Saturday, March 30, 2019

Alex Traynor - "Crazy World" EP Review!!

It's now time for our 117th monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, and for the first time since 2012, we're looking at a Sault Michigan-area album not released by SweetKenny, namely Kinross/Mount Pleasant solo hard rock artist (and Banned frontman) Alex Traynor's debut EP "Crazy World"! Independently released on March 1st, this EP was recorded in Mount Pleasant last fall, and based on available online materials, it looks like Alex recorded all instruments on the included songs. The 5 song EP can be bought for $10 in physical copies at this link, or online for around $5 on iTunes and Amazon, while you can also stream the whole thing on Spotify, Alex's website, Soundcloud, and on this auto-created YouTube channel, though consider buying it to support his work! I can't immediately confirm if CD copies are on sale locally at Crooked Music or elsewhere. Featuring 5 songs running for about 21 minutes in length, let's begin this review with it's opener, the title track!

The first single and shortest song on the EP, "Crazy World" surprisingly opens with a techno-influenced rock sound that is more reminiscent of industrial rock than the modern electronic rock. Alex still gets time to shine on guitar, and his vocals are sung with a purpose, almost like this intended to be a live concert sing-along anthem. His singing hits some solid high notes on the second verse, and the beat works well, but the song feels very unfinished, like a bridge and chorus were dropped in favour of an early fade-out. The song is a mixed bag, but it showcases Alex's musical diversity while it lasts!

The second single, and longest track is "Jack O'Lantern", and whether intentional or not, this song feels heavily inspired by Avenged Sevenfold. As it's own song, it's a stronger number overall than the opener, showcasing Alex's heavier influences and full musical abilities nicely. His vocals have a nice grit to them, the Halloween-inspired lyrics are complimented well, and the chorus has catchy qualities! I just wish the constant percussion "dinging" was somewhat toned down, and his bridge screams could have been a little louder, but the song is a definite highlight on "Crazy World"! Third is "What Everything Is Like (High Life)", which is a softer number that is heavily driven by Alex's singing compared to the actual music. I stop short of calling this a "ballad", but it's definitely a melodic number with seemingly personal lyrics, with a very steady marching quality throughout. Interesting contrast here, and a good showcase, but I think it could have had heavier instrumentation.

Fourth is "Life Is Made Of Lies", which is a return to heavy form with a steady chugging guitar riff, though it really doesn't pick up until Alex rams up his vocals from their first verse's deeper style. As a guitar and bass showcase, this delivers the goods, especially with two solid guitar solos, and he hits some strong aggressive vocal notes as things progress. As it's own original composition, this may be my favourite song on "Crazy World", but the abrupt ending did catch me off guard. The EP closes with "Send My Soul Away", curiously opting to close with the softest and most reserved track, only featuring vocals & acoustic guitar. Nicely composed and performed, Alex keeps his singing on the right trajectory to suit the mood, and he delivered some nice emotion throughout. I imagine this would work really well at his solo concerts, and it's definitely worth a listen if you like acoustic ballads!

So, what are my final thoughts on Alex's debut EP? Overall, it's a solid debut release that showcase his musical diversity and songwriting skills pretty well, and there's a little something for everyone on this! Myself, I preferred "Life Is Made of Lies" for it's heavy and catchy qualities, though "Jack O'Lantern" is well done also (especially for A7X fans), and all 5 songs have their plusses. Having covered Alex on the site since his adolescence and Banned's early run, I've seen him grow as a musician, and it's great to see his multi-instrumental abilities and singing improve to the point where he can release a solo EP of this level and diversity! There are things I'd work on though, like how two songs ended too abruptly (especially the title track), and I think there was more room to show off his guitar soloing than what we got. I also felt that "What Everything Is Like" could have been heavier without throwing off the actual vocals

It would have been interesting to hear early Banned originals like "Plaid Girl" or "Cocaine Riot"  too, but for a debut effort, Alex delivered the goods, and it'll be interesting to hear more from him in the future! Pick up or stream "Crazy World" at the above links, and I hope you guys liked this month's CD review! As of right now, I do not know what album we'll be looking at next month, but look for our next "Where Are The New Albums?" post on Tuesday and/or our April concert schedule for ideas as to what could be next! Ideally, it'll be a new album again, but will our streak break? Stay tuned for details, and for more news and notes soon! Thanks everyone!

Friday, March 29, 2019

New Videos, Atomic MusicFest Updates, And Much More!!

In what may be our last traditional news post of March 2019, we have some big updates on a Northern Ontario festival with a heavy local component, and some assorted recent shorter stories, but we'll lead off with some new videos, so here's what you should know!

We'll start with a newly posted video of defunct local classic/hard rock cover quintet That's Chester live at Rotaryfest 2016! Posted to drummer Ric Datson's YouTube channel on Wednesday, this is of their cover of April Wine's "Roller" from their final gig as an active project, which was in memory of late guitarist Eugene Orlando, who passed away suddenly the previous fall. Now, footage of this particular performance is nothing new, as guitarist Gabe Tessaro's channel also has a video of this very cover, but the new video captures the full song on a stationary camera closer to the stage. For this song, former That's Chester singer Richard Fullerton provided sole guest vocals in lieu of Greg Simpson (who does come back at the end to give shout outs), while Dan Belanger filled in for Eugene on guitar. Both Rich and Dan returned as guests for That's Chester's one-off Rotaryfest set last year too.

As in Gabe's video of this performance, That's Chester were on their game here, and Richard fit in fine with his old band, so fans of That's Chester's long local run will defnitely want to see this video, on it's own merits and to compare with the other video of this song! Give it a look below!

Next up, here's a new video from local Celtic punk quintet Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide's Facebook page last week, where Dustin (on location at Mission Control Studios) thanks fans for checking our their new "Lost & Found" music video on Facebook and YouTube. He also mentioned that the single can be heard on Spotify, iTunes, and similar services, and he explained some of the inspiration behind the lyrics. Short video, but it's a nice gesture to thank everyone, and hopefully more updates on their new album come out soon! Give it a look below, and stay tuned for more from The Tide's camp!

Also today, here's the latest concerning local performers at the Atomic MusicFest in Elliot Lake in August, as some more familiar faces are driving 2 hours east for this well anticipated event! Two more metal-leaning bands from the Soo will be featured over the August 10th weekend, namely power rock quintet Re:Born in their out-of-town debut, as well as funk/hard rock quartet The Elements, who will be playing one normal set and separately under their temporary Red Hot Chili Peppers tribute band guise! It's worth noting that they are now advertised to be playing under the name Higher Ground rather than Scar Tissue for unannounced reasons. If true, it's an interesting choice, given that "Higher Ground" was a cover of a Stevie Wonder song, not a Chili Peppers original, but it works well enough as a name! As for the previously teased local rappers, they will be Rick E and Kodex, who have performed in Elliot Lake before. Visit the official Facebook event page for complete details on the lineup, including acts from beyond the Soo area!
Not everyone will be up for a 2 hour drive for a concert festival of this scale, but if Elliot Lake is a piece of cake to get to, you'll find a full lineup of entertaining music from across Northern Ontario, and hopefully the Atomic MusicFest is a huge hit to encourage an even bigger and better sophomore installment! See above for complete details on how to attend!

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

  • The Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Association is looking for bands & solo artists interested in playing at this year's Downtown Street Parties on Queen Street East, as per their Facebook page on Wednesday, and you can get more details at or at (705) 942-2919. For reference, there were 3 Downtown Street Parties last year from July-September, with SMS-covered acts like Northwest, Soundcheck, and The Wyld Stallyns factoring in two of them. Hopefully this year's parties are huge hits, and contact the S.S.M.D.A. above if you want in!
  • Barring a sudden sign of life, I'll be moving local progressive death metal band Gates of Winter back to our inactive band links on Monday. We last heard anything new from their camp via a video of members jamming that circulated on personal Facebook accounts on April 1st of last year, with their Facebook page (which hadn't been posted on since July 2017) quietly being taken down since. I hope this isn't it for Gates of Winter, especially after so much work on the "Perihelion" EP, but best of luck to Lee, Bryan, Steve, and other past members in the future no matter what!
  • Pixo Control/Vol. alum Steve Edwards is looking to join an original band in a guitar, bass, drums, or vocal role, and he has jam space with essential gear. He did specify that he does not want to play metal, pop punk, or country, and he noted that he's "looking for a project to work on in between my current one" (I don't believe that references Mik & Steve, whose Facebook page has been taken down.) Whether his hoped for project leans close to his old band work or not, message him at this link or via his Musicians Wanted Facebook group post from Wednesday for details!

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

Thursday, March 28, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Tym Morrison) & This Weekend's Hard Rock Concert Previews!!

Let's dive into the last concert weekend of March 2019 in today's post, luckily without any short notice shows (at press time?) That said, we do have some LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS to add to our listings for next month, so here's what you should know for hard rock bands this weekend and beyond!

Prolific local singer/guitarist Tym Morrison will continue his long-term arrangement at Gliss Restaurant with acoustic matinee concerts TOMORROW & SATURDAY, but while we're at it, I'm rolling his April concert schedule into our listings too! Remember, due to their length and amount, we approach Tym's concerts (particularly the Gliss ones) a month at a time for our coverage on the SMS. As such, expect Tym's ongoing run at Gliss to continue unabated through next month (and beyond), with April dates scheduled twice weekly on April 5th & 6th, 12th & 13th, 19th & 20th, and 26th & 27th. Keep these supper-time shows in mind at this popular Spring Street restaurant next month, plus tomorrow & Saturday's March-closing gigs as well, for more strong entertainment! As well, Tym has two traditional nighttime shows next month at different frequent venues of his, both on Fridays, including at The Roadhouse Bar & Grill on April 5th and at Room 21 on April 19th.

Tym's busy schedule is always welcome to see, so keep these shows in mind if you're up for some hard rocking unplugged covers this spring! If he is returning to Mark's Breakfast Plus or elsewhere next month, then those gigs haven't been publically announced yet. Tomorrow's, Saturday's, and next month's Gliss shows all have 6:00 PM start times and no stated age limits or cover charges (but mind the locale), while the Roadhouse & Room 21 shows are 19+, at 10:00 PM, and have no cover. Visit the Facebook event pages linked here, here , and here for more details, and here's Tym live!

Next up, Tym does have one more show this weekend, as he's opening for new-ish power rock band Re:Born in both acts' Soo Blaster debut TOMORROW NIGHT! A precursor to Re:Born's set opening for The Killer Dwarfs at the same venue next month, this will be the Project 421 successors' first concert of 2019, just their fourth total, and their first public appearance since Elly McWatters replaced Robert Nevitt as their new lead singer last fall. Headlining a warm-up gig is a great way for Re:Born to shake off the stage rust, so prepare for a classic metal cover and original blast tomorrow at the former Woolco/NCO building on Queen Street East! Remember, their set will be as a four-piece due to guitarist Frank McGillivray's out of town work commitments. Of course, the aforementioned Tym Morrison is opening in a rare supporting appearance at standalone non-charity concert, and his unplugged hard rock covers should set the tone well tomorrow night!

A 9:00 PM start time is in effect for this 19+ concert, which will have a $5 cover charge. If you love old school hard and classic rock with an increasing slate of original tracks, you'd be well served by going to Soo Blaster tomorrow to see Re:Born's return after over 5 months away! Visit the Facebook event page for more details, and here's Re:Born live!

In a brief detour to the Eastern Upper Peninsula, fans can see Traverse City, Michigan classic metal trio Peril back at The Rapids Lounge at the Sault Ste. Marie Kewadin Casino TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! These shows were originally advertised as taking place at the St. Ignace Kewadin via this concert calendar in January, and if this wasn't a typo, a reason was not publicized for the concerts' relocation. Marking their first Soo Kewadin stops of 2019, Peril's hard rocking brand of classic covers always a welcome sight when they travel north, fans should give Jeff, Adam, and Brooks a solid welcome back this weekend! No word yet on shows in the second quarter of 2019 or beyond for Peril, we'll let you know when they're confirmed, but their sister band Scarkazm will be in the Soo in May.

Tomorrow & Saturday night's concerts have 9:00 PM start times, 21+ age limits, and no announced cover charges. In spite of the mistaken/outdated venue listing from January, Peril should put on a great show both nights in Sault Ste. Marie, so keep tomorrow & Saturday's shows in mind, and stay tuned for word on when Peril will return to St. Ignace! Visit the above links for more details, and here's Peril live!

Finally for this weekend's hard rock concert previews, we'll head back to Sault Ontario, where Windsor-based Kiss tribute band Destroyer will return for a well anticipated headlining concert THIS SATURDAY NIGHT at The Canadian Nightclub! Last seen locally in May 2015 (with their planned July 2017 gig here cancelled on late notice), Destroyer's well regarded brand of Kiss tribute action has proven to deliver the auditory and visual goods across Canada, and if you're up for a night of authentic Kiss action, you know where to be on Saturday! The local openers will be local hard rock cover quartet Griphook (who opened for Destroyer here in 2015), ending a nearly two year-long stage hiatus of theirs dating back to Rotaryfest 2017. It's great to see Joel, Brian, Dan, and Tony back after far too long, but how much stage rust will Griphook have after the long layoff? Head to The Canadian on Saturday to find out, and hopefully there's much more to come from!

Admission for this 19+ concert is a flat $15 at the door, which is cheaper than in 2015, but that event did have discounted advance tickets, so take that for what you will. A 10:00 PM start time is advertised, and if you're a loyal Kiss Army member, you won't want t miss out on Destroyer's first Sault Ste. Marie gig in over 4 years! Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's Destroyer live last month!

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

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

YouTube Channel Profile Series: Tiff107's Channel

It's now time for this month's YouTube Channel Profile, our monthly feature to spotlight 1-3 YouTube channels whose content is at least half devoted to local metal, hard rock, or punk artists and/or concerts, in order to promote them to current readers encourage views and new subscriptions! This month's randomly selected YouTube channel features solo performance clips from a talented local musician, so here's what you should know!
Tiff107's Channel (

Owner: Prolific local punk/metal guitarist Tiffany "Spades" Stocco, currently known as the frontwoman of Stegadeth, Coral Fang, and Poison Girl, as well as a guitarist with Jack Spades, and formerly with T-Rex Manning & Pools of Booze.

Channel Timeline: Launched on January 26th, 2006; Videos posted from December 2010 through October 2018

Channel Summary: A personal use channel that predates Tiffany's full-time emergence into the local punk & metal scenes, a total of 32 videos have been uploaded here, almost all focused on her own solo guitar covers of various metal and punk songs (with gear details often given in the descriptions), though two originals with vocals also made the cut. The channel's only non-musical video features Tiffany and a friend skating outdoors at night back in January 2011, months before her debut with T-Rex Manning.

Why You Should Watch: Fans of Tiffany's work in local bands in the 2010s would be well served to check out her channel, as her musical progression is very welcome to see throughout, and long-time fans of hers will recognize some familiar cover choices along the way! The channel is still actively used too, if not as frequently as she did in 8 or 9 years back. However, Tiffany has not posted any live videos of her various local bands here, but between YouTube and Facebook, most have footage elsewhere.

Our Recommended Videos To Check Out

Teenage Depression: As part of a prolific swath of initial video uploads in 2010 & 2011, Tiffany posted a couple of solo performance clips featuring her playing guitar as well as singing original lyrics, predating her lead vocal debut with Stegadeth by over 5 years. Alongside "Simple Person" (which is more rock-based), featured here is "Teenage Depression", which is markedly softer and more personal in nature. Compared to her live punk singing (which I often wish had more projection and confidence), her vocals here are surprisingly effective, giving a raw, melodic, and emotional feel that really suits this song. It'd be interesting to see Tiffany revisit these early originals!

I Only Wanna Be With You: Volbeat guitar cover: The most popular video on Tiffany's channel (with over 3,700 views), this is a 3:00 AM cover of Volbeat's version of the Dusty Springfield classic "I Only Wanna Be With You", as filmed in October 2012. Likely a reflection of her Volbeat cover work with her 2012 T-Rex Manning side project Pools of Booze, the audio quality is mixed at best, but if you can pick out her playing over top of the original track, you'll see that she had a solid grasp of this cover overall! Tiffany also covered Volbeat's original song "Pools of Booze" (where the above band's name originated) earlier that same month.

Bad Religion:Sinister Rouge: Video uploads have slowed down in recent years, but Tiffany's recording quality and guitar talents have both went up as the years have progressed. One of her more recent covers from February 2017 is of Bad Religion's "Sinister Rouge", a live staple in Stegadeth sets, so fans will know already that she has this classic of theirs down pat! The backing audio is a little muffled, but it accentuates Tiffany's playing as a result, and it's a highlight of her channel's more recent content!

I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profile! This series will return on or around April 26th with a look at multiple channels, as the first one that we randomly chose only has 9 videos from the same album, so I would only source two videos from it for the profile proper, and one more channel was added to fill it out. As such, we'll be looking at the YouTube channels of users malaise666 (featuring most of Woods of Ypres' last CD) and Angela U (featuring a Treble Charger concert video from 2015), so look for these next month, and for more news and notes soon! Thanks everyone!

Monday, March 25, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Tym Morrison), The Tea Party Concert Preview, And New Videos!!

As promised, here's those mid-week concert previews on this Monday morning, but to go along with them, I have some videos to share from a recent metal concert. Now, here's what you should know, starting with SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS!!

Local hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison will return to Mark's Breakfast Plus at the Market Mall for the first time this year with special matinee concerts TODAY, TOMORROW, and WEDNESDAY! Apologies for the short notice, these shows were only announced via their Facebook event page on Friday. A frequent venue for Tym Morrison's acoustic solo gigs since Mark's opened in 2017, Tym is known for typically playing at this west end diner on early weekday bookings, but these will actually be his first public shows there since last June. I'm surprised he didn't play there more often when Gliss was relocating, but it's great to see Tym back at a familiar locale TODAY, TOMORROW, and WEDNESDAY, even on late notice! As usual for his Mark' Breakfast Plus gigs, expect these to have early 4:00 PM start times with no announced cover charges or age limits, but mind the locale. See above for more details, and here's Tym live a few years back!

Next up, here's a preview of a huge concert with lots of advance notice, as Juno nominated Windsor hard/world rock trio The Tea Party will return to Sault Ste. Marie THIS WEDNESDAY NIGHT at The Machine Shop! Following their successful free concert at The Roberta Bondar Pavilion last July, the band behind such hits as "Psychopomp" & "The Messenger" are back for another show full of hard rocking songs from their long career, including their new single "Black River", and hopefully there's a strong turnout for Jeff, Stuart, and Jeff's return to the Soo on Wednesday! Joining The Tea Party as openers (though only quietly acknowledged in local advertising) are Winnipeg southern rock quintet The Proud Sons, whose country-inflected original sound will prove an interesting contrast on Wednesday, but they have the talent and musicianship to go around nicely! Presented by Cabin Media, this is unfortunately not a free and all ages concert like last year, with tickets running for $40, but they are still available!

You can buy tickets at this link and presumably in-person/at the door, attendees must be 19 or older, and a 7:30 PM start time is advertised. After a 19 year wait for The Tea Party to rock Sault Ste. Marie ended last summer, it's great to see them back so soon, and hopefully they deliver another skilled and fan-friendly set on Wednesday! Stay tuned for updates and hopefully some local news coverage, and here's The Tea Party in the Soo last year!

We'll close today with some new concert videos shot by the ever-generous Christopher Paci (who also filmed the above Tea Party video), as he was in attendance for Saturday night's OZbourne concert at The Canadian Nightclub, filming 11 videos that night for his YouTube channel. Kudos to Chris as usual, he goes above and beyond when he's at a show regarding filming the bands! Regarding the headliners, Chris filmed the Winnipeg-based Ozzy Osbourne tribute band covering Black Sabbath's "War Pigs", "Paranoid", "N.I.B.", and (part of) the song "Black Sabbath", plus five of Ozzy's own solo songs, namely "Bark At The Moon", "Flying High Again", "Crazy Train", "I Don't Know", and as embedded below, "No More Tears." Generally, OZbourne deliver the goods on these videos for Ozzy fans in music and presentation, and Chris got a nice close view of the band too, so fans should enjoy these clips! Give them a look above & below!

Lastly, Chris also filmed two videos of opening blues rock cover trio The Paul DellaVedova Band on Saturday, and it's clear that Paul & company are fans of Paul Rodgers & Simon Kirke, as their filmed covers are of Bad Company's "Rock & Roll Fantasy" and, as embedded below, Free's "All Right Now." Nice to see the guys break out some hard rock classics for the occasion, and while Chris wasn't as close to the stage as he would get with OZbourne, you get some good angles on these solid covers! No, I don't know if the stage setup with the speakers behind metal barriers on the floor is permanent or just for this concert. Give Paul's videos a look as well!

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

Sunday, March 24, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (K-Man & The 45s, Dopethrone, And Soundcheck), And More!!

Before we dive into some mid-week concert previews tomorrow, here's a stacked news post for your Sunday afternoon, and it includes a bunch of LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for the coming months, plus early details on a returning charity concert. Here's what you should know!

Montreal "slutch metal" quartet Dopethrone will make their local concert debut when they rock The New American Pub on Monday, May 20th (a.k.a. Victoria Day!) A prolific band whose sound combines elements of doom, sludge, and stoner metal, Dopethrone's slow, grinding, and bass-heavy brand of metal should find a strong audience later this spring at The New A, so be sure to check them out to see what they have in store in this stop on their Trans Canadian Tour! Local/St. Catharine's grindcore trio Shit Liver will play in their hometown for the first time in over a year when they take the stage on May 20th, and their explosive crust & grind originals will always be welcomed back by their Saultite faithful, so don't miss their return in two months! The other advertised band is actually local doom/sludge metal trio AlgomA, who will be making their first live appearance since the "Trading Faces" split release concert at The New A in October 2017. I'm not entirely sure why AlgomA took such a long stage hiatus, but it's great to see Boyd, Kevin, and Jamie back at it after a 19 month wait!

Promoted by AlgomA's own promotion agency Six, Two, Oh., this special Monday night concert has a $10 cover charge and a 19+ age limit, and a 9:00 PM start time is advertised. If you live grind and sludge metal, and can swing seeing a 19+ concert on a work/school night, this will be appointment viewing, so visit the official Facebook event page for full details on Dopethrone's Victoria Day show here!

Next up, this isn't all for touring Montreal bands in the Soo this year, as ska-punk fan favourites K-Man & The 45s will play their seventh local concert since 2013 on Thursday, June 6th when they rock The Rockstar Bar! After surprisingly not playing in Sault Ste. Marie at all last year, K-Man and company will finally return for their first show here since October 2017, and their first local gig at The Rockstar Bar since 2014. With a new album release to support, their high energy reggae & punk fusion sound will be welcomed by local fans at any time, and might there be a "Ska-Mones" segment again? The local support act will be online page-less punk quartet The Cover-Up in their first announced concert since the Joni Radford benefit, and they should add a strong compliment to the proceedings in June! For the first time in their local bookings, this year's K-Man & The 45s concert is promoted by (Choose) Maxx Entertainment as part of their working agreement with the venue.

This 19+ concert has doors open at 9:00 PM, and admission is $10 in advance or $15 at the door, with tickets available in advance at The Algonquin Hotel's front desk, one would assume. It is odd to see K-Man & The 45s playing here in the summer, especially after their annual run of fall gigs locally from 2013-2017, but with their reputation and talent, this show should be another hit, so visit the official Facebook event page for more details!

Lastly for today's new concerts, let's add a handful of summer concert weekends to our concert listings courtesy of local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck! With shows now listed on the site through July's Go North Music Festival, I'll roll in June and July local concert weekends from the Mourning Wood successors today, all as advertised on this 2019 concert calendar, so when can you see them then? Two concert weekends are booked in those months at Reggie's West, where Soundcheck will return on June 7th & 8th and then on July 5th & 6th. Meanwhile, they will return to The Esquire Club for concerts on June 28th & 29th and then on July 12th & 13th, so if you're in the west end of town, you have a few solid options to see Terry, Travis, Paul, and Glen this summer! Note that they will be playing a private function of some kind on July 27th, while we'll approach public shows from August and beyond in the future.

As usual for Soundcheck's concerts at these venues, expect 19+ age limits, no cover charges, and 10:00 PM-ish start times at all four dates. This veteran quartet delivers a fun set full of hard and classic rock hits at any of their concerts, and these should be no different, so visit the above links for more details, and look for them in the Soo next month at The Esquire Club!

Finally, here's some preliminary details regarding the fourth annual Sky's The Limit fundraiser concert, which takes place on Thursday, May 9th! Once again, this Algoma Family Services-promoted concert will return to help raise awareness and funds for mental health as part of Children's Mental Health Week, and youth performers will again donate their time for the cause! After three years at The Tech's auditorium, it's apparent closure has forced a venue shift for The Sky's The Limit IV, and it will now take place at the auditorium at Korah Collegiate & Vocational School at 636 Goulais Avenue. This won't be optimal if you don't live in the west end, but given the high involvement of students, it makes sense to bring it closer to what many of them know! Much like past headliners, this year's featured headliners are graduates from last year's support lineup, namely the pop rock quintet Lime, featuring recent alums of Mustang Sally.

Young pop singer Tianna Legacy will also return as a performer, but the remaining opening roster will be determined via private auditions for acts aged between 14 and 24 (not 29 this year) on April 17th & 18th, so visit the official Facebook event page for full details. The concert proper remains $5 or $20 for families of 5 or more, it's absolutely ALL AGES, and a 6:00 PM start time is advertised. I don't know if we'll see any hard rock or punk performers this year, let alone if it will be announced in advance, but stay tuned for updates, and see above for more details on how to attend or audition!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for some special mid-week concert previews and more tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Friday, March 22, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (The Go North Music Festival & West Of Hell), The Ozbourne Concert Preview, And More!!

As promised, we're capping off this weekend's hard rock concert previews today, but to fill things out, we have a pair of LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS for the coming months, and leading off, a surprise band discovery from about 14 years back, so here's what you should know!

While this will hardly make up for the 50 or so bands removed from our band links earlier this week (thank you, Myspace), we do have a newly discovered band to add to our defunct Sault Ontario band links, namely Nowhere Fast! A young all-female alternative/punk trio that was only visibly active for a brief period from April-May 2005, their lineup was comprised of singer Andrea Crofts, guitarist/bassist Rhiannon "Rhi" Jones, and drummer Jess Walls, none of which I'm familiar with from other local bands. No word on if "Kel" in the band's sole picture is a former band member or a nickname of Andrea's, as I don't know any members personally. Their Tripod page is inconsistently detailed (only Rhi has a full biography or thank-yous here), and their sole blog posting isn't musically related, but they had a clear sense of humour throughout available posts. Nowhere Fast had planned to write original songs, while covers were listed from bands like Switchfoot and Rise Against to Edwin McCain and Sarah MacLachlan, among various others.

I have no way of knowing how Nowhere Fast would have sounded as a live band, and Rhi's shared band roles indicate that they may have still needed to add a full-time bassist before then anyway, but an all-female band was a local rarity in the mid-2000s, and it would have been interesting to see where they would have went! Give them a look at the above links!

Next up, here's a pair of LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS, starting with the first true concert of 2019 from local metal promoters Six, Two, Oh., as Vancouver death metal quintet West of Hell will make their third local concert appearance on Wednesday, April 17th when they headline at The New American Pub! Last seen over 5 years ago at The Oddfellows Hall, this show will take place during their Infidels Tour of Canada, and their melodic brand of extreme metal will still be well primed for face melting next month! Fellow Vancouver metal quintet Expain are joining them for this tour, and they'll be bringing their own explosive blend of progressive thrash metal to the The New A as well, so be sure to check them out! Local openers will surprisingly include local cybergrind solo project Malignant Neoplasm (led by C.T.W.'s own Tyler Gibson.) I can't recall if Malignant Neoplasm have ever had a formal live concert set, so I'm curious to hear how their noise attack translates live!

The surprise opening act will be local rapper Conika, who may seem like a major outlier on an concert billed as having "1,000% Metal", but she is a talented MC, and Six, Two, Oh. are no strangers to booking musically disparate acts on the same bill. Hopefully she sets the tone nicely! A $5 cover charge is in effect for this 19+ concert, which has a 9:00 PM start time. Visit the official Facebook event page for full details on what should be a brutal night of extreme metal intensity, and stay tuned for potential updates!

Also newly announced, local Celtic punk quintet Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide will hit the road for Richards Landing on nearby St. Joseph Island (45 minutes southeast of Sault Ste. Marie) to take part in the third annual Go North Music Festival on Saturday, July 13th! As far as I know, The Tide are the first punk, metal, or hard rock band to ever play at this one-day festival, and with their folksier Celtic side, they should fit in well! Held at the Centennial Grounds at 1511 Richards Street (previously the site of Cornfest), this family-friendly event will feature food vendors, craft beer, local artisans, children's activities and entertainers, and overnight camping, so be sure to visit the official website and/or Facebook page for full non-musical details. The diverse musical lineup will also include Toronto alt-folk band Birds of Bellwoods, Juno-winning local country singer Crystal Shawanda, Toronto indie rock quintet Sun K, Toronto folk singer/songtwriter Skye Wallace, ...

...London rock singer/guitarist Sarah Smith, Hamilton indie rock quartet Another Crush, and local indie rock solo artist Jesse Merineau & his solo band, with The Rising Tide listed as the festival openers. Tickets run for $30 until March 30th, $40 in advance afterwards, and $50 at the gate, while youths 13-18 in age can get in for $15, and kids 12 and under are FREE. You can buy tickets and camping packages at this link or at regional merchants to be announced. Sounds like a fun time, especially if you love folk and indie rock, and hopefully Dustin & company set the tone well in Richards Landing this summer! Visit the above links for complete current details!

Finally for today, let's wrap up this weekend's hard rock concert previews, as Winnipeg-based Ozzy Osbourne/Black Sabbath tribute band OZbourne will make their Sault Ste. Marie debut TOMORROW NIGHT when they rock The Canadian Nightclub! 8 years removed from Blizzard of Ozz's show at the same venue, we can finally take in some more touring tribute action with OZbourne, whose sound is faithful in sound and visual appeal to satiate any Ozzy fan, so be sure to give them a look before you head to The Canadian tomorrow! The local openers are blues rock trio The Paul DellaVedova Band (replacing The Bearded Lounge) in a rare support appearance from them at a non-festival, and while they may not be your first thought as openers for an Ozzy tribute, remember that Paul and company have some hard rock songs in their setlist, and blues music was a big influence on Black Sabbath, so they should deliver strongly to kick things off!

Moved up to tomorrow from it's original March 29th scheduling, this 19+ concert has a likely 10:00 PM start time, and admission will be $15 at the door. If you love Ozzy and/or Sabbath, you'd be well served to check out Ozbourne tomorrow night, so visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and for a preview, here's Ozbourne live!

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

Thursday, March 21, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Alex Traynor) & Most Of This Weekend's Hard Rock Concert Previews!!

It's now time to dive into another batch of metal and hard rock concert previews in the Sault Ste. Marie area! Due to the amount, I am holding our preview of Saturday night's Ozbourne concert for tomorrow's post, so don't worry, it is coming! Now, let's tackle the other heavier shows this weekend , starting with some LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS, one on short notice!

Banned fronman Alex Traynor will play a solo concert TONIGHT at The Signatures Lounge at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino, as part of a slate of shows there that's new to our concert listings! Apologies for the short notice, we only learned of TONIGHT's show after adding Alex's solo project to our full coverage on Friday. If you're familiar with the Kinross singer/guitarist, you'll know that he plays solo acoustic gigs both locally and in his current Mount Pleasant homebase separate from his Banned gigs, and this includes a number of appearance at The Signatures Lounge, a more intimate venue separate from The Rapids Lounge at the Soo's Kewadin branch, which hosts solo performers on Thursday nights and karaoke on Friday. As such, Alex will be at The Signatures Lounge TONIGHT as well as on May 2nd, September 5th, and November 21st for four quarterly shows there. All were confirmed via the schedule on his official website earlier this year.

Note that Kewadin Casino's newly redesigned website does not list Signatures Lounge concert dates at present, nor does it elaborate on Alex's advertised St. Ignace Kewadin gigs scheduled between September 18th & November 21st, which I can't see running nightly for that whole 2 month stretch. Stay tuned for confirmation where needed! As best as I can tell, TONIGHT's Signatures Lounge show and the three others are 21+ gigs with no cover charge, but concerts there all have a special early start time of 6:00 PM. Alex's skilled musicianship should go over well in this setting, so see above for more details, and here's his "Crazy World" music video!

Next up, let's head to Sault Ontario, where local acoustic hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison has another busy weekend ahead, including solo matinee concerts TOMORROW & SATURDAY at Gliss Restaurant, sandwiching his return to Room 21 for a traditional nighttime concert TOMORROW NIGHT! There's not much new you can say regarding his long-term arrangement at Gliss, but his unplugged hard and classic rock covers should find another solid audience on Spring Street tomorrow and Saturday evening! As for Room 21, this is Tym's first show there in over a month, and his last nighttime show of March 2019. This should provide fans at this upstairs nightclub with lots of solid entertainment tomorrow, so don't miss out there either! The Gliss shows are 6:00 PM events with no stated age limit, while the Room 21 show is 19+ and a 10:00 PM, and none have a cover charge. Visit the event pages linked here & here for more details, and here's Tym live!

Also this weekend, let's head to The Water Tower Pub, where local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck are scheduled to play for one night only TOMORROW NIGHT! Last seen two weeks ago at The Reggievelt, this will be Soundcheck's first Water Tower Pub show in over a month, and it continues with the venue's usual scheduling pattern of having different bands nightly, hence why they're not playing there on Saturday. Terry, Travis, Paul, and Glen's chemistry-laden brand of fan favourite covers should provide a solid soundtrack for fans and Water Tower Pub regulars alike, so don't miss out on all of tomorrow's action on Great Northern Road! A 9:30 PM start time is in effect, you must be 19 or older to attend, and there's no announced cover charge. Visit the above links for more details, and here's Soundcheck live!

Finally for today's concert previews, we'll go to The Rockstar Bar, where a double header of local tribute band action goes down THIS SATURDAY NIGHT! A sequel to a show that these two bands played here in December, the headliners will be new local Tool tribute band Parabol in their third live concert set and first under the Parabol name. This faithful and talented group should have another great set of Tool classics in store for fans on Saturday, so if you missed them last year, don't miss John, Steve, Al, and Anthony this time out! Local funk/hard rock quartet The Elements will play support as a Red Hot Chili Peppers tribute band for the night, taking on the temporary name Scar Tissue for the occasion. The guys have a good handle on Chili Peppers hits, and they should kick the night off right this weekend! Note that guitarist Jesse Cook is no stranger to local Red Hot Chili Peppers tribute bands, having drummed for Sikamikanico in 2007 & 2008.

A presentation of (Choose) Maxx Entertainment, this concert has a 19+ age limit, $5 cover charge, and a 9:00 PM start time. Should be a fun night of hard rock and metal covers from these skilled veteran groups, so visit the above links for more details, and here's Parabol live!

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

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

MySpace's 2003-2015 Song Deletions, And How This Impacts The Sault Metal Scene

Today, I wanted to address the recent news that broke concerning the apparent loss of songs posted to MySpace between 2003 & 2015 due to a "server migration project." Many international news sources have been covering this story in the past few days (BBC News is one example), with varying degrees of skepticism as to MySpace's motives and handling of the content, and estimates say that up to 50 million songs have been lost as a result. As someone who frequently visits and researches social media pages featuring local bands, I know first hand that this isn't a shocking development for a couple of reasons. In recent months, readers will recall that we had acknowledged the demise of PureVolume and CBC Music's independent band page services, and neither was actively used by current local bands as it was. MySpace was very much in the same boat, as newer social media websites and applications have taken precedence in this regard.

As well, I know first hand that the media players on MySpace haven't worked in months and months, appearing to show musicians' uploaded songs, but never playing them, so I think that their "server migration project" is not a new development. Truth be told, local band pages that I have visited on MySpace today mostly look how they did before the news broke. Many photos still load, but videos don't appear to, and songs are apparently lost, despite appearances. When MySpace first had it's major layout overhauls in 2013, I backed up band pages that I could in a text document for research purposes, but alas, I am too late in 2019 to back up music, unless they can re-locate material from the server migration. With a couple of exceptions, MySpace was not a going concern for current local bands hoping to promote themselves in the mid-late 2010s, but this news does force me to make some noticeable changes to our band links.

A number of the local metal, hard rock, or punk artists that we linked on the SMS via MySpace were primarily because of their song postings, and if there's no described or substantive photos there, or official pages on other sites, I can't justify keeping them linked on here, as I only link to bands whose official page still has music, videos, or useful band information. If you see MySpace links on the SMS after today, it's either an oversight, or I felt they had enough content to remain listed.

For this reason, I am reluctantly removing these acts from our inactive Sault Ontario band links: The 12 Gauge Ready, Andrew Angelic, Bankshot, Bill Satchels, Bin Hawdon & The Taliband, The Bottom Half, Brad Example & The Role Models, Brendan Christie, Dark Salvation, Divinity Collapsed, Dreamscape, Eden Plague, Face First, Faithless Sin, Fitswitch, The Fury, Glunk!, Good Morning Gorilla, The Hangdowns, The Harsh Heads, The Joe Falco Experience, Lee Maines, Nite Wulfe, Out Of The Mouth Of Babes, PYSS, Room 206, Sneaky Pete, Squirrelboy & The Smiling Giraffes, and When They Fall. For Sault Michigan, I have removed these acts: A Shade of Light, BlisteringBane, Deprecor, From The Ashes Of Angels, Gentlemen's Bet, The Grape Slushies, Mike Libertoski, Monkey's Uncle, Mugwort, Orb, Outshined, Riot! By Night, Savage Roar, Self Control, The Slackjawed Rats, and Weed.

I also dropped Mitch Sirie's solo act The Sorrow Fields from our active Sault Ontario links, as Mitch surprisingly doesn't have an active online page for them elsewhere, but this is still an active project.  Regarding our "Other Sault Ontario/Michigan Metal Links" sections, I didn't have to remove anything there, aside from Sault Michigan's Klusterfunk Studios, best known to readers from Clownsack recording albums there. Also, I have replaced Scofflaw's link with their Facebook page, and if any of the above bands have an official, self-created page that I locate on another service, I'll definitely bring them back (Wayback Machine/Oocities archives, fan sites, news articles, and YouTube channels don't count.) Of course, there are some MySpace pages that remain linked, but this is predicated on no more deletions or "server migrations" causing any losses of data, or perhaps even an artist deleting their old page intentionally. We'll keep you posted when/if anything is found or learned.

While MySpace is still alive, it's a shell of it's former self, and any changes the site made in 2013 to make the service more music friendly just served to strip away anything that made it interesting for musicians before then. I can count the local bands who actively maintained their MySpace page in the mid-late 2010s on one hand (Destroilet is a good example), but even their page's songs don't work. In The Sault Metal Scene's earliest days, MySpace was our most important source of local band pages, and while Facebook would supercede it by the turn of the 2010s, it remained an important resource until band profiles were wiped out in 2013. The customization options, friendly culture, and wide footprint of 2000s era MySpace made my early Sault Metal Scene work so much easier, and I can still remember how much a profile's "Top 8" friends could create a rabbit hole trip to even more relevant bands and projects. For reference, here's what's left of The Sault Metal Scene's MySpace page.

I wish MySpace had warned users in advance that their old materials may be deleted, which would have gave me time in 2017 or so to back things up, but what's done is done. Hopefully everyone out there has backed up their media on MySpace (or just never deleted it), but if my hand must be forced into cleaning up our band links, at least things are more current and relevant for content across the board. Check the above links and your preferred news outlets for more on MySpace in 2019, and stay tuned for more news and notes on the SMS soon! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Rock Of Ages Preview, Plus New Videos From Both Sides Of The Border!!

Before I get to a massive post concerning major developments regarding a once-popular band page website, here's a new news post for your Tuesday afternoon, and it includes new solo performance footage, jam session clips, and a local artist's television appearance from earlier this month, but let's begin with a preview of a special live event!

While not a concert in the traditional sense, I felt it appropriate to give one last preview to TONIGHT'S show from the national touring production of the hair metal/1980s rock-themed musical Rock of Ages at GFL Memorial Gardens! It's rare when a live musical play comes through here that has any direct connection to SMS coverage, but I can easily make an exception here. A jukebox musical about an aspiring singer & bartender's romance as they try to make it big in the 1980s glam rock music scene in  Los Angeles, Rock of Ages was a smash hit on Broadway for six years, and later led to a 2012 feature film, and now this national tour to commemorate the original Broadway production's 10th anniversary. Expect to hear a wide array of songs woven into the plot from acts like REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Bon Jovi, The Scorpions, Journey, Foreigner, Quiet Riot, and many more. Tickets are still available, including on the floor, for between $49.50 and $89.50 at this link, so act A.S.A.P. to get the best seat possible!

You can also buy tickets at the in-person box office or by phone at 1-866-775-9422. An 8:00 PM start time is advertised, and this seems to be all ages. Also, check out this Sault Star article by Jeffrey Ougler from last month where he interviewed Andrew Tebo, who plays Hertz Klinemann in this production. While I admittedly didn't love the Rock of Ages film, I know that many fans of 1980s glam, hair, and arena bands will certainly enjoy tonight's play at the Gardens, so hopefully tonight's show is a home run! And for one last preview, here's two of the actors hyping up the show for this video posted on the City of Sault Ste. Marie's YouTube channel last month!

Next up, here's another new video from Kinross/Mount Pleasant, Michigan solo hard rock musician Alex Traynor, who got some big exposure on local television earlier this month! If you live in the Cadillac-Traverse City television market (which includes the E.U.P.), or if you are a Sault Ontario resident with a digital TV antenna, you may be familiar with The Four, a lifestyle newsmagazine show that airs weekdays at 4:00 PM on our regional CBS affiliate 9&10 News (channel 10 on Spectrum, 10.1 on the antenna.) Hosted by Michelle Dunaway and Charlie Tinker, this show is an entertaining snapshot of current events, helpful tips, and weather updates, and it's definitely a fun and lighter alternative to more serious newscasts! A regular feature is their "Friday Sessions", where a regional musician or band performs an original song to end the week with, and Alex got the nod on March 8th, where he performed an acoustic version of his song "Send My Soul Away" from his new "Crazy World" EP.

Unfortunately, I can't embed the video here, but you can watch it at this link, and it's not region locked, so Canadian readers can check it out too. Well filmed on multiple cameras (including one mounted on his guitar's neck), this is a strong performance that hopefully won him lots of new fans watching WWUP & WWTV a couple of weeks back! Give it a look at the above links, and watch The Four on Fridays to hear more rising Northern Michigan artists!

We'll close today with some videos that I can embed, including some more jam session clips from Sault Ontario power rock quintet Re:Born's Facebook page, with two more being posted there on Monday! One video features Elly, Blair, Fred, and Brandan tackling Project 421's old original "Running Away", but embedded below is Re:Born covering two songs, including Poison's "Talk Dirty To Me" & Kissin' Dynamite's "Sex Is War", which Elly guested on with Re:Born last year already. Solid performances all around, if a little stiff still, but it's all good hype for their return show at Soo Blaster on March 29th, so give each of these videos a look above & below!

Finally for today, here's a couple of new videos from local experimental/metal solo artist Chase Wigmore's Facebook page from the last month or so! This one was shared from his personal Facebook page last week, and it features a now-mohawked Chase playing a short original that is reminiscent of Vito Petroccitto Jr'.s "The Assumption Song". Washed out visuals, but a lively performance that isn't quite what you're expecting! Embedded below is his live-streamed video from February 28th, which has Chase playing "some of Dan's tracks" to test some new software. I don't know who Dan is in this context, but if you like Chase's technical metal side, this will satiate that need! Despite prior plans to move metal material to the Awokest banner, this showcases some heavy and complex original instrumental action for 18+ minutes, and even a surprise bass cameo at the end! More great stuff from Chase, so give these videos a look above & below!

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

Monday, March 18, 2019

Last Month's Poll Results & This Month's Poll!!

It's now time to close up last month's poll on The Sault Metal Scene and launch a new one! For a refresher, we posed this question to you guys last month: What was your favourite new local metal, hard rock, or punk album of 2018? After our surprisingly strong preceding turnout, we only received 10 votes this time around, which is unfortunate, but there is a clear result all the same. Thanks to everyone for voting, and now, here are your final results!

The Din - Suburban Sendoff (7 votes, 70%)
C.T.W. & Chase Wigmore - A Couple of Degenerate Bastards (1 vote, 10%)
Mike Haggith - From The Nickel Stage (1 vote, 10%)
Shit Liver - Hitting The Fan (1 vote, 10%)
Abhorrent Forest - To See Eternity (0 votes)
Any of Mike McCleary's 2018 albums (0 votes)
Mike Vincent - Apocalypse or Ultimate Chaos (0 votes)
Northwest - Songs From 2015-2017 (0 votes)
Redundant - Redundant (0 votes)
Sykotyk Rampage - Live At The Paris Hilton (0 votes)
Any of SweetKenny's 2018 score albums  (0 votes)
Telephone & Address - Monster (0 votes)
Other (0 votes)

What do you guys think? Well, in terms of the albums with 0 votes, I am most surprised that Northwest's new EP didn't get any votes here, especially given it's well received release concert in December, but alas, it's all in who votes! Redundant not getting any is surprising too, but them not having a formal release party in the Soo can't have helped. Of the albums with a single vote, I'm not surprised at all that Shit Liver got one for "Hitting the Fan", and the C.T.W./Chase split picking up one is a good sign for Blood Shed awareness. That said, it's clear that Mike Haggith won this poll via (surprisingly) live albums alone, with his 2018 live album picking up one vote, and most impressively, The Din's posthumous live album getting seven, running away with first place. I wouldn't have pegged a digital-exclusive live album from a defunct band as the winner, but the "Suburban Sendoff" show was a huge deal and appropriately commemorated on this album, so kudos to Mike, Tammy, and Brendan for their victory here!

Thanks to everyone for voting! Now, let's get into this month's poll, where we are posing this question: What was the biggest local metal, hard rock, or punk news story of 2018? Last year remained an eventful, stacked year for the local metal, hard rock, and punk community, and as usual, I had a tough time paring down the year at large to just 25 options (plus "Other"), so hopefully I covered a big cross-section of the events, news stories, changes, departures, and debuts that we touched on in posts last year! To make this poll, the news story in question must have took place in the 2018 calendar year, so anything that occurred between January and March 2019 is not included, but will be considered at this point next year. Also, remember that this poll reflects what you feel is the biggest news story, not necessarily the best or happiest, so keep that in mind when entries of a more negative slant are acknowledged. Now, here are 25 final choices, plus "Other"!

The Bear Hunters release their debut music video: While their 2018 was unusually quiet, local death metal quintet The Bear Hunters (minus Josh) ended the year with a bang when they unveiled the music video for "I Fear No God" in December! Recorded by Spacebag Productions at Robbie's Church in Leeburn, this helped make up for the guys not playing at Oh!No II, and the video was very well shot, but was it the biggest SMS-covered story here?

Big Wreck plays at The Machine Shop in February: After a 16+ year wait following their previous local concert, Toronto hard rock notables Big Wreck finally returned to Sault Ste. Marie last February when they rocked The Machine Shop alongside Winnipeg alt-rockers Attica Riots. Notably, this show was part of Big Wreck's "In Loving Memory Of..." 20th anniversary tour, with fans seeing Ian and company play every song from that album on this night. Would you vote for this one here?

Chuck Ayotte of Fistmagnet passes away: Many local music fans and performers were saddened last winter by former Fistmagnet guitarist Chuck Ayotte's diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, which unfortunately led to his passing in April of last year. A staple of the local punk scene in the 1990s whose legacy lives in via Destroilet's cover of "Evil God Hater", Chuck's death was felt by many friends, family, and bandmates last year, but would you choose it in this poll?

The Din posthumously release "Suburban Sendoff": The somewhat surprise winner of last month's aforementioned poll, defunct local alt-hard rock trio The Din put out their "Suburban Sendoff" live album in February, which compiled their October 2017 farewell concert at LopLops Lounge into a paid release for fans to relive their last show as an active project. Featuring a well received cover of "Blow At High Dough" for the late Gord Downie, does this have your vote again?

Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide return with new lineup: Following their set at July 2016's Hedley concert, local Celtic punk quartet Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide took a hiatus for 1½ years. Fans welcomed them back with open arms last March at shows here and in Sudbury, and with new members Liam Seymour & Chris Johns in tow, the guys have remained active since with big local concerts and recording sessions. Did The Tide's return earn your vote?

The Essar Centre becomes GFL Memorial Gardens: After months of discussion, Sault Ste. Marie's sports & entertainment center on Queen Street East changed it's title sponsor, as Green For Life Environmental bought the former Steelback/Essar Centre's naming rights for 10 years, and most importantly of all to many Saultites, revived the old Memorial Gardens name. This has gotten mixed responses, but was it your #1 story here?

Gliss Restaurant moves to Spring Street: A regular sight in our local concert coverage thanks to Tym Morrison's long-term concert arrangement there, Gliss closed it's Quality Inn location last July in advance of Johnny's Chophouse opening there, with the popular steak & seafood restaurant packing it's bags for 133 Spring Street, where they re-opened three months later, with Tym's twice-weekly shows resuming there around that time. Was Gliss' big move your top story?

The Gore Street Cafe permanently closes: Rumours of the popular concert venue/laundromat closing or relocating were unfortunately common, but the hammer finally dropped for The Gore Street Cafe at the end of June following a dispute with property owners. Owner Nicole Dyble has pressed on as an events promoter with Dryer Fire, including a well received run of events at the MS Norgoma, but would the end of this generous cafe be your choice?

The Halloween Party launches new local tribute bands: A lean year for debuting hard rock/punk bands reached it's crescendo over the Halloween weekend, when J.D. Pearce's annual Halloween Party concerts hit The Rockstar Bar, with three debuting tribute bands playing that weekend, and none were one-offs! Distillers, HIM, and Tool fans definitely took to Coral Fang, Poison Girl, and Parabol last fall, but were you one of them?

Highway 63 returns to the stage after a lengthy hiatus: Following a year+ long hiatus from the stage for personal, health, and lineup overhauling reasons, Sault Michigan classic/hard rock veterans Highway 63 came back in full force at Dondee Lanes' Christmas party last year, complete with George Belleau, Brian Drumheller, and Justin Lawless now joining the Switzers in the new-look band. Was Highway 63's return your top story of last year?

I Mother Earth & Finger Eleven return to Sault Ontario: One of the highest anticipated hard rock concerts in Sault Ste. Marie of 2018 saw Juno award winning bands I Mother Earth & Finger Eleven return after decade+ absences for a well received Machine Shop concert last April! Also featuring opener J.J. Thompson, a private acoustic pre-show, and a huge supergroup encore, this concert was a massive hit from fans of both bands, but would you concur?

Michale Graves concert cancelled due to weather: Last September, many horror punk fans were eagerly awaiting the local concert debut of former Misfits frontman Michale Graves at The Canadian Nightclub, but unfortunately, the show was cancelled after severe wind forced the closure of the Mackinac Bridge, leaving Michale and openers unable to make it to the Soo on time. Was the cancellation your biggest story of 2018?

Mike Haggith fully resumes solo career in Thompson, Manitoba: While Mike relaunched his own solo project at the end of 2017, fans locally and in his new Manitoba homebase didn't see the fruits of his labour until last year, including studio work for his new album "Bridges", his first professional music video, his new Thompson band Between The Ditches, and lots of solo shows and press coverage. 2018 was a big year for Mike, but did it earn your vote?

Oh!No festival in Leeburn returns for second installment: After their successful first installment in 2017, Six, Two, Oh. brought the Oh!No concert festival back to Robbie Adamson's church in Leeburn for year #2 last September, with a huge all-day lineup of familiar acts like Cross Dog, Garbageface, The Therapists, and Lightmares, plus many more acts, an organ bonfire, and lots more camaraderie! Did Oh!No II top 2018 to you?

Pop Evil returns to Sault Michigan in February: No strangers to our area via four prior local concert appearances (including three at The Dreammaker's Theater), Muskegon hard rock notables Pop Evil returned to that venue last February for another highly anticipated concert, and with even more rock radio hits under their belt, their show got another great turnout! Also featuring openers Palaye Royale and Black Map, would you say this was last year's top news story?

Re:Born debuts in local scene in early 2018: Arguably the most prominent Sault Ontario hard rock/metal band debut of 2018, Re:Born succeeded Project 421 with a hard hitting power rock sound, carried over & new originals, and many familiar faces in their ranks! Though they only played three shows last year, preceding their vocalist switch from Robert Nevitt to Elly McWatters, they have a big year ahead, and would Re:Born's debut get your vote here?

Redundant play at the final Vans Warped Tour stop in Toronto: After returning from a long stage hiatus of their own last year, local punk trio Redundant returned with a vengeance last year, a return arguably capped off when they got the chance to play at the last ever Vans Warped Tour stop in Toronto in July! Notably doubling as the CD release concert for their self-titled debut EP, was their Toronto road trip your top SMS-covered story?

Rotaryfest celebrates anniversary with Rewind lineup: To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Sault Rotary Club, our annual summer festival hosted a special "Rotaryfest Rewind" theme for Stage 1 last year, with a host of bands reuniting for the occasion, such as Treble Charger, The Suicide Kings, Tripod the Dog, Turner Up, and many more. The throwback musical action at Clergue Park was great to see, but would you vote for this in the poll?

Scott McLurg retires from drumming in local bands: A mainstay of our classic/hard rock cover band coverage for much of our run, Scott McLurg retired from active roles in local bands last August for health reasons. From Generation Gap & Lois Lane to Turner Up & Havadder, and most recently with Soundcheck, Scott's talents and friendly nature always carried him well locally, and I hope his retirement is going smoothly, but would you vote here?

Seether and 10 Years rock Kewadin Casino in August: Arguably the biggest hard rock concert in Sault Michigan of 2018, South African post-grunge trio Seether made their long awaited return to the Sault Ste. Marie area last August, with 10 Years also returning for good measure, and another huge crowd turned out for both bands' familiar hit songs! Also featuring openers The Dead Deads, this was another home run for Allstar Promotions, but would you agree with that?

Shit Liver tour Canada to support "Hitting The Fan": In advance of their 2018 Canadian tour, Sault Ontario/St. Catharine's grindcore trio Shit Liver released their long awaited sophomore album "Hitting the Fan" in March, with physical copies exclusively put out on vinyl records. Fans ate up their fast and furious brand of crusty grind and death metal, including at the local tour stop on April 6th, but was this album your top story in this poll?

The Soo's Got Talent competition debuts at The Tech: In one of the final major concert events at The Tech before it's apparent closure, dozens of local entertainers competed in the first annual Soo's Got Talent last fall, with a few familiar faces competing along the way, including Tym Morrison, ex-Re:Born singer Robert Nevitt, magician/Iron Maiden comic artist Darren Emond, and eventual winner Daniella Brewer. Was this multi-night event your choice?

Steel Panther performs in Sault Michigan in December: While most of their songs are too ribald for rock radio, another sizable crowd hit The Dreammaker's Theater late last year to see Steel Panther's comedic hair metal throwback stage show, and they delivered the musical and humorous goods in equal measure on this night! Also featuring the return of a new-look Wilson as openers, was this concert your pick in this 2018 news story poll?

Stiffler's Mom quietly fall inactive after lengthy local run: While there was no splashy farewell concert or formal breakup announcement, Sault Ontario party/hard rock cover trio Stiffler's Mom have not been seen since their Esquire Club concert weekend in September 2017, and were moved to our inactive band links last year as a result. Greg, Mike, and Jon gave fans over 2 decades of entertainment locally, but is their apparent end your vote-getter?

Theatre of Night hold their second Christmas tour: Despite the loss of co-vocalist Stacie McCarthy in the interim, Sault Michigan classical metal project Theatre of Night returned for their sophomore Christmas-themed tour of Michigan over the holidays, playing a number of metallized Christmas carols for patrons at concert venues and churches alike, including a special Dreammaker's Theatre charity event. Were Theatre of Night's holiday shows your pick in this month's poll?

Other: Did we miss your preferred news story in the local scene last year? Was there a concert, album release, band debut or breakup, closure, change, or just a general item relating to local metal, hard rock, or punk artists that you feel we should have included? If, for whatever reason, your preferred choice isn't here, then vote for "Other"!

VOTE TODAY! You guys have until April 18th to cast your votes in this month's poll, and hopefully there's another solid turnout of votes for what should be an interesting final result! That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates on the site this week! Thanks everyone!