Friday, January 31, 2020

Heavy Lies The Crown - "Scatter Brain" EP Review!!

It's now time for our 127th monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, and first of 2020, as we're taking a look at St. Ignace, Michigan progressive metal band Heavy Lies The Crown's debut EP "Scatter Brain"! The pictured cover artwork is a recreation of the physical copies, and the font I used for the album name is admittedly inaccurate. Independently released online on September 9th in advance of their Saginaw debut that month (with hard copies following in November), this EP was produced by Danny Vail and recorded in early 2019. The disc features singer Brandon West, guitarist Ted Olson, bassist Danny Tucker, and drummer Cale Krist, though "Scatter Brain" was recorded before Nathan Switzer joined the band on second guitar. H.L.T.C. did debate re-recording it with Nathan, but the original recordings are what is on the final product. Physical copies run for just $4, while you can stream the EP on Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, and YouTube.

I do not know if CDs are on sale at a local retailer in the Eastern Upper Peninsula (Crooked Music, maybe?), but contact the band directly if you want to get hooked up, especially as they have yet to play a true local concert. Featuring four songs running for almost 13 minutes, let's begin this review!

"Scatter Brain" kicks off with it's longest track, "Thing 1", which has a soft and deliberate opening that nicely builds in instrumentation, with the soft vocals giving a Deftones-ish vibe early, but when the song puts the pedal down in the chorus, the aggression amps up well. Brandon's harsh screaming reminds me very much of Cameron Heacock from American Head Charge, which is not a bad thing! The song is well performed with nice intricate playing, and the late breakdown is a nice touch, but it doesn't feel as heavy and assaulting as it should, with the guitar almost buried in the mix. Next up is the EP's shortest song, "Choke", which is a full-on extreme metal song that is very nu metal-inspired. This has the pounding metal background I missed on "Thing 1", and it's a great showcase for Brandon in particular, though Ted's guitar work shines while it lasts, and Cale's drumming is at full force, especially on the bridge. Very entertaining song, if not as technically sound as the opener was!

Third on the disc is "Knucklebutter", which is another ferocious ripper of a song, though with more of a gradual and drawn out pace that suits the drumming and bass line really well, and the galloping riff is a nice touch. The pained clean vocals at the mid-point is too forced to me, and the background chatter and laughing late adds nothing to the song, but the sum is greater than the parts. "Choke" has the speed and intensity edge, but "Knucklebutter" feels like a more complete, fully realized song, and it's my favourite on the EP! The closing track is "Time Diffuser", which has a nice guitar melody intro (possibly the best guitar line of the disc) that pairs nicely with Cale's rapid fire drums. Like the opener, this alternates softer verses with aggressive choruses, but it's a shorter song, yet more inventive musically, and the rhythm contrasts well with the heavier elements. My big problem with the song is it (and consequently, the EP) ends so abruptly, when it felt like it should go on much longer, but it's solid until then!

So, what are my final thoughts on Heavy Lies The Crown's debut EP? Overall, it's a strong first outing for a very promising new-ish band, with lots of brutality and strong musicianship to go around! While ostensibly a progressive metal band, this has a strong influence from early 2000s nu metal, which isn't a bad thing (no one raps), so if you like bands like American Head Charge, you'll be right at home here. With only four songs, H.L.T.C. don't have much time to make an impression, but they're a talented ensemble, with Brandon's harsh screams meshing well with Ted's skilled guitar work, while Danny and Cale hold down the rhythms well, but there are times when songs could be pumped up with beefier production or a more prominent guitar line. The abrupt ending to "Time Diffuser" was a disappointment, and I'd have liked to have heard some guitar solos, though with two guitarists now, I imagine a second release would be more fleshed out on the whole.

"Scatter Brain" is an entertaining first salvo for Heavy Lies The Crown, and while I know the E.U.P. is not an ideal market for an extreme metal band to break through in, I hope they can make their mark locally and gain traction up here. Do your part by streaming or buying "Scatter Brain" at the above links, and I hope you guys liked this month's CD review! As for our February album review... I do not know what we'll be looking at yet, but here's what I can say. A new album would, as usual, take precedence in line, and our next "Where Are The New Albums?" post will give some ideas as to what may be coming out next! If nothing new comes out that I have access to, we'll dip into the archives for a review tied in with musicians playing locally in February, and one possibility could be "Flight 75", Haggith's live album from 2012, to tie in with members' debut show with The Bridge Heads next month. In any event, stay tuned for more news and notes on the site soon! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, January 30, 2020

A New Local Band, Peril Concert Previews, And Blood Shed Productions Updates!!

Let's get one more news post in before February rolls around, and we focus on our first CD review of 2020! Tonight, we have some assorted news and notes from two linked metal solo projects, the last of this weekend's publically advertised hard rock concert previews, and leading off, a new addition to our band links, so here's what you should know!

We have a new local band to add to our Sault Ontario band links, and they are The Bridge Heads, a very familiar quartet for fans of local hard rock in the 2010s! Confirming prior performer teases towards the third act at the Acoustic Heartstrings concert at Room 21 on Valentine's Day, this band is simultaneously a reunion of 3/4ths of inactive local bands Haggith and Eclipse, specifically featuring singer Curtis McKenzie, Jack Spades/Big Mistake guitarist Daniel Horton, bassist Caleb Cachagee, and Frightlight drummer Chris Thompson. Musically, The Bridge Heads will at least start out covering songs from the 1990s and 2000s, though they have no shortage of originals from Curt, Dan, and Caleb's collective prior band work to dip into if need be. Their live debut will be in the aforementioned acoustic show next month, but their first announced electric set will be at The Canadian Nightclub on April 26th, as they are the final opening act for that night's First Jason concert, meaning Chris is pulling double duty here.

That will be a huge platform for this new yet established group, so keep their addition in mind! It's a wonder why this new band doesn't just recycle the Eclipse name, given the identical lineup (sans Caleb) and similar set descriptions, but this could be seen as a fresh start, especially as Eclipse disbanded over two years ago. It's great to see everyone back under the Bridge Heads moniker, so check out more from them at the above links!

Next up, here's our last known and publically advertised hard rock concert previews for this weekend, as Traverse City, Michigan classic metal trio Peril will return to The Rapids Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Apologies for erroneously listing these as being in St. Ignace in prior advertising, these are definitely in the Soo. This will be Peril's first weekend booking in the Eastern Upper Peninsula of 2020, and their first Rapids Lounge bookings since the fall, so this should be another fine opportunity for fans to see Jeff, Adam, and Brooks' hard and classic rock cover onslaught! If you can't come out this weekend, don't worry, as Peril will be at the St. Ignace Kewadin in two weeks, which is an unusually quick turnaround for them in our area. As usual for Peril's Kewadin dates, these are 9:00 PM affairs with no cover charges and 21+ age limits. Visit the above links for more information, and here's Peril live!

We'll close today back in Sault Ontario with some new videos, starting with the full release of local goregrind solo project Crucify the Whore and folk punk/metal musician Chase Wigmore's second "A Couple of Degenerate Bastards" split! As released via Blood Shed Productions, the whole album can be bought on C.T.W.'s Bandcamp page on a "name your price" model, with Chase's 7 featured songs newly added, and you can stream his half on YouTube as well. Musically, Chase's material here is extreme metal in tone, similarly to "One Last Act of Defiance", so it's a fine match with C.T.W. on the final product. We just reviewed a Chase solo album on the site last month, so another one isn't in the immediate cards to review, but if you like brutal extreme metal and goregrind, and aren't easily offended, you should find something to like on this sequel split! Give Chase's half a listen below, and buy/stream the whole thing at the above links!

Finally, here's some more assorted notes from both Chase and C.T.W.'s camps as of late. Last week, Chase revealed on his Facebook page that his long-gestating rock opera was 4/5ths done, and ran for (as of the 22nd) 6,479 words. Sounds like a real labour of love, hopefully the final product lives up to the hype! Four days later, Chase posted this video to make a "special announcement" teasing "big stuff" in 2020, with the aide of a clipboard with key phrases written on it. Shades of "Subterranean Homesick Blues", anyone? This video was definitely tongue in cheek, and while he doesn't give too much away, it's an amusing watch! Meanwhile, C.T.W. head Tyler Gibson teased on the Blood Shed Facebook page that their material on the split was a teaser towards their planned third full length release, and have since posted two videos there. One is a short (and presumably long since pre-taped) video of Chase fishing, believe it or not, and the other is a 22 minutes long C.T.W. jam video, not unlike what Chase has posted!

Heavily filtered in post-production, the video features Tyler playing guitar and setting up backing tracks. There's not a lot to look at, filtered or not, and the lack of pig squealing will not be to Blood Shed diehards' liking, but the performances here are consistently brutal and right at home with existing material, so give it and more a look above & below!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for this month's CD review tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Tym Morrison & Soundcheck) And Weekend Concert Previews!!

Let's dive straight into our (non-Tarnished) concert previews for this weekend! Due to the amount, I am holding our preview of Peril's St. Ignace Kewadin concerts for our next news post, which will hit the site by Friday morning. Also, note that the Sault Music News Letter page lists both classic/hard rock veterans Fluid 5ive & cover rock quintet Chunks of Manh as playing at The Esquire Club this weekend, shows that neither band nor the venue have corroborated online. If we hear confirmation re: Fluid 5ive there, we'll let you know. Now, here's most of the hard rock previews, starting with LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS, some on SHORT NOTICE!

Local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck will return to Reggie's West for concerts TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT, while also returning to The Rockstar Bar on Friday, February 21st & Saturday, February 22nd! Apologies for the short notice on this weekend's Reggievelt gigs, they were only confirmed via their Facebook event page yesterday. TOMORROW & SATURDAY's concerts will be Soundcheck's first at Reggie's West in four weeks, and the guys are hyping up new songs in their setlist, so what's added this time out? Be there this weekend to find out, and of course, at The Rockstar Bar next month, in their first shows there with new frontman Cameron Oliver! Speaking of which, Cameron will be playing a solo concert at The Water Tower Pub next Thursday (source here), though his solo shows tend to skew towards country. All four of these shows are 19+ affairs with no cover charges and 10:00 PM-ish start times.

Despite the short notice this weekend, it's great to see Soundcheck back in the west end TOMORROW & SATURDAY, but circle those February dates on your calendar if you want to make plans to see Cameron, Terry, Paul and Glen's classic and hard rock mix downtown! See above and The Rockstar Bar's Facebook event page for more details, and here's Soundcheck live!

Next up, prolific local hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison (pictured with his old hair) will return to Gliss Restaurant for matinee concerts TOMORROW & SATURDAY, as well as a regular nighttime show at The Roadhouse Bar & Grill TOMORROW NIGHT, but we might as well add his February concert slate to our calendar today too! Saturday the 1st aside, obviously. Tym will return to Gliss like clockwork for evening matinee gigs on February 7th-8th, 14th-15th, 21st-22nd, and 28th-29th, so if you enjoy his dinner-time acoustic jams at this popular restaurant, you know where to go next month! Tym will also hit The Roadhouse Bar & Grill on Trunk Road twice in February, playing Friday nighters there on the 7th & 28th, so nighthawks and east enders won't want to miss those! Finally, Tym will play his second gig at Northern Superior Brewing Co. at 50 Pim Street on Saturday, February 22nd, giving double the downtown matinee action on this day.

A busy month lies ahead as usual for Tym, but he has the talent, experience, and extensive setlist to pull everything off flawlessly, so don't miss him at any of the above dates! The Gliss shows are at 6:00 PM, the Roadhouse concert is at 10:00 PM, and the Northern Superior taproom gig is at 3:00 PM. The matinees are all ages, the Roadhouse show is 19+, and while none of these have cover charges, remember where they are all being held. Visit the official Facebook event pages linked here, here, and here for more details, and here's Tym live at Gliss last year!

Also this weekend, TOMORROW is the kick-off for this year's annual Bon Soo Winter Carnival at The Machine Shop, and the opening night's musical entertainment will primarly be comprised of finalists from last year's Soo's Got Talent competition, including third place finishing party metal trio The Apocalypse Afterparty! It's great to see Paul, Amanda, and the presumed guest bassist back for the first time on a public stage since the finals, and they should add a solid blast of irreverent heaviness tomorrow night! Five of the seven finalists will perform at The Machine Shop, including winner (and Uncanny Valley frontman) Adrian Sullivan, runner-up Juliana Regan, beatboxer Robert "Killabeatz" Drolet, and vocal group The Dancing Divas, so if you missed the finals, this could be seen as an encore! Note that an earlier plug by organizers indicating that The Lock Cities Chorus of the Sweet Adelines would also be performing has quietly been removed for unannounced reasons. They wouldn't have fit the the Soo's Got Talent theme, but hopefully nothing bad happened to force their withdrawal!

Of course, there's much more going on for Bon Soo opening ceremonies beyond music, including guest speakers, a fire show, and fireworks, so click here for full details on that front. Also, country veterans The Jeff & Jeff Show will be playing in The Machine Shop after the fireworks, but this is being advertised as a separate concert from The Soo's Got Talent block.  The concert proper starts at 6:00 PM, this is absolutely ALL AGES, and admission is free with the purchase of an $8 Bon Soo button either upon entry or from select local retailers. Bon Soo's a wonderful event, and this should kick it off right, so see above for more details, and here's the finalists live!

Finally for today's previews, we'll head to the aforementioned Rockstar Bar, where local funk/hard rock quartet The Elements will headline a concert TOMORROW NIGHT! This one-night-only event marks a rare, though not unheard of, solo showcase for this fan favourite group, which coincides with frontman Rob Speers' birthday. What better way to celebrate than with a live concert and all of the frills therein? If you enjoy The Elements and have missed them as The Wyld Stallyns have gained more and more live dates, don't bypass this show to help end January on a high note with their hard rock, funk, and punk covers & originals! If there's a musical act playing at The Rockstar Bar on Saturday, I don't know who they are. Tomorrow's Elements concert has a 9:00 PM start time and no announced cover charge, and you must be 19 or older to attend. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's The Elements live!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for our Peril previews and more in our next news post, either before or after this month's CD review! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Tarnished), We Will Rock You Preview, And Fort Creek Updates!!

In what may be our last full news post of the month, we have updates from a newer local band, a preview of a special touring musical event, and leading off, LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (one on SHORT NOTICE) and related concert previews as we get an early jump on this weekend's concert previews! With all of that said, here's what you should know!

Sault Michigan hard rock band Tarnished have a busy few days ahead, including their previously announced acoustic concert TOMORROW NIGHT at The Signatures Lounge at the local Kewadin Casino branch and full band gigs at The Double D Bar & Grill at Dondee Lanes on FRIDAY & SATURDAY, but there are new confirmations to note as well! First up,we can now confirm that their "every Thursday" run of matinee concerts at Biggby Coffee is alive and well, despite going weeks between plugging shows there, as the band confirmed another show there for THIS THURSDAY in their latest Facebook page post. As it turns out, the coffee shop's Facebook page plugged Tarnished (well, Alex solo) as playing there "every Thursday" last week on short notice, marking the first firm confirmation that the arrangement was alive and well since early December. Maybe the lack of online advertising is reflective of the Biggby run not really changing week to week?

In any event, I profusely apologize for missing the past 6 weeks (assuming there were no breaks) for Tarnished's Biggby run on here, but alas, the shows were not being advertised by band or venue during that time on social media. With that in mind, I have added Tarnished (be it Alex solo or with Josh/Nathan) to our concert calendar for Biggby concerts on THURSDAY and then on February 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th! All are 12:00 PM matinees with no cover charges or age limits, and see above for more details! Of course, you can see Alex (and company?) unplugged at Kewadin tomorrow in a rare Wednesday nighter (6:00 PM, 21+, no cover), plus their Dondee stops with the full roster this weekend (9:00 PM, 21+, no cover), but their previously announced Thursday night show at Moloney's Alley (coinciding with the I-500 pub crawl) has quietly been cancelled for unannounced reasons, as per their removal from the venue's Facebook event page, though Tarnished themselves never confirmed that booking. Hopefully nothing bad happened, but the pub crawl proper is still on!

Lastly for Tarnished, their I-500 association doesn't end there, as they will be performing unplugged at the I-500 beer tent THIS SATURDAY! A timeslot wasn't given, leading me to believe this is more of an informal jam, so I won't include it in our concert listings, but if you're at the annual snowmobile race this weekend, look for Alex and crew under the tent! Visit the above links for more details, apologies again, and here's Tarnished live!

Next up, this isn't a concert per say, but I'd be hard pressed to not acknowledge this on the site, as the North American touring production of the Queen musical We Will Rock You will perform at GFL Memorial Gardens in Sault Ontario TOMORROW NIGHT! Eight months removed from St. Mary's College's student production of this same musical, the real thing will bring this dystopian tale about rising against the oppressive ruling class to life, as set to two dozen classic Queen songs. I'm not a huge musical buff, but this should be a great time for fans of Queen and classic rock, and the over-the-top theatrical nature and skilled actors should provide ample entertainment! Besides, it's not often when a touring production like this gets performer interviews from two different local news sources (click here & here for SooToday & The Sault Star's separate coverage.) Presented by Annerin Productions, tickets for this ALL AGES and 7:00 PM show run for between $69.50 & $89.50.

You can buy them at this link, at the Gardens' in-person box office, or at 1-866-775-9422. Between the two We Will Rock You productions and Queen: It's A Kinda Magic coming here in June, this is a good time to be a Queen fan in Sault Ste. Marie, so check the above links for more details on tomorrow's touring production, and if you can swing tit, don't miss out!

Finally for today, here's the latest from newer local southern hard rock quintet Fort Creek, who have been hard at work in studio in the last month, while also hitting the stage three weeks ago at Reggie's West during one of blues rock veterans Mojo's weekly jam nights. The Halfway Loaded successors haven't shown their cards towards what specifically they're up to in the studio, let alone when they might make their formal concert debut, but their Facebook page is loaded with recent teases. Bassist Robin "Bones" Lee shared not one, but two more covers of Thriving Ivory's "Angels on the Moon" onto his YouTube channel this month (making three total there), while he's featured in this Facebook video from earlier today where he's "dialing in a sound." Solid playing from this local veteran, and the Thriving Ivory covers sound solid! Embedded below though is a new preview video for the band at large, as shared onto The Wicked Wire's YouTube channel on Sunday.

For the record, I don't know what The Wicked Wire refers to (possibly an old band name?) The video features monochrome still images of band members, logos, and even a map showing where Fort Creek is, as set to audio recordings from their recent jamming, primarily Pink Floyd's "Time" and Luke Combs' "Can I Get An Outlaw". Solid teaser of what's to come, and 2020 looks like it will be a big year for Fort Creek, assuming all goes according to plan! Give it a look below, and see more above!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for weekend concert previews and this month's CD review shortly! Thanks everyone!

Monday, January 27, 2020

YouTube Channel Profile Series: Small Town Rivals & Chitamo

It's now time for our first YouTube Channel Profile of 2020, as we continue our monthly spotlighting of YouTube channels whose uploads are at least half devoted to local metal, hard rock, and/or punk artists and concerts! As usual, channels are randomly selected from our YouTube subscriptions, and we're looking at two this month due to the first channel only having one upload, necessitating a second channel selection. This month's choices will kick 2020 off in the punk realm via some high profile and familiar faces, so here's what you should know!
Small Town Rivals (

Owner: Northwest singer/guitarist and ex-Nebraska Arms/Renderware alum Wayne Watkins, launched during his tenure as frontman of the 2010-2013 local/Whistler, B.C. pop punk band The Small Town Rivals

Channel Timeline: Launched on November 9th, 2012; Only video posted on "Stir Friday", April 19th, 2013

Channel Summary: The official YouTube channel for The Small Town Rivals only saw one video posting, late in the band's life span, where Wayne plays a solo acoustic rendition of their unreleased original song "Algoma Steel." Subtitled as the "late night stir fry edition" (complete with Wayne stirring said dish in his kitchen), this performance is lively and has all the hallmarks of his wider scale work to come with Northwest, with a unique setting to add some flavour, and lyrics are even in the description! However, the video is mirrored, and the channel does not include any other Small Town Rivals content, but click here to see a full band music video of theirs.

Chitamo (

Owner: A YouTube user and likely local resident with the last name Chitamo (I am uncertain of their identity otherwise.)

Channel Timeline: Launched on September 3rd, 2006; Videos posted that day and on March 21st, 2009

Channel Summary: Nine of the ten videos come from local punk quartet The Inner City Surfers' headlining concert at Foggy Notions (now Coch's Corner) on September 1st, 2006. The only other video is of an unidentified beatboxer delivering an impromptu performance at a local bar in 2009.

Why You Should Watch: This channel is definitely worth a watch for fans of The Inner City Surfers' mid-late 2000s heyday, though the dark lighting and generally short video run-time will not be to everyone's liking (the nine Surfers videos only run for about 6 minutes total, but there are much more available elsewhere.) As for the beatboxing clip, it is impressive, though Mr. Chitamo's efforts to learn the artist's identity appears to have went cold, and the channel hasn't been visibly used in the 2010s.

Our Recommended Videos To Check Out:

Inner City Surfers cover Beastie Boys: Three of this channel's videos have exceeded 500 views, but this 42 second clip of The Inner City Surfers covering The Beastie Boys' "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)" edged out the others. The dark and largely out-of-focus video isn't much to look at, but Dustin, Dave, Brad, and Mikey have a solid and entertaining handle on the last verse of this rap rock classic! The guys also covered The Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" here, with Dustin and Mikey trading vocal & drum duties, though the video is uploaded sideways.

Surfers-Won't Belong: Stones cover aside, the channel's only Surfers upload to exceed 1 minute in length is of the guys playing "Won't Belong" from their second album "Laughing On The Outside" and their later self-titled CD. This video has solid sound, and better lighting & clarity overall, albeit at the expense of a jitterier angle, and it's a nice showcase of Brad's singing while it lasts! Other song fragments filmed by Mr. Chitamo include "Perfect Moment", "Commandments", "Booze N' Doobs" in three chunks, and this untitled instrumental fragment.

I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profiles! This series will return on or around February 26th when we look at another randomly selected YouTube channel, and we'll be staying in punk mode then by looking at biznasty316's channel, featuring six Treble Charger song uploads from their last three albums. Look for that then, and for more news and this month's CD review this week! Thanks everyone! 

Saturday, January 25, 2020

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Acoustic Heartstrings), The Tripod The Dog Concert Preview, And More!!

As promised, we'll wrap up this weekend's hard rock concert previews today with one more Saturday nighter, but to fill things out, I've cobbled together some more stories to make this a full news post, including some assorted shorter topics, a new cover video, and leading off, a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT!

A special all-unplugged Valentine's Day concert at Room 21 will go down on Friday, February 14th featuring some familiar faces! The event is entitled "Acoustic Heartstrings", and despite the private Facebook event page, this is absolutely a public concert. Three bands will rock the stage with acoustic sets, including alternative/punk trio Handsome Sandwich, who should adapt their diverse and amusing sound well in this setting, so don't miss Johnny, Jesse, and James then! Also, this night will see the live debut of new local acoustic cover band Big Mistake, whose lineup features ex-Re:Born singer Robert Nevitt, Jack Spades guitarist Daniel Horton, guitarist Rick Atkins (who played with Robert at The Soo's Got Talent in 2018), and singer Taylor Emlaw (who guested on a couple of songs from Daniel's old band Haggith.) As best as I can gather from online postings and teasers, Big Mistake will be much softer in tone compared to Robert & Daniel's past local band work.

A third act is to be announced, which appears to involve Daniel's long-time musical colleague Curtis McKenzie, based on a comment on the event page, while their Project 421/Eclipse bandmate Chris Thompson and fellow Haggith alum Caleb Cachagee are also credited as event hosts. Is a new/relaunched band from these artists playing too, or are we being thrown a curveball? This 19+ concert has a $5 cover charge, and doors open at 9:00 PM. Very unique concert that will set the mood well for Valentine's Day celebrants, so visit the above links for more details, and stay tuned for updates!

Next up, here's our last known local hard rock concert preview for this weekend, as veteran ska punk/hard rock trio Tripod The Dog will return to The Rockstar Bar for one night only TONIGHT! Allegedly "back by popular demand", this show will be the first for Mark Oliverio, and John & Jonny Amendola since playing a full weekend at the same venue four weeks ago. 2019 was a good year for Tripod the Dog in their return to the live scene, and hopefully tonight's concert is another smash hit as they enter this new decade! This 19+ concert has no cover charge and a 9:00 PM start time, as usual. It's always good to see Tripod the Dog back at it, so visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and for a preview, here's their song from "Local Steel"! We await videos (and a newly updated online page), which would help keep our coverage up to date.

Also today, here's a new video from ex-Sense of Truth/Skeyes of Seven frontman Cory Murchison's YouTube channel last week, and it's a cover of.... Justin Bieber's "Love Yourself?! The surprise rendition was compiled for a friend as a birthday present, and the video is humorous in tone, featuring appearances from his fiancee Shelby Kerns (of the benefit concert in June), their daughter Lyric, and their dog Mayan. This isn't the first time that Cory has featured his family so heavily in a YouTube song upload, and while I'm not high on the original song, his well-done cover has a pleasant honesty and appeal in it's own right. Give it a look below!

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:

  • Local beatboxer Robert "Killabeatz" Drolet has been added to next week's Bon Soo opening night concert at The Machine Shop, joining four other Soo's Got Talent finalists on the bill (The Apocalypse Afterparty among them), as per the official Facebook event page. Fitting addition given the theme, so don't miss him there on Friday night! However, note that the previously announced Lock Cities Chorus of The Sweet Adelines are not advertised there.
  • Mustang Sally guitarist Mikhal Muto (the son of Issues/Band Camp Rejects alum Michael Muto) is looking for a singer and drummer for a punk/metal band he's currently working on. Guitars and bass are already filled, an age range of 14-19 is specified, and they cover bands like The Foo Fighters, Green Day, and Megadeth, among others, while also incorporating original songs. If you're interested in trying out, message Mikhal at this link or via his Musicians Wanted Facebook group post from January 12th!
  • This will be old news if you saw them live last year, but local punk trio Redundant have finally confirmed online that Andrew MacDonald is their new bassist, replacing James White. The reveal was made on their biography for their upcoming Bout at the Hideout set in Toronto in March. Andrew is an extremely logical choice, given that he and his new bandmates were all in Fitswitch at one point, while he was also a bandmate of Justin's in their immediate predecessors The Scary Uncles, so things should continue to work out fine!

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

Thursday, January 23, 2020

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Soundcheck, Tym Morrison, And The Wyld Stallyns) & Weekend Concert Previews!!

It's time to dive into another weekend of concert previews at the SMS! Due to the amount, I will hold our preview of Saturday night's previously announced Tripod the Dog concert at The Rockstar Bar to our next post, coming either tomorrow or Saturday morning. Look for that then, and now, here's what you should know for other announced hard rock shows on the horizon, including three SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS!

Local acoustic hard rock trio The Wyld Stallyns will rock The Whiskey Barrel for the first time in 2020 TOMORROW NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, the venue announced the gig via this concert schedule photo on their Facebook page on January 12th, but it slipped us by at the time. Three weeks and change removed from their New Year's Eve party here, this should be another prime opportunity for fans to take in The Stallyns' skilled, entertaining, and often heavy selection of covers, so don't miss them at the Gore Street restaurant & nightclub TOMORROW! A one-nighter due to or resulting in the Peter White show on Saturday, TOMORROW'S Wyld Stallyns concert has an 8:00 PM start time, no cover charge, and a 19+ age limit. See above for more details, and here's The Wyld Stallyns live!

Next up, prolific local hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison's long-term arrangement at Gliss Restaurant continues with matinee concerts TOMORROW & SATURDAY, but in an announcement we didn't know, Tym will make his debut at Northern Superior Brewing Company THIS SATURDAY as well! Again, apologies for the short notice, this show was only announced via his Facebook event page this past Thursday. Concerts held at the 50 Pim Street brewery's on-site Taproom are still relatively new for us, though not completely so, as The Wyld Stallyns played a one-off gig here in June 2018, and non-hard rock acts have been playing here with more regularity in recent months. In Tym's case, he'll be in the Taproom for 3:00 PM matinee concerts on SATURDAY and for at least two more Saturdays in 2020's first quarter. Should be a fun time in a new-ish locale, and his music always holds up, but oddly, this means that his Gliss matinee is the later event for a change!

Of course, regulars and fans can expect more entertaining live music at the Spring Street restaurant this weekend, so don't miss Tym (and his new short haircut!) there or at Northern Superior! We will address Tym's February slate at both venues next week. The Gliss shows are at 6:00 PM, SATURDAY'S Taproom gig is at 3:00 PM, and none have advertised cover charges or age limits, but respect the locales. Click here and visit the above links for more details, and here's Tym live at Gliss last year!

Also this weekend, local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck will return to The Water Tower Pub for one night only on SATURDAY NIGHT! Apologies again for the short notice, this concert has been advertised for the past two weeks on the venue's January schedule on your left, but again, this fell through the cracks at the time, and Soundcheck themselves have not plugged the show on their Facebook page since then. Like with The Wyld Stallyns above, this will be Soundcheck's first concert at this venue since New Year's Eve, though with no seasonal frills on SATURDAY, this should be more of a return to normalcy. As such, if you want to see their new lineup at this popular central venue with no cover, keep this one in mind! Like usual, this is a 19+ event, and a 9:00 PM start time is in effect. Also, note that veteran local jazz musician Britta Wolfert will also be playing a 5:00 PM matinee concert at The Water Tower Pub on Saturday, but that is considered to be a separate concert.Visit the above links for more details, and here's Soundcheck live!

Finally for today's preview post, here's a pair of shows that had lots of advance notice, as Sault Michigan hard rock quartet 415E will return to the stage TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT when they rock The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino! After a very quiet 2019 for the Splitshot successors, 415E are riding high from their Soo Kewadin gig on New Year's Eve, with this weekend's shows being their first in St. Ignace since last July, and last at either branch until May. In spite of their sparse online presence, 415E have a very talented and experienced lineup and lots of solid hard and classic rock covers, so fans will be in good hands with them tomorrow and/or Saturday night! As usual for Kewadin lounge concerts, expect both shows to have 9:00 PM start times, 21+ age limits, and no cover charges. Visit the above links for more details, and for a preview, here's 415E live!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for our Tripod The Dog preview and more next! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

A New Album Release, News From The Blood Shed, And New Videos!!

It's been a reasonably quiet month, but we're back with a full post today, including lots of new video finds, so here's what you should know!

While we alluded to this album in our 2019 retrospective post, I forgot to do a proper write-up on it here (my apologies!), and that is local folk punk/experimental solo musician (The Ghost Of) Chase James Wigmore's new album "One Last Act Of Defiance"! Just two weeks after releasing his true debut studio album "Songs To Punch Yourself In The Face To", Chase quietly put out a follow-up album on his Bandcamp page on December 21st, and it features 7 newer original songs, though the material here is a return to his death and extreme metal side, despite being billed under his own name rather than Awokest. However, I wouldn't read into anything regarding that project's future, as Awokest have more of an industrial bent, and they posted online as recently as November. Digital copies of "One Last Act Of Defiance" are on sale for $7, physical details not yet known, and a free streaming copy was also uploaded to Chase's YouTube channel on New Year's Eve.

I'll hold comment on the album for now, pending a possible CD review in the future, but if you like Chase's brutal death metal work, you'll be right at home with this album! We just reviewed "Songs To Punch Yourself In The Face To" on the site last month, so with our 6 month anti-bias buffer between reviews of the same band, I wouldn't be able to review this one until the summer at the earliest, but it's definitely in the pile! Buy or stream it above!

Next up, let's tackle some more new videos from the last while, starting with new song postings on Chase's sometimes-label Blood Shed Productions' YouTube channel, which all feature the label's flagship goregrind solo project Crucify the Whore! Four videos have been uploaded there in the past month, including one prior upload that is back on the channel, and four new songs in three videos, all from upcoming C.T.W. album releases. One is planned for a solo disc of some kind, but the other two are from the sequel to C.T.W. and Chase's "A Couple of Degenerate Bastards" split CD, release details forthcoming. In fact, Tyler has already posted his half to their Bandcamp page, so fans of his short-running, pig-squealing, and ultra-minimalistic brand of grindcore will be eager to hear these songs! As usual, a number of song names could be seen as offensive, but one song from the split was posted on YouTube and has a name I can share here, namely the interestingly titled "Granny Bean-Flick For The World Wide Web".

These songs aren't going to convert non-believers to the C.T.W. gospel, so to speak, but Tyler's uncompromising original material will find an audience, and it's encouraging to see another split between him and Chase, validating the reception of the original with fans! Check out more above & below!

Also today, here's a new video from new local punk supergroup The Sick Sons, marking their first video upload on their Facebook page, and it's also of their first recorded original song! Filmed at LopLops Lounge on December 28th when they opened for The Cover Up (or You First & The Givee Givees), this 33 second clip featues their song "I Still Believe". Obviously, this isn't a complete look at the song, but from what we can hear, it has a strong and familiar sound to it for genre fans! The chorus singing is a little rough, but I am curious to hear this one in full, so give this snippet a watch below!

We'll close today with a Big Wreck cover that was shared on this Big Wreck fans Facebook group on January 12th. Posted by ex-Sense of Truth frontman Cory Murchison, this was filmed in his most recent band Skeyes of Seven's jam room a few years back, and it features Cory covering "That Song" alongside his bandmates Alain Fletcher and Kyle Sweet, plus Parabol/ex-Late Shift drummer Anthony Gagnon (if he was ever their official drummer, the band never publicized it.) This is solidly done and faithful to the original, so Big Wreck fans shouldn't object at all, but the camera placement is too high and off center, and you only ever see Al's arm in frame. Check it out below!

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

Saturday, January 18, 2020

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (A Dire Setback), Info On Their New CD, And This Month's Poll!

We're back with a new news post on this Saturday night, which is devoted to two topics: Our first 2019 retrospective poll of the year, and leading off, a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT concerning an upcoming CD release concert, and all of the pertinent details on the album in question! Here's what you should know!

Local alt-punk trio A Dire Setback will release their long awaited self-titled debut CD on Saturday, March 28th at a release party concert at LopLops Lounge! This will be A Dire Setback's first show of 2020, and of course, this will be your first chance to buy their album before it goes on general sale the following day. Albums will be on sale for $15 on March 28th, with online copies on CDBaby currently advertised at $9.99, though local store availability is to be announced. It's great to see Chris, Matt, and Nick's hard work finally paying off! This is the cover artwork, as included on the Facebook event page and the album's CDBaby page. The originally announced openers were planned to be a one-off reunion of The Din, returning the favour after A.D.S. opened for their 2018 "Dinunion" at LopLops, but they had to withdraw for unannounced reasons (remember that Mike now lives out of province.) Instead, "no genre" trio Handsome Sandwich will open on March 28th!

Fresh off of their return to the stage last week, they should provide an intriguing compliment with their diverse array of covers and sense of humour, so don't be late for their set! At least one additional opening act is to be confirmed. This self-promoted event will feature sound by Crank Sound Distributions, plus Shaw TV's Christian Lemay will be filming (presumably for an OnStage episode), while CD producer Dustin Goodall will be recording the show live, purpose not yet clear. The concert proper will be a 19+ affair with a 10:00 PM start time and a $10 admission fee, though if you pay $20, you will get a $5 discount on the album and CD combined. Tickets can be bought online at this link and at the door where available. As for the album proper, CDBaby features preview samples of all 9 tracks, which include their self titled song, "Everlasting" (no "Despair"?), "Kicking & Screaming", "Drop Dead", "Catastrophe", "Faded", "Forget This Memory", "Endless Dream", and "Nightmares".

Conspicuous by it's absence is "Wasting Away", despite still being in their live setlists. As one of their earliest and most recognizable originals, it would have been nice to hear a studio copy! I'm not 100% sold on the cover art, but this is an exciting time for A Dire Setback, so follow the above links to get more details on the album and CD over the next two months! Before we move on, the guys shared the full studio copy of "Drop Dead" to their YouTube channel on Wednesday, marking our second full look at an album track. Bouncing VU meters aside, this is just a still image. I'll hold thoughts pending our full CD review in the spring, but check out "Drop Dead" below!

We'll close today with our first "favourites of 2019" poll, as we dust off our voting booths for another year! As usual, we will start with this question: What was your favourite new local metal, hard rock, or punk band of 2019? Last year was relatively lean for newcomers in our covered genres, but enough notable names turned up to keep this poll worthwhile! To be included, bands must have made their public launch and played their first local concerts in the 2019 calendar year, which notably excludes St. Ignace's Heavy Lies The Crown and the now-defunct Sault Ontario death metal project Black Cloud, who both launched in 2018 (plus, H.L.T.C. have only played live downstate.) As has always been our criteria for show announcements, open mic nights do not count as live concerts, so Fort Creek did not make the cut either, but you can vote for these or other new-ish bands via selecting "Other". Now, here are your final choices in this month's poll!

The Guitar Gangsters: Local fans were surprised in the fall when this new Volbeat tribute band debuted in time for J.D. Pearce's annual Halloween Party, with a star studded lineup including a non-Belleau reunion of Garden of Bedlam alongside Jack Spades and Papa Fogals Chair alumni. Their one local show to date was very well received, as was their Sudbury trip in late November, but was this enough to win the poll to you?

Mackinaw Trail: One notable yet familiar sight in the E.U.P. was Mackinaw Trail, an originals-focused side project from 3/4ths of existing classic/hard rock cover veterans Highway 63. While ostensibly a studio act, Mackinaw Trail do play live sporadically for bookings when H63 guitarist Nathan Switzer is busy with Heavy Lies The Crown, leading to their live debut at The Rapids Lounge in October. Have Mackinaw Trail piqued your interest the most here?

The Sick Sons: Arguably the highest profile new act of these 5 based on concert scale alone, punk supergroup The Sick Sons made a huge splash by opening for Random Killing & The Ripcordz in their first two concerts, before playing two big holiday season sets at LopLops last month. Featuring Bankshot, Downshift, Northwest, and 12 Gauge Ready alumni, The Sick Sons have all the tools to make a further impression, but would you vote for them?

Stoned To Deaf: Though in existence since 2018, the band has yet to launch a public online page, so their May debut concert (opening for Poison Girl at The Rockstar Bar) is enough to qualify them here. A Rage Against The Machine tribute from Elements bassist James White, they seem to have went over well in their first outing, but they've been publically AWOL since. Were you there to vouch for them in this poll over the other bands?

Tarnished: The most prolific of last year's heavier newcomers, Sault Michigan hard rock band Tarnished succeeded frontman Alex Traynor's prior group Banned last summer, and soon followed with lots of acoustic sets at unconventional locales (primarily Biggby Coffee) and select full band electric gigs, even hitting the road for Mount Pleasant and Toledo along the way. Tarnished have the dates under their belt, but would they earn your vote?

Other: Did another new band get your attention more? Would you side with 2018 newcomers who only played their first gigs last year, like Heavy Lies The Crown or Black Cloud? Did Fort Creek do it for you despite not playing a formal scheduled show yet? Maybe you prefer a band who hasn't played live at all, isn't metal, hard rock, or punk, or isn't even local? Or did I miss a heavier band here? If your preferred choice isn't listed, vote for "Other"!

VOTE TODAY! You have until February 18th to cast your votes, and hopefully we have some decent totals to kick off this round of 2019 retrospective polls, in spite of the lean rookie class. That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates on the site soon! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Tripp 'N' Dixie, The Lows, And Tarnished) & Weekend Concert Previews!!

It's now time to dive into another batch of weekend concert previews, but on the hard rock front, this is a very quiet weekend, with only two heavier acts to speak of playing live in the area (at least, with advance notice.) To round things out, we have some LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS, two for the summer and a pair for later this month, so here's what you should know!

Sault Michigan hard rock band Tarnished will play their first Kewadin Casino gig of 2020 when they rock The Signatures Lounge in the Soo TONIGHT in acoustic format, but they also have new shows in the works for later this month! While not yet advertised on the band's own online pages, the Banned successors will reportedly return to The Double D Bar & Grill at Dondee Lanes on Friday, January 31st and Saturday, February 1st, as per the venue's Facebook event page. These will be Tarnished's first Dondee gigs in two months, and their first full-band electric concerts of 2020, so don't miss out on their hard rocking covers then! Expect 7:00 PM start times, 21+ age limits, and no cover there, and see above for more details. In the meantime, Tarnished will be at The Signatures Lounge tonight for a Thursday unplugged matinee (no word on if Alex will be playing solo or with Josh/Nathan), so if you like our acoustic hard rock a little Tarnished, you know where to go!

This is a 6:00 PM event with no cover charge and a likely 21+ age limit. For what it's worth, frontman Alex Traynor did in fact play an afternoon matinee at Biggby Coffee this past Thursday (his birthday), as per the coffee shop's Facebook page, though it was announced on short notice, Tarnished haven't advertised a Biggby show since December 12th, and no one has publically confirmed that Alex/Tarnished is still playing there "every Thursday". If you want to see if he'll be there, visit between 12:00 & 2:00 PM, and my apologies for missing last week's gig! Now, for a preview, here's Tarnished live!

Next up, here are a pair of new Kewadin Casino concerts for later this year, marking the last of our Rapids Lounge hard rock show announcements from their entertainment page, which is updated for lounge gigs through early July. As you may know by now, the Sault Ste. Marie branch is trying a new "Rapids Sessions" series in 2020, with touring bands (as in, not cover acts from Northern Michigan) playing there on select weekends, like BRKN Love last week. Most of the currently scheduled bands are not hard rock or metal, but two such acts will split the June 13th weekend at The Rapids Lounge, starting with Pontiac classic/southern hard rock sextet Tripp 'N' Dixie on Friday, June 13th! Very old school-inspired sound from this band, who would have been right at home in the 1970s, and they have enough harder edged material to go around while also delivering some down-home soul at the same time, so don't bypass Tripp 'N' Dixie!

Unlike other "Rapids Sessions" concerts this year, Tripp 'N' Dixie are not playing on that Saturday, as the June 14th spotlight will instead fall on Detroit hard rock quintet The Lows, making their own local concert debut here. This group brings a more modern, alternative-influenced sound to the stage, and with distinctive vocals, a solid groove, and strong musicianship, The Lows should attract a good audience of their own on this Saturday nighter! It'll be interesting to hear how these and other Rapids Sessions concerts go, so visit the above links to learn more on the acts from abroad playing at the Soo Kewadin this year! Both Tripp 'N' Dixie and The Lows are on at 10:00 PM each night, with no cover charge advertised, and 21+ age limits are to be expected. See above for more details, and keep these two gigs in mind for your live concert plans this summer!

Finally, we'll wrap things up for today by finishing off this quiet weekend of hard rock concert previews, as prolific Sault Ontario hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison will continue his ongoing weekly concert arrangement at Gliss Restaurant with acoustic matinee shows TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! As usual, Tym will deliver another entertaining weekend of classic and hard rock covers to patrons and fans alike at the Spring Street restaurant over these two evenings, so if you're up for some supper-time acoustic action on the Canadian side of the border, you know where to go this weekend! Like any other week for Tym's long-term run at Gliss, expect both of these shows to have no age limit or cover charge (but mind the locale), and each gig will start at 6:00 PM. For more details, visit this new Facebook event page (covering Gliss shows through March), and here's Tym live!

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

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

More Offspring/Sum 41 Concert Videos & More Recent Notes!!

Tonight's punk-centric news post at the SMS is mostly devoted to new concert video uploads, but I also have some assorted recent updates to cap things off. Let's start with those videos, as we belatedly have lots of new public footage to share from November's The Offspring/Sum 41 concert at GFL Memorial Gardens! These come courtesy of prolific local concert filmer Christopher Paci's YouTube channel over the past three days, and while they are two months after the fact, I'll gladly take them now rather than never, especially as he filmed all three bands! As far as public footage went, only one other YouTube user filmed Sum 41, and no one else filmed openers Dinosaur Pile-Up, so extra kudos to Chris for posting these! He uploaded 19 videos from this well received show, including 9 of the headlining California punk legends, where you can see them playing their songs "Americana", "Come Out & Play", "Bad Habit", "Gotta Get Away", "Why Don't You Get A Job"(with invading beach balls!), ...

..."Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)""The Kids Aren't Alright", "You're Gonna Go Far, Kid", and as embedded below, their closing song "Self Esteem". Chris was among the mass of humanity on the floor, and he had a generally solid angle of the stage, but fans can get in the road of the camera at times. The videos sound good and lively, but Dexter does struggle on some higher notes. Check out these new Offspring videos above and below!

Next up, Chris shot seven videos of Ajax, Ontario punk quintet Sum 41's co-headlining set, including their renditions of "Turning Away", "The Hell Song", "Some Say", "Underclass Hero", "Fat Lip", the last half of "Still Waiting", and as embedded below, a two song clip with the guys playing "Over My Head" & "In Too Deep". Sum 41 sound great on these clips, and their stage lighting is particularly neat, albeit sometimes to the detriment of seeing the band. If you were hoping for more videos of Sum 41 in November, do not bypass these clips above and/or below to see what went down!

Lastly from the Gardens, Chris filmed three songs from opening English alt-hard rock band Dinosaur Pile-Up's set, including part of "Round The Bend", their hit single "Back Foot", and as embedded below, "Thrash Metal Cassette". Energetic and often heavy performances here, Dinosaur Pile-Up are rightfully gaining a solid profile, and it's great to see some local videos finally, so check out Chris' uploads above and below!

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:

  • In a Facebook page post on New Year's Eve, reunited local punk quartet The Inner City Surfers revealed that they have a Toronto concert in the works for this year, though they did not give a timeline for the release of their new singles. Toronto was the band's partial homebase in their original run, so it'll be great for fans down south to see them again! Hopefully we hear more from their camp in the coming months!
  • Local punk trio Redundant will play their first advertised concert of 2020 when they play at night #13 of this year's Bout Music Festival in Toronto on March 27th! While advertised as a "festival", this is more accurately a multi-night battle of the bands, where 95 different musical acts will be competing for a top prize of $12,000, with 6 bands sent to the finals in May. Sounds like an intriguing opportunity for Redundant, and good luck down south! Click here for more on the March 27th concert, which features four other bands.
  • Last week, in their first Facebook page posting in over 18 months, inactive local "blue Chinese metal crash punk" quartet Sykotyk Rampage posted a picture of an eye chart with a caption saying "Sykotyk Rampage Live 20/20 Vision Tour January 9th, 2020."  The post seems to be cryptic by design, but in any event, I did not hear of any new band-related info last Thursday, let alone a concert tour. Unless new material or plainly citable activity surfaces from the cave, I'll leave Sykotyk Rampage in our inactive band links, but hopefully they do return in some form!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and weekend concert previews in the coming days! Thanks everyone!