year's lineups, and here's The Elements live!

Finally for this weekend's stacked lineup of hard rock concert previews, as we'll head back to LopLops Lounge for their second Rotaryfest afterparty (even if the headliners aren't playing this year), as local alt-hard rock trio The Din will reunite for one night only THIS SATURDAY NIGHT! As hyped in this amusing teaser video, frontman Mike Haggith is coming back to Ontario for this one-off "Dinunion", marking the band's first local concert appearance since the Suburban Sendoff at the same venue nine months ago. If you missed that concert, or want one more chance to see The Din's high energy original attack on a local stage, you won't want to miss out on Saturday! After all, who knows if The Din will ever be back? The aforementioned A Dire Setback will open the proceedings in their second show in as many nights, and they're a fine pick with their own blast of familiar original action, so don't be late for them either! This 19+ concert has a $5 cover charge and  9:30 PM start time in effect.

It's great to see Mike, Tammy, and Brandan back together for one more night of Dintastic action, and if you recall their entertaining, proficient, and amusing stage shows from their mid-2010s heyday, you won't want to bypass their "Dinunion" on Saturday! Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's The Din live at LopLops!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for our Tym Morrison concert preview and more next! Thanks everyone!

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Id Iota) & Rotaryfest Stage 1 Concert Previews!!

The biggest local concert weekend of the year (holidays excepted) is upon us, so here is the first of our weekend concert preview posts! We're largely focusing on half of a major annual festival today, but let's start with a SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERT!

Local indie/hard rock quartet Id Iota will headline one of two post-Rotaryfest afterparties at LopLops Lounge TOMORROW NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, this show was only announced this past Friday. After co-headlining Stage 2 at 7:30 PM (more on that later today), this fan favourite band will head to LopLops to continue that venue's "re-directed"-era run of post-Rotaryfest concerts with Stage 2 performers, and they should be in fine form with their high energy originals TOMORROW! An opening act is teased, but not announced yet, though if past years are any indication, they'd likely be a Second Stage performer this year as well. We'll let you know if one is announced! TOMORROW'S 19+ concert has a $5 cover charge, and a special late start time of 11:00 PM to not conflict with Treble Charger's headlining Stage 1 set at 10:00 PM (more on that later in this post.)

The late scheduling makes sense, as punk and indie fans now don't have to pick and choose who to see on Friday, especially if you couldn't see Id Iota on the Second Stage that evening, and hopefully they deliver a knock-out set in both of their concerts TOMORROW NIGHT! Stay tuned for more on the opener if announced, and for our Stage 2 previews in our next post, but don't miss out on tomorrow night's action, and here's Id Iota live!

Next up, let's move to Clergue Park, where Rotaryfest's two stages are returning, and the covers-centric Stage 1 is taking things back with the "Rotaryfest Rewind" theme, in honour of the local Rotary Club's 100th anniversary! For the 20th modern Rotaryfest, stage director Shaun Antler and organizers have largely dropped their regular performer lineup in favour of hosting one-off reunions of defunct local bands of all stripes, with only five bands this year having played Rotaryfest at all since 2006, so if you've complained about the samey lineups of past main stage lineups, you'll want to pay attention! Given the roster of bands, I expect the covers-only rule won't be enforced as stringently either. Today's opening night lineup is hard rock free, as usual for Stage 1, but there are still many familiar faces scheduled! In descending order, today's bands are 1970s-1980s country band George Pinder & Patches at 10:00 PM, ...

...1960s classic rock outfit The Dark Side at 9:00 PM, 1960s-1970s classic rock quartet The Polisi Basson at 8:00 PM, 1980s jazz/blues rock quartet Zak's All-Stars at 7:00 PM, and 2000s Rotaryfest mainstays The Northern Jazz Ensemble kicking things off at 6:00 PM. No heavier bands to speak of, but expect a great lineup of local entertainment for FREE at Clergue Park today, especially if you were around for these bands' original runs!

TOMORROW'S lineup will be headlined by local indie/punk veterans Treble Charger at 10:00 PM in their first recorded Rotaryfest appearance and first local show in almost a year, so if you want a free & high profile set from them, here's quite the opportunity! A special tribute set will take place at 9:20 PM to honour past local musicians and bands, now to be hosted by Mac Headrick instead of Adrian Vilaca, and it'll be interesting to see what form this takes, especially with the involvement of Ric Datson from the Sault Ste. Marie Museum! Classic rock veterans Mustang Heart will play a special Bon Jovi & Journey tribute set at 8:30 PM to continue their current iron band streak at the festival. Early 2010s classic/hard rock cover band Turner Up will play their first Rotaryfest set since 2011 (as Full Circle) at 7:30 PM, featuring a five-piece composite lineup from across their run, while 1980s country/bluegrass quartet Road Fever will precede them with a reunion set at 6:30 PM.

Friday's openers are local hard rock/funk trio Tripod the Dog, who will bring their swing and ska-influenced sound back for the first time in over a decade at 5:30 PM. This may be the best package of hard rock and punk-per-pound at this year's Rotaryfest on any stage, so don't miss the FREE & ALL AGES action tomorrow night, and it's great to have these bands back at it! For a preview, here's Treble Charger live last year!

As for SATURDAY's extended lineup, that will closed by local classic/hard rock cover favourites That's Chester in their first show since Rotaryfest 2016, with guest guitarist Dan Belanger in tow, plus a special appearance by original singer Richard Fullerton, so look for more hard rocking hits at 10:30 PM! The nominal headliners are Juno-winning Calgary classic rock trio The Stampeders (of "Sweet City Woman" fame) at 8:30 PM, making them the first non-tribute/cover headliners at Rotaryfest in nine years, while another short tribute set to past local musicians will precede them at 7:50 PM. Local Celtic punk quartet Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide (with Chris Johns on drums) will make their Rotaryfest debut at 7:00 PM, while Chicago-influenced 1970s soft rock collective Pegasus will return at 6:00 PM, and 2010s hard rock quartet The Suicide Kings (featuring guest drummer Johnny Belanger) will play their fourth Stage 1 set at 5:00 PM, in their return to their original name.

Sporadically seen jam rock favourites Odd Man Out are on at 4:00 PM, while one-off pop rock tribute The Sun Dogs will host a "summer beach party" at 3:00 PM featuring covers of 1960s and 1970s summer and beach-themed songs. Wailing Aztecs alumni will perform folk & pop covers under their own names as McGillivray, Martinelli and Roy at 2:00 PM, while members of Korah Collegiate's school band Mustang Sally will kick things off under the name The Kids From Sally at 1:00 PM. Quite a stacked lineup of local favourites and special attractions on Saturday, let alone for FREE & ALL AGES, so see above for more details, and here's That's Chester live!

We're just getting started with our weekend concert previews, so look for our previews of the Second Stage and Saturday night's LopLops afterparty (a.k.a. The Dinunion) next on the SMS later today, with more yet to come on this stacked local concert weekend! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

This Month's Poll On Your Favourite Concerts Of Early 2018!!

Before we get into weekend concert previews, here's our newest poll on the SMS, where we're posing this question to you guys: What was your favourite metal, hard rock, or punk concert in the first half of 2018? The early half of this year has been somewhat quieter than usual, but we have seen some strong and notable concerts between January 1st and June 30th, and it'll be interesting to see what you guys thought was your favourite in 2018 so far! As usual, the concerts who receive votes will face off with the vote-getters in our second half of 2018 poll early next year to determine your favourite concert of 2018. To make this poll, concerts must have taken place in Sault Ontario in the above date range, and must have had a lineup at least half comprised of metal, hard rock, or punk acts, so if you want to vote for such events as The Sky's The Limit, the Algoma Ride For Autism afterparty, the Whoop-Szo concert, or Id Iota's March 30th LopLops show, you'll want to go with "Other", which is back as an option as usual.

That said, I am contracting the number of shows in this poll (and our second-half poll to match) from 20 to 15, for two reasons. One is that this has been a slow stretch, and if I forced 20, I'd have to include covers-heavy, single band shows without a major theme to them, which some may consider to be filler. The other is, with low vote totals on our recent polls already, maybe shrinking the options will help readers have an easier time picking a preferred concert. Time will tell, but here's your final 15 options for this month!

Bands: Redundant, A Dire Setback, and Stegadeth
Venue: The Canadian Nightclub
Date: January 13th
The biggest punk/heavier concert of January saw three local punk trios join forces at The Canadian to raise funds and support for local resident Joni Radford during her second battle with breast cancer. All three bands helped kick off 2018 with a bang on this night, including the second live appearances by A.D.S. and Stegadeth's new lineups, and I know this was emotional and positive night to help Joni and her family out through tough times, but is it our preferred show here?

Bands: Big Wreck & Attica Riots
Venue: The Machine Shop
Date: February 13th
Over 16 years after last rocking Sault Ste. Marie, Juno Award-winning Toronto/Boston hard rock band Big Wreck returned for a well attended and received headlining show at The Machine Shop in February, with Winnipeg alt-rockers Attica Riots along for the ride! The Ian Thornley-lead group brought fans back to the 1990s by playing their entire "In Loving Memory Of..." album on this winter night, and fan response was very positive, but can you vouch for this concert?

Bands: Redundant, The Cover-Up, and The Bananas Guerrillas
Venue: LopLops Lounge
Date: March 3rd
Though better known for indie, folk, and alternative music, LopLops Lounge became home to Punk Covers Night on March 3rd, with Redundant, the reunited Cover-Up, and The Bananas Guerrillas (née Enema of the State) joining forces for a night of fan favourite punk renditions! With plenty of familiar faces brought together by Tidal Records to deliver their own takes on punk classics, this show spawned a Redundant-less sequel in June, but would you vote for the original?

Bands: Archelon, Jack Spades, Doors & Fours, and Re:Born
Venue: The Rockstar Bar
March 10th
The first promoted concert of the year from J.D. Pearce saw Sudbury metal quartet Archelon  play their first local set in over 3 years, alongside Hamilton grunge/punk trio Doors & Fours, and the 2018 debuts of local punk/metal favourites Jack Spades and Project 421-successors Re:Born, who impressed early fans with their power rock covers and originals. Despite medium attendance, fans at The Rockstar Bar responded well to this four pack, but would you pick it in this poll?

Bands: Jesse Merineau and Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide
Venue: The Speak Easy
Date: March 22nd
In advance of his highly promoted CD release concert at The Machine Shop on July 26th, local indie rock musician Jesse Merineau and his solo band (including 2/3rds of Caroline Divine and Electric Church's Spencer Pine) returned to the site of Jesse's 2016 battle of the bands victory for this high profile concert. Bolstered by the return of Celtic punk veterans Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide for their first local concert since 2016, was this your show your preferred option here?

Bands: Shit Liver, Stegadeth, and Id Iota
Venue: The Rednecks Saloon
Date: April 6th
After being forced to move this concert from both The Algonquin Pub and Speak Easy, a same-day move to The Rednecks Saloon didn't temper the enthusiasm, as Shit Liver played the local stop of their "Hitting the Fan" album release tour in April to a strong audience of crust and grind fans, with many vinyl copies finding happy customers! Also featuring a diverse, growl-free openers lineup via Stegadeth and Id Iota, would you vote for this show above all others here?

Bands: Who Made Who
Venue: The Rockstar Bar
Date: April 6th
Definitely no strangers to the local stage and AC/DC fans in the Soo, Toronto tribute quintet Who Made Who returned to The Rockstar Bar in April to deliver another night of high voltage rock n' roll for assembled fans! Their faithful looking and sounding tribute to AC/DC was fully intact as ever, as fans of their many prior local stops will attest, but would this concert earn your vote over others chosen in this poll?

Bands: I Mother Earth, Finger Eleven, and J.J. Thompson
Venue: The Machine Shop
Date: April 18th
Just when you thought the Big Wreck concert was a big deal, The Machine Shop played host to I Mother Earth and Finger Eleven on April 18th for a massive night of hits from these Juno-winning hard rock standouts! Alongside their own sets, fans were also treated to two joint sets from the headliners, including a V.I.P. acoustic pre-show and a plugged-in encore, ensuring that fans got their money's worth from this major package! Would you vote for this concert?

Bands: The Steves, A Dire Setback, and Mik & Steve
Venue: LopLops Lounge
Date: May 2nd
If you like musicians with members named Steve, you were in good company on this night!
Regina pop punk quartet The Steves made their local concert debut here with a lo-fi but upbeat set of punk rock originals, with local favourites A Dire Setback and new local alt-acoustic duo (and Vol. successors) Mik & Steve opening the proceedings. This was a solid package of punk and alternative music provided by Six, Two, Oh., but was it your favourite concert here?

Bands: Id Iota & Pointless
Venue: LopLops Lounge
Date: May 19th
Hyped as the "Indie Spring", this concert was supposed to be headlined by Sudbury garage rock headliners The Almighty Rhombus, before their bassist suffered a finger injury. The show went on, however, as Id Iota's new lineup continued the lead-up to their upcoming second CD release with an extended headlining set, with guitarist Dustin Goodall pulling double duty with his drone rock trio Pointless to kick things off. Did the summoning of "Father Spring" help earn this your vote?

Bands: All The Wasted Years, A Dire Setback, Stegadeth, and Re:Born
Venue: The Rockstar Bar
Date: June 1st
Helping kick off the summer in style, Timmins punk quartet All The Wasted Years made their local concert debut last month, in their first of a home and home series where openers A Dire Setback joined them in Timmins the next night. This well received show featured a solid lineup of current punk standouts, plus the second live appearance of Re:Born for a metal kick. This was a fun concert with another positive response in Live 705's return, but was it your favourite show here?

Bands: Jesse Stewart, Jack Spades, and Handsome Sandwich
Venue: Low & Slow
Date: June 8th
A concert that proved to be too big to be held upstairs at Room 21, the popular Albert Street West barbecue restaurant instead played host to British Columbia alternative folk musician and viral favourite Jesse Stewart in his local debut, with Jack Spades and the returning Handsome Sandwich playing support at this unique genre-hybrid event. Jesse's music and live show was optimally expereinced by many fans, and the punk action preceding doesn't hurt, but would you agree?

Bands: The Cover-Up & The Bananas Guerrillas
Venue: LopLops Lounge
Date: June 15th
A sequel to March's Punk Covers Night at LopLops (albeit sans Redundant), this union of online page-less punk acts brought their familiar brand of punk renditions back to the same venue, and with alumni of The Rising Tide, Lion Ride, K.I.C.K., Stereo North, Long Shot, and Gnaeus all under one roof, you know there was a lot of talent on hand for patrons! If you were there, would you choose this as your favourite metal or punk concert here?

Bands: The Elements & A Dire Setback
Venue: The Rockstar Bar
Date: June 16th
Playing their first full plugged-in concert since the fall of 2017, this was a rare headlining showcase for The Elements, whose funk and hard rock covers and originals have proven to be a reliable live attraction since the mid-2010s! Featuring a short notice opening set from A Dire Setback, this was a nice return to their roots following the inception of The Wyld Stallyns late last year, but would this concert have won your vote in the poll?

Bands: The Cover-Up, Northwest, Handsome Sandwich, and Id Iota
Venue: Queen Elizabeth Park
Date: June 21st
For a fourth straight year, Tidal Records hosted a live concert atop the big ramp at the local skatepark as part of their Go Skateboarding Day festivities, and fans were treated to a nice selection of indie and punk rock action, including no returning bands from past years! The all ages event featured promoter Dustin Jones' musical performing debut on Go Skate Day, and things went well fr fans at this unique outdoor locale, but did this concert get your vote here?

Other: Did we miss your preferred concert in early 2018? For reference, artists like Electric Church, Fluid 5ive, Soundcheck, The 3 Day Millionaires, Tym Morrison, and Whoop-Szo all played public local concerts between January 1st and June 30th, not to mention solo shows not included involving some of the above acts otherwise in the poll. Maybe you preferred a Sault Michigan show instead? If your #1 local metal/hard rock/punk concert of early 2018 isn't above, vote for "Other"!

VOTE TODAY!! You guys have until August 18th to cast your votes, and it'll be interesting to see who wins out in this half-year poll, so do so at the poll on the upper right of the page! That's all for today, but stay tuned for lots of weekend concert previews next! Thanks everyone!