Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Rundown On Mike Haggith's Ninth #LockdownLive Concert!!

Hey guys, this is an auto-post due to my taking today off from the SMS due to my 31st birthday, but I wanted to keep our streak of daily posts going in spite of that, and with Mike Haggith live-streaming his ninth #LockdownLive concert on his Facebook page last night, that will be excellent post fodder for #76! I normally watch these after the live-stream ends to avoid any technical glitches, but this time, I did tune in to the live airing to ensure that this post was complete and scheduled before midnight.

That said, given that this is my first live sit-in for the series, I picked quite the day, as Mike's theme for #LockdownLive IX was "The Sault Profile", focusing on covers of songs by local musicians that he enjoyed and/or was influenced by during his time living in the Soo from 2010-2017, and even beyond! Mike starts the live-stream by explaining his change in set-up for his camera and computer for ease of access, and reminding everyone about the contest for the most shares from live viewers, with the winner picking the cover Mike has to do at #LockdownLive X next week. Of course, irreverent banter remains a constant too! The set starts with two covers of early songs by Kincheloe, Michigan alternative solo project The Black Hole Suns, including "It Takes Time" (which Mike covered on his 2013 album "The Present Din") and "The Man In Green". It's always nice to see cross-border music appreciation like this, I wish Sault Michigan-area bands got more attention up here, and vice versa!

After introducing a drinking game, among other topics, Mike next tackles "Lovers" from defunct local post-punk quartet Gnaeus' 2016 CD "Meditations", which Mike previously covered at #LockdownLive V, and who Mike heavily credited for helping him step up his game locally. Afterwards, Mike discusses 2014-2016 punk quartet Stereo North, leading into his cover of "She Died First" from frontman Andrew Pucci's 2017 debut solo album "Truth & Consequence". Next, Mike reprises another local cover from a past installment (#LockdownLive IV), namely "Closure" by local alternative studio project Auxillary Disconnect, before discussing 2016-2018 local indie/hard rock quartet Bizotic, who opened for The Din's Suburban Sendoff concert in fall of 2017. Mike covers two songs of theirs, namely "Psychic Vampire" and "Subway Delay", and though Bizotic never released a studio album, videos of both songs are floating around online if you want to check them out.

Next, Mike covers "Girl From My Dreams" by local folk musician Jacob Quarrell from his 2019 solo album "Small Town Troubles", which Mike also covered in this series before, back on #LockdownLive VII. Afterwards, Mike talks about veteran folk musician Chris Belsito, from whom he covers "Room 702" from his 2010 studio album "Revelation Come Late". At least on the live feed, glitches started occurring while Mike was discussing his old band The Din, from which he plays two of their original songs, including "The Price That You Pay" from 2017's "Suburban Dream" (the only song played last night that Mike wrote) and drummer Brandan Glew's composition "Flux" from 2016's "Give In To The Din". Mike closes the local section of the show by addressing his 2012-2015 local grunge/hard rock band Haggith, specifically discussing their 2012 concept album "Apocalypse", from which he plays the ballad "Days".

Mike wraps up #LockdownLive IX by covering The Gourds' version of Snoop Dogg's "Gin & Juice", as requested by Brandan for winning last week's live-stream share contest. This rendition is full of amusing spoken word asides, but the music proper is fun and lively, if not as country-reminiscent as The Gourds' version (watch for a Bob Dylan style parody late!) Afterward, Mike checks out the comments one more time, and announces plans to announce the share contest winner later today, as well as promoting the planned #LockdownLive X for this coming Saturday. Aside from some glitches late (people were even kicked out at one point), watching the live-stream live was a fun experience, especially with songs I knew and were familiar with already from so many recent local musicians! Mike's performances were solid as always, and it's great seeing local talent covering other locals like this. Give #LockdownLive IX a watch below, and I'll see you guys with a new post tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Borderline Radio Updates, New Videos From Sault Michigan, And Much More!!

75 straight days of Sault Metal Scene posts, now there's a neat milestone! My 31st birthday is tomorrow, and while I am planning to take the day off from the SMS as usual on May 31st each year, I may keep the streak going with an auto-post of some kind. In the meantime, we have some new videos from across the river, some assorted short stories, and some long overdue coverage of a local internet radio station, so here's what you should know!

I have slacked long enough on recent on-air appearances and rotation from local hard rock and punk musicians on new local internet radio station The Borderline Radio, so let's look at what they've been airing in this regard! Earlier this month, The Borderline added Mike Haggith's new album "If Ever Comes The Day" in full to their rotation (before it's release date, even), and Mike was interviewed by Mike Severin on Sev's Cellar on May 12th. Similarly, A Dire Setback's self-titled debut album got a full playback premiere on The Borderline late last month, though I don't believe they were interviewed on air. On May 19th, Jack Spades frontman J.D. Pearce (credited under his Frightlight stage name Johnny Pints) was interviewed for an episode of Sev's Cellar, while Fluid 5ive frontman Colin Nelson was interviewed by "driver" Mike Robillard on The Taxi Passenger Revue on April 13th. Of course, visit the Mike's Lunch Music Facebook group for more episode and playlist descriptions from this year.

Of course, the heavily local-centric rotation on The Borderline is a huge calling card for it, and if you love the idea of local music almost 24/7, you will definitely want to tune in at this link! In fact, they just played a song by defunct hard rock quartet Redefined on there (I still have to find a copy of "Risk & Uncertainty" one of these days.) Unfortunately, the station still doesn't have an outlet for on-demand copies of old shows, and I don't believe they're on a TuneIn Radio-esque service yet, but maybe in time.

Next up, let's head across to Sault Michigan to look at the last hard rock cover videos on Paradise Excuse frontman Mark Bowen's YouTube channel that we hadn't looked at yet! Last August, Mark uploaded a whopping thirteen videos of his eponymous Mark Bowen Band playing outdoors at the Wood-Dock Music Festival in Mackinac Island. This newspaper clipping from a later event seems to confirm that Mark is joined here by his Paradise Excuse bandmate Jason Haske, plus drummers Donny Sorenson (on the full kit) and Matt Myers (on the hand drums). Their wildly varying set on this day included renditions of Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger", The Stray Cats' "Stray Cat Strut", The Eagles' "One Of These Nights" & "Hotel California", Bob Seger's "Night Moves", Van Morrison's "Moondance" in two chunks (seen here & here), Pery Ribeiro's "The Girl From Ipanema", Dean Martin's "Sway", Journey's 'Don't Stop Believin'", Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy", ...

...James Brown's "I Feel Good", and as embedded below, Greta Van Fleet's "You're The One I Need". It's a shame that there's not more of a consistent crowd near where the band's set up, but the filmer did get some different angles of the guys in action, and the audio's nice and clear! While this isn't an optimal showcase for fans of Mark's heavier side, the performances are solid overall and very fan friendly, so give these a watch above and below!

Lastly from Mark's heavier videos we haven't looked at yet, he posted this video of him "shredding with low gain" back in August 2018. If you're only familiar with him fronting cover-centric bands, this nicely controlled guitar solo is a nice showcase of his skills, and it'd be interesting to see him post more clips like this! 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:

  • I have moved Sault Ontario death metal duo Brutally Fatal back to our inactive band links, as they have not issued a public update since (self-deprecatingly) promoting an album release on their Facebook page on May 26th of last year, which has been their only public update of any kind since releasing their free "Blood of the Devil" album in February 2017. Hopefully we hear more music from Austin down the road, but follow Tyler's ongoing prolific work at Blood Shed Productions to see what he's working on!
  • In their first Facebook page post since hyping a live-stream in March that never came, local punk/metal quintet Jack Spades announced on May 18th that they have "got some lineup news coming, and we are stoked!" They have not offered specifics yet, but note that Tiffany does still live out of town, and I have read personal Facebook postings in the past week alluding to another band member moving from the area. We'll let you know what's changing in the Spades camp when it goes public!
  • Former Caveman Morrison/Half Past bassist Ryan Disano (Bryan Dychanno on Facebook) is looking to join or form a local band with a regular practice schedule, as per his Musicians Wanted Facebook group post on May 18th. I won't get into any social distancing arguments here, but he is a solid bassist, and if you're interested, message Ryan at this link or above for more details! Note that comments there asked if he'd be interested in rejoining a reunited Winkstinger, but that band has not publically returned otherwise.

That's all for today, but stay tuned for a new news post either tomorrow or on Monday! Thanks everyone!

Friday, May 29, 2020

New Videos From Mikey & His Uke, Tym Morrison, And Earache Records!!

Today's post features a recent live-streamed concert, some surprise news on a prominent album re-release, and to kick things off, local punk musician Mikey Hawdon's two newest quarantune videos, courtesy of his YouTube channel! Today's newest one is a cover of Beck's "Loser" alongside Mikey's Inner City Surfers bandmate Dave Bahun on guitar & bass, as well as post-production editor Dean Glover on drums. In a surprise twist, Mikey is not playing ukelele at all, just handling vocals, but it is a fun cover while it lasts, and it retains the spirit of the original! Embedded below is yesterday's quarantune, a cover of the 1960 rock hit "Happy-Go-Lucky Me" by Paul Evans, which is notable in that Mikey reunites with his old Rising Tide bandmates Dustin Jones and Sheldon & Marshall Jaaskelainen for this video! In this case, Mikey's uke is the only instrument, with everyone sharing vocal duties, though this does bear some similarities to softer Tide originals.

It's great to see a pseudo reunion of The Rising Tide's 2010-2016 lineup here, and while the song is a surprising choice, they pull it off well with enthusiasm and good harmony! Give it a watch below, see much more from this daily video series above, and look for quarantune #76 tomorrow!

Next up, here's a surprising announcement, as defunct local black/doom metal band Woods of Ypres' final studio album "Woods V: Grey Skies & Electric Light" is reportedly being re-issued with bonus tracks! This announcement was made last week by Earache Records' US label manager Al Dawson on their Instagram page and the video embedded below during his daily series of postings there. The video first features Al reminiscing about how he met their late frontman David Gold circa 2009 during the "Green Album" tour cycle, his first impressions of their music and live show, and how the Earache deal came to be, including what appears to be his side of the "You Were The Light" sessions and why Earache didn't go with that as the band's first label release (as you'll recall, two of those 5 songs came out on the independently-released "Home" vinyl single in 2011.) Al then reflects on David's passing at the end of that year and Woods' musical progression.

Al revealed at the end that they will be including "some of those unreleased tracks" in a planned "Woods V" re-release scheduled for "October or so", and while it's left a little vague on whether he just means the other three "You Were The Light" songs or perhaps demos we didn't know about at all, it would be nice to hear them all these years later! However, despite saying in the video that Earache was "working with his family", actual Gold family members didn't seem to be immediately aware of this announcement in the Instagram comments. Hopefully there were just some crossed wires between the Golds and Earache, as I know fans would be eager to honour David's memory by buying these songs! Watch Al's announcement below, but in the interim, you can watch David, Joel Violette, and the Maddens recording the songs from "You Were The Light" at this link, while Joel remixed the otherwise unreleased "Accounting For Your Cruelty" for David's last YouTube upload.

Finally, local hard rock solo musician Tym Morrison's 17th live-streamed concert took place on his YouTube channel yesterday, so what should you know there? Starting about 14 minutes in, Tym's set includes covers of Billy Joel's "Just The Way You Are", A Great Big World's "Say Something", Billy Joel's "She's Always A Woman", Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven", Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues", Ratt's "Round & Round", The Who's "Behind Blue Eyes", Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want Me", Tesla's "Love Song", The Who's "Pinball Wizard", and Blue Oyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", before bringing back his Spanish guitar instrumental. Afterwards, Tym covers Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl", Days Of The New's "Touch, Peel, And Stand", The Beatles' "Lady Madonna", Extreme's "Hole Hearted", Pink Floyd's "Another Brick In The Wall", ...Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising" ...

...Billy Joel's "Piano Man", Alice In Chains' "Down In A Hole", and finally, Kim Mitchell's "All We Are". Eagle-eyed metalheads will also catch Tym playing some Yngwie Malmsteen, Megadeth, and White Zombie songs on request, but none were full with vocals. Aside from "All We Are", this was a completely different set from Tuesday, and there's some nice new and surprise cuts to take in during this live-stream! If you're not a Billy Joel fan, tread lightly. Tym performed well despite obviously warm conditions, but there were some glitches in the video where the feed jumped ahead a second or so. Give the whole concert a watch below, and look for more next month!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for a new news post on the site tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Mike Haggith's #LockdownLive Post-Show, Plus Treble Charger's Enhanced CD Content!

Today's post (our 73rd straight daily one) is devoted to two disparate topics, both concerning local musicians' exploits out of town, but otherwise totally different. Here's what you should know!

Local/Thompson, Manitoba solo artist Mike Haggith live-streamed his delayed second #LockdownLive post-show onto his Facebook page on Tuesday, and this time, it runs for a scant 54 minutes! Mike starts by talking about the live-stream share contest from Saturday's #LockdownLive VIII, where the viewer who shared the video the most times gets to pick a song that Mike has to cover this Saturday. After commenting on the impressive view, comment, and share counts, he revealed that the winner (with 134 out of 251 shares) was Mike's Din bandmate Brandan Glew, so if you like their irreverent and off-colour banter from the comments in past #LockdownLive installments, get ready! Brandan's requested cover is alt-country band The Gourds' version of Snoop Doggy Dogg's "Gin & Juice", which will be an interesting take to be sure, and less adult than last week's cover!

Mike also lets Brandan pick a song of his to perform, and while he debates picking his troll "Free Bird" cover, Brandan ultimately picks the title track of Mike's 2014 album "A Place Of Our Own", which is nicely performed as you'd expect! He then performs his newest album's title track "If Ever Comes The Day" on request, before letting us see his cats, and then listening to the "Gin & Juice" cover with his headphones so we can see his live reaction. Unlike "Drop 'Em Out", Mike's reaction is less amusing and more surprising, in that Mike openly likes The Gourds' rendition. Mike ends by discussing #LockdownLive IX on Saturday (theme to be revealed) and the planned private Facebook group. Entertaining video on the basis of Mike & Brandan's banter alone, but there's a lot more to see, so give the whole thing a look below!

Finally for today, I wanted to acknowledge a somewhat rare aspect for local CD releases, namely enhanced CD-ROM functionality. Partially owing to their major label careers, local/Toronto indie/punk icons Treble Charger actually have two albums (1995's "Self-Title" and 2002's "Detox") with enhanced content if you put the disc into a Windows computer. Having just bought "Self-Title" to complete my hard copy collection of their discography, now's a good time to demonstrate on the SMS if this stuff still works 18/25 years later! On "Self-Title", the technical first track on the CD is reserved for "Screen Zine" content made with QuickTime by the band and Digital Renaissance, which includes videos of some kind. Unfortunately, the content on this disc (ReadMe file aside) does not open on Windows 10, and I couldn't even manage to get a compatibility mode setting that it would accept. VLC Media Player doesn't even recognize media files on the disc that it can play.

The Internet Archive hosts a download copy of the Screen Zine if you're curious to try it without the CD, and it notes that the content includes information about other contemporary indie rock bands and local paper 'zines. Alas, further exploration of Treble Charger's 1995 "Screen Zine" will have to wait until I acquire an older computer that the disc likes, or install a virtual machine copy of an older variant of Windows (presumably, something between Windows 3.1 and Vista would do the trick.) As for "Detox", it's CD-ROM content can be loaded on Windows 10... sort of. Here, the content is not set aside as track #1, and you can launch it by opening the AUTORUN file on your PC. This image is what opens, and the enhanced content here was made with Adobe Director. If you try to visit the secret site, you only get error messages, but I fear that has been the reality since at least 2004, when Treble Charger's then-label ViK. Recordings merged with Sony Canada, and the band went on hiatus that year anyway. The help page is a dead link too.

The disc itself has none of the promised material, it was all on the secret site, which I believe was on a hidden link on ViK. Recordings' website, and has not been visibly backed up on the Wayback Machine. That said, contests aside, the advertised secret content is largely available publically if you know where to look. We'll address the "Self-Title" content down the road, but that's all for today, and stay tuned for more news on the site soon! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

New Video Postings From Mikey Hawdon & Tym Morrison!!

Day #72 of daily posts at the SMS during the pandemic gives us another video heavy excursion, including lots of live-streamed performance footage and some new daily acoustic content, so here's what you should know!

Local hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison held his 15th and 16th live-streamed concerts on his YouTube channel on Thursday and yesterday, so let's finally give these sets a look before we have three backlogged tomorrow! Unlike last Tuesday's show, these run for the full 2 hour-ish duration with no sudden cut-offs. Starting with Thursday's live-stream, that one properly begins about 15 minutes into it's runtime. In order, Tym starts by covering Kansas' "Dust In The Wind", Eric Clapton's "Tears In Heaven", Chicago's "Hard To Say I'm Sorry", Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama", Guns N' Roses' "Patience", Richard Marx's "Hold On To The Nights", The Animals' "House of The Rising Sun", Living Colour's "Cult of Personality", and John Fogerty's "The Old Man Down The Road", before breaking out his Spanish guitar instrumental. The second half of Thursday's set includes covers of Cat Stevens' "Wild World", Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble's "Pride & Joy",...

...Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters", Jim Croce's "Time In A Bottle", Amy Holland's "Shooting For The Moon", Fleetwood Mac's "Never Going Back Again", Roxette's "It Must Have Been Love", Yes' "Owner of a Lonely Heart", The Goo Goo Dolls' "Name", The Eagles' "Lyin' Eyes", Extreme's "More Than Words", The Beatles' "Blackbird", The Eagles' "Desperado", and Carly Simon's "Nobody Does It Better". Solid set with some nice cuts from heavier bands, and while "Dust In The Wind" had just been played two days prior, he did acknowledge learning how to more faithfully play the bridge. As for yesterday's live-stream (which is embedded below), this set begins about 10 minutes in, including drum track setup, and Tym starts by covering Kim Mitchell's "All We Are" and Supertramp's "Breakfast In America", before performing an original instrumental song. Afterwards, Tym covers "It Must Have Been Love" again, Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive", ...

...Bryan Adams' "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You", The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" with altered lyrics, and both "Time In A Bottle" and "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" again, before showing off a little bit of the room where he records the live-streams. Good thing the window was open given the heat! After sorting out issues with one of his pedals, Tym picked things back up with covers of the Cutting Crew's "(I Just) Died In Your Arms", Cheap Trick's "The Flame", Radiohead's "Karma Police", 10cc's "I'm Not In Love", Ed Sheeran's "Perfect", Tom Petty's "Yer So Bad", A-ha's "Take On Me", Journey's "Lights", Phil Collins' "Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)", Oasis' "Wonderwall", and The Romantics' "Talking In Your Sleep", before pedal issues recurred. Tym ended with Chris de Burgh's "Lady In Red", Amanda Marshall's "Trust Me (This Is Love)", Supertramp's "The Logical Song", Tears For Fears' "Mad World", and his own original ballad "Together In The End".

Entertaining set overall with a nice selection of classic rock covers, though last Thursday's live-stream had a heavier overall set and no major glitches or hang-ups. Also, seeing three songs repeated from Thursday was a little disappointing, but if you didn't like how early last Tuesday's set ended, Tym did do half of that curtailed set between the last two live-streams. Give both a watch above and below, and look for tomorrow's next live-stream!

We'll close today with veteran local punk musician Mikey Hawdon's five newest quarantunes, as posted onto his YouTube channel in as many days! All five videos feature guest musicians, frequently including Dean Glover on percussion, who has done the great post-production work seen as the series grew in quality and popularity. The newest videos of "Mikey & His Uke" include covers of Kiss' "Hard Luck Woman", Canned Heat's "Going Up The Country", The Rolling Stones' "Miss You", and "Blue Shadows On The Trail" from the movie Three Amigos. Embedded below is quarantune #72 from Monday, where Mikey covers The Dwarves' "Saturday Night" alongside that band's frontman Paul "Blag Dahlia" Cafaro and drummer Hunter "Down" Martinez! Now there's another big get, nice work! They perform alongside Maximum RNR guitarist Keith Carmen (who is no stranger to playing with Saultites) and Mikey's Inner City Surfers bandmate Dave Bahun on bass.

Predictably laid back rendition of this punk classic, though it's ironic that this wasn't uploaded on a Saturday! Everyone does well here, and be sure to give the rest of Mikey's new quarantunes a watch above and below! FYI, Mikey's CTV Northern Ontario appearance on Friday evening was just a re-broadcast of quarantune #58 from two weeks ago, where he covered Bonnie Tyler's "I'm Holding Out For A Hero" solo as a tribute to front line workers. Nice sentiment and exposure all around, kudos for all you're doing!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for a new news post on the site tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

YouTube Channel Profile Series: joeyvelcro, TrebleChargerMusic, and ctburlington

It's now time for this month's YouTube Channel Profiles, also our last monthly feature post of May 2020! This series looks at YouTube channels whose content is at least half devoted to local metal, hard rock, or punk artists or concerts, in order to spotlight these YouTube channels for modern readers and encourage subscriptions and views. As always, channels are randomly selected, and as the first only had four songs by one band, and the second only had two by another, we tripled up this month by picking a channel with just one video period. As such, there's lots of metal and punk content to take in, so here's what you should know!
joeyvelcro's Channel (
Owner: A member of inactive local extreme metal band Winkstinger (exact identity unclear)

Channel Timeline: Launched on May 1st, 2009; Videos uploaded from May 28th, 2010 until September 3rd, 2011

Channel Summary: Winkstinger's de facto official YouTube channel upon their 2010 launch, it primarily consists of four original song demos posted that summer, including "In Other Words", "Fuck The Rest", "Cheese Grader Face", and their most popular upload, "From Bullshit To Buzz (Lies = Weed)". I believe Winkstinger are represented here by their classic lineup, including singer Alan Wells, guitarists Jesse Cook & Jason Ladouceur, bassist Ryan Sherman, and drummer Jonas Gasperas. Winkstinger never released an album for sale, so these raw but intense songs will help fill the void for fans of this lineup, and Alan's Haunted-esque delivery is great to hear again, as is Jesse's full-force guitar work! However, they could have done more visually with these uploads. Aside from one last video (of lightning in Windsor), the channel was not visibly used afterwards, so it does not capture the rest of their original 2010-2013 run or their 2015-2018 reunions.

TrebleChargerMusic's Channel (
Owner: A fan of local/Toronto indie/punk veterans Treble Charger (despite the branding, this wasn't an official channel created by the band)

Channel Timeline: Launched on November 16th, 2008; Videos uploaded that day and on March 2nd, 2009

Channel Summary: There are no shortage of YouTube copies of Treble Charger's music videos, and this is one of them, so fans of their 2000 album "Wide Awake Bored" will be able to appreciate these uploads of "American Psycho" and (as featured here) "Brand New Low"! However, there are better quality sources on other channels, especially given the MusiquePlus bugs on the latter. We already looked at the "American Psycho" video on another channel in 2017, but the "Brand New Low" video is actually it's sequel, as Greig, Bill, Rosie, and Trevor go to trial over their actions in the prior video, and are seen performing in jail both in separate cells and together as a full band. Fun video with strong production values, and it captures one of their all-time catchiest punk era songs, but better quality copies (and more videos total) are viewable elsewhere if you know where to look.

ctburlington (
Owner: A YouTube user possibly named C.T. Burlington (I doubt they are from the Sault Ste. Marie area)

Channel Timeline: Launched on May 14th, 2014; Only video posted that day

Channel Summary: Though it was uploaded 10 months after the fact, ctburlington's only video was shot at the Live Green Toronto Festival on July 27th, 2013, where the aforementioned Treble Charger performed on the main outdoor stage at Yonge-Dundas Square, opening for Shawn Desman & Kardinal Offishal. The video features Greig Nori, Bill Priddle, and touring members Darcy Yates & Jason Pierce playing "American Psycho", and while it only runs for 70 seconds, the performance is lively and well done overall for fans, and the video is shot from a good central angle!

I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profiles! This series will return on or around June 26th with more randomly selected channels, as the first one that I picked only has three videos from two artists' live sets, so I added one more single-video channel to round things out with. As such, we'll be looking at the Oh!No Collective's channel (featuring videos from last year's Black Mastiff concert in the Soo) and Jonathan Spike's channel (ironically also featuring a Treble Charger music video!) Look for those then, and for more news on the site tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Monday, May 25, 2020

Full Details On Mike Haggith's Eighth #LockdownLive Concert Set!!

Happy Memorial Day to all of our American readers! Today's post is devoted to Sault Ontario/Thompson, Manitoba alternative/hard rock musician Mike Haggith's eighth #LockdownLive at-home concert, which was live-streamed on his Facebook page on Saturday (back in it's usual timeslot), so what should you know about this installment? While not announced prior to Saturday, the theme for #LockdownLive VIII was "The REAL Back Catalogue", as unlike #LockdownLive VI's dive into his Sault Ste. Marie-era albums two weeks ago, this one takes us into a small sampling of original material from his 43 canon albums recorded and/or released in Windsor from 2005-2010. Mike doesn't acknowledge these albums frequently due to most of that material not being representative of his current musical & production abilities, so unless you followed Mike's pre-Soo music career with any regularity, few of these songs will be familiar at all, let alone be streamable publically.

That said, if I know of the songs Mike is playing to be on any of his old music or social media pages, I will link them here. After outlining the contest to share the live-stream for a chance to pick a cover he must play this coming Saturday, Mike begins the set by showing off his very first canon album, the 2005 demo cassette tape named "Demonstration Recording" (my reference documents say it's under the project name "Sub Zero"), though he admitted to not knowing anything about the guitar or recording music at that time. Mike's first song is a reworked version of the demo's first track, an instrumental that he didn't give a title for. He then moves on to two songs released in 2006, namely "The Letter" (album not given) and "Stoner Ride" from his 8th canon album of the same name, but it's 2007 where Mike's solo material begins showing signs of objective quality, including the jump to electric sngs. Mike released at least 15 albums that year, for what it's worth!

He next specifically brings up his 24th (22nd in my notes) studio album "13", from which he plays his songs "Lifeline" & "Left To Live, before playing a progressive song named "Destroying Each Other" from an uncredited album, an untitled track from an early computer recording, and "One", which was later re-recorded as "Solitude" on 2013's "Neighbourhood Watch II: Where It Ends". After reminiscing about 2006-era emo bands, Mike revisits "13" by playing "When It Falls Apart", before beginning the second half of the set with "Empty", which he wrote about missing friends while in air cadets, and was later re-recorded for 2009's "Hotel For Transients". The real back catalogue moves into Mike's less prolific but more professionally recorded output in the next two years, starting with "Recovery", which was written in 2008 but was released on 2009's "The Curse Was The Cure", followed by showing off a photo of him playing drums at a 2008 show in Windsor.

Mike goes into detail about "The Curse Was The Cure" (his 37th canon album) next, which was his first official album to get a CD production run, and saw an abridged reissue in 2011. From it, he plays "Long Distance" and "Ode To August" (the latter sung in 17/2 time signatures!), before apologizing for delays on mailed copies of his new album "If Ever Comes The Day" making it to Sault Ste. Marie. He next focuses on his morosely titled 38th album "I Hate My Life & I Want To Die", from which he plays "Analog Palace", a song that The Din later covered in earlier shows and on "The Din Does Laundry". Mike ends the back catalogue portion by playing "Euphoria" from it's eponymous 11th album, which was carried over to his other 2009 studio album "Hotel For Transients", which isn't available for streaming online. FYI, Mike doesn't get into his three canon albums released in 2010 ("Ace", "For My Fallen Angel", and "Laps In A Lake Of Fire".)

For the last 20 minutes, Mike starts by covering his promised cover of Wheeler Walker, Jr.'s "Drop Em Out", as nominated by A Dire Setback's Matt Quinn for winning last week's share contest. Approach this one with an appreciation for country comedy songs if you can, as it's not for the easily offended, but Mike is a man of his word! The promised announcement of the winner of Saturday's live-stream share contest was delayed due to Mike's work commitments (that's a good sign in one way!), but he follows by discussing #LockdownLive IX, the planned private Facebook group, and overall discussion with fans who watched live, and yes, things got irreverent as usual! Just in case viewers tuned in who only heard his less-than-refined early songs, he ended by playing "MorningStar" from his new album.

With the focus on his early music and how Mike evolved as a musician from square one, I was reminded (in a positive way) of the retrospective videos by folk musician Ben Minnotte on his own music career, via his excellent web series The Oddity Archive, and if you are at all curious, click here to watch episode 1. Mike has grown so much, so the critical nature in hindsight is readily apparent, but it'd be neat to hear some of these songs re-visited down the road with his contemporary talents and abilities. Give #LockdownLive VIII and the amusing commentary alongside it a watch below, and stay tuned for much more in the coming days! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

More Likely Concert Cancellations, Plus Tarnished's Newest Live-Streamed Shows!!

For this 69th straight daily post at the SMS, we do have new video content, but let's start with the latest on the local concert calendar and the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. On Friday, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer extended the state's stay-at-home order until Friday, June 12th, and you can read more about this announcement at this link or your preferred Michigan news sources. Businesses cleared to re-open in the Sault Ste. Marie area can still do so, but this order means that casinos must remain closed through at least this date, Kewadin Casinos included. As such, I have removed The Lows' concert at The Rapids Lounge in the Soo on June 12th from our calendar, as well as Peril's scheduled June 12th weekend shows at The Northern Pines Lounge in St. Ignace. The one-nighter at The Rapids Lounge on June 13th from Pontiac hard rock band Tripp 'N' Dixie will remain in our listings for now.

Note that Tripp 'N' Dixie have not posted on their Facebook page at all since February, so if the show is publically cancelled, it may be through Kewadin or the state government before the band. In Sault Ontario, the only remaining concert scheduled this summer in our calendar is the Alienator-headlined show at Soo Blaster on June 4th (next Thursday), and I have reluctantly opted to remove it as well. As of this writing, Soo Blaster have not announced that they'll be re-opening in time for this show, and even if, I can't see this going on when everything else around it has been cancelled. In any event, neither Alienator nor local openers The Bear Hunters have publically acknowledged the show on their Facebook pages. If I am wrong, I'll redact this! Lastly, I have to give a huge apology, as a hard rock concert (obviously now cancelled) was scheduled for yesterday in the Soo that we completely forgot to cover on here, to be headlined by Toronto-based Kiss tribute band Destroyer!

To have been held at The Canadian Nightclub, this show was announced back in January via it's Facebook event page, and it would have been Destroyer's fifth local concert appearance since 2010, and first since rocking the same venue in March of last year. Promotion of it didn't visibly get far (ticket prices weren't even listed), and while I definitely regret not covering this one in the winter, it never took place anyway for sadly obvious reasons. Hopefully Destroyer return to the Soo when things settle down!

The second half of today's post takes us back into live-streamed concert territory, as Sault Michigan hard rock band Tarnished held their 13th & 14th at-home concerts on their Facebook page on Friday and yesterday! After switching to a two hour set for the prior two installments, and dealing with a mid-show power outage on night #2, Alex & Josh has originally planned to do two hour sets again last week, but both only ran for an hour (or so) due to warm temperatures during recording. That said, the audio quality remains poor across both live-streams for my setup, so Audacity manipulation and maximum volume may be necessary. Friday's live-stream again has the wide-screen video letter-boxed in standard definition, but they finally corrected the aspect ratio problems in yesterday's live-stream, so that one is embedded below. Starting with Friday, that set features 2/3rds of Tarnished covering Three Doors Down's "Kryptonite", Incubus' "Drive", ...

...Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl", Neil Young's "Rockin' In The Free World", Kenny Wayne Shepherd's "Blue On Black", Van Halen's "Ain't Talkin' Bout Love", Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock & Roll", Poison's "Talk Dirty To Me", Bob Seger's "Turn The Page", Skid Row's "18 & Life", and Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising". As for yesterday, Alex & Josh tackled Sublime's "What I Got", REO Speedwagon's "Take It On The Run", The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's "Fishin' In The Dark", and Nirvana's "Heart Shaped Box", before Josh swapped out his guitar for his acoustic bass. Afterward, the guys play a new original song named "Cabin Fever" from their upcoming EP, Lou Bega's "Mambo No. 5", Billy Idol's "White Wedding", Alex's own solo track "Crazy World", Green Day's "Basket Case", Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust", The Romantics' "What I Like About You", and Cameo's "Word Up". This was a nice selection of tunes overall from these two nights!

The audio quality remains a deep concern, but the guys seem to have a strong handle on these covers, new and old alike, and the stage lighting does add some visual flair to the performances! No word on when we'll see Tarnished back with more live-streams (and for how long), but give these a watch above and below, and stay tuned for more from their camp!

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

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Bankshot - "Angst For The Memories" CD Review!!

It's now time for our 131st monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, and with things slow as usual during the pandemic, let's dive into the archives for an album I should have reviewed on here long ago, namely defunct local punk quintet Bankshot's only studio album "Angst For The Memories"! Independently released in 1999, this album was recorded that March at Full Scale Audio Productions with producer/Gsis Murphy alum Keith Davis, much like the previous year's "Local Steel" compilation. Bankshot are represented here by vocalist Ron Pelletier (ex-Ten Brick Limit), guitarists Christian Pasiak (Sleepy & The Noise) & Lucas Schmiedendorf (The Sick Sons), bassist Neil Vallee, and drummer Clint Wilson (ex-12 Gauge Ready). "Angst For The Memories" has been out of print for two decades, but there are no shortage of free uploads of this album on YouTube and elsewhere, such as this full video, and The Rad Zone has had CD copies in the past.

Myself, I own an original CD copy with liner notes, so I'll be getting as full of an experience as I can for this write-up. However, I was only 10 years old when "Angst For The Memories" was released, so if I miss any context from the lyrics or performers, I apologize, I truly wasn't there. With 15 songs running for 44 minutes or so, let's kick off this long overdue CD review!

The opening song is "Losing Face", which is about reflecting on a poor life choice, highly implied to be a former friendship. The opening noodly guitar riff is slightly odd, but when the song proper kicks into gear, it's full of classic skate punk action that's tightly played and to-the-point! Ron's youthful vocals don't really showcase the bitterness of the lyrics, and boosted backing vocals would have helped on the choruses but this is a nice showcase for Bankshot's collective talents to start! Second is the album's shortest track, "Planet Payback", where Ron sings about life not turning out how he expected, and how it's payback for his past decisions. After another guitar intro that doesn't sound like the song ahead, we get a faster paced attack complete with a nice solo from Christian! Solid drums from Clint as well, but this is a song that could have used a longer composition, as it feels like they dropped a few verses from this one. Fun track for punk diehards while it lasts though!

Third is the three+ minutes long "One Minute Alone", which is about still needing time alone to collect your thoughts, even when you're having fun with friends. The up-tempo composition and forceful drumming are welcomed, as is another lead guitar solo, and Neil's bass cuts through well on this track in particular! The verse singing is a little sleepy when the song doesn't call for it, but it could be an ironic choice given the lyrics. Solid early number all around! Next is the "Bobbing For Rotten Apples", which is about looking for a second chance from a loved one. This is technically the longest track on the CD, but that's due to a minute's worth of closing and opening samples taken from "There's A Lot Of Work Out There To Do" by Dennis Day, which I believe comes from a Disney vinyl record on Johnny Appleseed.

The title is otherwise metaphorical on this song, which has a nice composition, maintaining a fast pace while also giving a bit of a dramatic flair all at once! Ron sings with force at the expense of clarity here, which isn't ideal, but this is the best written song so far on the CD, and I like how it builds as it goes along! That said, I don't find the samples add anything to what Bankshot themselves wrote. Fifth on the album is "Long Days", a lament about the end of a relationship and what one would do to get their partner back. This song has more of a ska influence on the verses, which gives things some nice variety, but the choruses are fast and intense, and the vocals are a nice match throughout here! The bridge feels a little rushed, and the ending is too abrupt, but while I'm not a diehard ska punk fan, I can definitely appreciate this song's fun atmosphere! The drums and bass are particularly effective, and this is another early highlight!

Song #6 is "Think", which is about two women who have a lot of personal problems, despite Ron being too busy to give them willful attention. Clint's drumming is noticeably off in the introduction, but the song overall is quick and entertainingly direct, with a fun skate punk vibe. In this case, Christian's guitar solo feels tacked on and unnecessary to the song as a whole, but when everyone's focusing on the verses and choruses, this song is a firecracker, and well worth a listen! That's followed by "No Way Out", about a boy who murders his father, only or the act to haunt him into adulthood. A very straightforward modern punk number that is a massive contradiction from the dark lyrics, this track has solid energy and a nice bass track from Neil, and the vocals are well sung with the track, but if the lyrics were meant to be ironic given the music on hand, the impact was admittedly lost on me. Entertaining track overall, but don't let the break at 66 seconds fool you!

Eighth is "Thanks For The Bruise", which is directed at a woman who left an abusive relationship, though it starts with a 30 second intro of an angry old man threatening someone (if it's sampled from something, I couldn't place it.) Arguably the heaviest song yet on "Angst For The Memories", Christian and Sal deliver my favourite guitar performances yet here, and Ron's singing has the right melodic touch to go with the song! Again, this intro adds nothing, but the music comes together just right across the board, and it's my favourite track so far! Next is "Buying The Flag", which is a criticism of an unnamed political candidate, though the lyrics heavily imply that it's the late Ross Perot, who ran for U.S. president as a third party candidate in 1992 & 1996. Given that 1999 wasn't an election year, the lyrics don't cut as deep as they may have had this song been written about a 2000 candidate, but it is what it is. The full punk action ramps up after a soft 25 second intro.

This song sounds rougher than a lot of it's predecessors, especially the bridge between the first two verses, but the raw nature suits their punk genre, and Christian gets another brief guitar solo to shine late. I like the song, but it's not as polished as others on the CD, and the political commentary is easy to miss from how the song is performed. The tenth track is "Fall From Grace", about a woman who leaves a dysfunctional home for a new city, only to find that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Despite the somewhat melancholy lyrics, they contrast well with the upbeat skate sound here, and I like the upbeat guitar work, as well as Ron's higher register vocals. It's a fun song, but it ends super abruptly after just 2:19, which is a shame, as it's another album highlight! It could have at least used one more verse and maybe even a solo to help put it over the top.

Next up is "Consolation Prize", a motivational song about persevering when things don't go your way. The second of two songs here to exceed 4 minutes in length, this gives Neil his best showcase on the CD during the opening bass/drum-centric verse, but the song dives into a standard punk vibe afterwards. This song feels like a few different songs stitched together, so some extra editing may have tightened things up a bit, but everyone performs well, and the vocals match up consistently as it goes along! Track #12 is "Bottled Love", a lament to an ex-girlfriend that one wishes would return. Musically, this song cuts to the chase with more punk intensity, though like with prior personal songs, the message may be lost unless you look at it ironically.  The mid-song ska break adds some nice variance, but the hard hitting skate attack around it works on it's own merits, especially with Clint's drumming and the extra oomph from the backing vocals, so there's a lot to like here!

After that, we have "Marathon", which seems to allude to a getting revenge on a bully or tormentor now that they have no one on their side. I was getting a Bad Religion vibe from this one, if that's a fair comparison, and that definitely is a plus in my book! Ron has good vocal control as this one rolls along, the melodies are really solid, and while it's not an overly aggressive song, it's nicely paced and well performed. Another album highlight for me! The penultimate track is "Little Morning Pick-Me-Up", which alludes to coffee (Folgers, specifically), albeit in the context of someone who would rather write songs, drink coffee and relax in bed than be traditionally productive. After a 54 seconds long intro (which is softer than anything else on the CD), we get into Bankshot's fast paced punk wheelhouse with solid riffing, though the actual meat of the song is over real quick. It's solid while it lasts, but I wish this song was more substantial, as the intro didn't need to be that long.

"Angst For The Memories" closes with "Friendly Foe", about changing your tune over a supposed "friend" who has taken advantage of you for far too long. More of a drawn out number comparaitvely speaking, the lyrics are arguably the easiest to make out on the whole album, the quick musicianship and rapid drumming contrasts well with Ron's deliberate narrative vocals, and it's a solid way to put a bow on the CD! So, what are my final thoughts on Bankshot's only album? Overall, this is a raw but energetic and very promising album from a band too good to have only lived for two years, and it's easy to see why it's gotten so much underground attention in the punk community since their 2000 breakup! Fans of 1990s skate punk will be right at home with these songs, which mostly stay on that trajectory with verve and attitude, and while there are things they could have addressed, it was clearly the right album for the moment!

Christian and Lucas' twin guitar attack was great throughout, as were Christian's occasional guitar solos, Neil and Clint provided the right rhythm across the board, and while Ron's vocals weren't always the clearest to hear, his attitude and tone fit, especially given their ages at the time. That said, some songs could have been lengthened, had less abrupt endings, or had their introductions cut down or removed entirely, especially the two with samples. Songs like "Thanks For The Bruise", "Marathon", and "Long Days" proved what Bankshot were capable of, and while they disbanded just a year after this CD came out, it holds up well for genre fans. Give "Angst For The Memories" a listen at the above links, but what are we reviewing on the site in June? I don't yet know, but if no major new releases come out, I will dive into the archives once again.  Our anti-bias buffer rule limits us from a new (Mike) Haggith album review next month, but other than that, it's wide open.

Time will tell what is next, but stay tuned for our next CD review next month, and for more news and notes on the site next week! Thanks everyone!