Saturday, August 31, 2019

Black Cloud - "Abstract Sounds" Album Review!!

It's now time for our 122nd monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, and for a second straight month, we're looking at a new release from a solo artist, namely new local death/trance metal solo project Black Cloud's debut demo album "Abstract Sounds"! Independently released on June 27th, this is the first full length release from this project, as led by local singer/guitarist Peytan Andreola, who is the only credited artist on the album. On sale via Black Cloud's Bandcamp page as well as a homemade physical pressing, copies are available to download for $5 or more, but you can also stream the whole thing for free there as well. That said, consider buying the whole thing to support Peytan's work! As usual for albums on there, song names below are linked to their Bandcamp copies. With 9 songs running for about 43 minutes in length, let's begin our review of "Abstract Sounds" with it's opening track "Death March", which is also it's shortest song overall.

An instrumental track with a very deliberate pace, this song feels like it's going somewhere, but it's not overly polished, and it could really use a percussion track. The bass work isn't up to the guitar's promise, and while it has an ominous tone, it strikes me as the intro to a song that was cut, and the 7 second break in music at the 63 second mark wasn't placed well. I like where it's going, but it needed more time. Second is "Undead Hordes", which is more of a fully realized song that has good guitar work, and there is a percussion element via what sounds like a shaker of some kind in the background, which adds a bit of flavour! That said, the production quality isn't great, and I think Peytan needs to revise the structure of how this song is laid out, as after a while, it starts to wander around too much. It's an improvement on the opener, however!

Song #3 is Black Cloud's eponymously titled "Black Cloud", which is also the first song on the album with vocals. Peytan seems to have a good death growl with clear enunciation (I prefer clarity in my harsh vocals), but they're not mixed well with the music, so they can be hard to make out. Structurally, this song has the best layout and pacing yet, but I'd have had more substantial percussion than what's on offer here. The guitar work is solid, and overall, the album is steadily trending upward, which is a good sign! That's followed by "Meet/Greet The Reaper", which is much quieter and scratchier in sound than it's preceding tracks. I don't know what happened, but this sounds like it was Peytan's first recording ever and he chose not to re-record it with the rest. This is unfortunate, especially as this song has the best and fastest percussion track yet, but the vocals and guitar work are so inaudible, it negates the song's pacing and aggression, as there is a good song here!

Fifth up is "Stream of Dreams", which opens with a softer and more melodic guitar intro before diving into full death metal territory, a sequence which reprises twice later before ending softly as well. The song has far better sound and production than "Meet/Greet The Reaper", and has good aggression, with vocals mixed in a little cleaner, but the lack of percussion doesn't help at all. The song's pacing and structure could stand to be addressed again, but there's things to build on! Then we have "Wanderers", which has some of Peytan's most ferocious vocal work yet, which is nice to see being built up, but the music is more reserved and doesn't come across as heavy and in your face as you would expect. Percussion does return, albeit more like a hand drum effect in the background, but at least there's something. The song proper appears to be laid out better, but I wish the guitar was louder and more forceful, as the vocals far outshine them here.

Song #7 is the album's title track "Abstract Sounds", which has a solid and heavy riff, and the vocals are suitably aggressive, but this is a song that needs more structural variance and care. This has a few stop/start transitions too many, and the guitar can wander a bit, but the song isn't overly long, and the light percussion (which sounds programmed) does speed up fittingly to go with the guitar. Not a bad song for what it is! That's followed by "No Bares Holded (Soaked In Blood)", which is it's correct title with that spelling, including the presumed spoonerism of "No Holds Barred." Opening with a hand drum, the song proper gives Peytan a chance to showcase his guitar talents for a couple of minutes before vocals kick in. This is probably my favourite song on the album for intensity and compostion, with his guitar work particularly solid, and the vocals matched up well, but of course, this song could be filled out with more instruments.

"Abstract Sounds" closes with it's longest song "Nature's Wrath",  which also gives a good showcase to Peytan's guitar riffs, though here, they almost feel like parts of a few songs stitched together. I like the clear, enunciated vocals, and the song has a lot of good points, but I think it could have been tightened up musically, and some of the extended instrumental sections in particular could have used some editing, or at least added musical elements.

So, what are my final thoughts on Black Cloud's debut album? Overall, this album has a lot of promising components that I'd love to see Peytan Andreola build on, but it is a work in progress, at least at this juncture. Peytan is a good guitarist with death metal vocals to match, but much like earlier Blood Shed Productions solo projects, his music would sound a lot fuller and more complete with extra musicians, particularly a bassist and full-time drummer (even a drum machine more regularly would help.) As these songs stand, they are generally well performed, but the structure and pacing of many of them could use another pass through, and I don't know what happened to "Meet/Greet The Reaper." One thing I noticed is, despite Black Cloud's own advertising of having trance and world elements, I didn't get much of that here beyond the hand drums, and if Peytan implemented them more, he'd immediately stand out locally.

I did like a lot of the album though, especially later songs like "No Bares Holded", and if Peytan can iron out some of the kinks and give these songs some extra production and time, he'd have even more to showcase here. There's work to do, but Black Cloud are on the right track, and I hope they can build on things on future releases, but see what you think at the above links! I hope you guys liked this month's CD review, but what's coming on the site for our September 2019 album review? At the moment, I'm not sure, but our next "Where Are The New Albums?" post will give some hints as to new album releases that may be in line! In any event, our next review will not be of an Awokest, Inner City Surfers, or Treble Charger album due to our 6 month anti-bias buffer period between reviews of the same band. If we review an archive album next month, could we dip into the Oh!No artist well for something we haven't reviewed yet? Stay tuned for updates, and for more news & updates on the site soon! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Tym Morrison) & Labour Day Weekend Concert Previews!!

Before we get to our Labour Day weekend concert previews, just a heads up that the Bobaflex concert at Soo Blaster on September 10th has been cancelled, as have eight other dates they were to play in Canada and the Northeastern U.S.A. next month. The band cited "several unforeseen circumstances in Canada coming together at once" for the cancellations, but did not elaborate further. Disappointing, but hopefully they come back north down the road if this doesn't prove to be their last tour! Now, here's what you should know on this quiet weekend for hard rock concerts locally, starting with LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS, two on SHORT NOTICE!

Prolific local hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison will continue his long-term run at Gliss Restaurant with matinee concerts TOMORROW & SATURDAY, but that's not all to add to our concert listings today! First off, Tym will be playing a special matinee concert TONIGHT at... Thomson Farms Cider & Winery?! Well, that's a new one for us! Apologies for the short notice, Tym only confirmed this event via his Facebook event page earlier this week. This show at Thomson Farms (at 4057 Third Line West) will take place as part of their "Sweet Corn Thursday" festivities to kick off the sweet corn sale period there, hence why this is a bigger deal warranting live music, and if you are so inclined, corn on the cob is all you can eat TODAY for $5! Moving to more familiar confines, Tym will also wrap up his seasonal run at La Terrazza Franzisi in nearby Richards Landing on St. Joseph Island with three more Sunday matinees there in September, including THIS SUNDAY and on the 8th & 15th!

Again, apologies for the short notice on SUNDAY'S concert, remember that we take Tym's abundant local bookings a month at a time on purpose. If you're in St. Joseph Island and want some wharf-front live entertainment, keep these shows in mind before they close for the season in a couple of weeks! Lastly for new shows from Tym, expect his Gliss Restaurant arrangement to continue unabated in September, with more acoustic matinees scheduled there on September 6th-7th, 13th-14th, 20th-21st, and 27th-28th! With Tym's skilled, fan favourite blend of hard and classic rock covers, fans at restaurants and farms alike will have a lot of music to like in the next month+! TONIGHT'S Thomson Farms gig is FREE & ALL AGES at 5:00 PM, and while admission details are similar for the other gigs, mind the locale, as these are restaurants, not nightclubs. The Gliss shows are at 6:00 PM as usual, while the La Terrazza Franzisi gigs are at 1:00 PM. Visit the Facebook event pages linked here, here, and above for more details, and here's Tym live!

Next up, we'll move to a show that had advance notice (more or less), as new Sault Michigan hard rock band Tarnished's "every Thursday" run of morning matinee concerts is presumed to continue at Biggby Coffee TODAY! Prior advertising of this arrangement has fallen off in the last couple of weeks, with August 15th's show not receiving any Facebook advertising, and Biggby Coffee only plugging last week's that same morning, but of course, "every Thursday" means what it means, in theory. Given Alex Traynor's continued Mount Pleasant residency(?) and the impending fall season, I'll hold on listing more Thursday gigs here until the venue or band confirms them. In any event, all of Tarnished's currently advertised concerts on their Facebook page are out of our coverage range after September 6th, but we'll keep you posted with updates. Alex & Josh should be up to their usual hard rocking tricks for tips and coffee today, so don't miss the unplugged action then!

As usual for this summer run at Biggby Coffee, this is a 10:30 AM matinee show with no cover or age limit, and if they're playing Ashmun Alive tonight, it hasn't been publically advertised by Tarnished at press time. Visit the above links for more details, and here's Tarnished live!

Finally for this weekend's known hard rock concert previews, let's head to the aforementioned Soo Blaster, where Worcester, Massachusetts speed metal quintet Seax will make their local concert debut THIS SUNDAY NIGHT! Bringing a meld of thrash and NWOBHM-inspired material to their Soo Lounge stage, Seax's fast, old school-inspired sound should get lots of fans' interest, and expect strong material from their new album "Fallout Rituals" as well! Co-headlining on Sunday are Montreal thrash metal trio Warsenal, marking their first local concert appearance since headlining Swampstravaganza III at The Oddfellows Hall six years ago. Fans who saw Warsenal here in 2013 can expect more of their hard hitting and rough & tumble speed metal attack on Sunday night, so don't miss out! Lastly, local death metal favourites The Bear Hunters (who opened for Warsenal last time out) will open the proceedings in their Soo Blaster debut and first public concert since last fall, which is a huge pull in & of itself!

Nik, Mitch, Justin, and Johnny don't play live all that much anymore, so dont' bypass The Bear Hunters' brutal return set on Sunday either! Note that Vancouver speed metal band Road Rash are only playing on this tour for 7 dates next month, and will not be on the local bill. This 19+, 8:00 PM show has a $10 advance ticket charge that apparently jumps to $17 at the door, which is a massive jump compared to other local concerts we've covered of this scale, so this is all the more reason to get to Soo Blaster before Sunday to snag a ticket! Thrash and speed metal fans should be in great hands for this one, so visit the Facebook event page for more details, and here's Seax live!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for this month's CD review next, if all goes according to plan! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Local Metal Video Showcase!!

Today's post covers some recent video finds from a pair of local concerts this year, so let's begin with a belated soundcheck performance by Oshawa hair metal legends The Killer Dwarfs before their Soo Blaster concert in April! This was live-streamed to the band's Facebook page that same night, and I apologize for missing it at the time, it's not every day where a big name touring headline act like this posts their own soundcheck footage from their Sault gigs. The video features The Dwarfs playing their classic song "Hard Luck Town" on the Soo Lounge stage, and it gives 48 seconds of solid sounding action! Of course, they weren't in full performance mode yet, but this was a nice appetizer for anyone who saw this in person or in the original live-stream, so give it a look below, and hopefully we see The Killer Dwarfs back in Sault Ste. Marie sooner or later!

Next up, here's videos of the three closing bands from the free Friday night concert at The Roberta Bondar Pavilion earlier this month as part of this year's Fringe North/Up The Arts Festival! These come from Christopher Paci's excellent YouTube channel once again, and kudos to him for getting all of this solid footage! Chris didn't film Unorganized Township or Mister Tahti, but you can see videos of theirs on The Arts Council of Algoma's Facebook page, as well as the bands he did get videos of. We'll start with blues rock cover trio trio The Dell Brothers (p.k.a. The Paul DellaVedova Band), who Chris shot covering Led Zeppelin's "Good Times, Bad Times." Another hard rock cover, I'll have to see if they have more than this and Bad Company/Free out there! Chris isn't close to the stage, so he zooms in for much of the video, which is welcome, but the quality is fuzzier as a result. Audio qulaity holds up nicely overall, so give his Dell Brothers video a look!

Chris also filmed two videos of local punk/metal quintet Jack Spades, including this clip of "Fear Corps", and as embedded below, their two opening songs "They Live" & "Rise". On these videos, Chris got closer to the stage, but he didn't zoom either, so you may or may not think these are improvements. Sonically, Jack Spades are at their usual heavy best in this outdoor setting, so give these videos a look above and below!

Finally, Chris got two videos of headlining funk/hard rock quartet The Elements on this night, filming them covering Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher" (as also filmed by The Arts Council), and as embedded below, playing their original "G20." It's a shame that there's not more people at this point, but The Elements come through well in these videos, though the lighting and angle don't leave a lot of room for finer details visually. Give these clips a look above and below as well, and thanks again, Chris!

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

Monday, August 26, 2019

YouTube Channel Profile Series: Daniel Horton & TheLilSpirit

It's now time for this month's YouTube Channel Profiles on the SMS! This monthly feature series looks at YouTube channels whose content is at least half devoted to local metal, hard rock, or punk artists or concerts, in order to spotlight them to current readers and hopefully encourage new hits and subscriptions! This month's random selection was a channel with only two distinct types of videos, so I added another random channel with only one distinct video type to fill things out. Ironically, both of today's selections heavily feature Jack Spades alumni with prolific band histories, so here's what you should know on each channel!
Daniel Horton (

Owner: Jack Spades guitarist Daniel Horton, also known from his past local music work with bands like Eclipse, Haggith, Havadder, Mike Haggith & The Din, Project 421, and Punch, among others

Channel Timeline: Launched on August 20th, 2009; Videos posted in July & August 2012

Channel Summary: While this channel's description correctly says that it has "Videos from HAGGITH", it predates his defunct local grunge/hard rock band's spring 2012 launch. As it currently stands, this channel has three live concert videos and one jam clip from early in Haggith's run. The channel URL's name of "paperclipprojectX" likely came from or inspired the band's also-defunct indie record label/studio Paperclip Productions.

Why You Should Watch: Daniel's channel is definitely worth a watch to see Haggith at their very beginnings as a local band, and it's four videos showcase a promising start for them! However, it's usage as an official channel for the group would be far superceded by Haggith's own YouTube channel not long afterwards, with three of these videos re-uploaded there anyway, two in full. Also, note that Daniel has not visibly used this channel since 2012, and while I believe it did feature videos of his pre-Haggith work at one time, that content is long since deleted.

Our Recommended Videos To Check Out

HAGGITH Yesterdays Fustrations live @ Party Bay: Three of Daniel's videos come from a private outdoor gig that Haggith played on Canada Day 2012 in Goulais Mission (a.k.a. "Party Bay".) These uploads capture Haggith's initial lineup, including singer/guitarist Curtis McKenzie, Daniel on guitar, and band namesake Mike Haggith on drums, with no bassist added to the lineup yet. Filmed by attendee Morgan Gardner, these videos include renditions of their early originals "Rage Train""Livin' It On The Run" and "Wanko", and in his most popular video, "Yesterday Frustration". The smooth camera quality and Haggith's raw early aggression are captured well on these videos, though the best was yet to come from them locally! Haggith's own channel would later re-upload these songs (except "Wanko"), while adding a cover of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" from this same function.

I Am Acoustic: Daniel's only other video is an unplugged jam of their original "I Am", location unclear. The dark lighting isn't optimal, and it's odd seeing Haggith play without Mike Haggith, but Curt and Dan put some good emotion and grit into this acoustic performance! A second video from this session would become the first upload on Haggith's own channel in September 2012, where they played "Livin' It On The Run."

TheLilspirit (

Owner: YouTube user TheLilspirit, exact identity unclear

Channel Timeline: Launched on July 3rd, 2009; Videos posted on November 21st, 2010

Channel Summary: TheLilspirit's only uploads were of local rock veterans Wishbone covering The Surfaris' "Wipeout" and, as featured here, AC/DC's "TNT" at The Roosevelt Hotel (now Reggie's West) the previous day. This was during prolific local drummer T.J. Case's run with the band, and he is the primary focus here, with frontman Dennis Duguay and their other members not featured at this zoom level. T.J. takes over lead vocals on "TNT" and does a fine job, as fans of his later AC/DC cover work with Mourning Wood may attest, though the backing vocals aren't as effective. Wishbone fans may not like the singular focus, but T.J.'s skill level and versatility speaks for itself! However, this channel has not been visibly updated since 2013, and there are more plentiful sources for Wishbone videos elsewhere, albeit largely with different lineups.

I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profiles! Our next installment of this series will come on or around September 26th, as our next randomly selected channel will be the YouTube channel of inactive Sault Michigan hard rock band The Karstens! Look for that then, and for more news and notes soon! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Halloween Party), A New Local Band, And Much More!!

We're back with a new news post on this Sunday afternoon, and it includes some new video footage from a recent concert, a preview of a special Tuesday nighter downtown, and a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for an annual holiday tradition, but first, here's info on a new band playing that event!

We have a new local metal band to add to our Sault Ontario band links, and they are The Guitar Gangsters, who just so happen to be the Volbeat cover band playing at J.D. Pearce's annual Halloween Party on Friday, November 1st! Taking their name from Volbeat's 2008 album and song "Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood", this is a local supergroup if their ever was one, notably featuring ex-Garden of Bedlam bandmates Erik "Buzz" Boissineau and Derek Turner on vocals and drums. Buzz's involvement is a massive surprise, given that I believe he still lives in Southern Ontario (where he fronts Midnight Traffic), but it'll be great to see him and Derek together on stage again after over 4 years away, and remember that Garden of Bedlam covered Volbeat a fair amount, including "Guitar Gangsters..."! Derek's Stanley Hill/Papa Fogals Chair bandmate Mike Bird will also be in this band on bass, as will the twin guitar attack of Jesse Cook (The Elements, Winkstinger, etc.) and his old Jack Spades bandmate Tiffany Stocco.

Tiffany's involvement is also logical given her past work in the T-Rex Manning side project Pools of Booze (who also covered Volbeat frequently), but she did reveal on her personal Facebook page recently that she was moving out of town, though she would come home to at least play with Jack Spades. What this means for Stegadeth and her now three local cover bands isn't clear, but it'd be great to see The Guitar Gangsters thrive while working around Buzz and Tiffany not living here full time, as this is a stacked lineup who should have a great handle on Volbeat hits!

There's not a lot up yet on The Guitar Gangsters beyond the lineup and their first two show dates, including a surprise Sudbury road trip on November 2nd, but their Facebook page's "About" section reveals that The Halloween Party will take place at The Rockstar Bar, seemingly confirming the venue which still isn't listed on that show's Facebook event page. As such, consider this a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT! If accurate, this will be the seventh time in 8 years that J.D.'s annual Halloween concert(s) took place on a floor of The Algonquin Hotel, only excepting 2013. This 15th annual installment will harbour a fifth straight year of an all-cover band format, albeit on one night only this time, with costumes and a requisite contest encouraged as always. The Guitar Gangsters will be joined by reunited Foo Fighters tribute band The Soo Fighters & their new lineup, though we await a reveal of the third band, who will cover White Zombie & Rob Zombie.

For what it's worth, J.D. himself typically fronts a band at this event, so will he portray Rob Zombie for the evening, or could we be surprised further? We'll let you know! Expect a 19+ age limit, $10 cover charge, and likely 9:00 PM start time on November 1st. This should be a great bash as usual, and with The Guitar Gangsters' very intriguing debut, that just adds to the excitement! Visit the above links for more on them and this concert!

Next up, here's our preview of a special matinee concert THIS TUESDAY, as local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck will rock The Roberta Bondar Pavilion as part of this year's Summer Concert Series under the big tent! This will be the fourth show in a six day span for Soundcheck, following their Esquire Club concerts this weekend, as well as a set at another charity car show outside of the newer A&W on Thursday. I profusely apologize for missing it in our last weekend concert previews, but Soundcheck didn't plug it on their Facebook page until 5:13 PM that day, after their first set began. Had they given this event any kind of advance notice, we'd have covered it, but hopefully it was a great turnout once again! Luckily, if you want FREE outdoor cover action with prior notice, Soundcheck will have plenty of that on Tuesday, so look for Travis, Terry, Paul, and Glen's hard rocking classics then! This is a special 7:00 PM matinee with no age limits or cover charges. See above for more details, and here's Soundcheck live!

Finally for today, we'll stick with concert action at The Roberta Bondar Pavilion, as let's finally close out our look at videos from last week's Fringe North/Up The Arts Festival concerts there, courtesy of the Arts Council's Facebook page! Of course, Sunday's performers (primarily acoustic ones and buskers) are up too, as are eight videos of Crystal Shawanda's headlining set on Saturday, but if you're looking for hard rock covers, four clips of local classic rock cover veterans Mustang Heart's opening set were streamed that Saturday! I would normally share a hard rock cover here, as they did tackle one or two that were filmed, but the video qualities are wildly inconsistent. One video is of Mustang Heart covering The Tragically Hip's "New Orleans Is Sinking", Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman", and Elvis Presley's "Don't Be Cruel", but the distant vertical camera angle and distorted audio don't help matters.

Also filmed vertically was their covers of Guns N' Roses "Sweet Child O Mine" and Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'", but the GNR video was taken from even further away, and while the Journey cover was shot much closer, both of these live-streams are choppy, so if you watch them and wonder why the video is stuttering and stopping, it is not your fault! Embedded here is the only video with decent audio & video quality combined, which is this slower and horizontally shot cover that I can't immediately identify. If you can look past the angles and the two choppy clips, Mustang Heart sound good here, so give their Fringe North videos a look above & below!

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

Thursday, August 22, 2019

This Weekend's Hard Rock Concert Previews, A Cancellation, And A New Video!!

Before we begin this post, we have a concert cancellation to note, as Saturday night's Love N' Revenge show at The Rockstar Bar is now off (as is their entire Canadian tour) due to "unforeseen circumstances", as per their Facebook page and relevant local sources. Very disappointing, especially for fans of their last show here, but hopefully they can come back north down the road! Now, here's this weekend's hard rock concert previews, plus a new live concert video from earlier this month!

We'll start with new local Sault Michigan hard rock band Tarnished's likely continuation of their "every Thursday" run of acoustic concerts at Biggby Coffee TODAY! Before we get too far, I just wanted to give the disclaimer that, as of this writing, neither Tarnished nor Biggby Coffee have newly plugged a Thursday matinee for this week (or last week, for that matter), though given what "every Thursday" tends to mean, I won't jump to immediate conclusions unless the band or venue says otherwise. If Alex & Josh are back there this morning, look for more unplugged hard rock hits from this talented twosome, and remember that they would be playing for tips and coffee as usual! Assuming all's well, this is an ALL AGES & FREE show taking place at 10:30 AM, and I am not sure if they'll be at Ashmun Alive this evening too. See above for more details, and here's Tarnished live!

Next up, let's head back to Sault Ontario, where local hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison has a busy weekend ahead with at least five publically advertised shows over the next four days! First, Tym will play the second and third gigs of his new Roadhouse Bar & Grill concert slate TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT, with the former being the only non-Friday gig at this east end venue in this run there. If you've missed Tym on Thursdays at Gliss, this show may help fill the void for a night, though if you can't see him there this weekend, he isn't scheduled to return until November. Elsewhere, Tym will maintain his long-term arrangement at Gliss Restaurant with matinee gigs TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT, so regular fans will be happy to see him back on Spring Street once again this weekend, while his summer season run at La Terrazza Franzisi in Richards Landing continues on SUNDAY for you St. Joseph Island concertgoers up for music by the wharf!

Tonight and tomorrow's Roadhouse shows are 10:00 PM events with 19+ age limits, the Gliss shows are at 6:00 PM, and his lengthy La Terrazza Franzisi show begins at 1:00 PM on Sunday. The latter events have no cover or stated age limits, but mind the locales. Tym's prolific setlist should prove to give lots of entertainment to fans at all three locations this weekend, so visit the Facebook event pages linked here, here, and here for more details, and for a preview, here's Tym live a few years back!

Lastly for known public hard rock concerts this weekend in the Soo area, let's head to The Esquire Club, where local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck will return for concerts TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Last seen at this popular west end venue over a month ago, this will be Soundcheck's first concert weekend since Ride For ARCH, and while the guys haven't newly promoted these shows online this week, they have been listed on this concert calendar since February. Any chance to see Travis, Terry, Paul, and Glen on stage will give fans lots of hard and classic rock hits to take in, so keep this weekend's bookings in mind for Soundcheck's fan favourite attack! As usual, these are 19+ events with 10:00 PM-ish start times and no cover charges. See above for more details, and here's Soundcheck live!

In lieu of the Love N' Revenge concert preview, here's a new video of Sault Michigan hard/blues rock quartet Project 906, courtesy of this past weekend's Rudyard Musicians Festival! Thus was filmed by attendee Ellen Grigsby and shared by the band from her original personal upload on Facebook, and believe it or not, this is of an original song named "The Comeback." Owing more to their blues influences, this is a slow but well performed track with a solid guitar solo, and while I don't know if they have more original songs in their repertoire, it is encouraging to see this on film! Nicely filmed too, so give it a look below!

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

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Fringe North/Up The Arts Festival Video Showcase!!

Today's post is 100% devoted to Facebook videos from this past weekend's Fringe North/Up The Arts Festival concerts at The Roberta Bondar Pavilion, as live-streamed from The Arts Council of Algoma's Facebook page! There is more than this to share regarding hard rock performances, but let's focus on artists that played on Friday, which included new local jam rock quartet Unorganized Township (seen here covering Stick Figure's "World on Fire") and former Honest Job fronman Mister Tahti (who was filmed covering Donovan's "Season of the Witch" with guest Jeff Hinich.) Both are solid videos for acoustic fans, and while neither cover is heavy, they're both well performed! The first video we'll embed here is of local blues rock trio The Dell Brothers (née The Paul DellaVedova Band) covering Free's "All Right Now", a standard cover of theirs if you've seen them live. The Brothers handle this 1970s hard rock cover as well as ever, and the vocals are particularly strong!

The vertical camera angle isn't optimal, and while the audio quality is a big drawback here, fans who've seen bands under the big tent know that acoustics can be an issue there, so that may be to blame more than the camera. Give The Dell Brothers' video a look below!

Next up, here's The Arts Council's video of local punk/metal quintet Jack Spades, who played their original song "Crossroads" in this clip from their co-headlining set. A much warmer set for them compared to their last Pavilion gig at Bon Soo's Marquee back in 2014, this is a strong performance of this live staple, and the horizontal camera angle is nice to see, but fuzzy visuals don't help matters. Give their video a look as well!

The Friday headliners were local funk/hard rock quartet The Elements (featuring Jack Spades guitarist Rob Speers on vocals), who are seen here covering Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher." Probably the best video quality yet of the heavier performances, this cover is more aggressive and gritty than the original, but it suits The Elements' style well, and James is definitely in prime concert mode in particular! Muffled audio does recur here, though. Check this clip out below, and see more from Friday above!

Finally, let's look at one band from Saturday's lineup, namely Elements side project The Wyld Stallyns, who expanded their acoustic trio setup to a full quintet by enlisting Rob & Jesse's Elements bandmates James White and Jonas Gasperas for the occasion! You could call this an Elements acoustic show with Christina on guest vocals, but of course, it's the other way around. This cover of Heart's "Magic Man" is a nice showcase for her singing, and the guys handle the music effectively alongside, so give this video a look below!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates in the coming days, including more videos from Up The Arts on Saturday! Thanks everyone!

Monday, August 19, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (The Offspring/Sum 41), Doreen Concert Preview, And Last Month's Poll Results!!

After a quiet weekend with personal matters, we are back with a big news post on this Monday evening, so what's below to check out? The results of last month's poll, a mid-week concert preview, and leading off, here's a huge LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for later this fall!

California punk legends The Offspring and Ajax, Ontario punk quintet Sum 41 will join forces for a huge concert at GFL Memorial Gardens on Tuesday, November 19th! This will be the first ever local date for The Offspring, who will be very familiar to punk fans and rock radio loyalists from hit songs like "Self Esteem", "Gone Away", "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)", and many others, and with a new album on the way, it'll be awesome to have Dexter and company at the Gardens this fall with plenty of classic songs to go around! As for Sum 41, it has been 15 years since we last saw them on a local stage, following their Roberta Bondar Pavilion headlining concert in September 2004, and with familiar songs like "Fat Lip", "Still Waiting", and "Screaming Bloody Murder", their return to the Soo should be welcomed by punk and metal fans alike this fall! Note that this will be their first local stop with Gob's Tom Thacker on rhythm guitar (though we've seen Gob here twice since), as well as with Frank Zummo on drums in place of Steve Jocz.

English alternative rock trio Dinosaur Pile-Up will open in their own Soo debut, and while not really a punk band, their aggressive grunge-tinged sound should set the tone well in November! An Invictus Entertainment Group production brought to you by Rock 101, this ALL AGES concert has tickets running for $98 for most seats, aside from upper back bowl seating which runs for $76, with VIP packages to be announced, and they go on sale THIS FRIDAY at 10:00 AM. The ticket prices are a little steep, but I sincerely hope this stacked show does well, so visit the official Facebook event page and this press release for more details!

Next up, here's our preview of another special Tuesday night concert, as Edmonton art punk quartet Doreen will make their local concert debut TOMORROW NIGHT when they rock Dryer Fire's temporary location on Bruce Street! An ecletic and diverse extension of the punk rock sound, Doreen's indie/garage-influenced sound should fit in just fine at this venue, so don't miss this exciting group tomorrow to see what they bring to the table! Local experimental musician Chase Wigmore will bring his unplugged alt-folk attack to Dryer Fire as the opening act, and fans will surely know that his intense, unique, folk/punk originals will be a sight to behold tomorrow, so don't be late for this one either! As usual for Dryer Fire, this is an ALL AGES concert at 7:00 PM, and there will be a $10 cover charge. The weekday scheduling is unfortunate, but the music speaks for itself, so visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and in lieu of a live video of Doreen (I shockingly can't find one), here's the title track of their new album!

Finally for today, here's the final results from our poll that launched on the site on July 18th, where we posed this question to you guys: What was your favourite local metal, hard rock, or punk concert in the first half of 2019? Only 12 votes were cast, which isn't a great number, but at least they were spread out among a bunch of notable shows that were included, and no one voted "Other"! Here are the final results!

The Killer Dwarfs & Re:Born at Soo Blaster on April 27th (4 votes, 33¼%)
Dopethrone & AlgomA at The New American Pub on May 20th (3 votes, 25%)
Joni Radford Memorial at The Algonquin Hotel on March 2nd (2 votes, 17%)
Anvil, Striker, and Jack Spades at Soo Blaster on June 9th (1 vote, 8¼%)
The Tea Party at The Machine Shop on March 27th (1 vote, 8¼%)
Parabol & The Elements at The Rockstar Bar on March 23rd (1 vote, 8¼%)
White Cowbell Oklahoma at LopLops Lounge on January 26th (0 votes)
Rotopsy & Awokest at The New American Pub on February 26th (0 votes)
OZbourne at The Canadian Nightclub on March 23rd (0 votes)
Destroyer at The Canadian Nightclub on March 30th (0 votes)
West of Hell & Expain at The New American Pub on April 17th (0 votes)
Dave Evans & Hells Bells at The Rockstar Bar on May 4th (0 votes)
K-Man & The 45s at The New American Pub on June 6th (0 votes)
Go Skate Day at Queen Elizabeth Park on June 21st (0 votes)
Monster Truck at Soo Blaster on June 28th (0 votes)
Other (0 votes)

What do you guys think? Well, in terms of the shows with no votes, I am most surprised that White Cowbell Oklahoma, Dave Evans, K-Man & The 45s, and Monster Truck didn't get any attention, as all had high profile touring headliners with either proven local success or high existing clout elsewhere, but alas, it is all in who votes! By contrast, Anvil and The Tea Party both had local supporters in the past month among out voters, as if Parabol & The Elements' tribute show double-header in March, which is very encouraging! The Joni Radford memorial concert made the top 3, which is wonderful to see after so many of her friends and colleagues came together for this two-floor bash in March, but I am a little surprised it didn't get a few more votes. Dopethrone's well received doom metal concert in May placed second, as no doubt helped by AlgomA & Shit Liver's long awaited returns, but the mildly surprising winner was The Killer Dwarfs' headlining show at Soo Blaster!

A huge hit for hair metal diehards of all stripes, hopefully we're not waiting 20 years for The Dwarfs to come back to our area! Thanks to everyone for voting, and look for the six shows with votes (plus "Other") to return for our all-of-2019 poll on your favourite concerts early next year! That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news on the site tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Friday, August 16, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (B.A. Johnston), Darsombra Concert Preview, And New Videos!!

Let's wrap up this weekend's concert previews with a look at the remaining announced hard rock show of the weekend, complete with a late lineup change and opener addition! Along with that, we also have lots of new concert videos and first, a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for later this fall!

Hamilton comedy/folk punk musician B.A. Johnston will return to Sault Ste. Marie on Saturday, November 9th when he opens for Montreal power pop band Dany Laj & The Looks at The New American Pub! Local fans may recognize B.A.'s irreverent mix of outsider folk and punk rock from his well received headlining sets at the same venue in April as well as at Cafe Natura back in 2015, and with his creative and somewhat polarizing original set, you know there'll be a lot to take in at The New A this fall! Of course, he's opening for Dany Laj & The Looks in that band's fifth local concert appearance since 2015, though this will be their first Soo gig in almost two years. With their upbeat and proficient power pop originals, Dany and company should be more than welcomed back to the Soo themselves, so don't bypass them! Potential local openers have not been announced at press time. This show is a presentation of Girl Friday Productions, who also booked B.A. here in April.

An 8:00 PM start time is in effect for this 19+ concert,  which will have admission via $12 tickets that will be available at The New A and at an online source to be announced, and they apparently go on sale on Thursday. This should be a fun show for power pop and punk fans, including two local favourites delivering in their own diverse ways, so visit the official Facebook event page for more updates as they roll in!

Next up, here's our last concert preview for the weekend, as Baltimore, Maryland psychedelic hard rock duo Darsombra will play their second local concert TOMORROW NIGHT when they hit LopLops Lounge! This show was moved on short notice from the aformentioned New A to LopLops, as per promoters Six, Two, Oh. on the official Facebook event page yesterday, though a reason was not announced for the relocation. Fans may recall their eclectic stage show at the same venue two years ago, where their instrumental form of "trans-apocalyptic galaxy rock" made a bunch of new fans, and with their ambitious audio-visual presentation and extended jams, this is a show that has to be seen to be believed! Openers will include ex-Lion Ride bassist Brent Ellis' masked alt-folk solo project Slumshine, in a set that will also serve to launch his debut solo album "SLMSHN" on a physical run of cassette tapes (Six, Two, Oh.'s debut indie album release), so keep this angle in mind as well!

The other opening band, who we just learned about, are local drone/noise rock trio Pointless (led by Treble Charger's Bill Priddle), who opened for Darsombra in 2017 as well. This 19+ show has a 9:00 PM start time with an $8 cover charge, while Brent will also be selling some of his own original artwork tomorrow as well. This should be a fun and very diverse night of music with a little something for everyone to enjoy, and with Darsombra's impressive and hard to describe set, you won't want to miss out at The New A tomorrow! See above for more details, and here's Darsombra live!

Finally for today, here's eighteen new videos of local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck from their road trip to Wawa for another show at their annual drag races earlier this month! These were uploaded to drummer Glen Thomas' YouTube channel over the past couple of days, all but one as filmed on a stationary camera. These don't appear to have been uploaded in performance order, as the sky will tell you. Seventeen of the videos include Soundcheck covering The Outfield's "Your Love", Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want Me", The Tragically Hip's "Blow At High Dough" & "New Orleans Is Sinking", The Offspring's "Why Don't You Get A Job?", Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl", Def Leppard's "Hysteria", Kenny Loggins' "Footloose", Dwight Yoakam's "Fast As You", Sublime's "Santeria", David Bowie's "Let's Dance", David Wilcox's "My Eyes Keep Me In Trouble", Bryan Adams' "Summer of 69", ..

...Van Morrison's "Wild Night", Poison's "Talk Dirty To Me" (plus a fan-shot alternate video), and REO Speedwagon's "Take It On The Run". These covers largely feature Travis Sharpe on lead vocals, with the exception of the Cheap Trick, Offspring, Dwight Yoakam, David Wilcox, and REO Speedwagon covers, plus "Blow At High Dough", which all have Terry Eaton taking the lead. Also, be warned of an over-exuberant fan with an "adult" item dancing on stage during "Fast As You". Embedded below is Soundcheck's regular 10+ minute cover medley, which features renditions of David Wilcox's "Riverboat Fantasy", Journey's "Don't Stop Believing", Metallica's "Enter Sandman", Boston's "Foreplay/Long Time", Bon Jovi's "Livin' On A Prayer", Van Halen's "Jamie's Cryin'", and a reprise of "Riverboat Fantasy". As usual, Travis handles the lead vocals for the Journey, Boston, and Bon Jovi covers, with Terry doing the rest. Of course, huge thanks to Glen for getting all of these videos filmed, he certainly didn't have to!

Capturing a whopping 83 minutes or so from the Wawa drag races, I can't quickly confirm if this was their whole concert, but you sure get two regular sets' worth, and Soundcheck generally sound solid throughout this diverse range of covers! Fans will definitely want to give these a look, and don't miss Soundcheck TONIGHT & TOMORROW at The Reggievelt!

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

Thursday, August 15, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Fringe North/Up The Arts Festival & Tym Morrison), Plus More Weekend Concert Previews!!

As promised, here's the continuation of this busy concert preview stretch, and yes, our Darsombra preview is coming next! For now though, let's tackle other Sault Ontario gigs this weekend, including some LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS, some on SHORT NOTICE!

As part of this year's Up The Arts Multi-Arts Festival (in conjunction with the Fringe North International Theater Festival), The Arts Council of Algoma are hosting three FREE & ALL AGES concerts this weekend at The Roberta Bondar Pavilion, and two have hard rock and/or punk acts! Apologies for the short notice on both of these events, they did get reasonable advance notice on sources other than their website (thankfully), but I've had a lot on my plate both on the site and away from it as of late. TOMORROW'S first show will be toplined by local funk/hard rock quartet The Elements (who did play as part of this festival last year) at 11:00 PM, while frontman Rob Speers' other electric band Jack Spades will bring their punk/metal hybrid assault to the stage at 10:00 PM. If you miss seeing more aggressive bands under the big tent downtown, you won't want to miss out on TOMORROW NIGHT'S action!

Other bands include blues rock veterans The Dell Brothers (née The Paul DellaVedova Band) at 8:00 PM, former Honest Job frontman Mister Tahti at 7:00 PM, and new local acoustic jam rock band Unorganized Township at 6:00 PM, while "Max" and Grup the Clown will open the event at 5:00 PM, adding a Fringe North touch to this one. There's a little something for everyone on this night, and the intensity builds towards the heavy closing bands, so don't miss the FREE & ALL AGES action TOMORROW, visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's The Elements live!

The second day of free music at the Pavilion is on SATURDAY, where The Elements' unplugged side project The Wyld Stallyns will also return from last year's Fringe North/Up The Arts festivities! Playing a rare show away from The Whiskey Barrel, their fan-friendly acoustic covers should find another solid audience, and you can see them kick off SATURDAY'S lineup at 4:30 PM! Max & Grup aside (who will technically close that night at 11:00 PM), your headliner is Juno Award-winning local country musician Crystal Shawanda, and given that this show is FREE, genre fans shouldn't want to miss her return home! Her headlining set is at 9:00 PM, while classic rock cover veterans Mustang Heart will open at 6:00 PM after The Stallyns wrap up. Once again, SATURDAY'S entertainment is for FREE and is available to ALL AGES, and visit the official Facebook event page for more details!

For reference, Sunday's Up The Arts music lineup is an earlier affair leaning to acoustic performers and Fringe North performers, Max & Grup again included, so click here for details on that front. As for SATURDAY, this should be a fun show for country fans in particular, especially if you missed Crystal at the Go North Festival, and The Wyld Stallyns will set the tone well, while Mustang Heart are known to have a few heavier covers too! See above for more info, and here's The Stallyns live last year!

Next up, prolific local acoustic hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison has another stacked concert weekend ahead, as while we'll see him back at Gliss Restaurant TOMORROW & SATURDAY and at La Terrazza Franzisi in Richards Landing on SUNDAY, he will also return to The Roadhouse Bar & Grill on Trunk Road for a few shows this month and beyond, including TOMORROW NIGHT! Again, apologies for the short notice, Tym only confirmed the Roadhouse shows via their Facebook event page on Monday. Adding to his already stacked concert calendar (which recently included a few private events, according to Tym's personal Facebook page), he has lined up 10 more nighttime gigs at this popular east end tavern for this month, November, and next February & March, but of course, we approach Tym's extensive and often long-term gigs a month at a time. As such, TOMORROW'S show is an immediate must if you miss seeing him at night in more of a typical venue!

The other August gigs are next Thursday & Friday, August 22nd and 23rd, with the former being his only Thursday nighter in an otherwise Friday-centric slate there. All of these three Roadhouse shows (his first there since June) are 10:00 PM & 19+ affairs with no cover charge, while his usual Gliss and seasonal La Terrazza Franzisi gigs are 6:00 & 1:00 PM matinees respectively with no cover or age limit to speak of, but remember, these are restaurants first and foremost. Visit the Facebook event pages linked here, here, and above for more details, and for a preview, here's Tym live!

Finally for today's previews (Darsombra aside), let's head to Reggie's West, where local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck will return for three shows TOMORROW NIGHT & SATURDAY! Yes, I said three, as while they will be playing their usual solo concerts at 10:00 PM both nights, they will be doubling up on Saturday via their second straight appearance at the annual Ride For ARCH motorcycle rally's pre-show festivities outside of the venue! Of course, this charity event for the Algoma Residential Community Hospice is an exceedingly worthy cause, and it's great so see so many riders and supporters bringing this event back to The Reggievelt on Saturday, so be sure to visit the official Facebook event page for full details on how to enter the rally or attend the Korah Road street party! The regular nighttime shows are 19+ affairs with no cover, but the Ride For ARCH is ALL AGES.

Soundcheck's 5:30 PM slot will precede country cover quartet Bone Yard headlining at 9:30 PM, plus classic rockers Flathead Ford at 8:00 PM & the aforementioned Dell Brothers at 6:30 PM, while acoustic country duo The Bearded Lounge and folk/classic rock band The Algo Rhythms will open at 3:30 & 2:00 PM each. Lots of veteran cover talent for the cause, and everyone should deliver a great set on Saturday, with lots more Soundcheck where that came from beforehand & afterward! See above for more details on these gigs, and here's Soundcheck live!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for our Darsombra preview and much more on the site next! Thanks everyone!

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Rudyard Musicians Festival), Sault Michigan Weekend Concert Previews, And More!!

Let's kick off a busy weekend for concerts to preview at the SMS, and we'll start with an all-Sault Michigan/E.U.P. installment today! As best as I can gather, we'll tackle the Fringe North/Up The Arts shows with punk/hard rock acts later today, plus Tym Morrison and Soundcheck, with Darsombra to follow on Friday in a regular news post, though this is all subject to change. Now, here's what you should know to start things off, including a SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERT & related apology!

Local hard rock quartet Project 906 will return to the fourth annual Rudyard Musicians Festival at Rudyard Township Park (18725 South Mackinac Trail) THIS SATURDAY NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, the lineup was quietly unveiled back in June, but 906 haven't actively plugged the festival online at all. Marking their fourth straight appearance at this annual fundraiser festival, with proceeds again going to Rudyard Area Schools' music & band programs, this year's Musicians Fest will see a smoked pork dinner, local concessions, and on-site camping as usual, so see the above links for full non-musical details! While not part of 906's open date search from earlier this year, fans can look forward to a later co-headlining set in year #4, with their set taking place at 10:00 PM. Surprisingly, Rudyard cover rock band Steelhead are not playing this year despite their promotional ties to the event, with Second Offense taking on the headlining slot at 11:00 PM in their third Musicians Fest set.

Classic rock band The Whole Shabang will play for the third straight year in the 9:00 PM slot, while, as usual, remaining acts are largely in the country/bluegrass vein. Fans can look for The North Country Band at 8:00 PM, Rob & Bob (Malaski) at 7:00 PM, Brian Harrison at 6:00 PM, The Flock at 5:00 PM, Denny Verrett at 4:00 PM, Rusted Spurs at 3:00 PM, Jimmy Williams at 2:00 PM, Joyride at 1:00 PM, and Kevin Blakeney opening at 12:00 PM. Aside from The Flock and Joyride, I believe every act this year has played a credited set in a past Musicians Fest, so if you like past lineups, you are in good hands! We'll let you know if anyone beyond Project 906 has hard rock songs up their sleeves. As usual, Musicians Fest IV is a $5 event at the door (kids 10 and under are FREE), and it's great to see another stacked roster of local musicians join forces in Rudyard on SATURDAY for a great cause! For a preview, here's a new video of Project 906!

This comes from their short notice set at this year's Sidewalk Sales on August 2nd, where they played outside of Crooked Music's brand new location, just across the road from their original Ashmun Street building. I profusely apologize for missing this show for coverage on the site, but 906 only put the show's event page up with six minutes to spare, and Crooked Music's Facebook page never credited the band by name in advance. We'd have covered it had we gotten a semblance of prior notice! You can tell that this was a big event given the Sidewalk Sales ties and Crooked Music's grand re-opening festivities that weekend, and congratulations to Zac and Christy and all the staff on the big move, short as it is! As for the video, this is of Project 906 covering Bachman-Turner Overdrive's "Takin' Care of Business" and The Marshall Tucker Band's "Can't You See", as live-streamed for the store's Facebook page.

Clearly in a 1970s kick at this point in the day, Project 906 handle these covers well and with good passion, though a zoom would have helped, and it's a shame that there wasn't more of a crowd turnout when Crooked Music's camera was rolling, especially with all the chairs laid out. Solid video overall, so give it a look below, don't miss Project 906 THIS SATURDAY NIGHT at the Rudyard Musicians Festival, and visit the above links for more details!

Finally, let's address the continuation of new local hard rock band Tarnished's run of early morning matinee gigs "every Thursday" at Biggby Coffee, as they'll be back for another go-around TODAY! After their Sugar Island Music Festival set this past weekend with the full band and electric instruments, this will see Alex & Josh back in their acoustic, drummer-less form at the Ashmun Street coffee shop, so if you want to see them break out more hard rocking covers for tips and coffee, and you're up for a morning concert, you know where to be! This 10:30 AM matinee has no age limits or cover charges as usual, and just for reference, Tarnished are not playing an Ashmun Alive! set today, as according to their Facebook page, they are hitting the road for Alex's current homebase of Mount Pleasant for a show there tonight. Of course, we wish Alex & Josh the best down south, so see above for more details, and here's Tarnished live last month!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for Sault Ontario weekend concert previews starting later today! Thanks everyone!