Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Treble Charger - "Maybe It's Me" CD Review!!

It's now time for our 118th monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, and this month, we are reluctantly breaking our year+ streak of new album reviews as the metal, hard rock, and punk release calendar slows down. As such, we're looking at local/Toronto indie punk quartet Treble Charger's gold-selling third album "Maybe It's Me" in our first archive CD review since 2017! Preference for archive reviews on the SMS goes to albums featuring artists who played locally in the current month, and fittingly, guitarist Bill Priddle played at The Water Tower Pub two weeks ago. "Maybe It's Me" was released through Smokin' Worm Records on May 13th, 1997 (also on Vik Records that year and through RCA in the U.S.), and it was recorded at multiple studios in Boston and Toronto with producer Lou Giordano, with mixing by him & Tom Lord-Alge, and mastering by Ted Jensen. Like it's predecessor "Self-Title", Treble Charger received a Juno Award nomination for Best Alternative Album in 1998.

As on their first two albums, Treble Charger are represented here by singer/guitarists Greig Nori and Bill Priddle once again, alongside then-bassist Rosie Martin. Drums are largely provided here by session drummer Mike Levesque due the departure of Morris Palter early in the recording sessions, though Morris drums on 4 tracks. While he is featured in the album's liner notes & music videos, Trevor McGregor joined the band after recording ended. CD copies of "Maybe It's Me" can be found at record stores still, but for a sure thing, online copies of the original album are available on services like iTunes and Spotify, among others. Song names are linked below to YouTube copies, but consider buying the album to support Treble Charger's work! Featuring 13 songs running for about 50 minutes in length, let's begin our third Treble Charger album review with it's first song & single!

The CD opens with "Friend of Mine", which seems to be about not following someone's example and not reinforcing their behaviour by being friendly to them. A #9 hit on the Canadian Rock/Alternative charts, this has a Weezer-esque sound that at least shows slight progression towards their later punk material. The guitar work is strong and melodic, and the percussion is steady, but Greig's singing strikes me as a little monotone, without the anger and annoyance that the lyrics seem to point towards. The sudden fade-out isn't optimal either, but it's a good track for what it is! Second is "How She Died", which also hit the top 20 of the Canadian alternative charts. Seemingly a response to the suicide of a loved one, the song proper has a surprisingly upbeat melody, including a bit of vocal aggression on the choruses. Rosie's bass work is solid, and the energy overall is amped up, even showing a bit of a guitar solo late. If it was up to me, "How She Died" should have opened the album, but it's an early highlight on "Maybe It's Me"!

Next is the album's shortest song, "Stupid Things To Say", which is the first song with Bill on lead vocals. Containing seemingly apathetic lyrics about not being in the right frame of mind to hear another person talking, this song is more along the trajectory of their first two albums, though is it wrong to hear a Foo Fighters glimmer on this? Like on "Friend of Mine", the vocal annoyance and displeasure doesn't jive with the singing style, but the song is well performed, if leisurely. A pleasant listen, but punk fans may want to look elsewhere. That's followed by "Kareen", which may or may not reference the spiritual double of humans known as a "Qareen" from Islamic culture. Greig's back on vocals here for this number, which has a harder-edged alternative sound, and is somewhat darker in tone than we usually see from Treble Charger. The vocals contrast well with the instruments, and Mike's drumming is a good match, though the bridge feels like a few different songs stitched together. Very solid and mature track with a nice rhythm!

Fifth is a re-recording of "Red", which was their first single on their 1994 debut album "nc17", and like on that version, also received it's own newly recorded music video. Despite running for 30 seconds less and cutting half of the lyrics, this is actually the longest song on "Maybe It's Me". The remake benefits from stronger production and beefier instrumentation, losing it's more acoustically-inclined nature from three years prior. On a CD of transition for Treble Charger, this reflect their old indie rock sound very well, and Bill's earnest, soft singing is still a fine fit. I prefer this version for it's production & more rock-based nature, but you may well disagree! This version also made the top #20 on the Canadian rock charts.

Next is "Fade", which is another song alluding to personal differences, this time how one can finally avoid a former friend or lover (as far as I can gather.) Again, the lyrical themes don't mesh with the soft singing from Greig, but the upbeat power pop melody works well in the chorus, especially compared to the somewhat listless opening verses. The song improves with time, and hits a home run for involvement and enthusiasm (lyrical dissonance aside) in the last stanza, and that helps save the track overall for me! Song #7 is "Ever She Flows", another song that seemingly talks about issues between lovers and not understanding each other. The first of 4 songs with Morris on drums, the dream-like verses contrast well with the more punchy choruses, with Bill's singing a steady constant throughout, and the guitar work is really strong! Just for my own preferences, this isn't my favourite song on the CD, but fans of their first 2 albums will be right at home.

Afterwards, we have "Forever Knowing", which has themes about waiting for a loved one, and no song better matches the lyrics so far than this one, except maybe "Red". Another song with Weezer glimmers, this is has a nice dreamy power pop sound with Bill's nicely tuned singing and well suited guitar work, and Rosie's bass adds the right amount of thump to the instrumentation. Like on it's predecessor, this isn't the style of Treble Charger I prefer, but it's a fine fit for fans of their indie rock side! Ninth is "Mercury Smile" (with Greig on vocals & Morris on drums), which returns to allusions of strained relationships, but with a lot of extra visualization. The song seems like it'd be a softer indie rock song at first, but it amps up into full on alt-rock intensity after the opening verse, and Greig and Bill compliment each other well on guitar! I am not a fan of the owl hooting vocals late, but before then, this delivers enough rock to go around!

The tenth track is "Christ Is On The Lawn", also with Morris behind the kit, while producer Lou Giordano provides a guest guitar solo. A very symbolic song about loss and moving on, this is probably the quietest and most reserved song on "Maybe It's Me", with everyone performing at a very delicate and deliberate pace. It's an affecting song that would play very well in an acoustic setting, and Bill shows real emotion, but if you want to hear Treble Charger at a heavier and more rock-based level, you'll want to steer clear of it. I don't prefer this track, but it's very well done! Next is "Scatterbrain", which is lyrically about trying to comprehend changes in a loved one's behaviour. You may expect this song to have a ska-punk bent, based on guest performances by tenor saxophonist Coleen Allen, trombonist Stephen Donald, and trumpeter Sarah McElcheran, but their involvement just gives some backing zest to the song, and there's no discernible reggae influence aside from the presence of a horn section.

The song proper is lively, well paced, and energetic, and Greig's singing showcases a bit more range and energy than we've seen. He, Bill, Rosie, and Mike compliment each other well, and while this doesn't have the grit and attitude to come on later albums, this has a strong rock base and energy that fans should be able to get behind! Honestly, the guest horn players could have been a little louder too, they're easy to miss on low volume.

Second last on the album is "Takes Me Down", which is Mike's last song on drums. A short song that really has that punk influence in it's sound, the lyrics here reference frustration and anger, but trying to keep it in and let things slide... for now. Vocals (and a nice Spanish guitar break) actually come from Bill here, which is mildly surprising given the tone, and I'd honestly have switched his lead vocals with Greig's backing singing, as it feels like they switched roles in studio for a song of this style. The pacing and riffs work well, and Rosie fits in really well, but the vocal dissonance and the abrupt ending do give it a few marks. The CD closes with "Left Feeling Odd" (with Morris on drums), which seems to be about seeing a man lying on the ground, causing the title emotion. A return to indie rock territory, this is a reserved and plain song that doesn't feel as odd as Bill felt, but it's not especially memorable compared to it's predecessors. Not how I'd end the album, but it'll get the job done for early fans!

So, what are my final thoughts on Treble Charger's third album? Overall, I think this was their best album to date, and it served as an important bridge from their early indie rock era to their pop punk work that gave them their commercial peak. While the most "rocking" songs on "Maybe It's Me" don't overtly have a punk attitude, there's a clear emphasis on faster and heavier power pop material, and as noted earlier, I can see where Weezer and The Foo Fighters may have been influences. The songs sung by Bill tend to skew more to their old stuff, but Greig's material tends to be where their sound is expanding. Both have solid voices, and their guitar work compliments each other well, while Rosie's bass work was a reliable constant, and both Mike and Morris drummed well throughout! I will say that Mike seemed more suited to their more aggressive songs. Tracks like "How She Died", "Kareen", and "Scatterbrain" were among my favourites.

My biggest complaint is that vocals often weren't a great match for the lyrical themes (primarily about relationship strife and anger), often coming across as too soft and melodic. The occasional abrupt ending was present too, and the owl hooting on "Mercury Smile" did nothing for me, but as the bridge of Treble Charger eras, this has a little something for everyone, and whether you like "Even Grable" or "Hundred Million", this album will work for either side! Buy or stream "Maybe It's Me" at the above links! I hope you guys liked this month's CD review, but what's coming on the site next month? At present, I don't know, but here's what I can tell you. A new album would, of course, take precedence, and you can see what may be coming out soon in our next "Where Are The New Albums?" post on Thursday. If nothing new comes on sale to review, an archive review is very likely, perhaps of a Dustin Jones project to tie in with his Music 4 Kayge set.

In any event, stay tuned for much more on the site as we enter May 2019, including a new news post featuring a big concert announcement next! Thanks everyone!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Wyld Stallyns Concert Preview, Plus West Of Hell Concert Videos!!

In what will likely be our last news post of the month, we have some overdue videos to share from a recent extreme metal concert, but leading off, here's a preview of a concert taking place tomorrow at an unfamiliar venue!

Local acoustic hard rock trio The Wyld Stallyns will make their second appearance at The Whiskey Barrel at 113 Gore Street for a special mid-week concert TOMORROW! After debuting at this Scottish-themed nightclub on April 19th, the Elements side project will return to the former Konoba location tomorrow for this special Tuesday nighter, which will take place during the venue's "Kilt Night", with drink and food discounts awaiting attendees, so how's that for an extra pull beyond their varied and often heavy cover selection? Luckily for a school/work night, this is a matinee concert taking place at 6:00 PM tomorrow, and while there are no announced age limits or cover charges, remember the early evening timeslot may preclude a usual concert atmosphere. Visit the official Facebook event page and the above links for more details, and here's The Wyld Stallyns live!

Next up, here's the videos shot by Christopher Paci (for his great YouTube channel) at last week's West of Hell concert at The New American Pub! Apologies for the delay in these making the site, but with his new videos from the Killer Dwarfs show on Saturday night, I don't want to get any further behind regarding his channel. The videos all turned out well, kudos to him once again! Based on the order he uploaded the videos, it looks like rapper Conika closed this concert, presumably due to scheduling considerations, and she is performing in this clip with guest rapper Kodex. Both are talented MCs, and hip hop fans will want to give these a look! Moving to the metal bands, Chris filmed Vancouver thrash metal band West of Hell playing their originals "Water of Sorcery" and, as embedded below, "Hammer & Hand".

Intense performances here with some old school flourish, the quality is suitably nice here for fans who attended and missed the show alike, but other fans' cell phones can get in the way. Strong work overall from West of Hell in their long awaited local return, so give their videos a look above & below!

Chris also filmed fellow Vancouver thrashers Expain playing two original songs in their set last week, including "The Worst Is Yet To Come" and as embedded below, "The King". Oddly playing with much more natural house lighting compared to West of Hell, these videos capture Expain's arguably more ferocious, extreme metal-tinged sound nicely, and the crowd's definitely into both tracks! Check Expain's videos out above & below as well!

Finally, Chris captured one video of Tyler Gibson's cybergrind solo project Malignant Neoplasm in what may have been their live debut (still surprised this wasn't a C.T.W. set.) Aside from maybe some added backing effects, this doesn't feel much different from C.T.W., for what it's worth! Chris got 7+ minutes of Tyler in action here, so fans of his minimalist extreme metal will enjoy the lengthy clip, but of course, pig squealing vocals aren't for everyone. Honestly, he seems fairly reserved on stage, though the lack of fans on the floor may be partly to blame. Hopefully we see more of Tyler's bands soon, and give Malignant Neoplasm's video a look below!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for this month's CD review to close April out next! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Striker & Dustin Jones And The Rising Tide), Plus New Videos!!

Today's news post ont he SMS is half devoted to some new video postings from earlier this month, but let's lead off with two LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS for the coming months that are both notable in very different ways!

Local Celtic punk quintet Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide will be among the performers at a special benefit concert at The Roberta Bondar Pavilion on Saturday, May 25th! The event is to raise funds for Kayge Fowler, a 6 year old boy from Sault Ste. Marie who has been battling for the past year with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), an aggressive form of brain cancer. This story has been frequently covered on local news and social media, including this Facebook group, as you may recall. Medical treatments, including experimental ones in Mexico, have led to many fundraising efforts, and this concert (entitled "Music 4 Kayge") is the latest, with four acts joining forces to raise money for the Kayge Fighters Against DIPG Foundation. The Rising Tide are the advertised co-headliners at 5:30 PM in their second show of 2019, while promoter Mark Tarantini will headline at 7:00 PM with a John Denver tribute set, notably featuring That's Chester alums Aubrey Falls & Ric Datson in his backing band.

Veteran local jazz/blues musician Jay Case will also play on the 25th at 4:30 PM, with new blues/country quintet Johnny & The Revelators (also featuring The Tide's Marshall Jaasekelainen) opening at 3:00 PM. This outdoor concert will have $10 adult tickets available at Northland Music and by phone at the number listed on the Facebook event page, while kids 10 & under get in FREE, and Mike Blair's 705Live Sound Company will handle sound on this day. It's great to see such a diverse roster of familiar local musicians join forces to help Kayge and his family in this time of need, and our best goes out to the Fowlers! Visit the above links for more on this benefit concert!

Next up, Edmonton heavy metal quintet Striker will make their long awaited return to Sault Ste. Marie on Sunday, June 9th when they hit Soo Blaster! This will be Striker's first local concert in almost 6 years, last seen melting faces at the former Roosevelt Hotel in June 2013, and their old school NWOBHM-inspired sound will surely be welcomed back by fans this summer with more hard rocking originals from their newest album "Head First"! Local openers will include power rock band Re:Born in their third announced show of 2019, all at Soo Blaster, so they'll be on familiar ground for their complimentary old school attack on June 9th! No word yet on if Frank will be back in the fold by this point. A second opening band is to be announced, but for reference, Striker's local openers in 2013 were Frightlight, The Bear Hunters, and Giwakwa, so a perfect sub-genre match isn't a requirement.

Notably, this is the first concert at Soo Blaster from promoter J.D. Pearce, following the quiet move of his Halloween Party concerts last year from the Queen Street nightclub/arcade to The Rockstar Bar. How will his entertaining live concert slate manage at the former Woolco building? Find out in seven weeks! This 19+ concert has a $10 cover charge and a likely 9:00 PM start time. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and hopefully Striker draws a big crowd in June as they give Soo Blaster a blast of metal!

We'll close today with new videos, starting with the latest from prolific local experimental musician Chase Wigmore's metal solo project Awokest, who posted their new album "Solving The Human Condition" in full onto Chase's YouTube channel last week! This was followed by a live version of "Rites of the Wendigo" from the album that Chase hinted may only be up "for a limited time", so give that a look just in case. The YouTube copy does not include individual track listings, so you'll have to go based on prior song postings and familiarity, or listen to the whole 54 minute album as one piece. As of right now, the album is not on sale, but physical pressings have been teased, and in case this gets reviewed on the site, I'll hold fuller comment for now. That said, if you like your extreme metal to have lots of samples, effects, bizarre soundscapes, and experimentation, give Awokest's new "album" a listen!

Finally for today, here's a new cover song from Sault Michigan classical metal band Theatre of Night, courtesy of their YouTube channel two weeks ago! Christmas materials aside, Theatre of Night's studio output is sporadic at best, unless you follow their Reverbnation page with any regularity, and this YouTube video is their first that isn't overtly season in almost a year. This is their rendition of the theme song from Game of Thrones, fittingly uploaded on the same day that the final season premiered (April 14th), and it seems like a strong cover from what I know of the original! Check it out below!

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

Friday, April 26, 2019

YouTube Channel Profile Series: malaise666's Channel & Angela U

It's now time for this month's YouTube Channel Profiles, our monthly look at randomly chosen YouTube accounts whose content is mostly devoted to local metal, hard rock, or punk bands or concerts,  in order to spotlight them anew and encourage new subscriptions! As the first randomly selected channel only had 9 SMS-relevant videos from a single album, I added a second channel with a single relevant video to round things out. Neither channel is locally based, but some big names are covered, so here's what you should know!
malaise666's Channel (http://youtube.com/malaise666)

Owner: YouTube user malaise666, possibly of the Italian lo-fi solo band Malaise. Their real identity is unclear, but I'm sure they're not locally based

Channel Timeline: Launched on May 15th, 2011; Videos posted from December 23rd-26th, 2011

Channel Summary: With the exception of malaise666's final two uploads (which are songs from unrelated artists), their channel is devoted to most of the songs from local doom metal band Woods of Ypres' final studio album "Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light.", Notably, these songs were uploaded here just one day after frontman David Gold's sudden death, likely following Earache Records' early tribute release of most of the album for digital download, preceding the album's on-sale date in February 2012.

Why You Should Watch: This is a fine channel to check out if you love Woods of Ypres' last CD, and these songs still resonate lyrically and sonically over 7 years later! In hindsight, malaise666's channel played a key part in exposing this album to a wider audience at a difficult time. Three songs were not posted here in 2011 ("Career Suicide (Is Not Real Suicide)", "Travelling Alone", and the 2012-unveiled "Keeper of the Ledger"), but the prior 2 were already out before David's death, and all 3 are readily available elsewhere today. Also, note that this channel has not been visibly updated since 2012.

Our Recommended Videos To Check Out

Woods of Ypres - Kiss My Ashes (Goodbye) Part I: A unique aspect of Earache Records' early release of "Woods V" was a heavily altered track order, but the absent "Keeper of the Ledger" aside, the biggest change was seeing the 10+ minute "Kiss My Ashes (Goodbye)" split into two parts, keeping the heavier and slightly faster opening half separate from the doom ballad back half. I find the emotion and resonance works better on "Part II", but this is still a striking and dark song whether you consider this one long number or two 5 minute tracks, and David & Joel Violette made their mark!

Woods of Ypres - Finality: Fittingly the most popular video on malaise666's channel, over 57,000 people have checked out this copy of the penultimate song on "Woods V", which is a downbeat and emotional ballad (I'll let you decide if there was any foreshadowing.) A highlight of the album in a few different ways, "Finality" definitely struck a chord with listeners, and it's a harrowing listen especially for the first time, so I can see it being this popular! A producer's mix of this song was released on the vinyl prints of this album, but is not out on other formats or this channel.

Angela U (http://youtube.com/malaise666)

Owner: YouTube user Angela Uttley, who I don't believe is locally based

Channel Timeline: Launched on October 7th, 2011; Videos posted on July 1st, 2015 & April 11th, 2016

Channel Summary: Angela's only two uploads are from live concerts, including an unidentified show in 2016, and as featured here, local/Toronto indie punk quartet Treble Charger playing their early hit "Red" at Kitchener City Hall on July 1st, 2015, as part of the city's Canada Day festivities. Opening for Hollerado & Fefe Dobson on this day, this short 21 second clip doesn't tell us a lot, but Bill, Greig, Darcy, and Jason have a good handle on this softer fan favourite, even if fan heads can get in the road. Still, it's nice to see some footage from one of Treble Charger's increasingly rare out of town gigs, especially as I can't find other clips from this set!

I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profiles! This series will return on or around May 26th, and coincidentally, it'll also feature two channels, as the first randomly selected YouTube channel only has 8 videos with two distinct formats, so I added one more channel to fill things out. As such, we'll be looking at the channels of local acoustic hard rock duo Tattoos & Scars (featuring videos from their predecessor band Halfway Loaded) and defunct classic/hard rock quartet The 3 Day Millionaires, so look for these next month, and for more news soon! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

This Weekend's Hard Rock Concert Previews, Plus An Inactive Band Note!!

A somewhat quiet weekend of hard rock concerts locally (aside from a big touring headline act) comprises the meat of today's post, but we do have a band to move to our inactive links to round things out. Now, here's what you should know for this weekend in rough chronological order!

We'll start this weekend's concert previews by heading to Gliss Restaurant, where local hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison will return for two more acoustic matinee concerts TOMORROW & SATURDAY! Before we get too deep, just an admission that we missed an extension to Tym's Room 21 booking last week, as he got to play this past Saturday as well as Friday. Despite being announced on very short notice, apologies for missing that, we'd have covered it somehow had we have known! As for this week, Tym has no announced nighttime concerts this weekend, so fans of his unplugged hard rock covers should make sure to hit Gliss for supper to see his diverse setlist full of hard and classic rock hits this weekend! Tomorrow & Saturday's shows are 6:00 PM events with no announced age limits or cover charges, but remember that this is a formal restaurant, not a nightclub. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's Tym live!

Next up, let's head to Reggie's West, where local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck will return for headlining concerts TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! While not newly promoted by the band on their Facebook page, their 2019 concert calendar confirms both dates. One week removed from rocking The Esquire Club, these will be Soundcheck's first Reggievelt stops in over a month, and these should prove to be another prime opportunity for fans to take in their varied but often heavy slate of covers! If you miss Soundcheck this weekend, don't worry, they'll be back at Reggie's West in three weeks. As for this weekend's double-header, you can check out Soundcheck for yourselves tomorrow and Saturday at around 10:00 PM, with 19+ age limits and no stated cover charges in effect. Visit the above links for more details, and here's Soundcheck live at Reggie's West in February!

Lastly for this weekend's known hard rock concert previews, let's head to Soo Blaster, where Oshawa hair metal legends The Killer Dwarfs will rock Sault Ste. Marie for the first time in decades THIS SATURDAY NIGHT! Arguably the biggest "heavy" concert to date at the soon-to-be-relaunched sports bar & arcade, this should be appointment viewing for Hair Scare loyalists and Pepsi Power Hour fans who recall The Killer Dwarfs from their hit songs like "Dirty Weapons", "Stand Tall", and "Keep The Spirit Alive", and with their ever-present sense of humour, you know you'll get your money's worth in many ways! Local support will come via power rock quintet Re:Born in their second show with new lead singer Elly McWatters, and this will be a huge platform for fans to check out the new lineup (albeit sans Frank McGillivray still) on Saturday night! This show is co-presented by Sault Online's Ernest Skinner, who has interviewed Dwarfs members for his Rock Talk column.

Presumably 19+, this concert has an 8:00 PM start time, and tickets are on sale for $24.50 at this link, at the venue, Northland Music, Four Season Collectibles at Station Mall, and the Station Mall ticket kiosk. Higher priced ticket packages are also available if you want to meet The Killer Dwarfs and/or get VIP seating, so see above for details on that front. This should be a great concert for a throwback to late 1980s hair and glam metal, so be sure to visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's The Killer Dwarfs live in concert earlier this year!

Finally for today's post, we have a band to move to our inactive Sault Ontario band links soon, namely local hard rock quintet Skeyes of Seven. While there have been no public statements regarding their active status, the guys have not posted on their Facebook page since April 28th of last year when they dropped out of June's All The Wasted Years concert for unannounced reasons, which was their only posting in 2018 as it was. De facto successors to the 2007-2011 hard rock quintet Sense of Truth, this promising band got a big launch when they debuted at the Anvil concert at The Canadian Nightclub in July 2012, but they would only play four more concerts afterwards, most recently at The Canadian in September 2017, and twice returning from 2+ year stage hiatuses along the way. However, Skeyes of Seven were more active in studio, putting out a number of jam & recording session videos, plus 2014's "Fallen Faith" single and their unreleased debut EP on YouTube in 2017, though it has yet to be put on sale.

For what it's worth, I was informed in a Facebook conversation last year that they had enlisted a new drummer and were planning a name change, but this was never publically confirmed by the band proper. Skeyes of Seven's modern hard rock sound was a welcome sight at their 5 concerts, with familiar faces, strong originals, and some surprising covers along the way, and it's a shame that they weren't more active on stage. Hopefully they resurface when the time is right, but best of luck to Cory, Ron, Kyle, Al, John, and other former members in the future! That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates soon! Thanks everyone!

Monday, April 22, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Random Killing) & West Of Hell Concert Videos!!

Here's a new news post to check out on this Monday night, which is divided between two topics: New videos from a recent death metal concert, and a big LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for this summer that should get punk fans very excited, so here's what you should know!

Toronto hardcore punk legends Random Killing will return to Sault Ste. Marie when they hit The Rockstar Bar on Friday, July 5th! Fans packed the same venue back in September 2014 when Random Killing (led by Sault native Andrew "Drool" Kiteley) headlined the Hardcore Homecoming concert, and another huge night of fan favourite originals should be in store for this opening stop on their 35th anniversary tour. After an almost 5 year wait, it's awesome to welcome Random Killing back to town, and this should be another can't miss concert for punk fans of any stripe! Local support will include two bands who opened Hardcore Homecoming, including punk/metal quintet Jack Spades, who are joining Random Killing for the entire tour in July, including their annual stop in Spiderfest in Meyersburg, so keep that in mind if you attend that festival! As well, hardcore punk veterans Destroilet will play their second show of the year, and they're a perfect fit at a show of this magnitude, so don't miss them either!

A local band named "The Filthy Dadicals" are also advertised as opening, who will reportedly feature Bankshot alum Lucas "Sal Velinus" Schmiedendorf in their lineup, but is this a new (one-off?) band, or are they a reworking of his late 2017 punk supergroup The HTs? We'll let you know if anything comes out! Note that the above poster credits reunited Toronto hardcore punk rockers Armed & Hammered as also playing on this tour, but they are not part of the Northern Ontario leg. Also, the Facebook event page did briefly list Sudbury groove metal quintet Archelon as opening earlier today in their local return, but they have quietly been removed since then. Admission for this 19+ concert is $15 via advance tickets which go on sale this Friday, while admission at the door jumps to $20, and one would assume that a 9:00 PM start time is in effect. This should be one of the summer concert season highlights locally in the punk scene, so visit the above links for much more details!

We'll close tonight's post with some videos from Wednesday's West of Hell-headlined concert at The New American Pub, courtesy of live streams from promoters Six, Two, Oh.'s Facebook page that same night! There's more videos to come from this show, including of the local openers, so stay tuned for them this week. Surprisingly the first Facebook videos from Six, Two, Oh. since their live in-studio series from 2016, the guys filmed five videos of the touring Vancouver death metal bands, albeit all on the vertical cell phone camera angle, and only one exceeding a minute in length. I'm not having a lot of luck of identifying these songs from the fragments filmed, but Six, Two, Oh. filmed two of West of Hell's songs, one embedded below, and one linked here. Showcasing some nice dramatic clean singing throughout, the mosh pit looks active and lively on the former, and the overall audio quality holds up! Give these West of Hell snippets a look above & below!

Finally, Six, Two, Oh. also filmed three videos of thrash metal quintet Expain's supporting set, including clips linked here & here, and the 1:45-long video embedded below. Capturing a faster and more ferocious portion of the night on these uploads, Expain look like they won over lots of fans, even if the pit wasn't as active yet, and hopefully their technical intensity will resurface out here! Give their videos a look, and stay tuned for more video footage from this concert in the coming days!

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

Sunday, April 21, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (The River Jacks), A "New" Local Band, And The Faps Concert Preview!

Here's a new news post for your Sunday evening reading, and it covers a few big topics, including a preview of a special Tuesday night concert and a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for this summer, but first, let's formally (and very belatedly) roll a prolific local band into our links on the site!

We have a "new" band to add to our active Sault Ontario band links, they being reunited ska-punk/hard rock band Tripod The Dog! An official band page has not been launched (that I know of) since their return gig earlier this month, but I recently discovered this Facebook group that was actively maintained by the band in 2007 & 2008 before their prior break-up, so we can belatedly list them here. When this group was regularly used, Tripod the Dog were comprised of founding singer/guitarist Mark Oliverio (later of Thin Ice), alongside Billy Bastards guitarist Greg Beharriel & ex-Role Models/Comedics drummer Phil Greco. Bass was supplied at the time by Sean Berlinguette (later a bandmate of Mark's in Glitch), though he was replaced in late 2007 by future Skeyes of Seven bassist Mike Mannarino. Mark and Sean returned for Tripod the Dog's reunion set at Rotaryfest last year alongside ex-Ground Zero drummer Brian Egglesfield.

1990s-2006 lineups are not well publicized online, but on 1998's "Local Steel" compilation, Mark & Greg were joined in Tripod The Dog by bassist Matt Miller and drummer Tracey Hilderley (a future bandmate of Mark's in Boogie Fever), and postings heavily imply that Scott Aultman and Kevin Becker were also prior band members. Updates on the Facebook group largely concern shows played by Tripod The Dog in their last active year of this era, including multiple dates at Foggy Notions (now Coch's Corner) and Stir (later The Vibe Lounge), though some reminiscing also occurs there from past gigs, as well some loose hints & suggestions for tour dates and new studio material. Apparently, Tripod The Dog were transitioning from their ska punk/alternative leaning set to one more based in hard rock after Mike joined the group, but given Sean's involvement in their reunion last year, one assumes that the new Tripod the Dog reverted to their old sound.

As Greg (who I don't believe is back in the band) was the primary administrator of this group, I doubt it'll receive new updates, but fans of Tripod the Dog's mid-2000s incarnaton should be interested in checking it out. Tripod the Dog were a skilled and fan favourite band in their original run, and it'll be interesting to see what comes next now that Mark has brought them back, so visit the above links for more on their work a decade+ ago!

Next up, here's that LOCAL CONCERT ALERT, as Calgary punk quintet The River Jacks will return to Sault Ste. Marie for a headlining concert on Monday, June 3rd at The New American Pub! This will be The River Jacks' third local concert appearance (at least), following their set opening for The Old Wives at The New A two years ago, and a prior Algonquin Pub headlining gig in 2015. This stop on their spring tour should bring another entertaining night full of message-laden, well influenced punk rock, and genre fans would be well served to check this show out, whether you saw them locally before or not! Local openers have not been confirmed at press time, but for reference, Stegadeth opened for The River Jacks locally the last time out, while the now-defunct Gnaeus and Stereo North did so in 2015. Presented by Six, Two, Oh. like in 2017, this 19+ show as an early 8:00 PM start time, and while a cover charge isn't publicized, prior local dates were both $5.

There are some unknowns yet regarding this concert, but The River Jacks' skilled and familiar brand of original punk action should attract a solid audience at The New A in June! It's just a shame this is a Monday nighter. Visit the official Facebook event page for continuing updates!

Finally for today, here's our preview of a special mid-week concert, as Saskatchewan trash-punk duo The Faps will return to Sault Ste. Marie for a headlining show at the aforementioned New American Pub THIS TUESDAY NIGHT! Unusually being held in the spring after four prior autumn concerts locally, this will be The Faps' first local concert appearance in six months, and their first at The New A since 2017. Blair & Skylar's high impact & irreverent stage show should be welcomed back by many local fans for this stop of their No Name, No Fame Tour, but what music will they bring to the table, and what will they be wearing? Believe me, that's a valid question! Openers will include new local indie rock quartet Dusty Hazelwood (featuring Lion Ride, AlgomA, Dynowaves, and Fever Tops alumni), as well as singer/bassist Brenton Ellis' online page-less acoustic solo project Slumshine, in their first SMS-covered concert since 2017. Nicely varied lineup, there should be something for everyone!

Also promoted by Six, Two, Oh. (who are partly led by Dusty Hazelwood's own Jamie Vincent), this 19+ show has a 9:00 PM start time and a $5 cover charge. The Tuesday night scheduling is unfortunate for anyone with work and school commitments the next morning, but if you can make it to The New A for all of this action, you'll get a wide array of talented musicians, including a ferocious and unpredictable Faps set, so visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here are The Faps live!

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

Friday, April 19, 2019

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

I hope everyone's having a great long weekend! Here's the belated close to last month's poll and the launch of our newest poll on the SMS, so to start, recall that we posed this question on the site last month: What was the biggest local metal, hard rock, or punk news story of 2018? Sadly, we only got 10 votes in this poll, but there is a clear result in the final tally, so thanks to everyone who did vote, and here are the final results!

Oh!No festival in Leeburn returns for bigger second year (4 votes, 40%)
I Mother Earth & Finger Eleven return to Sault Ontario (2 votes, 20%)
Steel Panther performs in Sault Michigan in December (1 vote, 10%)
Seether and 10 Years rock Kewadin Casino in August (1 vote, 10%)
Re:Born debuts in local scene in early 2019 (1 vote, 10%)
The Din posthumously release "Suburban Sendoff" (1 vote, 10%)
The Bear Hunters release their debut music video (0 votes)
Big Wreck plays at The Machine Shop in February (0 votes)
Chuck Ayotte of Fistmagnet passes away (0 votes)
Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide return with new lineup (0 votes)
The Essar Centre becomes GFL Memorial Gardens (0 votes)
Gliss Restaurant moves to Spring Street (0 votes)
The Gore Street Cafe permanently closes (0 votes)
The Halloween Party launches new local tribute bands (0 votes)
Highway 63 returns to the stage after a lengthy hiatus (0 votes)
Michale Graves concert cancelled due to inclement weather (0 votes)
Mike Haggith fully resumes solo career in Thompson, Manitoba (0 votes)
Pop Evil returns to Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino in February (0 votes)
Redundant play at the final Vans Warped Tour stop in Toronto (0 votes)
Rotaryfest celebrates anniversary with Rewind lineup (0 votes)
Scott McLurg retires from drumming in local bands (0 votes)
Shit Liver tour Canada to support new record "Hitting The Fan" (0 votes)
The Soo's Got Talent competition debuts at The Tech (0 votes)
Stiffler's Mom quietly fall inactive after lengthy local run (0 votes)
Theatre of Night hold their second Christmas tour (0 votes)
Other (0 votes)

What do you guys think? Well, regarding the options that got no votes, I am surprised that many received no love here, particularly the Big Wreck and Pop Evil concerts and any new studio album releases, but it's all in who votes! Of the single-voted options, this does prove how big the Seether and Steel Panther shows were last year, and Re:Born were the biggest debuting hard rock band of 2018 locally in a lean year for band debuts, but I am surprised that The Din's posthumous live album squeaked into what you could call the top 3 (with ties.) Second place went to last year's huge I Mother Earth/Finger Eleven concert, which was a great night for fans of late 1990s/early 2000s Canadian alt rock, and hopefully it helped encourage more hard rock events at The Machine Shop! The winner of the poll was last year's Oh!No concert festival in Leeburn, which brought over a dozen diverse acts to the church for a full day of entertainment, and I know year #3 will bring more high profile action this September from local and touring bands alike!

Thanks to everyone who voted! As for this month's poll, we are winding down our "favourite _____ of 2018" polls by asking this question: What was your favourite local metal, hard rock, or punk concert of the second half of 2018? Following up on it's sister poll from last summer, I have grouped 15 high profile concerts for you guys to pick from during this eventful 6 month stretch, with shows receiving votes joining concerts from January-June 2018 in next month's poll on shows from the whole year. To make the poll, concerts must have taken place in the Sault Ontario area between July 1st and December 31st (so no Tea Party, for example), while concerts in the poll must have a lineup comprised of at least 50% metal, hard rock, and punk acts. This eliminates such events as Toystock, the Downtown Street Parties, the Northern Vibe Festival, and Rotaryfest Stage 2, but you can vote for those by selecting "Other" if you want. Now, here are your choices!

Bands: Rivers of Nihil, Alterbeast, Inferi, and Pillory
Venue: The Rockstar Bar
Date: July 6th
One of the heaviest shows of last year saw a trifecta of American death metal bands make their way to The Rockstar Bar last July, with Reading, Pennsylvania's own Rivers of Nihil inciting a huge circle pit for their brutal original headlining attack! Alterbeast and Inferi were more than up to the challenge as openers, while local death/thrash metal trio Pillory impressed in their only public show in the past 18 months. Was this extreme metal blast your preferred choice?

Bands: Treble Charger, Mustang Heart, Turner Up, Road Fever, and Tripod The Dog
Venue: Clergue Park (Rotaryfest Stage 1)
Date: July 20th
As part of their "Rotaryfest Rewind" theme of band reunions at the covers-centric main stage last year, our local summer festival loaded up the schedule each night, with a very SMS-friendly Friday lineup to boot! Featuring prominent indie/punk quartet Treble Charger, a one-off Turner Up reunion, and the return of Tripod the Dog alongside festival regulars Mustang Heart and a reunited Road Fever, fans ate up this day's roster, but would you vote for it in this month's poll?

Bands: Id Iota & Great Chamberlain
Venue: LopLops Lounge
Date: July 20th
Continuing with LopLops Lounge's tradition of booking Rotaryfest Stage 2 acts for nighttime concerts that same weekend, they played host to local indie/hard rock quartet Id Iota and the now-on-hiatus "unorthodox stadium rock" band Great Chamberlain for this concert, held at an unusually late time so as to not conflict with Treble Charger's set. Surprisingly the last Id Iota show to date, this was a well recieved concert, but can you vouch for it?

Bands: The Din & A Dire Setback
Venue: LopLops Lounge
July 21st
The second post-Rotaryfest show from LopLops last year saw a surprise reunion set from defunct alt-hard rock trio The Din, marking their first local concert appearance since their "Suburban Sendoff" at the same venue last fall! Also featuring their friends in pop punk trio A Dire Setback fresh off of their own Stage 2 set, this "Dinunion" reminded LopLops patrons how big of an attraction The Din were in their heyday, but was it your favourite late-2019 show featured here?

Bands: The Costanzas, Stegadeth, and Winkstinger
Venue: The Rockstar Bar
Date: August 4th
Presented by Six, Two, Oh. and the mysterious "Killenials", The Rockstar Bar played host to Montreal ska/jazz punk quartet The Costanzas on this August night, with their edgy yet amusing brand of originals attracting more fans in the process! Featuring local punk trio Stegadeth and the 2018 debut of extreme death metal veterans Winkstinger, this song delivered for a nice range of sounds, but did you like it the most of all of these concerts?

Bands: Garbageface, Cross Dog, The Therapists, The Franquilizers, Lightmares, Beaver Slap, Fat Cop, Forest City Aurora, Planet Rock, Pointless, The Dynowaves, Jack Spades, Mik & Steve, Winkstinger, A Dire Setback, The Elements, Jackson Reed, and Shae Tull
Venue: Robbie Adamson's Church in Leeburn
Date: September 8th
The aforementioned Six, Two, Oh. brought back their Oh!No concert festival to the familiar church locale in nearby Leeburn on September 8th, and delivered with an even bigger day of music than in 2017! Featuring the long awaited local return of Mark Rand's Cross Dog, the Soo debut of The Therapists, fan favourite returnees from Oh!No I, Beaver Slap karaoke, and even a piano bonfire, would you vote for this fast-rising festival?

Bands: The Gabba Heys, The Cover-Up, and Amy Gabba
Venue: LopLops Lounge
September 22nd
After an almost 2 year hiatus from fronting bands locally, veteran local punk musician Mikey Hawdon returned home in September with his new Ramones tribute band The Gabba Heys (not the same band as the former Merves), with his AMY/DC bandmate Amy Zucchetto breaking out a Joan Jett tribute set for good measure! Also featuring the online page-less Cover-Up for a set of their own punk classics, was this punk rock lineup your preferred show out of all others in the poll?

Bands: Ten Foot Pole, Jack Spades, and Redundant
Venue: The Rockstar Bar
Date: October 25th
Helping kick off another big Halloween concert season from Jack Spades frontman J.D. Pearce, his punk/metal quintet helped open for California skate punk veterans Ten Foot Pole last October, with fans over the past couple of decades flocking to The Rockstar Bar to see these cult favourites in person! Also featuring the first local concert set from punk trio Redundant following their EP release in July, was this your favourite show over all of the rest?

Bands: The Elements, Coral Fang, and Poison Girl
Venue: The Rockstar Bar
Date: October 27th

The first of two Halloween Party concerts at The Rockstar Bar last year from promoter J.D. Pearce, costumed fans bore witness to a Red Hot Chili Peppers tribute set from funk/hard rock quartet The Elements (now known as Higher Ground when under this guise), while Stegadeth bandmates Tiffany Stocco and Johnny Belanger pulled double duty in debuting Distillers and H.I.M. tribute bands. Did the first night of tribute action pique your interest?

Bands: Frightlight, Parabol, and Redundant
Venue: The Rockstar Bar
Date: October 28th
The aformentioned Halloween party continued the following night with a (largely) Weezer tribute set by Redundant and guest bassist Andrew MacDonald, the live debut of new local Tool tribute supergroup Parabol (who arguably stole the show with their proficient set), and a one-off(?) reunion set by horror punk quintet Frightlight, sans St. Mayhem. Each band delivered with their own explosive brand of music, but did this top late 2018 to you?

Bands: Shit Liver, The Therapists, and The Bear Hunters
Venue: The New American Pub
Date: November 22nd
Local/St. Catharine's grindcore trio Shit Liver returned home for their second hometown date of 2018 at The New A last fall, and they were up to their usual tricks at this well recieved concert! Also featuring Oh!No fan favourites The Therapists (props & costumes in tow) and the first Bear Hunters concert set in over a year, this well recieved Thursday nighter rekindled memories of Rosie metal nights gone by, but would you vote for it?

Bands: Parabol & The Elements (as "Scar Tissue")
Venue: The Rockstar Bar
Date: December 14th
An encore of sorts from the two night Halloween Party at the same venue, new Tool tribute band Parabol and their friends The Elements (then using the temporary tribute name "Scar Tissue") joined forces for a one night blast of progressive metal and funk rock, rekindling the same good feelings and strong fan responses that made their sets highlights at the end of October! Can you concur and pick for this show in this poll?

Bands: The Cover-Up & Coral Fang
Venue: LopLops Lounge
Date: December 21st
A busy Christmas season for Tidal Records included a headlining set from label head Dustin Jones' online page-less punk band The Cover-Up, as flanked by new Distillers tribute Coral Fang in their sophomore outing. Fans at LopLops surely enjoyed this double bill of established local names tackling classic punk songs, and there was more to come from them in 2019, but did you like this show the most among the 15 presented here?

Bands: Northwest & K.I.C.K.
Venue: LopLops Lounge
Date: December 22nd
The good times for local punk fans continued just a day later at LopLops, as indie/punk quintet Northwest launched their sophomore EP "Songs From 2015-2017" to a receptive audience, with their new and old originals alike bolstering their name and reputation among local fans! Also featuring returning indie rock openers K.I.C.K. after a year+ hiatus, was this your absolute favourite concert in the Soo in late 2018?

Bands: Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide and The Steeletown Girls
Venue: LopLops Lounge
Date: December 28th
After a big return to the local scene following their lengthy hiatus since mid-2016, Celtic punk veterans Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide capped off an eventful year with a big headlining concert at LopLops on December 28th, with support by Din guitarist Tammy Hill's country pop duo The Steeletown Girls. This was a big post-Christmas platform for fans to check out The Tide's established and newer originals, but would you vote for it?

Other: Did we miss a preferred concert that you saw locally last year? For reference, metal, hard rock, or punk bands like Carried Away, Chase Wigmore, Crucify the Whore, The Faps, Fluid 5ive, Handsome Sandwich, James Watterworth, Re:Born, Soundcheck, The Suicide Kings, That's Chester, The Truth Of All Death, Tym Morrison, and The Wyld Stallyns all played live last year, not to mention shows from Sault Michigan-area acts, and un-listed concerts featuring bands already in the poll. If, for whatever reason, the show you want to vote for isn't here, vote for "Other"!

VOTE TODAY! You guys have until around May 18th to cast your votes, and I'm interested to see how things shake out here, especially if there's a decent vote total! Stay tuned for more updates, and for a new news post soon! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Soundcheck Concert Previews, New Videos, And Much More!!

So as to focus on our (delayed) close to last month's poll and newly launched poll tomorrow, here's a second post on this Thursday, and it includes some assorted recent news, a new video and related apology, a music video from a prominent solo artist, and leading off, the last of our Easter weekend concert previews. Here's what you should know!

First, let's wrap up this weekend's hard rock concert previews with local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck's previously announced shows at The Esquire Club TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! After playing their last few concert weekends outside of their 2019 schedule posting, they're back with another pair of dates that had lots of advance notice, marking their first announced gigs there in two months. This frequently seen veteran group should have another solid weekend of hard rocking covers in store for fans at this west end venue this weekend, so keep Terry, Travis, Paul, and Glen's shows there in mind for your Easter weekend plans! As usual, these shows should have 19+ age limits, no cover charges, and 10:00 PM start times. Visit the Facebook event page for more details, and here's Soundcheck live!

Next up, here's the third and final music video from Kinross/Mount Pleasant, Michigan solo artist Alex Traynor's debut EP "Crazy World", as posted to his YouTube channel on Monday! This is for his (somewhat) softer original song "What Everything Is Like (High Life)", which was also third on the EP, and the video was shot by Eric Cairns at Third Cinema Productions, a long-time collaborator of Alex's for solo and Banned projects. The video features Alex waking up on a playground carousel, before roaming through a park in the wintertime, singing in front of forest settings and a brick wall (even playing guitar at the end.) Many of the visuals mimic an older 8mm film camera, complete with letterboxing and pillarboxing to simulate smaller aspect ratios, so there's a nostalgic quality in some ways. Well shot and edited, this is a nice way to round out Alex's music video trilogy, and it'll be interesting to see where his original solo work goes from here! Check the video out below!

Also today, here's our belated first video look at Sault Ontario classic/hard rock cover quintet Fluid 5ive, courtesy of a show that they played on Friday, February 8th at... Room 21?! I profusely apologize for missing that concert on the site, the venue's coverage completely slipped us by at the time, though as best as I can tell, it had under a week's notice upon it's announcement, and the band's Facebook page never acknowledged it publically. I will definitely try and stay on top of Fluid 5ive bookings more in the future, but at least we have a video out of it! Live-streamed by the venue that same day, this is of Fluid 5ive covering Radiohead's "Creep", less than 3 months after indie rockers Man Feelings covered it in a prior live-stream. Fluid 5ive have a good handle on this song, though frontman Colin Nelson's vocals almost sound too casual, if that makes any sense, and you see a lot more of the bar's strip lighting than you do of drummer Jeff Pennett for the duration.

The vertical camera angle is unfortunate on the whole, but it's great to have a video of Fluid 5ive at long last, and as you can see in the video and the above image from the show, they definitely weren't lying about having a saxophone in their repertoire! Hopefully there's more videos and updates of Fluid 5ive down the line, but give their Radiohead cover a look below, and I apologize again for missing their Room 21 show in February!

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

  • Last week, defunct local horror punk quintet Frightlight posted on their Facebook page to say that "it's been too long" and that they "have booked a show", details forthcoming. In case this is another one-off like at Halloween, I'll wait before making a change to their status, but what does this apparent return show entail? Stay tuned!
  • The Internet Archive recently posted what they call the MySpace Dragon Hoard, a 1.3+ terabyte batch of songs downloaded from MySpace as part of an anonymous research study from 2008-2010. This is by no means comprehensive for what used to be on MySpace before last year's song deletions, but it's nice to see hundreds of thousands of songs saved! The mechanism for the Dragon Hoard is a horrendous RAM hog, so make sure your device isn't lacking for RAM, and copy & paste your search inquiries for best results. I have found Woods of Ypres, Treble Charger, and Clownsack songs, and there's likely more local acts.
  • Despite his announced retirement from live bands last summer, former Soundcheck/Turner Up drummer Scott McLurg posted on the Musicians Wanted Facebook group on April 1st to say that he was looking to play live once or twice a month, and to private message him at this link for details. I waited to mention this here in case it was an April Fools joke, but the posting is still up, so it looks serious. If Scott's able to play live again with some regularity, I'd be glad to see him back out there, and message him above for more details!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for last month's poll results and our new poll next! Thanks everyone!