Thursday, April 30, 2020

New Videos From Tidal Records & Local Punk Musicians!!

Ending a surprisingly busy month at the SMS with a post every day in April 2020, we have some new videos to look at today, with a heavy emphasis on Tidal Records-affiliated artists, so here's what you should know!

We'll start with a huge collaborative cover of The Beatles' "Hey Jude" featuring numerous local musicians to help support the fight against COVID-19! Sort of an epilogue to SooToday's Come Together YouTube concert last week, this at-home cover features many of the same musicians that took part in that event. 3/5ths of Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide take part from afar here, with only Liam and Marshall absent, and other familar faces on the roster include Jay Case (who leads off vocally), Frank Deresti, Tracey Hilderley, and Huckster alum Sean Halliday, among many others. The recording quality is uneven, but seeing all of these talented musicians working together like this is great to see, and donations to the Algoma COVID-19 Response Fund & the Sault Area Hospital Emergency Fund are more than welcomed. Check out the full cover below!

Next up, if you're a friend of veteran local punk musician Mikey Hawdon on Facebook, you may recall seeing his (more or less) daily series of "Quarantunes", where the Fairmounts frontman & Inner City Surfers drummer covers songs on vocals & ukelele in videos on his personal Facebook page. As best as I can tell, these have not been shared publically on his band pages, hence why I haven't featured them until now, but last night, local promoters Live705 shared Mikey's 46th "quarantune" video on their Facebook page, so I feel comfortable sharing that one. This is an 82 second cover of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from Monty Python's Life of Brian, which is a great message at this confusing time, and Mikey projects a nice optimistic feeling with this cover too! Give it a look below, and if you're his friend on Facebook, go see his other 45 "quarantunes", including a number of collaborations with friends!

We'll next go from a former Rising Tide member to a current one, and while he didn't take part in the "Hey Jude" cover above, guitarist Liam Seymour does have a new at-home concert set to check out! This was live-streamed on his personal Facebook page on Sunday, and almost simultaneously shared on Tidal Records' own Facebook page, so it's good to go in the public sense. Liam did warn viewers about issues with the stream, so expect frequent audio drop-outs. After an initial instrumental jam, Liam's set (which is shorter than his April 5th live-stream) includes renditions of The Barn Board Trio's "This Big City", Jerry Reed's "Amos Moses", Junior Brown's "Highway Patrol", Marty Stuart's "Branded", David Wilcox's "Downtown Came Uptown", Johnny Bush's "Whiskey River", The Weeknd's "Earned It", another instrumental, and Steve Earle's "Copperhead Road". The surprise Weeknd cover aside, blues & country renditions seemed to be the theme of the evening.

The constant audio drop-outs are very unfortunate, as the streaming quality is otherwise fine and comprable to his April 5th show, but this eclectic selection of songs you don't hear covered every day should be of interest to many readers and fans! Give it a watch below, and stay tuned for more updates from him and The Tide as they roll in!

We'll close today outside of the Tidal umbrella with the latest video from local/Elliot Lake alternative/punk solo project Ashoka At The Show (courtesy of the 184Films YouTube channel earlier today), and it's an acoustic cover of Pennywise's "Alien". The camera's obviously mirrored (the Blackhawks logo on his shirt gives it away), but the cover's solid, and he does this Pennywise classic justice in this form, so give it a watch below!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for a new news post to kick off the month of May tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

A New Local Solo Project & New Videos From Local Solo Guitarists!!

On the penultimate day of the month, we're keeping our daily post streak going, as we have lots of new video content to check out, including solo musicians on both sides of the border, one being a new addition to our band links! Here's what you should know!

We have a new-ish solo project to add to our Sault Michigan band links, courtesy of Heavy Lies The Crown guitarist Ted Olson! Much like his St. Ignace metal band, Ted's Facebook page flew under the radar for way too long, as he launched it back in June 2018. Despite that, Ted mentioned in January that this was his "new artist page", and his only prior updates related to Heavy Lies The Crown imagery and a riff lead video upon the page's launch. Ted stated that he plans to post "crappy idea videos" (his words, not mine), and self-deprecation aside, he has uploaded three short videos since then to demonstrate progressive guitar techniques. What he calls "a little thumpy poo" is embedded below. Ted's a skilled guitarist, and he shows it here, but these are short glimpses that don't give a lot away. He may be saving fuller compositions for Heavy Lies The Crown, after all, so definitely check them out as well, but hopefully he posts new song fragments or ideas on his solo page in the near future!

Next up, let's head to Sault Ontario for local hard rock solo musician Tym Morrison's eighth live-streamed concert, which took place on his YouTube channel last night! Tym's set starts 8:30 or so in with an original instrumental (not the Spanish guitar one), followed by covers of Gary Wright's "Dream Weaver" & Metallica's "Enter Sandman", before leaving to change his light setup to synchronize with his programmed drum tracks and check a phone message. After returning, Tym tackles Alan Jackson's "Chattahoochee", White Lion's "When The Children Cry", Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'", Little Texas' "What Might Have Been", The Beatles' "Blackbird", The Eagles "Desperado", and finally, an untitled original song. If this seems like a shorter set than normal, it's because his set didn't even run past one hour due to technical difficulties with the live-stream, as the video frequently has a choppy quality, which Tym blamed on his internet connection. Thankfully, the audio quality is not affected.

I was worried the issues were on my end, but Tym started acknowledging them midway through the abbreviated set, and the last 5 minutes of the stream featured him trying (in vain) to improve the streaming quality. Hopefully he irons out the kinks come the likely next episode tomorrow, as the previous six episodes looked fine, and at least the audio is reliable and clear as ever! Give his solid sounding performance a watch below!

Also today, here's some new videos from Isolation Sessions/ex-Half Past guitarist Arthur Lacasse's YouTube channel! Unlike prior uploads there, these two videos do not feature Jordan, but he does have help on the one clip. One video is of Arthur covering Nirvana's "About A Girl" on acoustic guitar, and it's a solid instrumental rendition! No vocals of any kind, so no need to make a Puddle of Mudd comparison in this case, but I admit that I don't like the heavy filter he put on the video. Embedded below is a video of Arthur and his son Gage covering Three Days Grace's "Animal I Have Become", with Art filmed separately and filter-free. Gage is using an electric drumkit, so the percussion doesn't sound exact, and I think the original song is too loud, but the Lacasses seem to have a good handle on this one! Give it a watch below!

Finally for today, here's a new cover of The Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Give It Away" by former Intrepid/Midnight Logic guitarist Nick Pavlat! This is the first upload on his YouTube channel since deleting his 2013 uploads there at some point in the late 2010s. As I recall, they weren't bad covers, and it's a shame they were taken down! That said, he has definitely progressed as a musician since then (he has moved out of Sault Michigan to further his music career), and I think this video is higher quality than those were. The original song is a little loud again, but he knows the song very well, so Chili Peppers fans will want to give this one a watch below!

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

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

WLSO 90.1 FM: A Look Back In The Wayback Machine, Part 6 (2011-2013)

Here is the sixth and penultimate entry in our retrospective mini-series on WLSO 90.1 FM, Lake Superior State University's long-time campus radio station, as told through the eyes of The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, now with a big assist from Facebook! We're now into the home stretch for WLSO's run on terrestrial radio, but there is a lot to say, even here! Remember, give LSSU's current internet radio stream a listen while reading and exploring the links below to effectively set the mood.

Following the gradual disuse of their 2008-2011 website layout, WLSO launched their final version of their homepage in December 2011, but predating this was the station's official Facebook page in September, which saw more frequent usage when both were regularly maintained. A Twitter page and a few different video streams were also launched around this time, though these have since been deleted. On Facebook, WLSO advertised the September 2011 debut of their American Top 40 Music Countdown show (hosted by Kevin Palmer & Aaron) on Sundays at 12:00 PM, while Aaron also hosted the Saturday Night Rock Show that semester at 6:00 PM, and the station starting increasing their coverage of LSSU sports teams. That fall, the station also launched a recording studio, and continued sponsoring on-campus events. The new website linked above wouldn't see substantial backups until 2012, but seven diverse albums are listed as being in heavy rotation as of that autumn.

In the spring 2012 semester, WLSO welcomed the rock/oldies program The Jimmy Bones Show (with Facebook page) on weekdays at 6:00 PM, who notably gave away tickets for the My Darkest Days concert at Kewadin Casino that April, and even interviewed the band on-air the day of the concert! Various other shows were advertised on Facebook and their website's schedule then, such as the 2011-debuting Mad Mix, though genre descriptions haven't survived on either source, and the website schedule did not list everything plugged on Facebook, such as the rock/rap Mid-Morning Wake Up on weekdays at 10:00 AM. Along with changing albums in rotation (viewable at this link), WLSO's website in the spring 2012 semester saw a poll on genres you'd like to see more of that year, plus details on their latest staff searches, and the top 10 albums of 2011 by then-station manager Mark Other and music director Baby G, both of whom leaned towards indie and pop music.

WLSO took one last stab at message boards starting in late 2011 on their website, this time entirely hosted through their website, and now geared towards specific shows like Endless Summer and Serious Biz, though only Hot Probz saw any real fan usage, with it's last archived posting in May 2012. By that fall, 90.1 FM resumed active non-autoplay operations, with Citizen Gage added as music director, though most Facebook updates that semester referenced the station's live broadcasting and coverage of LSSU sporting events. While absent from Facebook advertising at that time, music-related shows like the returning The Attic, The Basement, And Beyond (Mondays at 8:00 PM), Hole In The Sky (Thursdays at 9:00 PM), and Good Vibes (Fridays at 7:00 PM) aired in the fall 2012 semester. As well, the station went fully digital with new professional equipment during upgrades in the 2012-2013 winter season, as per their website's last "About" page and Facebook postings.

The station's official website saw it's last substantive updates in 2013, primarily to the front page, including a listener request for mp3 files to add to their library, teasers of "the new WLSO" coming soon with staff, music, and sports coverage upgrades, and an end-of-2012 batch of top ten lists of music the world can't live without, courtesy of then-DJs (Ted the PD's will appeal most to metalheads). The last post there was to post their (unarchived) fall 2013 schedule, and though remained online until 2017, it was no longer actively used after 2013, leaving their Facebook page as their de facto website for the station's final years at 90.1 FM. Updates on Facebook in the spring & summer of 2013 mostly revolved around campus events and staff hires, with John Orttenburger then serving as WLSO's station manager. That September, the station openly asked for local alternative & indie bands to send in material for their rotation, and they also upgraded their DJ booth that fall, as revealed in this Facebook video that John uploaded.

One notable new program to air on WLSO in the fall of 2013 was Classic Rock Nights, hosted by Gerard Guysky, which ran on Tuesdays at 8:00 PM through the spring 2014 semester. A few episode themes survive on that show's Facebook page, and even a couple of episode playlists, so this is definitely worth checking out for old listeners and genre fans. The other show from this period with a surviving Facebook page is Soo Sports Talk, which aired on Wednesdays at 1:00 PM from the fall of 2012 through the spring of 2014, as hosted by Adam Bishop & Eddie Maxon. The show was devoted to LSSU, Detroit professional, and Division 1 NCAA Michigan sports teams. Other shows that aired in the fall of 2013 included The Canadian Invasion (Mondays & Fridays at 11:00 AM), Drop Beats Not Bombs with DJ Calyso (Mondays at 2:00 PM), Rock Around the Block with Mariah Erard (Wednesdays at 4:00 PM), and Reinert Rock (Wednesdays at 9:00 PM), among various others.

A December 2013 update hinted that then-music director Erica Smith was adding even more music to target genres and playlists as their new senior staff got more experience, with "a BIG event" expected for the spring 2014 semester, while the station had begun more of a merchandise push that fall with t-shirt and window cling giveaways, and there was more where that came from, but we'll focus on that next time. I am currently forecasting that the next installment of this series will be the last, as we look at WLSO from 2014 until the present internet radio era, so look for that in the coming days, and for more news and notes on the site soon! Thanks everyone!

Monday, April 27, 2020

Mike Haggith's Fourth Live-Streamed Concert, Plus A New Cover Video!!

We've now passed six straight weeks of consecutive daily posts on the SMS during the pandemic, and hopefully we can stretch this into May! Today's post is largely devoted to a lengthy live-streamed concert from this weekend, but I do have a new cover from a separate solo artist to get to as well. There's a lot of ground to cover, so here's what you should know!

Local/Thompson, Manitoba alt-hard rock musician Mike Haggith's fourth live-streamed #LockdownLive concert took place on his Facebook page on Saturday night, and this time, the focus of the first half of this 2½ hour video is on his other upcoming studio album "Bridges"! Before that, Mike did note in the introduction that he now as a PayPal "tip jar", so if you want to give Mike a few bucks for the performance or to help out while everyone's off work, keep that in mind! The set proper kicked off with a cover of Tears For Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World", before he began discussing the events surrounding the songwriting and recording of "Bridges" in 2018 and early 2019, which is largely about mental health advocacy. Of course, that album was postponed indefinitely due to mixing delays and the personal events that led to his next CD (and the focus of #LockdownLive II), "If Ever Comes The Day", which will still be released on May 15th.

Mike noted that "Bridges" is "still on a mixing board somewhere", but he does hope to release that album by the end of the year. As you might expect from the theme, Mike performs the entire album in order here, with discussions about the songs in between, and some of these are making their public Facebook debut in the process! In order, Mike starts the "Bridges" portion by performing "From The 55th Parallel", "Over Indecision", "The Nature of The Times" (which was the first single & had an official music video), and "An Act of Strength", before reiterating "Bridges" release plans and confirming that he will be doing a live-streamed release concert (a'la A Dire Setback) for "If Ever Comes The Day" on Friday, May 15th. Sounds like a logical move, so look for that in a few weeks! The set continues afterwards with "The Catalyst", "Dangerous Town", "Come on Home", "Blue Highway", "Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost", and the title track, closing the "Bridges" portion of the evening.

Before moving on to non-album tracks, Mike revealed that #LockdownLive V this coming Saturday will be focused around cover songs that had a personal impact on Mike's life and songwriting, so look for that then! We also get to meet Mike's cat Luna, and that alone should get this video a ton of thumbs up and heart reactions on Facebook, and he also gave plans for a Letterkenny-style super soft birthday (look it up) during the postponed release concert on November 6th at LopLops. The set resumes with a cover of "Closure" by Auxillary Disconnect, a local alternative solo project led by Mike's friend Don Ibbitson (who is frequently seen in the comments.) I'm not familiar with Auxillary Disconnect, but Don's distinctively deep vocals add an extra layer to the three acoustic songs on offer! That's followed by a cover of Bruce Cockburn's "Lovers In A Dangerous Time", as interrupted by Luna, leading to more talk about his cats, though Artemis does not make an appearance.

The live-stream closes with covers of The Din's "High Park" and his very jokey version of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird", before calling his cats one more time (even finding Artemis!) There was a lot to take in here, especially thanks to the irreverent back-and-forth with commenters, but the music was on point as usual, and if you like your live-streams peppered with debates on The Wiggles and the merits of Sault Ste. Marie, strap in! In this early stripped-down acoustic form, it's hard to comment on "Bridges" as a whole, but I can't wait to eventually hear the final product, so check it all out below!

We'll close today with another new cover video from local/Elliot Lake indie/punk solo project Ashoka At The Show, seen here covering Propagandhi's "Dear Coach's Corner" in yesterday's upload on the 184Films YouTube channel. I saw them live at The Oddfellows Hall, and an old friend used to be a huge fan of theirs (hope you're doing well, Kirsten), so I approve of this cover on principle! Darren does a solid job here with nice vocals, even if his guitar strings seem to be going wild, so give it a watch below!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for part 6 of our WLS0 9O.1 FM retrospective series on the site next! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, April 26, 2020

YouTube Channel Profile Series: innercit's Channel

It's now time for our final monthly feature post of April 2020, as this is our latest YouTube Channel Profile! As usual, we're spotlighting 1-3 (one this time) YouTube channels whose content is at least half devoted to local metal, hard rock, or punk artists and/or concerts, all as randomly selected. This month's channel is from a very popular local punk band who just reunited last summer, but we're travelling back to the mid-2000s for this content, and there's some interesting stuff to see below!
innercit's Channel (
Owner: A member of local punk quartet The Inner City Surfers (exact identity unclear)

Channel Timeline: Launched on July 20th, 2006; Videos posted from later that month through April 2007

Channel Summary: The Surfers' official YouTube channel, this was maintained during the peak of their original active run, primarily during the recording sessions for their 2007 self titled CD (a.k.a. "The Black Album") Four of their six videos are devoted to loose and informal covers (including them and friends covering Bedouin Soundclash and frontman Dustin Jones covering White Lion), with the other two including a music video and a teaser from the album recording.

Why You Should Watch: This is a must-watch channel for diehard Inner City Surfers fans, especially those who saw them live regularly in the mid-2000s and/or know the guys personally, and you do get a nice lighter look at everything going on 13-14 years ago! However, this channel has not been visibly updated since the spring of 2007, and there are channels with more plentiful content relating to actual Surfers concerts and their finished CDs, including the full "Black Album" on bassist Brad Example's YouTube channel.

Our Recommended Videos To Check Out:

INNER CITY SURFERS - Getaway (demo): The channel's most popular video is this homemade music video from the fall of 2006 for the demo version of their song "Getaway", which was re-recorded on their album the next year. The video proper features live concert footage of Dustin, Mikey, Brad, and guitarist Dave Bahun in concerts both locally (look for The Roberta Bondar Pavilion) and in Southern Ontario, alongside footage of fans at their concerts, and even waiting in line, among other clips. The live concert segments definitely aren't synced up with the song proper, but it's otherwise well edited, and this early version of the mid-tempo "Getaway" still harbours the same qualities that made the final version a fan favourite!

Inner City Surfers in the Studio 2007: The following March, The Inner City Surfers uploaded this teaser video of their recording sessions for "The Black Album", as set to instrumental clips from the CD. Much of the video features the guys jamming and recording the album, though clips are included featuring them having fun in and out of studio, even playing a golf video game?! Nice inside look at the sessions for their biggest album, and strongly recommended for fans! Note that the video proper ends at 2:37, and after 45 seconds, there is an easter egg of drummer Mikey Hawdon dancing.

Inner City Surfers Studio Blooper #2: Calling these "bloopers" is something of a misnomer, but the innercit channel's last uploads from April 23rd, 2007 feature frontman Dustin Jones covering two unlikely songs on vocals & piano on stage at their recording studio. Both feature Mikey as well, though in very different roles. "Studio Blooper #1" has the guys singing the adult toasting song "Here's To The Breezes", but featured here is Dustin covering Poison's "Every Rose Has It's Thorn" while Mikey performs an amusing interpretive dance with the aid of some props placed (more accurately, thrown) on stage. These have amusing qualities, especially the Poison cover, and it's nice seeing the guys having some fun!

I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profile! This series will return on or around May 26th for another installment, and next month, we'll have multiple channels, as the first randomly selected one only has four audio tracks, while the second I chose only had two music videos, so we're tripling up next time. As such, we'll be looking at the YouTube channels of joeyvelcro (featuring four early Winkstinger demos), TrebleChargerMusic (featuring two of their music videos), and ctburlington (coincidentally featuring a Treble Charger live clip). Look for these next month, and for more news and notes on the site this week! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, April 25, 2020

More New Live-Streamed Concerts & Cover Videos!!

In our 41st straight day of new SMS posts, we're dipping into the video well once again, with new covers and live-streams for your viewing pleasure, so here's what you should know!

The fourth installment of Northern Superior Brewing Co.'s "Songs & A Six-Pack" live-streamed concert series took place last night, and this time, the host musicians were local acoustic hard rock band The Wyld Stallyns! Despite originally planning to play as a Speers-only duo (jokingly named "The Myld Stallyns") due to social distancing, they made due by getting guitarist Jesse Cook and drummer Jonas Gasperas to join in, albeit miced up outside of their home. The verbiage in the video and on their Facebook page ("half the band can still be fun, right?") is about as close to official as I have seen online that Jonas is officially a Stallyn, as their Facebook "About" page still doesn't list him in the band. In fact, their sister band The Elements don't list him yet either, but he's a natural fit to their live repertoire! As for the live-stream proper, this follows the third installment hosted by Jay Case last week, so if you haven't seen it, click here to watch his entertaining set.

The original plan was for this live-stream to be an hour or so long once again, but the video only runs for 13:41 due to technical difficulties, and if it was resumed, the remainder of the set was not posted on the band's Facebook page. We do get to hear The Stallyns cover Pharrell Williams' "Happy" and Prince's "Kiss" though, and plug some Northern Superior beer, albeit with some audio warping on the camera end. Everyone sounds good and enthusiastic while it lasts, and hopefully they get a chance to do an encore when the glitches are worked out! Watch what was filmed below!

Next up, let's head to Sault Michigan, where local hard rock band Tarnished performed two more short-handed live-streamed concerts on their Facebook page on Thursday and yesterday as scheduled! Unfortunately, the audio issues that plagued their first five live-streamed shows are still present, and honestly, even worse than on Tuesday, though your mileage may vary depending on your device or audio setup. For me, Audacity was required again to amplify the recordings so I could even hear Alex talking between songs, alas. Thursday's stream is largely a solo affair while Josh Fair works on the audio behind the scenes, while frontman Alex Traynor plays solo covers, including of Matchbox Twenty's "Push", Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead Or Alive", REO Speedwagon's "Take It On The Run", Darius Rucker's "Wagon Wheel", Matchbox Twenty's "Unwell", Santana's "Smooth", Fleetwood Mac's "Gold Dust Woman", REO Speedwagon's "Ride The Storm Out", ...

...and Days Of The New's "Touch, Peel, and Stand", before Josh rejoins Alex on camera for covers of AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long", Incubus' "Drive", and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' "Mary Jane's Last Dance." No original songs here, but a nice variety of covers, and if you like Rob Thomas, this one will suit your mood! Again, the audio quality is a massive liability, at least at my laptop with external speakers. Embedded below is yesterday's live-streamed concert, which features Josh on every song, and has slightly louder audio, but the sound quality still is not comparable to other recent local hard rock live-streams. In order, the guys cover Warrant's "Uncle Tom's Cabin", Alex's own solo song "Send My Soul Away", Ed Sheeran's "Don't", Oasis' "Wonderwall", Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'", Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band's "Old Time Rock and Roll", and Stone Sour's "Through Glass", before playing their original "Shortcut", which will be on their debut EP.

The guys did note beforehand that the EP proper will be named "Down To The Wire", which is also the name of a track heard in one of last week's live-streams. Yesterday's remaining covers include Skid Row's "18 & Life", Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary", Van Halen's "Ain't Talkin' Bout Love", Cameo's "Word Up", Everlast's "What It's Like", and Greg Kihn's "The Breakup Song (They Don't Write 'Em)". With slightly better audio, two originals, and a heavier setlist than on Thursday, this is my favourite of the two live-streams, so fans will want to give it a look below, but see more above, and might more be coming next week?

Finally for today, let's return to Sault Ontario for the latest cover songs by new local acoustic hard rock duo The Isolation Sessions, all via guitarist Arthur Lacasse's YouTube channel earlier this month! Alongside a YouTube copy of their "Plastic Man" cover, the channel includes two renditions of Three Days Grace's "Never Too Late", with one recorded before social distancing and one afterwards with singer Jordan Rains framed picture-in-picture. Despite the unplugged setting, I think they play that one a little too reserved, especially with the chorus not being sung in full voice until later on, but it's still effectively done. Embedded below is their cover of Highly Suspect's "Little One" (recorded before social distancing), which Art seems to adapt to this format in a more natural way, and Jordan's vocals are dialed in extra well here. Promising covers so far, so give these a watch above and below!

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

Friday, April 24, 2020

More Concert Cancellations, SooToday's COVID-19 Benefit Concert, And More!!

For your Friday reading, we have some new at-home concerts, one from a prolific local mainstay, and the other featuring over a dozen local entertainers joining forces for great and relevant cause. However, we're leading off with some news on more upcoming concerts getting called off for sadly predictable reasons, so here's what you hould know!

This was inevitable the way things are going, but we have some more concert cancellations to take note of today, mostly related to Michigan's stay-at-home order, as Governor Gretchen Whitmer extended it to May 15th this morning, and click here or visit your preferred Michigan news outlets for more details. While some of the restrictions were loosened at the same time, concert venues and restaurants are still closed during this time, so don't look for any concerts there in the near future. The new May 15th cutoff will definitely cancel Highway 63's concerts at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino on May 1st & 2nd, plus 415E's Sault Ste. Marie Kewadin shows the following week. All that's left for our Sault Michigan-area hard rock concert calendar in May are a pair of hard rock concert weekends at the Kewadin branches at the end of the month, and we will let you know when/if anything is firmly stated about them. At this time, the Sault Ontario shutdowns have not been similarly extended.

From what I have seen, neither the Numbing nor Anti-Queens concerts in May have been visibly cancelled or postponed by local promoters or the headliners, but their status is precarious as best, especially as Numbing's would have been cancelled by the Michigan government today had it been across the river. It's also worth noting that the Downtown Association has cancelled all events through the end of July (source here), but none of those had regularly established concerts. We'll keep you guys posted!

Next up, local news website SooToday hosted their own YouTube concert event yesterday, entitled Come Together Sault Ste. Marie, featuring 17 musical and entertainment acts performing from home. Of course, this was organized as a coronavirus pandemic benefit event, and viewers are encouraged to donate money to the Algoma COVID-19 Response Fund and the Sault Area Hospital Emergency Fund. Wonderful causes at this time of need, so definitely consider donating to one or both! This event seemed to come together quickly, but a wide swath of talented local artists took part, and while the roster does not primarily feature hard rock or punk acts, there are a handful of familiar faces for long-time readers. Some of the artists performing yesterday included the rap collective Sound Syndrome featuring Conika, folk musician/promoter Jackson Reed, the always prolific Jay Case featuring Frank Deresti & Sheldon Jaaskelainen, and veteran local rock musician Tracey Hilderley with Steve Cardiff, among many others.

The 93 minute run time limited musicians to a song each, and introductions by host Jasmyn Rowley & remarks from local dignitaries were also included, but give the whole thing a watch to see some great local talent coming together, if from afar, at this really strange time! There was one punk act on the bill yesterday, they being local Celtic punk quintet Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide (in Sheldon's first of two appearances in Come Together Sault Ste. Marie), so what should you know here? The Tide are actually the second entertainment act on yesterday's bill (after The Musical Comedy Guild), and due to social distancing, the guys perform remotely in each other's homes, with the five miniature videos arranged together in the frame. I'm surprised more musicians aren't doing that locally! Dustin and company performed "Lost & Found", the first single from their forthcoming fourth studio album, and while audio variance is inevitable due to the different camera setups, everyone sounds great!

I have no idea how the pandemic has affected the album recording and release plans, but it's good to see The Rising Tide in fine form here, and hopefully everyone's safe and healthy in their camp and families! Visit the above links to go directly to their performance (or go to 11:04 in the video below), but don't bypass the rest of Come Together Sault Ste. Marie!

Finally for today, here's all of the latest on local hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison's seventh live-streamed concert from his YouTube channel last night! This time, his 2 hour set begins about 18 minutes into the video, and Tym starts off with his regular Spanish guitar instrumental. He dives into covers after that, and in order, they include The Steve Miller Band's "Abracadabra", Billy Joel's "She's Always A Woman", The Proclaimers' "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)", Tommy Tutone's "867-5309/Jenny", Kim Mitchell's "Patio Lanterns", Eric Carmen's "All By Myself", Aerosmith's "Dream On", Peter Cetera's "Glory of Love", Toto's "Africa", Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time", Abba's "The Winner Takes It All", Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill", Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline", The Beatles' "Something", Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues", The Scorpions' "Rock You Like A Hurricane", The Who's "Behind Blue Eyes", Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want Me", Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean"...

...Journey's "Open Arms", Starship's "We Built This City", The Bangles' "Eternal Flame", The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's "Fishin' In The Dark", Bryan Adams' "Summer of '69", Amanda Marshall's "Trust Me (This Is Love)", and The Beatles' "Here Comes The Sun". Nice selection of classic rock-leaning covers here, including a handful of new songs for his live-streamed series, and his performances remain as solid as ever, so give Tym's newest show a watch, and look for more next week, one presumes!

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

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Mike Haggith - "If Ever Comes The Day" CD Review!!

It's now time for our 130th monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, and in a rare surprise, it's of an advance copy of an album not even on sale yet, namely local/Thompson, Manitoba alt-hard rock solo musician Mike Haggith's 50th canon studio album "If Ever Comes The Day"! The album's official release is not until May 15th, but Mike asked if I would like a digital copy early for review purposes, and sent me everything last week, so thanks to Mike for his generosity! The first solo studio album Mike has released since "The Warinside" five years ago, and his first since moving out of Ontario, this independently released album was primarily recorded in late 2019 and early 2020 in Thompson, with August 11th, 2019 (the weekend of his local concert last year) heavily cited as a launching point for "If Ever Comes The Day" coming together, and personal feelings abound in the included songs as a result, especially so if you are a close friend of his.

Mike performs almost all instruments on this release, save for ex-RedD Monkey cellist Pete Mozarowski, who is the sole performer on track 6, and Mike's Between The Ditches bandmate Justin Fuciarelli, who performs guitar solos on two songs. "If Ever Comes The Day" was expected to be launched at a CD release concert at LopLops on May 15th, but the ongoing shutdown of concert venues forced it to be postponed to Mike's birthday on November 6th, so time will tell if the new date holds up. In any event, the album will go on sale as scheduled next month, with digital streaming copies hitting Bandcamp and similar services then, and physical CDs can be mailed to Ontario at that point, which is especially notable because who knows when he can get copies on local storefronts at this rate. Based on Mike's solo and Din album releases in the 2010s, CDs would likely run for $10 (not counting shipping), but recent Bandcamp copies have tended to cost less than that.

Song names below are linked to online streaming copies where available, though some songs are linked to live performances, as the album proper is not on sale yet. With 10 (technically 12) songs running for 47 minutes in length, let's begin this review with the opening song, "The Best You Never Had"! Lyrically themed around optimism towards a relationship that cannot be, this song has a steadily driving rhythm that has a 1980s essence, and low, affecting vocals from Mike that get more intense and direct for the choruses, and increasingly hopeful by the end. This song is heavier in lyrics than composition, but it's a well composed song with clear emotion, and the piano input adds to the presentation, and is in line with his Sault-era solo albums. If you're more familiar with Mike's Din work, this may be a bit of a jump in tone, but it's a solid opener that sets the tone for the album ahead, though the personal back story may be lost on listeners who don't know Mike very well.

Next up is "MorningStar", which is about lamenting a lost love, but musically, the verses have a very bluesy tone, before oddly getting more cheerful and lively in the choruses. The backing instrumentation has a little of the orchestral tinge that was common on his last few solo albums, but the presentation of the song is a little spare and empty, like a guitar part was left out before mastering. Pleasant song with catchy lyrics, but it feels somewhat unfinished. Third is the album's title track "If Ever Comes The Day", which tells of expecting the end of a relationship in the distant future, which is contrasted by the most upbeat music yet on the album. Mike sings with a full voice here, and the music has a bright and grandiose nature that definitely calls to mind the 1960s, if that makes any sense. You almost feel motivated despite the melancholy resolution that Mike's expecting! As pure music, this is my favourite early song, and you really feel what he's going for!

Song #4 is "Into The Setting Sun", with it's lyrics seeming to deal with managing grief and loss. This is definitely a more melancholy and downbeat song, with more lower-register singing and more direct, to the point instrumentation, though Justin Fuciarelli's first of two guitar solos does add some welcome variance, though it doesn't sound cohesive with the rest of the song. Well-written with real emotion, this song works on that level, but if you want a more upbeat rock song, this isn't it. That's followed by "Communique", reflecting the break-down of a relationship and the communication between both parties. Musically, this has a campfire song vibe to it, only with some added orchestration, and this is definitely one of the better adaptations to acoustic format if you've seen Mike's live-streams. For what this is, I like how it turned out a lot, and it's easy to sing along with too! It's got the right emotion and tone while also keeping a lively pace!

Sixth is "This Page Intentionally Left Blank", a 64 second-long intro track to the next formal song, as recorded in Winnipeg by the aforementioned Pete Mozarowski. Compared to his RedD Monkey work, this is very much a classical composition, and a very pretty one, so it's an effective way to set the tone for "Back Away Slowly", which more directly outlines the moment in the field that Mike has alluded to in prior album materials as helping instigate this album, and the lyrics are very candid as to what went down. Given the lyrical content, Mike does contrast it with a more upbeat, mid-tempo rocker with an orchestral backing, and it's one of the stronger compositions on the album, with solid guitar work and a tight structure overall. Mike's emotion and real feelings come through very well in his vocals too, as you would expect if you know the back story, so this is another solid recommendation!

Track #8 is "Take Back The Moon", which breaks from the album's otherwise personal concept for a song about reconciliation with Indigenous peoples of Canada, albeit from the perspective of not knowing how to approach the situation from the outside. More of a melancholy sing-along track, this features the second Justin Fuciarelli guitar solo, and it does fit better into the existing composition. The mood the song is going for is sincere and extremely valid, but it's sleepier and not as strongly written as the ones where Mike is laying his own personal feelings on the table. Ninth is the album's longest track, "Visual, Descending For The Field", which seems to be reflective of a relationship that has ended and the hopes of seeing each other again. This is more of a musical showcase, with a very intricate, sweeping composition that seems like it was written with a field in mind, and this song would presumably work just as well as an instrumental in this regard. Not a heavy song, but it's a strong piece of music that'd be well worth relaxing to!

After two blank tracks running for 8 and 10 seconds each (I don't really see the point), the album closes with an epilogue of sorts, "2145", which reflects on time since the apparent break-up and hopes for the future on both sides. A softer ballad, this is another nicely written song with a pretty, affectionate overtone that helps end the album on a happy note, and the optimistic guitar work and backing instrumentation nicely builds as the song moves forward. The song ends abruptly, but it's an effective coda that's in line with the earlier songs. So, what are my final thoughts on "If Ever Comes The Day"?  While this is a big departure from his heavier and more power-pop work with The Din, Mike Haggith's new solo album is a success in concept in story-telling alone, and even if you don't know Mike that well, the meanings and emotions behind the songs come through very strongly! Opting to postpone "Bridges" for this very personal album was the right move for Mike to address his own story, and he gave these songs the care and attention they deserved!

There are musical similarities to his early-mid 2010s solo output, especially with the return of keyboard and orchestral parts, but he has matured as a musician so much in the past 5 years, and if you compare to those albums, it's really obvious. Myself, I do prefer his heavier and more direct songs, so this isn't my favourite release in Mike's extensive back catalog, but I do respect what he's doing here, and the effectiveness peaks on the title track and "Back Away Slowly. Some songs did sound a little empty or too melancholy, but as a concept album, this meets the goals he set for it, and I'm sure it will hit home for many listeners who have had relationships in need of repair. You can hear for yourself via the singles and live cuts linked above in the interim, but buy or stream the album when it officially comes out on May 15th! I hope you guys liked this month's CD review, but what are we reviewing on the site next month? I don't immediately know, but here's what I can tell you.

If nothing new comes out for sale (possibilities can be seen in our next "Where Are The New Albums?" post on May 2nd), we will dip into the archives, and while I would like to tie in a review with a musician playing live next month, I don't know if concerts will take place in any capacity in May 2020. In any event, I will not look at another Mike Haggith, Chase Wigmore, or Haggith (the band) album next due to our 6 month anti-bias buffer period. Time will tell, but stay tuned for details on that front, and for more news and videos on the site soon! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

New Live-Streamed Concerts And More New Videos!!

Tonight on the SMS, we have even more new videos from the last couple of days to check out, including a punk cover, some new original work from the E.U.P., and leading off, here's the latest live-streamed concerts from two prolific local acts that fans have seen a lot from this month!

Local hard rock solo musician Tym Morrison's sixth live-streamed home concert took place last night on his YouTube channel, so if you want another 2 hours of hard and classic rock covers, this is worth checking out! The concert proper begins about 10 minutes into the video embedded below, and in performance order, Tym can be heard covering Phil Collins' "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)", A-ha's "Take On Me", Chicago's "Hard To Say I'm Sorry", 10cc's "I'm Not In Love", Phil Collins' "One More Night", Radiohead's "Karma Police", Jim Croce's "Time In A Bottle", Roxette's "It Must Have Been Love", Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise", Supertramp's "Breakfast In America", Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive", Bryan Adams' "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You", AC/DC's "If You Want Blood (You Got It)", Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want Me", Kiss' "Rock And Roll All Nite", Toto's "Africa", ...

Amanda Marshall's "Trust Me (This Is Love)", Peter Cetera's "Glory of Love", Richard Marx's "Hold On To The Nights", The Eagles' "Hotel Califirnia", Mr. Big's "To Be With You", The Beatles' "Blackbird", Abba's "The Winner Takes It All", The Beatles' "Here Comes The Sun", and Steve Earle's "Copperhead Road". Not too much is brand new here compared to past live-streams (there's not even an original song), but Tym's vocal and guitar abilities are ever present, and there weren't any major hang-ups or breaks! Give it a watch below, and look for his next live-streamed concert tomorrow night!

Next up, Sault Michigan hard rock band Tarnished (minus Nathan) live-streamed their fifth at-home acoustic concert on their Facebook page yesterday afternoon! The guys did promise to fix the audio quality after the first four live-streamed sets, and while I still had to crank the volume to the maximum, frontman Alex Traynor's vocal mic is louder, so I didn't have to rip and manipulate the audio track to make out what he says between songs. Unfortunately, the pops and cracks in the audio are still present, but one step at a time. In performance order, Alex and Josh Fair cover Nirvana's "Heart Shaped Box", The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's "Fishin' In The Dark", Audioslave's "Show Me How To Live", Darius Rucker's "Wagon Wheel", Deep Purple's "Smoke On The Water", Billy Idol's "White Wedding", The Animals' "House of The Rising Sun", Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising", Keith Whitley's "When You Say Nothing at All", Bryan Adams' "Summer of '69", ...

...Alex's solo song "What Everything Is Like (High Life)", and AC/DC's "TNT". The audio quality still isn't ideal, but the guys handle these covers well, especially with Josh present for each song, and fans should get a kick out of this array of mostly new renditions! Tarnished have more live-streamed sets scheduled for tomorrow at 4:00 PM and Friday at 6:00 PM, so watch out for those then, and give yesterday's a watch below!

Also today, here's the latest from local classical metal band Theatre of Night's Facebook page, so what have they been up to during the pandemic? Well, on Tuesday, the band posted two minute-long videos showing original song tracking on a computer monitor, with the first one noting that they are "composing for a soundtrack contract", and the second one reportedly contains part of a chorus. Honestly, the two clips sound very similar, and very ominous, but what kind of soundtrack are they working on, and will this have a wide release when it's officially ready? Embedded below is a black and white clip of guitarist Steve Giles performing a "doggie lullaby", and while the second word definitely fits better for the description at first, you know why it's called that by the end. This is a very spare and emotional performance while it lasts, so give it a watch below, and stay tuned for more from Theatre of Night!

Finally for today, let's head north to Sault Ontario (well, Elliot Lake) for the latest cover from alt-punk solo project Ashoka At The Show, courtesy of the 184Films YouTube channel earlier today. A somewhat slowed down acoustic cover of NOFX's "Linoleum", Darren handles this rendition nicely, so fans will want to give his latest song to quarantine to a listen below!

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

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

WLSO 90.1 FM: A Look Back In The Wayback Machine, Part 5 (2008-2011)

Here's the fifth part of our WLSO 90.1 FM retrospective, as we now dive into the late 2000s and beginning of the 2010s at Lake Superior State University's former campus FM radio station, by way of The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. This was the period when I started attending LSSU as a history student, so I have fond memories of listening at this time, and it was fun looking back at what I remembered and missed out on then! Remember, listen to LSSU's current internet radio stream to set the mood while reading this post and exploring the content below.

After over a year without an actively updated website, was relaunched under a new server in December 2008, with this basic layout remaining intact for the better part of 3 years. Website archives from this era can be visited at this link, At the time of the WLSO website's reboot, mid-2000s metal DJ Kevin Kainula had been promoted to station manager, with Adam Fischhaber as the head music director. By the next fall, Adam took over as station manager, with Zach Greening becoming the new head music director, and Kevin moving into a new role as "metal manager." As of early 2011, business manager Brian Springett had became the new station manager, though music director posts were not listed. Unlike in prior incarnations of the website, front page posts here were less devoted to staff and technical details, with 2009 postings including the latest relaunch of their online stream, and their automation genre blocks during the summer semester.

During that semester, alternative rock aired for 3 hours at 4:00 PM, followed by a 3 hour classic rock block at 7:00 PM, and metal & hard rock aired for four hours overnight at 2:00 AM. In April 2010, the station announced that they would be playing more top 40 music than ever, with that summer also featuring just autoplayed music. An update that November indicated that WLSO was undergoing behind-the-scenes changes to make the station more secure & reliable, complete with a rebuilt music database and "a new outlook", and would continue in random automation with no hosted programs until February 2011, though no front page updates followed before the website was overhauled again that fall. Intriguingly, polls were also ran on their website from 2008-2011 to gauge listener feedback, though the results were not backed up. Unfortunately, this version of WLSO's website was very plain compared to the mid-2000s, with major updates not coming often, partly due to their 2010 upgrades.

Some schedule data from 2009 has survived on the Wayback Machine (as backed up that January and December, and it's this era of the station where Facebook pages started turning up to promote certain WLSO programs. Kevin Kainula's Classic Rock Show continued into early 2009, now on Mondays at 5:00 PM, while the metal/classic rock show The Delta Dial (hosted by Kyle "DJ Twitchypants" Stockdale) aired on Tuesday nights at 11:00 PM. This is the WLSO program with the oldest surviving Facebook page, indicating that the show didn't visibly survive into the spring 2010 semester, though little was written there about it. That fall also saw the debut of Music Through The Years, a freeform/historical music program hosted by Steve Dishman on Saturdays at 3:00 PM through the spring of 2012. It also has a Facebook page, which has actually continued to be updated to this day with his personal music picks, so old listeners should definitely check that out!.

Other 2009-era programs on 90.1 FM included Tuesday Metal Mayhem that fall at 1:00 PM, plus such intriguingly named programs as Searcy's Slammin Show, Rev. Fischaber's Rowdy Hour of Power, and Sounds of Sargacia, while such DJs as The Dentist, Draco, Moose, and Armando could also be heard on air. At least two other programs to debut during this website's lifespan have surviving Facebook pages, one being Laker Vibe, a house/electronica show that aired on Wednesdays at 7:00 PM from the fall of 2010 through the fall of 2011, as co-hosted by Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick, Brant Coulter and Hannah Morse. The other early 2010s show on Facebook is The Mad Mix, a freeform/by-request program hosted by Audrey Fradette that aired on Monday nights at 9:00 PM from early 2011-late 2013. Facebook writings aren't plentiful for either show, but more exists on them than The Delta Dial!

As for WLSO's website, it was taken down again in the fall of 2011 and relaunched for the final time by that December, with an official Facebook page to match, but that's a story for next time. Also, for full disclosure, Kevin Kainula once sent me metal song charts for inclusion on the SMS around 2010, as site content, late in his station tenure, which was very generous of him! We'll explore LSSU's 2011-present run and online archived content in the final installments of this series in the coming days, but stay tuned for more news and notes on the site soon! Thanks everyone!

Monday, April 20, 2020

Mike Haggith's Third Live-Streamed Concert, A New Cover Video, And Much More!!

Day #36 of our daily streak of posts on the SMS brings us a recent news article about the impact of the ongoing pandemic on the local music scene, and some new videos, including a cover performance and lots of details on a recent live-streamed set. Here's what you should know!

The third installment of local/Thompson, Manitoba solo musician Mike Haggith's live-streamed "#LockdownLive" home concerts took place on his Facebook page on Saturday night, and for the occasion, the video is devoted to his old local alt-hard rock band The Din! More specifically, this relates to their 2015-2017 run, not their prior life as an acid-jam collective. With two exceptions, this live-stream features Mike playing songs from The Din's two studio albums (originals & carry-overs from Mike's prior projects alike) and telling stories about them and the band in between, so what songs will you be able to hear? Mike starts off by performing acoustic renditions of "75", "Weekend Delivery", "Missing", and "The Rose", before taking a call from drummer Brandan Glew, who sticks around for 45 minutes or so to reminisce on The Din and the songs. "Alleyways & Apartments" is next, followed by a peculiar viewer poll about which of two diseases you'd rather have (seriously.)

The set proper continues with "Remember" & "Up In The Air" (both of which Brandan has writing credits on), and while he hangs up before the next song, Brandan does pop up in the comments before & afterwards. Mike next performs "In The Moonlight" and "Out Of My League", before tackling "I Love You Anyways", which Mike wrote when he was six years old, and had previously appeared on two of Mike's solo albums from not long after he moved to the Soo ("Laps In A Lake Of Fire" & "Suspended Animation"). The Din never recorded that song in studio, but they did play it live at concerts in 2015. That's followed by Mike's song "The Snake" from his last solo studio album (for now) "The Warinside", which also wasn't a Din album track, but their 2015 lineup did cover it at that CD's release concert. The live-stream set ends with the song The Din renamed as "Potato (Should've Known Better)", plus more reminiscing on the band and where he, Tammy, and Brandan have went since then, and teasing that there will be a fourth #LockdownLive set soon.

Solidly informative and entertaining live-stream once again, especially with all of the local context from The Din's highs and lows in the mid-2010s, and it's nice to see Mike acknowledge his pre-Din music work, which doesn't get a lot of contemporary attention locally. It would have been nice to hear from Tammy, but maybe she'll pop up in the comments in a future live-stream. Fingers crossed that "#Lockdown Live" returns this Saturday or next, but for now, give the third installment a watch below!

Next up, here's a new cover from local/Elliot Lake alt-punk solo project Ashoka At The Show, courtesy of the 184Films YouTube channel yesterday, and it's an acoustic cover of Streetlight Manifesto's "Somewhere In The Between". Solid rendition of this ska punk classic, which is one of Darren's personal favourite songs, so fans will want to give it a watch below!

I wanted to end today's post with a SooToday article by contributor/musician Chris Belsito from this weekend, featuring interview remarks by Dorian Gray guitarist Paul Leclair, who is the secretary-treasurer of Sault Ontario's musicians union, The American Federation of Musicians, Local 276. The article is very much focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shut-down order on local musicians, with Paul noting that "it is hurting every musician I can think of", and while music isn't a full-time career for many artists locally, "part of their livelihood is gone", and full-time musicians won't qualify for Employment Insurance unless they're claiming income from gigs in their taxes.  Conversely, he expressed concern about venues, recording studios, and small businesses that are unable to stay open and earn profits , and that the current trend of online concerts from local musicians isn't usually a money-making option.

Paul also notes that "we are looking at the possibility of no concerts at all this year" and said that local musicians should talk to their Member of Parliament to ask for extra support at this time. I won't get into the typically divisive comment section on SooToday, but this is a tough time for local musicians of any age or genre, and I'm hearing from friends and contacts daily about their response, feelings, and wishes. Paul raises a lot of real points that should not be discounted, but everyone is in a different personal boat here, and I hope everyone's finding the right way to adjust until some sense of normalcy returns. Give this article a loo at the above links!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for part 5 of our WLS0 9O.1 FM retrospective series on the site tomorrow! Thanks everyone!