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!

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