Saturday, November 30, 2019

Woods Of Ypres - "Home" Single Review!!

It's now time for our 125th CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, and with no major local metal, hard rock, or punk albums out in November 2019, and a few obvious archive selections being put aside in lieu of upcoming new releases from involved artists, now seems like a good occasion to finally look at the only Woods of Ypres studio release that we have yet to formally review on the site, namely their April 2011 vinyl-exclusive single "Home"! Recorded locally at Stereo Soul Studios with producer Miguel Gauthier (a'la "Woods IV") in August 2010, this two-song release was part of recording sessions that resulted in five songs for what was then planned to be an EP called "Woods V: You Were The Light", before their false breakup and eventual signing with Earache Records that fall. With the label desiring a full length album for Woods' first new release there, this EP was shelved in favour of 2012's Juno-winning "Grey Skies & Electric Light.", and re-allocated as "Woods 4.5".

In the interim, frontman David Gold's independent label Practical Art Records put out two of the "You Were The Light" songs in a limited run of 500 coloured vinyl records the following April, in what would sadly turn out to be Woods of Ypres' last studio release before David's tragic death that December. To this day, the remaining three songs from the 2010 sessions have not been publically released, but "Home" has been retroactively called "Woods 4.5" in interviews and among some fans. Woods of Ypres are represented here by their final live lineup, including David on vocals & guitar, the debuting Joel Violette on lead guitar, and in their second & final appearance on a Woods release, brothers Shane & Evan Madden on bass and drums. As well, cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne makes a guest appearance here, as he did on "Woods IV" & Woods V". Physical copies of "Home" sold for $20, and while they are long since out of print, you can buy each song for $1 on Bandcamp.

Streaming copies are available on those services as well, but consider buying "Home" to support Woods of Ypres' work, if belatedly. Running for just 13 minutes, let's begin this short review with the record's 6:50 A-side track, "Falling Apart"! Sonically very similar to the aggressive blackened doom sides of "The Green Album", David's harsh vocals are great on this song, which has excellent guitar riffs, almost like a harsher version of Clutch. I like the low bass work, and the drumming holds up nicely, though the cleanly-sung choruses almost come out of nowhere and very much stall the song's forward momentum. They are effective for fans of Woods' doom metal side, of course, and I like the mournful "ooooh" near the end but I don't know that the verses and chorus gel here. Joel has a quality guitar solo in his first outing as well! Overall, this is a very solid track that fans of local-era Woods of Ypres will easily take to!

The B-side is the intended title track for the unreleased EP, "You Were The Light", which runs for only 6:02. A slower and more deliberate track from the get-go while still retaining a heavy ambiance, this song is a better showcase for David's impressively deep singing, though if you like his aggressive screams, they aren't lacking here in the early bridge and last stretch. Evan has some excellent drum fills and rhythms on this one, and I like how the instrumentation is nicely varied and constantly going at full bore in the background no matter what route the vocals are going,. If anything doesn't work, it's how they integrated Raphael's cello work, which is technically proficient and orchestral as you'd expect, but I don't find it flows with the song that well. Raphael is a great cellist, but it just feels like too many cooks in the kitchen. That aside, this is another high quality song that showcases Woods of Ypres in their late-period best!

So, what are my final thoughts on Woods of Ypres' penultimate studio effort? While this isn't complete from what was originally recorded, David and company selected two highly entertaining songs for this single, and even if they're not on "Woods V", the quality has not suffered at all! David, Joel, and the Maddens worked well together on these songs, which were never boring or repetitive despite their 6+ minute run time each, and if you like your Woods of Ypres to be hard hitting, abrasive, and melodic all at once, these songs will do the trick! I just wish the choruses on the A-side and the cello on the B-side were better integrated. The limited physical release on a now-defunct indie label won't help get these songs to the masses, but Woods fans shouldn't bypass them. Will we ever hear the remaining 3 songs from the "Woods 4.5" sessions? I don't know, especially with Earache not involved in the sessions, but if any band alumni or associates have access to the tracks and permission, I am positive fans would want to hear them, even as a free upload.

David's memory lives on with all of Woods of Ypres' fans and supporters, and while "Woods V" gets most of the retrospective attention, "Home" is well worth your time, especially if you can track down one of the original vinyl copies. For now, stream or buy it digitally at the above links, and I hope you guys liked our final(?) Woods of Ypres album review at the SMS! So, what will be our last CD review of 2019 next month? At this juncture, I don't know, but here's what I can say. New releases from metal, hard rock, and/or punk bands will always take precedence, but none that I know of have a stated release date for December at press time. Check out our next "Where Are The New Albums?" post on Monday for ideas as to what may be on the horizon. If we do look at an archive album again next, a strong possibility would be The Inner City Surfers' 2002 sophomore album "Laughing On The Outside", to tie in with upcoming holiday concerts featuring at least one band member, details forthcoming. That said, nothing's official, so stay tuned for updates, and for more news and notes on the site shortly! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Scarkazm & Tym Morrison), Weekend Concert Previews, And More!!

As promised, here are this weekend's un-tarnished hard rock concert previews, including some attached LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS from two of the acts in question! This is a relatively quiet weekend, so to round things out, I have some updates from a prominent local punk band at post's end. With all of that said, here's what you should know!

Local acoustic hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison has another typically busy weekend of concerts ahead, including his regular weekly matinee gigs at Gliss Restaurant TOMORROW & SATURDAY bookending his return to The Roadhouse Bar & Grill on Trunk Road TOMORROW NIGHT! Fans of Tym's skilled and experienced blend of hard and classic rock covers should find a lot to like this weekend, whether you're a supper-time regular at Gliss or enjoy his more traditional nighttime gigs at The Roadhouse, so keep all three in mind! While we're on the subject, let's add Tym's December concert slate to our concert calendar today, which will include Gliss matinees on December 6th-7th, 13th-14th, 20th-21st, and 27th-28th, plus a return to The Roadhouse Bar & Grill next Friday, December 6th, and we'll start approaching his 2020 dates at the end of next month.

Note that shows Tym has advertised on his personal Facebook page at churches and retirement homes are not advertised publically, and as such, are not covered as public concerts on the SMS. This weekend's and next month's Gliss shows are 6:00 PM matinees with no age limits, tomorrow's and next week's Roadhouse concert is at 10:00 PM with a 19+ age limit, and none of these gigs have an announced cover charge. Visit the official Facebook event pages linked here & here for more details, and here's Tym live!

Next up, Traverse City, Michigan metal trio Scarkazm will return to The Rapids Lounge at the Sault Ste. Marie Kewadin Casino TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT, but they have more in store for 2020! This weekend's previously announced concerts will be Scarkazm's final ones in the Soo for this year (though they will be in St. Ignace in three weeks), and if you can't come out for their hard hitting covers and possible originals, the band has confirmed their dates through February on this calendar image shared on Facebook earlier today, which will include Rapids Lounge gigs on January 3rd-4th and February 21st-22nd. Nice to see Adam, Dave, and Jeff back so soon with more high energy concerts in the U.P., so don't bypass those dates along with this weekend's! Their sister band Peril also have regional dates announced there, which we'll cover on the site separately, and as usual, their acoustic side group Project 6 are not scheduled to play up here during this timeframe.

For what it's worth, Kewadin's entertainment page does not list any 2020 lounge concerts yet, we will let you know when they do. Tomorrow, Saturday, and next year's Rapids Lounge shows have 9:00 PM start times, 21+ age limits, and no cover charges. Visit this weekend's Facebook event pages linked here & here for more details, and here's Scarkazm live!

We'll close out this weekend's announced hard rock concert previews back in Sault Ontario, where local classic/hard rock cover quintet Fluid 5ive will rock The New American Pub for a matinee concert THIS SATURDAY! A one-day-only engagement due to or because of The Algo Rhythms' early show there tomorrow, the early timeslot is due to The New A's regular weekly karaoke nights on Saturdays, so don't expect to hear of too many bands playing Saturday nights there, regardless of genre. Fluid 5ive debuted here with a Friday nighter last month, and hopefully they entertain the early fans well with their classic and hard rock favourites on Saturday! Of course, just a disclaimer that Fluid 5ive's Facebook page has not been updated since early September, in case anything changes without a statement. This 4:00 PM concert has no announced cover charge and I would assume a 19+ age limit still applies. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's Fluid 1ive!

Finally, here's some updates from local indie/punk quintet Northwest, who will play an increasingly rare live date at LopLops next month, but what else is new from their camp? As per their Facebook page last week, the guys recently received a music recording grant from the Ontario Arts Council, which means that they will have new music in the works for 2020. Great news, but does this mean a third album will follow suit? In the meantime, you can now order band t-shirts and merchandise packs (with can koozies, stickers, and pins) through their Bandcamp page, though you can also order them through private messaging of band members on Facebook, or at their merchandise table at live concerts. All online orders will come with a free digital copy of last year's "Songs From 2015-2017" EP, so keep that bonus in mind! Lastly, Northwest shared this video onto their YouTube channel last week for their 2018 original "Hangover Habits", so what should you know here?

Primarily, this features live footage shot behind them from their set at the Rock on the River festival in Timmins in July, as intercut with local clips from The Rockstar Bar and some video of the guys on the road to the festival and their experiences in Timmins & at the festival proper before their set. The audio is the studio copy, aside from scratchy crowd cheering at the start. While this is well made and edited, it makes me wish that Northwest would post fuller copies of the Timmins videos for a vlog looking back on the festival and their set. Maybe in time, but give this a look below for now!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates on the site tomorrow, with a CD review to come also! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Tarnished), Mike Haggith's New Song, And Much More!!

With a special Wednesday night concert on the docket, it's only fair to preview it today, with that band's other shows this weekend and related LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS attached, but we also have a new song upload and some more recent updates to fill things out. Here's what you should know!

Sault Michigan hard rock band Tarnished have a busy stretch ahead, with four shows in four days, most prominently including their debuts at The Double D Bar & Grill at Dondee Lanes TONIGHT, FRIDAY, and SATURDAY NIGHT! Yes, they are playing a rare Wednesday show here tonight, and no, they are not rocking the local bowling alley's on-site nightclub tomorrow for unannounced reasons. It's not immediately clear whether these will have the full now-quartet lineup or if these will all feature Alex (and company?) unplugged, but Tarnished should have three great nights of hard rocking covers in store, no matter what form they're taking here! These are all 7:00 PM shows with 21+ age limits and no announced cover charge. If you want to see Tarnished TOMORROW, then head to Biggby Coffee for the latest stop in their "every Thursday" run there, and while we're on the subject, let's add their likely matinee gigs on December 5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th shows there to our calendar!

Approach the December dates with caution, especially if they/the coffee-shop have a holiday break, but "every Thursday" means what it means until otherwise stated. All of these dates, tomorrow included, have 12:00 PM matinee start times, no age limits, and no cover. Visit the above links and the Dondee Facebook event page for more details, and for a preview, here's a brand new video of Tarnished at Biggby Coffee two weeks ago (I think), courtesy of the venue's Facebook page! This video features frontman Alex Traynor alongside new rhythm guitarist Nathan Webber in his first footage with any version of Tarnished, and the two are seen here covering Neil Young's "Rockin' In The Free World" for tips and coffee. The 2 minute video is well shot and framed well for the vertical camera angle, and Alex and Nathan sound good together, so give it a look below, and look for much more from Tarnished in the Soo tonight in the coming days!

Next up, let's head north to Sault Ontario (well, technically Thompson, Manitoba), where local alternative/hard rock solo musician Mike Haggith unveiled the final studio copy of his new original song "The Best You Never Had" on his YouTube channel on November 1st! Apologies for the delay, this fell between the cracks for far too long. Planned to be the opening track on his upcoming studio album "If Ever Comes The Day", I will hold full comment pending our review of the whole CD, but the song will please long-time fans of his, especially if you've been craving some more upbeat, plugged-in material. Give it a listen below, and keep watch for more updates from Mike's camp!

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

  • I have removed local death/trance metal solo project Black Cloud from our active band links due to the quiet deletion of all of their social media and online pages, sadly also including their "Abstract Sounds" album on Bandcamp. There was room for improvement, but Black Cloud had promise and a unique musical approach that would have been especially effective at the peak of Blood Shed Productions' live run, and hopefully Peytan resurfaces in a new project when the time is right!
  • Popular downtown nightclub Reggie's Place apparently closed permanently on September 15th, as per Facebook advertising for Maxx Entertainment-affiliated concerts there that weekend. A reason for the closure has not been announced online that I know of, but Reggie's had only re-opened less than 4 months prior after lengthy renovations following the August 2017 fire above the venue. We only covered a handful of Mourning Wood & Soundcheck shows there due to it's country cover focus, but Reggie's was a long-standing and fan favourite bar for decades, and best of luck to Reggie and company at the still-open Reggie's West! 
  • I have also removed defunct local alt-metal duo Troubled Mind from our inactive band links due to the quiet deletion of their Facebook (and only online) page at some point in the past year. Spiritual successors to Skull After Betrayl, this project was only sporadically active in 2015, posting one video and hyping some irreverent original content in the process. They had talent, and hopefully Mike & Adam stay active musically!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for full weekend concert previews on the site tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

YouTube Channel Profile Series: Mike Mikus

It's now time for this month's YouTube Channel Profile on the SMS, as we are again profiling a YouTube channel whose content is at least half devoted to local metal, hard rock, or punk artists and/or concerts, in order to spotlight the content within for current readers! This month's randomly selected channel looks at a prominent local band and frontman from the mid-2010s, so here's what you should know!
Mike Mikus (

Owner: Local/Montreal rock solo musician Mike Mikus, previously billed as Michael Mikus in his old local alternative bands The Pixo Control and The Fever Tops

Channel Timeline: Launched on April 21st, 2015; Videos uploaded from two days afterward through April 2018

Channel Summary: Originally utilized as the official YouTube channel for his mid-2010s grunge/hard rock trio The Pixo Control, Mike transitioned it to serving as his new alt/indie rock solo project's channel in the fall of 2016 after he folded the band. 12 of the channel's 20 Pixo Control videos contain the songs from their only album "Probably Not", alongside teaser clips, studio vlogs, a live video, and their only music video. The seven solo videos of Mike's include four music videos, two teasers, and one live video.

Why You Should Watch: This channel is definitely worth watching for fans of Mike's most prominent local projects, whether you like The Pixo Control's more aggressive material or his more varied solo songs, and there's a lot to enjoy on both halves here! However, the channel has only seen sporadic usage since Mike moved to Montreal in mid-2017, coinciding with his own slowdown in public activity in the late 2010s. Also, note that the channel does not include any 2013-2014 musical content of his, but Michael's prior YouTube channel does cover his band work in that time period.

Our Recommended Videos To Check Out:

The Pixo Control // First Vlog: The first video on the channel was the first of two vlogs from April 2015, in which The Pixo Control went to SooToday & Local2's Village Media headquarters to do a photo shoot with Dan Nystedt for their label Tidal Records. The band was represented here by Michael alongside future Vol. frontman Steve Edwards on bass, as well as Keeghan Rosso on drums. The vlog features the guys taking part in the shoot, as well as jamming some songs from "Probably Not", and having fun and killing time at the studio, and it's a fun watch for fans of their original lineup!

The Pixo Control // Live at The New A Pub: As covered in The Pixo Control's second vlog, they were among the local openers for Edmonton rock band The Archaics' first of two gigs at The New American Pub in June 2015. The video proper does not feature any full songs, but instead strings together chronological segments from their set that night, and it's a well edited 15 minute clip with a great interior look at The New A. The Pixo Control sound great in one of their last shows with this lineup, and look for then-Six, Two, Oh. promoter Jamie Vincent talking to Michael at the beginning.

The Pixo Control // Scratch (Official Video): The channel's last & most popular Pixo Control upload (and one of that band's last major acts) was their music video for their song "Scratch", which was uploaded in March 2016, three months after their CD dropped, with this teaser clip also preceding it. By this point, producer and Free Beer/Id Iota alum Dustin Goodall had taken over on bass. This is a very straight-forward performance clip (shot by Sudbury's Here Kitty Kitty Productions) with lots of fast edits and cuts as they play this suitably fast and heavy number. The song's great and the video's a nice fit, though Mike's more conceptual and irreverent solo music videos (starting with "Drowning Crown" that September) signified a major shift in tone & approach for his future material.

I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profile! This series will return for it's last 2019 installment on or around Boxing Day, as we'll spotlight another randomly selected YouTube channel, namely local grindcore trio Shit Liver's official channel! Watch for that next month, and for more news and updates on the site soon! Thanks everyone!

Monday, November 25, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (A Dire Setback & Northwest), Plus New Live Videos!!

I have a backlog of recent news to get through, so let's try and continue remedying that today, as this post contains some new live videos from a pair of prominent local bands on each side of the border, but leading off, here is a pair of Christmas-time LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS for you punk fans!

Local indie/punk quintet Northwest will hit LopLops Lounge on Friday, December 20th for a holiday season headlining concert! Their Timmins road trip and CBC Searchlight aside, this has been a surprisingly quiet year for Northwest, who have not played a full-band indoor concert at all in 2019 so far (we only saw them outside at Rotaryfest and in partial acoustic form at the Joni Radford memorial concert.) If you've been missing Northwest's high-energy punk attack as of late, you won't want to bypass this show, which is a spiritual sequel to their EP release party at LopLops last December, but might some more new songs be ready next month again? The openers on December 20th will be new online page-less punk cover quartet The Sick Sons, fresh off of their set opening for The Ripcordz earlier this month, and they should provide a solid compliment in their LopLops debut! Visibly self-promoted, this 19+ show has a $10 cover charge and a 10:00 PM start time.

It's great to see Northwest back for an increasingly rare live concert set over the holidays, and with The Sick Sons' talented and unpredictable set list preceding, good times should be had by all at LopLops next month! Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and stay tuned for more from Northwest soon, plus another seasonal gig that The Sick Sons are opening!

Next up, we have one more holiday punk-featured concert the very next day to tackle, as local alt-punk trio A Dire Setback will take part in the Oh!No Collective's fittingly-named Oh!Noel fundraiser event on Saturday, December 21st at The Rockstar Bar! Ostensibly a seasonal fundraiser for the fourth annual Oh!No concert festival in Leeburn next September, organizers will also be collecting canned good donations for The United Way's Harvest Algoma food resource center, which is a wonderful cause! As well, there will be an ugly sweater contest with prizes for the best (worst?) sweater among attendees, so keep that in mind. Fresh off of their own set opening for The Ripcordz, A Dire Setback are the only heavier or punk band on this varied bill, alongside surf rock instrumentalists The Dynowaves and rappers Rick E and Kodex. The former Six, Two, Oh. are no strangers to multi-genre events like this, and there's a little something to please everyone next month!

Also a 19+ event, an 8:00 PM start time is in effect, and while an admission fee of $10 is in effect, a canned good donation will knock $1 off, up to a maximum of 5, so if you bring 5 canned goods, you will get in for half price. Sound like a fun time for worthy causes in both the charitable and entertainment realms, so visit the Facebook event page for more details!

Moving towards some new videos, let's take a detour south to Sault Michigan for the latest from local hard rock band Tarnished, who have officially confirmed the addition of ex-Lift The Broken guitarist Nathan Webber to their lineup, making them a quartet. Nathan appears to have joined the band as early as November 10th based on a Facebook page tag, but his first full electric gig with Tarnished was in their Mount Pleasant show at Soaring Eagle Casino's Ascend nightclub this past Friday. As for bassist Josh Fair, he does appear to still be in Tarnished's full lineup, despite prior Biggby Coffee series advertising implying that he wasn't part of those gigs on the regular anymore. We do have a new acoustic video of Tarnished to share in the coming days, but embedded here is the first public video of Alex, Nathan, Josh, and Tommy on stage together, as they covered Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' "Runnin' Down A Dream" in Mount Pleasant, as shared from attendee Olivia Eden's personal Facebook page onto the band's Facebook page yesterday.

The vertical camera angle isn't optimal, but the quality is pretty good otherwise, and Nathan fits in well for a first plugged-in look! The cover is effectively rocked up with more varied singing from Alex to match, so give it a look below, and watch for more from Tarnished later this week!

Finally for today, let's return to Sault Ontario, courtesy of a new video of local Volbeat tribute quintet The Guitar Gangsters covering "Lola Montez" at J.D. Pearce's annual Halloween party at The Rockstar Bar on November 1st! Shared from bassist Mike Bird's wife Jennifer's personal Facebook page onto their own Facebook page on November 4th (apologies for the delay), this again has the vertical camera angle, but there are some nice close-ups as Buzz enters the costumed crowd, and the audio holds up pretty well! Give this video a look below, and good luck to them in Sudbury on Friday!

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

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Ripcordz Concert Video Showcase!!

We do have more Offspring/Sum 41 videos to spotlight on here, but in the last couple days, enough videos turned up from the Ripcordz-headlined concert at The Rockstar Bar on November 9th to do a full video showcase post on! From what I have read on social media, the concert was a hit, though we missed a very late lineup withdrawal, as punk/metal quintet Jack Spades did not play at this concert, marking the first local Ripcordz show without them since April 2013. Frontman J.D. Pearce confirmed on the Facebook event page the day of the show that they were "off the bill", and while he didn't elaborate, remember that guitarist Tiffany Stocco moved out of town earlier this year, which theoretically slows down their live frequency. It must have been odd to not see J.D. play on a local Ripcordz concert, but hopefully the show went off without a hitch otherwise! As for videos, most of ours today come from Christopher Paci's excellent YouTube channel following his belated uploads last week (better late than never!)

Again, huge thanks to Chris for filming so much footage once again, he certainly doesn't have to go through all of this trouble! Christopher filmed 10 videos on the night, including 6 of the headlining Montreal hardcore punk veterans playing their songs "Anarchy", "Girls In The Pit", this song whose name he didn't record, this short instrumental, "X", and as embedded below, "The Fence". Chris got a very solid close-up angle of The Ripcordz in action, giving a nice view of Paul and company deliver their fan favourite originals, though the audio is a little scratchy. Check these out above & below!

Before we continue with Christopher's videos, local alt-punk trio A Dire Setback's Facebook page live-streamed their full 40 minute set on November 9th! Filmed by a band representative, the video features A Dire Setback playing (in order) their self-titled song, "Endless Dream", "Forget This Memory", a surprise cover of Motorhead's "Ace of Spades" with bassist Matt Quinn on vocals, "Everlasting Despair", "Faded", "Wasting Away", and "Catastrophe." The video quality is shaky, but improves as the filmer gets closer to the stage, and the audio holds up throughout! Give the full set a look below, and watch for J.D. guesting on "Ace of Spades"!

Moving back to Chris' uploads, he filmed A Dire Setback playing "Endless Dream", and as embedded below, a long 8 minute clip of them playing both "Wasting Away" (well, part of it) and "Catastrophe" to end their set. Solid video as usual, with similar quality to The Ripcordz but a slightly steadier angle of A.D.S. in action, so fans should be right at home with these clips. Give them a look above & below as well!

Finally, Chris filmed two videos of opening (and still online page-less) punk cover quartet The Sick Sons playing their renditions of The Bouncing Souls' "True Believers" and, as embedded below, Millencolin's "No Cigar" with the non-Lucas guitarist on lead vocals. There is still some ambiguity to The Sick Sons unless you're friends with members, but I like that they cover unexpected bands and songs live, and they have a fun high-energy sound for genre fans! Check out their videos above and below, and stay tuned for news on a pair of Christmas season dates they're playing!

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

Saturday, November 23, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Project 906), Toystock VIII Preview, And More!!

Let's get a new news post up on this Saturday night, and given that there is a SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERT leading off, it's not a moment too soon! That said, we do have our promised Toystock preview to round things out, plus some more assorted stories from the last while. With all of that said, here is what you should know!

Sault Michigan blues/hard rock quartet Project 906 will return to the stage TONIGHT at Hulbert Happy Hour in nearby Hulbert Township (obviously!) Apologies for the short notice, the band only announced this show via it's Facebook event page less than an hour ago, and while they did acknowledge there that this was concert was "very late notice", the venue's Facebook page had announced it on Wednesday. This will be Project 906's first announced concert since the Rudyard Musicians Festival in August, just their fifth in the past 9 months, and their first show at Hulbert Happy Hour since December 2018. We haven't seen as much activity from Project 906 this year due to members' own personal lives, but it's great to see them back out there TONIGHT, even with the late notice! As usual for their headlining bar shows, TONIGHT's affair is a 21+, 9:00 PM affair with no cover charge. See the above links for more details, and here's Project 906 live earlier this year!

Next up, and in what could be considered the kickoff to the Christmas concert season in Sault Ontario, the eighth annual Toystock fundraiser event goes down TOMORROW at The Grand Gardens North! Since it's inaugural installment in 2012, this (Choose) Maxx Entertainment-promoted concert has seen loads of toy, food, and monetary donations to Christmas Cheer, and expect more of the seasonal good will tomorrow,  with the Stuff-A-Bus on site once again to collect all of the goods for those in need. Aside from the musical performers, expect to see Mr. Bon Soo, princesses, and both Santa & Mrs. Claus on hand to meet the kids, while there will be face painting, a photo booth, a kids play area, and even video games. Click here for all non-musical details! As for the bands, Toystock VIII will again welcome 10 bands in 10 hours for tomorrow's festivities, though unlike last year, the roster for this year is half devoted to Toystock newcomers, largely on the younger side.

Local country rock cover quartet Bone Yard will headline at 9:00 PM in their eighth Toystock appearance total and seventh consecutive time, while two event newcomers will precede them in strong timeslots, namely power rock quartet Re:Born at 8:00 PM and the recently busy Fluid 5ive at 7:00 PM. Fellow classic/hard rockers Soundcheck will hit the stage for a third straight Toystock at 6:00 PM, though no word yet on if they'll have a fill-in singer again or if they'll play as a trio (and yes, Glen Thomas is again donating refurbished drum kits to a few lucky young attendees!) Local country musician Brendan Hodgson will return from 2018 with a set at 5:00 PM, following a pair of debuting acts, including pop rock quartet L!me at 4:00 PM and singer Kaitlyn Parr (who I know little about) at 3:00 PM. For a fourth straight year, a group of unidentified Case's Music students will hit the stage at 2:00 PM, while classic country duo The Jeff & Jeff Show return for a third year of their own at 1:00 PM.

Finally, Soo's Got Talent semifinalist Cameron Oliver will open with a solo performance at 12:00 PM. Toystock VIII is, as usual, an ALL AGES event with admission via a Christmas cheer donation (toys, non-perishable food, or money.) This is another great lineup of music and family friendly entertainment donating their time for a wonderful cause, so kudos to Greg and everyone at Maxx Entertainment for putting this on once again, and hopefully The Grand Gardens North is hopping in a good way tomorrow! Visit the Facebook event page and the above links for more details, and here's Bone Yard tackling a hard rock cover live!

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

  • On Sunday, revived Sault Michigan hard rock solo project Hubbard posted a photo of a drum kit to their Facebook page, saying that it was "time to record drums." This appears to confirm that Chris has indeed resumed (restarted?) work on his debut solo album, but with new postings there tending to be sporadic with not much to say, how fast will we hear updates from the 415E guitarist's camp?
  • Sault Ontario metal solo musician and Bear Hunters alum Mike Vincent is looking for a drummer for his new band project, who apparently play pop and punk rock (I presume Mike's on guitar.) Interesting change from his usual pace, but if you're interested in trying out, message Mike at this link or via his Musicians Wanted Facebook group post from Thursday!
  • Over two years after posting a drummer search on the Musicians Wanted Facebook group for a band project, young local guitarist Rainey Rancourt is again on the hunt, this time for a 14-18 year old vocalist. The band he's working on already has the other musicians enlisted, and they play metal & punk covers and originals. If you are interested, message Rainey at this link or via his group post from November 15th for more information!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more recent concert video footage on the site next! Thanks everyone!

Friday, November 22, 2019

The Offspring/Sum 41 Concert Fallout & Videos (Part 1)

As you are likely well aware, The Offspring and Sum 41 rocked GFL Memorial Gardens on Tuesday night, and we have lots of fallout from that show to talk about on the site today! SooToday's Donna Hopper and SaultOnline's Megan Pounder were both on hand to cover and photograph the festivities, with both writing briefly but positively about the show, which seemed to get a strong reception! Megan said that the Gardens was "packed", but a SooToday commenter estimated that there were 2,500 fans on Tuesday, so go with whoever you like on the crowd size. Regarding photographs, Megan snapped a whopping 89 pictures on Tuesday, including 44 from Sum 41's set and 45 from The Offspring's, with crowd shots intermingled. Donna only posted 27 pictures (13 from The Offspring's set, 14 of Sum 41's, also with crowd pictures), but hers are noticeably higher quality. Regardless, both got some great angles of the bands and fans, so give both a look at the above links to see what all went down!

Note that neither Donna nor Megan uploaded any photos of opening English alt-rockers Dinosaur Pile-Up for unannounced reasons. As for videos, I have found publically shared footage from five different users from Tuesday's festivities, primarily of The Offspring's set, with only one (so far) posting anything from Sum 41's set, and none filming Dinosaur Pile-Up. We have more videos to come in the near future, but let's start with YouTube user Frank Thomas' sole upload from the Gardens, and this features the headlining California punk quartet playing their opening three songs, namely "Americana", "All I Want", and "Come Out & Play". Sadly, Frank's video is in the vertical orientation, but he has a good central view of the stage, and The Offspring sound relatively solid! Dexter's voice is noticeably deeper compared to the old days, but the band still has it musically and energetically, so give this footage a look below!

We'll close today with videos from the aptly named YouTube channel named "Concert Channel", primarily as this is the only channel so far with footage of Sum 41. First though, they filmed four videos of The Offspring, including their new song "It Won't Get Better", and the established favourites "Want You Bad", "Bad Habit", and (embedded below) "Gotta Get Away". Despite being filmed horizontally, the quality isn't as good here, with very scratchy audio, overly bright stage lighting, and a sharper angle from almost beside the stage. That said, you can tell the band and fans are in their element, so give these videos a look above and below!

Finally, "Concert Channel" also filmed two videos of Ajax, Ontario punk quintet Sum 41's set, namely of their original songs "Motivation" and, as embedded below, "We Are All To Blame" (complete with an audience lighter or two during the soft choruses!) The recording quality is about the same, but performance-wise, Sum 41 sound great underneath it all, and this lineup definitely has the right formula. Hopefully more Sum 41 footage surfaces, but give these a look above & below!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for more Offspring concert fallout and more unrelated news and notes in the coming days! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Fluid 5ive & The Wyld Stallyns) And Weekend Concert Previews!!

Before we begin this weekend's concert previews (Toystock aside), we have an apology to make for a missed concert, as Sault Michigan classic/hard rock quintet Highway 63 played at Huck's Pub & Grill (formerly Joe's Bar & Grill) this past Saturday at a publically advertised hunter's bash. The venue had plugged the show on their Facebook page since November 5th, but the band only followed suit on the day of the event. Huck's is still uncommon for our coverage, but I do apologize or missing it, and hopefully the hunter's bash was a for Highway 63 and fans alike! Now, here's what you should know for this weekend, starting with SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS!

Local acoustic hard rock trio The Wyld Stallyns will play a rare headlining concert at The New American Pub TOMORROW NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, the band and venue only confirmed this concert via their respective Facebook pages earlier today. Yes, The New A had a poster made in-house to promote the concert, but as they spelled the band's name in a normal, Bill & Ted-free way (Wild Stallions), it didn't seem to fit for this particular write-up. A one nighter due to The New American's regular Saturday night karaoke festivities, this will be the Elements side project's first appearance at this downtown nightclub since playing at a Special Olympics Winter Games fundraiser here last December. This fan favourite trio should have another solid night of covers in store, so don't miss out TOMORROW! Note that the Sault Music News Letter Facebook page also credits The Stallyns as playing at The Whiskey Barrel on Saturday, but the band has not confirmed that.

As best as I can tell, this listing is a remnant of that page's coverage of shows last week, but if the band is indeed playing there on Saturday, we'll let you know. In any event, TOMORROW'S New A stop is an 8:00 PM affair with no announced cover charge and a 19+ age limit. Visit the above links for more details, and here's The Wyld Stallyns live!

Next up, local classic/hard rock cover quintet Fluid 5ive will reportedly rock Reggie's West for concerts TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Again, apologies for the short notice, we only learned of these dates via the aforementioned Sault Music News Letter Facebook page, though in this case, these are newly added listings. While not publicized by the band proper online, this will be Fluid 5ive's apparent debut at the Reggievelt, so if you're up for some classic and hard rock hits not typically played on the local bar circuit, don't bypass these dates! It's worth noting that the Sault Music News Letter page only lists these as taking place at Reggie's, but given that the downtown Reggie's Place reportedly closed permanently in September (more on that soon), it's a safe assumption that they mean the Korah Road location. As usual, expect 10:00 PM start times, no cover charges, and 19+ age limits. See above for more details, and here's Fluid 5ive 1ive!

Moving to previously announced concerts, let's take a brief detour to Sault Michigan, where local hard rock cover band Tarnished (or just their frontman Alex Traynor) will continue his/their "every Thursday" matinee run at Biggby Coffee TODAY, before heading to the local Kewadin Casino branch TONIGHT for a headline engagement at The Signatures Lounge! These dates will serve as an appetizer before Tarnished hit the road for a Mount Pleasant concert tomorrow (good luck!), so local fans will get two chances to see Alex (and company?) in an unplugged acoustic setting today. No word on whether Alex is playing these dates alone or not, especially given recent online ambiguity regarding Josh's involvement, but note that Tarnished did say to "catch us at the Signatures Lounge" tonight on their Facebook page. In any event, these are both cover-free shows, with the Biggby matinee at 12:00 PM with no age limit, and the presumably 21+ Signatures Lounge show at 6:00 PM. Click here and see above for more details, and here's Tarnished live!

Finally for this weekend's currently announced hard rock previews (Toystock aside), we'll head back to Sault Ontario, where local hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison's ongoing weekly concert arrangement at Gliss Restaurant on Spring Street will continue with matinee gigs TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! This long-term run at the popular downtown restaurant has given fans and Gliss patrons a lot of entertaining live music in the mid-late 2010s, and look for more hard and classic rock covers from the former Caveman Morrison frontman over these next two evenings! As usual for his Gliss stops, expect 6:00 PM start times, no announced cover charges, and no age limits, but remember that this is a formal restaurant, not a nightclub. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and for a preview, here's Tym live at Gliss Restaurant earlier this year!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for our Toystock preview, Offspring/Sum 41 fallout, and much more on the site soon! Thanks everyone!

Monday, November 18, 2019

A New Local Band, Offspring/Sum 41 Concert Preview, And More Updates!!

Here's a new news post for your Monday night reading, and while it mostly focuses on a major concert preview for tomorrow night, we also have some assorted recent updates, and leading off, a new addition to our local band listings. Here's what you should know!

We have a new local band to add to our Sault Ontario band links, namely a new southern/hard rock quintet named Fort Creek! Named after the local conservation area, this group stems from local acoustic hard rock duo Tattoos & Scars' search earlier this year to find musicians to join that project, though it appears that this is a separate band, given that Fort Creek have quietly had their own Facebook page since May. Time will tell if Tattoos & Scars will be the Bearded Lounge to Fort Creek's Bone Yard, but in any event, both bands feature singer/guitarist Justin Grayson and guitarist Shane Biron. Their lineup is rounded out by rhythm guitarist Matt Sibilo (ex-Redefined, Scary Uncles, et al.), former Thin Ice/Soundcheck bassist Robin "Bones" Lee, and Griphook/ex-Gsis Murphy drummer Anthony Fabiano. As it turns out, they made their live debut at an open mic night at Reggie's West last month, with pictures to boot, though we have never considered open mic nights to be true "concerts" for our purposes.

If you want to hear Fort Creek in action, this video of the guys jamming Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man" was posted on Facebook, but it only shows Justin, and it runs for under 30 seconds. Robin's YouTube channel has audio recordings of the guys covering Radiohead's "Creep" and, as embedded below, Thriving Ivory's "Angels on the Moon". We haven't gotten a massive look at their southern rock side yet, but Fort Creek have a very talented lineup with hard rock chops, and they're already further along as a live band than Halfway Loaded were. Give Fort Creek a look above & below!

Next up, here's our preview of a very special Tuesday night concert going down TOMORROW at GFL Memorial Gardens, as California punk legends The Offspring and Ajax, Ontario punk quintet Sum 41 will join forces for a night full of hit and fan favourite songs! This will be The Offspring's local concert debut, and with songs like "Come Out & Play", "Original Prankster", "Hit That", and many more in their repertoire, their upbeat punk hits should attract a great reception at the former Essar Centre tomorrow! Meanwhile, this will be the first local stop for Sum 41 in 15 years, having last came through when they headlined at The Roberta Bondar Pavilion in September 2004. As any MuchMusic watcher should know from years gone by, Sum 41's classic songs like "The Hell Song", "In Too Deep", and "Pieces" still hold up today, as do their newer songs, and it's great to see them back! This will be their first local gig with Gob's Tom Thacker on guitar or with Frank Zummo on drums.

Finally, English alternative rock trio Dinosaur Pile-Up will open in their own local debut, and with their own single "Back Foot" climbing on the rock radio charts and getting airplay on Stingray Loud, they should set the tone well with the grunge-inspired original attack before the punk sets in! An Invictus Entertainment Group production presented by Rock 101, this ALL AGES & 7:00 PM concert still has floor and bowl seats available at this link, at the in-person box office, and at (705) 759-5251, though the price remains $90 for most seats and $67 for the upper back bowl, minus service fees and taxes. The steep cost will scare off some fans, but hopefully this show is a huge hit to encourage more punk and alternative bands to come to the Gardens! With all of the hit songs and Rock 101 standbys from both bands, I know this will be a great concert, so visit the official Facebook event page for complete details, and here's The Offspring live!

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

  • Back on July 31st, a 20 year old punk/metalcore guitarist named Brett Macchio posted on the Musicians Wanted Facebook group regarding a search for players (presumably a bassist and/or drummer) for a local band that he's working on. At the time, Brett had found a singer, and he has a handful of live experience from a high school band, plus some songwriting work since then. I'm not familiar musically with Brett, but if you want more information, message him at this link or above!
  • Local Distillers tribute quartet Coral Fang will join frontwoman Tiffany Stocco's Volbeat tribute band The Guitar Gangsters for their Sudbury road trip on November 29th! This will be their first out of town gig, their first anywhere since Go Skate Day in June, and just their fifth show total. It's great to see that one of Tiffany's pre-existing cover bands will survive despite her move out of town, but will we ever see Poison Girl again? See above for more on the Sudbury concert at The Asylum!
  • I have moved local hard rock quintet Halfway Loaded to our inactive band links due to a year's inactivity, coupled with members Justin Grayson & Shane Biron launching the aforementioned Fort Creek as their apparent primary band. Active since 2016, this promising quintet never advanced beyond open mic nights and private gigs, but follow Fort Creek to see what Justin & Shane have in store, and best of luck to Ryan, Jesse, and Dylan in the future!

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

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Local Concert Video Showcase!!

Today's post is 100% devoted to new videos from SaultOnline reporter Mike Caruso's YouTube channel in the past week, as his frequent uploads of videos from local bar cover bands continue with welcome regularity! Of course, there's a lot more than this to see from many different groups, but we'll focus on heavier bands and/or covers as usual, and we'll start with Mike's video of local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck at Reggie's West on Friday night, but with a surprise, as former Haggith/Project 421/et al. lead singer Curtis McKenzie joined in as a guest vocalist! We have heard very little from Curt musically since his most recent band Eclipse (and his then-solo project) dissolved in late 2017, so it's great to see him back on stage after 2 years away! The title just says that Curtis is a guest, but Soundcheck's Facebook page's biography was quietly updated last week to confirm the departure of singer/guitarist Travis Sharpe from the band for unannounced reasons.

Travis had previously missed Soundcheck's Water Tower Pub shows earlier this month, as well a date there in September, though I have no word how related those absences were. Travis had been a member of Soundcheck since their 2016 launch, and it's very surprising to see him leave, but hopefully he turns up in a new band soon! As for Mike's video, it's of Soundcheck and Curtis covering Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell" and Alice In Chains' "Man In The Box", and the band sound solid, though Curt's voice is a far better fit on the latter cover, and Paul is again obscured by that post on the stage. Solid overall, so give Mike's Soundcheck video a look below

Next up, here's a video of local classic/hard rock quintet Fluid 5ive at The New American Pub on November 8th, where they covered two songs, namely Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' "Refugee" & David Bowie's "Heroes". It's worth noting that the on-screen captions indicate a quiet lineup change, as Tom Millette is featured on second guitar, with no sign of guitarist/keyboardist Rob Irving. If Rob has left the 5ive permanently, then a reason for his departure hasn't been publically announced, though note that the band's Facebook page (which still lists Rob in the fold) hasn't been updated in over 2 months. I'm unfamiliar with Tom musically, but he fits right in with Fluid 5ive on these well-filmed covers, and hopefully all's well with Rob going forward! And yes, bassist Pierre Vaillancourt is one and the same as Pierre Anthony, highlighting the familial connection with Liam on lead guitar.

The backing vocals are iffy, but these songs are well-handled with good energy, so if you haven't seen Fluid 5ive before, this multi-camera footage will give you a solid preview of what they bring to the table. Give Fluid 5ive's 1ive video a look below, and don't miss them at Toystock!

Also, here's Mike's new video of local acoustic country duo (and Bone Yard side project) The Bearded Lounge covering Roger Miller's "Me & Bobby McGee" and a surprise slowed down version of Kiss' "Rock and Roll All Nite" at Reggie's West! I believe this was filmed at their matinee show there on November 9th. Of course, Greg and Alex have great chemistry and country chops from their full band work together and vast local experience, as evidenced nicely on the former cover, but the Kiss cover will take some acclimating if you're not a fan of classic country. Nice to see the guys spreading their wings here, so give their Reggievelt video a look also!

Finally, here's local classic rock mainstays Mustang Heart playing three covers during one of their Esquire Club concerts over the November 8th weekend. Here, you can see them cover Heart's "All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You", Bon Jovi's "Bed of Roses" (featuring various pictures of couples added in post), and Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode". Frontwoman Marci Chindamo sings lead on the first and last songs,  but guitarist Lorenzo Fabbri handles them on Bed of Roses." The audio quality is mixed here, especially with the riffing almost sounding warped on the Heart cover, but Mustang Heart acquit themselves well here, so give them a look below!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for our Offspring/Sum 41 preview and more on the site tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Friday, November 15, 2019

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Candlebox), The Rad Zone Updates, And New Videos!!

Let's get a new news post up on this cold Friday night, and it includes some new videos, big updates from a fan favourite retail establishment with many ties to the local music community, and leading off, a big LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for next year! Here's what you should know!

Seattle grunge/alt-rock notables Candlebox will make their local concert debut on Saturday, April 18th, 2020 when they headline at The Dreammaker's Theater at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino! One of the biggest alternative hard rock bands of the 1990s thanks to hit songs like "You", "Simple Lessons", "It's Alright", and of course, the Rock 101 staple "Left Behind", their familiar and hard-edged brand of original music should be more than welcomed to the local stage in the spring, so don't miss out on this one if you can help it! Potential opening acts have not been announced at press time. Tickets for this all ages, 8:00 PM concert go on sale on Friday morning at this link, at 1-800-KEWADIN, and at the in-person box office, and they will start at $30. If you've ever wanted some big name 1990s grunge or alternative bands to roll through, this is definitely a nice change of pace, so visit the official Facebook event page and the above links for more details!

Next up, we have some sad, if not entirely unexpected news from a Sault Ontario retail mainstay, as local record (et al) store The Rad Zone and it's attached Hole In The Wall Bookstore will be leaving The Wellington Square Mall at the end of the month, with plans to move to a new location in 2020. If you follow local news media, you may be aware of announced plans to heavily restructure the Trunk Road complex into a modern strip mall (source here), which left the future of the mall's non-Food Basics tenants in doubt. It's not 100% clear whether The Rad Zone is leaving on their own accord or if they weren't part of the mall owners' future plans there. Paul "Monk" Muncaster has owned The Rad Zone (née Radical Records) for 32 years, including the past 17 at this location, but he does plan to move the store elsewhere next year, location and re-opening date to be announced. For what it's worth, their secondary "Rad Zone 2" location at Vintage Games 'N Junque on Queen Street East seems to be unaffected by these developments.

That said, before the big move, The Rad Zone is having a 2 week closeout sale starting tomorrow and running through Friday, November 29th, with most used items running 50% off, new items 40% off, and VHS tapes for 99¢ each, not counting consignment items. Visit the official Facebook event page for full pricing details. This is disappointing news, but hopefully Monk, Mel, Evan, and crew find a great new location next year, as we need a great record, gaming, skateboarding, collectible, and book store here, and they fill that niche exceedingly well, while also being great supporters of local musicians. Best of luck all around, and get down to The Rad Zone while you can!

We'll close today with new videos, starting with the last upload from Christopher Paci's footage from Muddfest at the aforementioned Dreammakers Theater in Sault Michigan on November 1st, namely his clip of opening Kentucky hard rock quartet Tantric playing their song "Down & Out." It's not as well known as "Breakdown", but it's a catchy enough rocker, and it's well filmed like the rest of Chris' Muddfest videos, so give it a look below, and see much more at his YouTube channel!

Finally, here's a brand new original song from local hard rock/metal solo musician Tym Morrison's YouTube channel yesterday, entitled "Street Preacher"! If you know Tym personally at all, you may be aware that he has embraced Christianity in recent months, and while this song does retain his heavy music background, the lyrics definitely have a (positive) religious bent. That said, I can barely hear his singing in this recording, but the music holds up and has a solid chugging riff, plus a quality solo. Give it a listen below, and don't miss Tym at Gliss tomorrow evening!

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