Monday, June 29, 2020

The Full Recap On Mike Haggith's #LockdownLive "Quarterly Report"!!

As you may have bore witness to on Saturday, local/Thompson, Manitoba solo musician Mike Haggith hosted his 13th and final weekly #LockdownLive at-home concert on his Facebook page, before the series moves to a monthly format without a fixed schedule. With that said, let's spend today's post recapping it in full, as has recently been the case! The theme of #LockdownLive XIII was "The Quarterly Report", where Mike revisits and looks back on the initial 12 installments of the series, and with Brandan back in the live-stream comments, you know this will be fun! After discussing the origin of the series and it's evolution from a bored whim to a weekly event, he noted that he plans to perform his favourite song from each individual episode so far, with the fan-nominated cover at the end. After discussing the hour-long, theme-less #LockdownLive I from March, he plays his opening song from that night, "The Nature Of The Times" from his next CD "Bridges".

FYI, you can also hear that in #LockdownLive IV, which was themed around "Bridges" in full. After re-iterating the rules of the share contest for Saturday despite the now monthly format for the series, Mike calls frequent viewer Alexandra Parker to make the rules for the return of this week's fabled drinking game. Once the call ends, Mike revisits #LockdownLive II (which spotlighted the upcoming release of his newest album "If Ever Comes The Day"), from which he plays "MorningStar", which he also tackled in #LockdownLive I, V, VII , and VIII. Mike next looks back on #LockdownLive III, which was focused around his last local band The Din, and he plays their song "Missing", which also appeared in #LockdownLive I & VII. Next up is a look back at the aforementioned #LockdownLive IV, and Mike plays another "Bridges" cut, "From The 55th Parallel", which Mike noted will likely get a formal single release in advance of the album finally coming out.

Mike next dives into the covers-heavy #LockdownLive V, from which he covers Coldplay's "The Scientist", before looking at #LockdownLive VI, where he looked at his Sault Ste. Marie-era solo back catalogue. From that, he performed "Cowardly Hearts Beneath The Stars" from his 2014 album "A Place Of Our Own" again. We pass the halfway point by looking back on #LockdownLive VII, which doubled as the virtual release concert for "If Ever Comes The Day" (as filmed at a still-undisclosed secret locale), though Mike doesn't do a song from the album. Instead, he goes to a cover with a lot of personal resonance, Tears For Fears' "Everybody Wants To Rule The World", which was also heard in #LockdownLive IV-V and XI. Next was #LockdownLive VIII (themed "The Real Back Catalogue" with a focus on his Windsor-era albums), where he plays "Long Distance" from 2009's "The Curse Was The Cure".

The last third of "The Quarterly Report" begins with a call to Mike's old Din bandmate Brandan Glew, which is appointment listening enough! This prefaces Mike revisiting #LockdownLive IX, where he spotlighted musicians and songs he liked from here in Sault Ste. Marie, but rather than play favourites for a local act, Mike instead brings back the song Brandan nominated for winning the previous week's share contest, namely The Gourds' version of Snoop Dogg's "Gin & Juice", which was also in #LockdownLive XI (and yes, look for "Bob Dylan"!) Next, Mike looks back on #LockdownLive X, which spotlighted his mid-2010s local grunge/hard rock band Haggith, and he plays their old song "75", as previously heard on #LockdownLive III as well. Afterwards, Mike touches on #LockdownLive XI, which was themed around favourite covers he performed in prior episodes, and Mike brings back Prince & The Revolution's "Purple Rain", which debuted in #LockdownLive VII.

"The Quarterly Report" ends with #LockdownLive XII (themed around Mike's high school-era bands in Windsor), and he tackles The Thorns' 2010 original ""A Quarter Mile At A Time". As promised, Mike closes his set with his fan-mandated cover, as last week's winner Tianna Rice nominated him to cover The Jonas Brothers' relatively new song "What A Man Gotta Do", and yes, he puts on his legendary dragon onesie for the occasion. I will say this, Mike's cover is better than the original, and has a good folksy intensity! In the last few minutes, Mike outlines the complete metrics for hits, comments, and shares and such from the first 12 episodes, before outlining the growth of the #LockdownLive series, thanking everyone for the engagement, hyping the private group's afterparty that night, and reiterating the plans for the series now that it will only be held monthly, including the planned polls to pick the dates and themes.

Effective and entertaining way to end the #LockdownLive series' weekly era, and there were a lot of fun songs to recap for the occasion! I am slightly surprised by the amount of covers, but hey, they're songs Mike loves, after all! My big issue with episode #13 is that he took a little too much time outlining the metrics behind each individual video, but it is interesting to see what videos got the most and least engagement. Check out #LockdownLive XIII below, and stay tuned for our post-show coverage and more news & notes on the site later this week! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

The Inner City Surfers - "Laughing On The Outside" CD Review!!

It's now time for our 132nd monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, and this month, we're dipping into the archives again with things still creeping along during the pandemic. That said, I am tying in this review with recent events (namely local punk musician Mikey Hawdon's 100 daily "quarantunes", a.k.a. Mikey & His Uke), so let's finally take a look at his band The Inner City Surfers' second CD "Laughing On The Outside"! Independently released in 2002, this album was recorded in September 2001 at Insight Recorders in Toronto with producer (and Mikey's future Fairmounts bandmate) Simon Head, before being mixed by Joao Carvalho at Umbrella Sound. As usual, The Surfers are represented here by their classic lineup, including Mikey on drums alongside singer/guitarist Dustin Jones, guitarist Dave Bahun, and Brad "Example" Lacell on bass. CD copies of "Laughing On The Outside" are now out of print, but it is still readily available online.

You can buy this album or stream it for free on services like Apple Music, Amazon, Google Play, Soundcloud, YouTube, and Spotify, with download copies running for between $7.99 and $10.49, while CD copies could turn up at your favourite used record locales. Song names below are linked to their YouTube copies. Also, note that three songs on this CD were later re-recorded for The Surfers' self-titled "black album" in 2007, but we will approach the new versions when we review that album on the site.

With 11 songs running for almost 37 minutes, let's begin this review with the first song, "Figure It Out"! Opening in full on fast-paced skate punk mode, the driving guitar work is really good, and Dustin's melodic vocals are very fitting on the verses and in the effective stop/start choruses. It's a very straightforward song with no major diversions, but it's punchy and works extremely well, though at times, Mikey's drums did sound buried beneath the guitar. Still, a very entertaining and up-tempo way to start the CD! Next is "Booze N' Doobs", which is the first song here to later be re-recorded on "The Black Album". This song slows things down with more of a country vibe that will definitely please Rising Tide fans, with far more reserved vocals. The song's lyrical themes lend itself well to making this the band's signature drinking song, and while it's not my cup of tea, it fits that way! The drums  and Dave's twangy solo compliments the song well, but punk diehards may be disappointed.

Another song to return on the 2007 CD is next, namely "Screwed",  which tonally splits the difference between the preceding songs with an upbeat, steady rhythm and nice guitar picking before the choruses ramp things up a little more. The folksy side collides with punk in a good way here, so fans of both sides will find things to like, and I like Brad's bass work, though I didn't find that Dave's spare-yet-distorted guitar solo meshed well at all. Pleasant song that works on it's own merits! The album's shortest song follows, namely "Whole New Day", and this is another laid back song, harbouring more of their country side again while also being more down-tempo. Honestly, Dustin's singing isn't at it's clearest for me here, and it can be hard to make out the lyrics, but the guitar solo is effective. The composition's good, but it's too short and vocally muddled for me to recommend as is.

Fifth up is "Step Back", and if you were waiting for more fast-paced punk action, this will do the trick! That said, the guys play at a steady, relentless pace that only really pauses to breathe for a second at a time, and for me, I wish the song had more melody to it than this. While well performed, the vocals are mostly at one constant level, and the song doesn't really switch gear until slowing down for the coda. It's not a bad song, but I prefer songs with more of a melodic variance. Next is "T.V.", which has a slower, almost 1990s alternative rock flavour which I wasn't expecting, and that's saying something for a Surfers album! Like on "Whole New Day", the vocals are not overly clear at this register, and oddly, the song doesn't really have a proper chorus either, just instrumental bridges. Musically, I like the sound (reminds me of Weezer a bit), and the guitar and bass work are extra fitting, but the vocals don't add much to it.

The seventh track is "Won't Belong", which is the last of the three songs to be revisited on "The Black Album". After some very bluegrass-esque guitar picking, this songs gets into old school country territory, and if it wasn't for their vocal tones, you'd never guess this was the Surfers! In this case, multiple band members share vocal duties, which is effectively handled. This is a well performed and mixed song that will satiate fans of their country sides, but for my tastes, it's not preferable. Then we have "Get High", which feels like a companion piece to "Booze 'N Doobs" in some respects, though here, the verses have a campfire sing-along vibe, contrasted with the heavier full-band choruses and bridge. I like the jump in tone here, and the laid-back majority of the song is well done with very solid singing and guitar work, so this is a sleeper pick on the album!

Next on the CD is "The Quest", which brings us back into punk territory with a nice galloping drum track, strong melodic vocals from Dustin, and a catchy overall rhythm! This isn't really a guitar showcase aside from the post-chorus bridges and the end of the song, but if you can get past that, it's a fun song with strong lyrics, and I like how everything is mixed on this one! The penultimate song is "Victims", which is by far the heaviest song on the CD, with aggressive nearly-screamed vocals and a much more aggressive, forceful guitar riff. Effectively, this is the "Ten Commandements" of this album, if not quite as free-wheeling, but it showcases The Surfers' ferocious side as well as you could expect, and it's a solid showcase for Brad on bass in particular! As a metalhead, I can definitely get behind this song as an album highlight, but the melodic aspects of some earlier songs were missed.

"Laughing On The Outside" closes with it's longest song, "3 am", but it's definitely a conceptual jump from earlier songs. We start with Dustin singing and playing acoustic guitar while lamenting his state in the world at 3:00 in the morning, as laid overtop background noise of what appears to be sounds of the city at 3:00 AM, but the full band kicks into alt-rock territory for brief stretch of heavier music that rocks while it lasts, and Dave really lets loose on guitar! The song ends with about 3 minutes of the overnight background audio from earlier. For what it is, it works as a closer!

So, what are my final thoughts on The Inner City Surfers' sophomore CD? Overall, this is an effective album that showcases the guys' musical growth since their self-titled "Blue Album", but for my musical preferences, things varied further beyond that here. Dustin Jones & Dave Bahun's guitar work was as solid as ever, Brad Example got lots of moments to shine on bass, Mikey Hawdon's drumming was reliably excellent, and Dustin's vocals were usually a solid fit across these 11 songs! In the two years that followed their debut, the Surfers' influences had definitely began evolving, with country and folk sounds moving into their track listing more, while punk songs were less of a focus, arguably only being the primary genre of four songs. In this sense, you see where The Surfers were going musically on their next two CDs, though of course, they never dropped punk entirely. For me, I enjoyed "Figure It Out" & "Victims" the most, while "Get High" was my favourite of the non-punk tracks.

Aside from my own genre tastes, my big issues with the CD were occasionally muddled and hard-to-hear vocals, and I would have liked to have heard more guitar solos from Dave than we go. That said, I liked this album for the musical talent and improved production on display, and while I prefer the songs on offer from their debut, the professionalism and musicianship brings this one to the same level, and gives us a strong preview of what was to come in 2007. Buy or stream "Laughing On The Outside" at the above links, and I hope you guys liked this month's CD review, but what's being reviewed on the site next month? At this point, I'm not sure, but check our next "Where Are The New Albums?" post on Thursday for hints as to what could be coming up. If no major new metal, hard rock, or punk albums come out from local musicians, I will jump into our archives once again, though due to our 6 month anti-bias buffer rule, it will not be of an Inner City Surfers or (Mike) Haggith album.

With no concerts next month to tie a review in with, could there be another reason to tie an album review in with something, or could I just pick a high profile un-reviewed CD for July? Time will tell, but stay tuned for more news and notes on the site this week! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Mike Haggith Updates, Plus Some Long Overdue Concert Videos!!

Here's another new news post for your Saturday afternoon reading, and while it ends with some newly discovered concert footage from a show late last year, we're mostly focusing on some recent news and notes from a prominent solo musician. Here's what you should know!

In advance of tonight's final weekly #LockdownLive (more on that in a bit), local/Thompson, Manitoba alt-hard rock solo artist Mike Haggith was interviewed in this SooToday article by contributor & fellow local musician Chris Belsito on Monday, so what can be learned here? In the interview proper, Mike discusses his love of aviation (his day job and what he took at college here), his time in Sault Ste. Marie as a musician and fan of the local scene, his musical influences, his progression in studio recordings, his new CD "If Ever Comes The Day", the issues he feels personally about, and the postponed CD release show that we hope will take place in November. Aside from some nice insights about the album sessions and how Mike recorded it, there's no real scoops here, but it's a nice article done by two musicians with a lot of mutual respect, and it's a solid read for fans, so be sure to check it out above!

Next up, let's stay on a Mike Haggith trajectory, as his post-show for #LockdownLive XII took place on his Facebook page on Tuesday, so what is there to take in here? After promoting the above article he discussed what went down in last week's Windsor-heavy #LockdownLive episode, while also lamenting that he couldn't play at the Nickel Days festival in Thompson due to the pandemic, and promoted the free release of "Take Back The Moon" on Bandcamp on Sunday only for National Indigenous Peoples Day. Regarding future episodes, tonight's #LockdownLive XIII will be "The Quarterly Report", where Mike will spotlight the past installments, but this will be the last weekly installment due to the continued re-opening as the curve flattens (viewership has taken a hit since then too). As such, Mike is moving to a monthly format for future episodes, but he will open polls to determine optimal airdates that will work for his and fans' schedules.

Regarding last week's share contest for the person with the most engaged share of the live-stream getting to pick Mike's mandatory cover today, the winner (who got 5 likes and 54 comments) was regular viewer Tianna Rice, who nominated that Mike cover The Jonas Brothers' "What A Man Gotta Do", which Mike has a great initial reaction to! Surprisingly recent pick too, as that song only came out in January. Look for him to cover that one (reportedly in his dragon onesie again) at the end of tonight's episode! As for the fan-requested original on the post-show, Tianna requested the somewhat adult "The Snake" from Mike's 2015 CD "The Warinside", which he performs before wrapping the video and promoting tonight's episode once more. Entertaining and informative episode that helps set the groundwork for the series' future, so tune in tonight to hear #LockdownLive XIII, and check out the whole post-show from earlier this week below!

To close today's post, here's some overdue new live concert videos that we haven't featured on here! Foreign concept, right? During our research on the Oh!No Collective's YouTube channel for yesterday's feature profile, I was reminded that the videos there (and much more) were also on their Facebook page, and as it turns out, we never discussed the last concert footage they uploaded there before the pandemic began. On December 21st, the former Six, Two, Oh. hosted Oh!Noel, a mixed-genre holiday concert at The Rockstar Bar featuring surf rock instrumental band The Dynowaves and rappers Rick E & Kodex, and click on their names to see their well shot videos. The other band on this night was local alt-punk trio A Dire Setback, who Oh!No filmed twice for Facebook, including their cover of Motorhead's "Ace of Spades" and, as embedded below, their original "Forget This Memory". Nice Christmas attire on the guys, including what appears to be an ugly sweater on Nick!

We're almost as far away from Christmas as you can get in the year (apologies for the delay), but these are fun videos overall from a good charitable event, and  while the audio is somewhat muffled at times, A Dire Setback and the other acts all perform to their strengths! Give these videos a watch above & below, and hopefully concerts will return in some form soon!

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

Friday, June 26, 2020

YouTube Channel Profile Series: Oh!No Collective & Jonathan Spike

It's now time for this month's YouTube Channel Profiles, as we continue our monthly spotlight of YouTube channels with content at least half devoted to local metal, hard rock, and/or punk musicians, in order to give them promotion for current readers to hopefully encourage hits and subscriptions! This month's random selection gave us a channel with just three videos from two different concerts, so I picked a single-video channel to round things out with, and there's some interesting stuff here for metal and punk fans alike! Here's what you should know!
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Oh!No Collective (
Owner: A member of local concert promoters Oh!No Collective (formerly known as Six, Two, Oh. and Oh! Right Arm Promotions). Their exact identity isn't given, but my best guess would be co-founder Jamie Vincent

Channel Timeline: Launched on April 13th, 2019; Videos uploaded on December 9th, 2019

Channel Summary: Quietly launched prior to the agency's name change in September 2019, the Oh!No Collective channel only features three videos so far from two different concerts that they put on locally late last year.

Why You Should Watch: I recommend giving this channel a look to see what the Oh!No Collective was up to before the pandemic, and while they haven't posted much there yet, we may see more here when shows can safely happen again. That said, the Oh!No Facebook page has much more videos from their late 2019 concert slate to check out, including all three videos on the YouTube channel. If there were plans to re-post more Facebook videos on YouTube, then that has clearly fallen by the wayside in 2020. 

Our Recommended Videos To Check Out:

Black Mastiff at Loplops on Oct 21 '19:
The earliest video here (but last to be uploaded) is of Edmonton stoner/hard rock trio Black Mastiff headlining at LopLops Lounge on October 21st, and they can be seen here playing two songs (starting with their original "Downed By A Sound"). Their doomy southern rock has a nice groove to it in this performance, captured from two different camera angles, and while scheduling on Election Day (and a Monday) didn't help attendance whatsoever, this is a good introduction to Black Mastiff! Videos of local openers Man Feelings & Chase Wigmore were filmed for Facebook, but were not similarly uploaded to the YouTube channel.

SlumShine - Back In Blue & Blue Shift at Outspoken Brewing Dec 6 '19: Oh!No's other two videos are of local acoustic punk solo project Slumshine's headlining date at Outspoken Brewing on December 6th, including of their rendition of "Thrashmaster 10 Billion" and, in the channel's most popular video, their non-album songs "Back In Blue" and "Blue Shift". Well shot videos of Brent (pink ski mask in tow) in his element with these aggressively acoustic original songs, and the crowd sounds receptive! Despite a "special guest" also being advertised, Oh!No did not film that act for Facebook.

Jonathan Spike (
Owner: YouTube user Jonathan Spike, who I don't believe is locally based

Channel Timeline: Launched on October 17th, 2013; Only video uploaded on March 23rd, 2014

Channel Summary: Jonathan's only video is of
local/Toronto indie/punk veterans Treble Charger's music video for their hit original song "American Psycho" from their 2000 CD "Wide Awake Bored". As it turns out, this is a re-upload of the exact same copy of this video from 98Watts' channel in 2006, complete with Shrapnull Productions credits from an even earlier uploader. However, Jonathan did include song lyrics in the description, and he promised to start uploading gaming videos if he got one subscriber (which has happened, but no new videos of any kind have followed suit). Visit our profile of 98Watts channel from 2017 to read our full recap on the "American Psycho" video, but fans of Treble Charger's pop punk era won't be disappointed!


I hope you guys liked this month's  YouTube Channel Profiles! Next month in this series, we're back to a profile of a single channel, as our random selection is for Sault Michigan classical metal band Theatre of Night's channel! Consider it a Christmas in July feature, if you go for such things. Look for this on or around July 26th, and for more news soon! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

New Video Uploads From Three Local Solo Musicians!!

We're back after a couple of quiet days with a new post devoted to recent videos from local solo musicians, and we'll start with local punk musician Mikey Hawdon's conclusion of his 100 days worth of quarantune videos on his YouTube channel! If you didn't catch the references in his descriptions on Facebook and YouTube, the daily videos of "Mikey & His Uke" ended yesterday with video #100, but he is not hanging up the ukelele, just dropping to a wider release schedule so he can work on new installments without a rushed deadline (and this is presumably easier with day jobs resuming too). As for the last three daily videos, Sunday's is of Blink-182's "Dammit" with guest musicians, while Monday's is of Goldfinger's "Wayne Gretzky" (fittingly as video #99) with that band's drummer Darren Pfeiffer on hand drums and his best full hockey equipment. Embedded below is video #100, a cover of Pennywise's "Bro Hymn" with a lot of special guests!

Like last week's cover of Operation Ivy's "Unity", this cover (Mikey's longest one yet) drops the ukelele pretense very early, and it has Mikey on lead vocals alongside members of Pennywise, The Offspring, Anti-Flag, Pulley, Good Riddance, and No Big Deal, plus Darren again, George Stroumboulopoulos (seriously), and lots of familiar faces providing the chorus "Whoas", including Mikey's old Lion Ride/Detroit bandmate Brenton Ellis (now of Slumshine.) Fittingly stacked closer to the series under it's original scheduling, and it's great to see how much it has grown over three past 3 months, so check out 'Bro Hymn" below, and see much more above!

Next up, Bridge Heads/ex-Haggith frontman Curtis McKenzie has thrown his hat into the live-streamed concert arena with an hour-long performance video on his Facebook page on Monday! Over three months after hyping a Twitch live-stream that never came, Curt began by making sure everything was in working order with his setup, and introduced his set by noting that he was open to taking questions (primarily about his music career) and requests from viewers. His set began with a cover of Weezer's "In The Garage", before mentioning his renewed promotion of his music and past band pages (he even reactivated PaperClip Productions' Facebook page!) Curtis next covers The Stone Temple Pilots' "Interstate Love Song", before discussing the current status of The Bridge Heads, who only played live once before the pandemic hit and guitarist Daniel Horton moved out of town for work reasons. Curt noted that The Bridge Heads are currently planning to proceed as a trio.

While he would ostensibly be their lead singer and guitarist short term, Curtis is open to focusing on one or the other should they bring on a fourth band member. Sounds like an adaptable plan, and hopefully we see Dan back on a local stage down the road! Curt covers Collective Soul's "December", Three Days Grace's "Wake Up", and Alice In Chains' "No Excuses" next, before reiterating his current music plans, which are primarily around The Bridge Heads rather than fully resuming his solo project (he noted earlier in the video that this live-stream was more to get updated content out there.) The set resumes with covers of Lifehouse's "Hanging By A Moment", Weezer's "My Name Is Jonas", and NOFX's "Bob", before Curtis reflects on his work with the band Haggith, running through a brief Cliffs Notes version of their history. He plays their original song "Clifton Hill" from their "Deuce" album, as well as the untitled bonus track at the album's end.

Curt moves back into covers to close, including The Stone Temple Pilots' "Plush", and two System of a Down songs ("Lonely Day" & "Toxicity"), as dedicated to his 2015-2017 hard rock band Eclipse. Overall, this was a fun set with lots of strong performances, but you can tell Curt is new to a live-streamed set like this, and a sequel should be smoother for between-song banter. Also, the flashing stage lighting is very distracting for an hour-long video, and I would scrap it or at least slow it down next time. Give Curt's whole live-stream a watch below!

Finally, fellow local hard rock solo musician Tym Morrison live-streamed his 23rd at-home concert on his YouTube channel yesterday! After an unusually long 10 minute wait past the "Starting Soon" screen, the show begins, but viewers will notice that the visuals are choppy once again, which won't bode well if you're expecting a 2 hour set. Tym starts by covering Richard Marx's "Now & Forever", Air Supply's "Here I Am (Just When I Thought I Was Over You)", and Frozen Ghost's "Dream Come True", after which Tym starts acknowledging the video issues. He plays an instrumental song next, followed by Berlin's "Take My Breath Away" and Roxette's "It Must Have Been Love", but Tym spends the rest of the runtime attempting to fix the video before bailing on the stream after just over a half hour. This is the fourth straight Tuesday night show from Tym to be cut short due to technical difficulties, alas.

The audio quality was just fine, and Tym sounded as solid as ever, but the laggy video issues were never in doubt. I do like that yesterday's covers (Roxette aside) were all debuting in his live-streamed series, as far as I can recall, and hopefully tomorrow's show goes off without a hitch! Thursdays seem to have a better success rate. Give yesterday's a watch below!

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

Sunday, June 21, 2020

The Full Recap Of Mike Haggith's Newest #LockdownLive Concert!!

Single-post topic to end the weekend with, as local/Thompson, Manitoba solo artist Mike Haggith live-streamed his twelfth #LockdownLive concert onto his Facebook page last night! This episode was subtitled "The Windsor Connection", and was centered around his band output in the late 2000s before enrolling in college in the Soo. We did discuss some of his Windsor bands on the SMS way back when in our old series on out of town bands from local musicians, but a lot of this aspect of Mike's career will be foreign to many readers. If I can source relevant links to the bands and songs on offer, I will let you know! After outlining the contest where the winner with the most engaged share of the video picks the mandatory cover for next week, Mike opens by playing "I Love You Anyways", which he famously wrote in a dream at the age of 6, before including it in two of his Sault-era albums, early Din setlists, and in #LockdownLive III a few months ago.

Afterwards, Mike calls a special guest, namely Dylon Rabidoux, who fronted his 2005-2012 stoner rock band S.C.A.R. (short for Sick, Carnivorous, And Rebellious), and the guys reminisce on the good old days, including lots of discussion about their last album, 2010's "13th Circle Of Hell". Once Dylan hangs up, Mike dives into S.C.A.R.'s songs "Green Peace" & "Quiet, It's The Rainforest" (with surprise Bob Dylan pastiche at the end), a mash-up of Eazy-E's "Boyz-N-The-Hood" & "Nobody Move" that they amusingly played live (as inspired by Windsor's Daniel Rush Band), and their original "Fraction Of A Second". If you are curious, you can hear the three above original songs on S.C.A.R.'s Facebook page in studio and/or live form. Next, Mike moves to his 2010 alternative/experimenal rock band The Thorns, who gave us his next song, "As Memories Fade Away", which Mike re-recorded solo on 2011's "Suspended Animation", and you may have heard on #LockdownLive VI.

Similarly to his chat with Dylon earlier, Mike calls his old Thorns bandmate Jeff Morrell, who played bass in that group, while Mike was on lead vocals & rhythm guitar. We get lots of reminiscing about their band work and high school once again, but there is an odd break in the show when Mike has to retrieve his cat Luna from an excursion to his apartment's laundry room, deal with his neighbour's dog Chico, and then find his other cat Artemis! Once that seven minute intermission concludes, Mike returns to #LockdownLive proper, where he performs the Thorns originals "A Quarter Mile At A Time" and "A Nightmare On Reed Street", the latter prefaced by a story of him getting the actual Reed Street sign from drummer Tyler Colley when he went back to Windsor for Christmas in 2014. The latter song is on The Thorns' Soundclick page, but not the former, despite 32 songs being uploaded there. He closes this section by summing up this band's short but eventful lifespan

The final Windsor band looked at here was Mike's 2007-2009 rock band The Air, who are very obscure for social media and surviving online materials nowadays. Mike performs their original songs "The Alberta Cheese Wagon" (yes, he explains the title), a shortened version of "Clockwise", and "Exit" to wrap up his look at his hometown bands. Mike ends the show by covering Elton John's "Your Song", as nominated by last week's share contest winner Brandi Martel, and given that this was a straight-forward, sincere choice not meant to troll Mike, we do get a pleasant, non-jokey rendition here. It's up to you to determine what approach you prefer, but he handles this cover very nicely! Mike gave closing remarks afterward to sum up each band in hindsight, hyped #LockdownLive XIII this coming Saturday, which will be his "quarterly report" episode looking back at the first 12 episodes.

Strong and informative #LockdownLive installment, especially if you weren't familiar with his Windsor music, and you do hear the potential that he'd carry into his local and Thompson solo and band work! Of course, much of this music is not representative of his maturity and talents nowadays, but I think he picked some good songs here! That said, could we get another #LockdownLive episode devoted to one of Mike's old bands again, perhaps The Strange Coyotes or the acid jam-era Din? Give #LockdownLive XII a watch below, and stay tuned for more news this week! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

New Videos From Mikey Hawdon & Tym Morrison, Plus More Updates!!

Today's news post is video-heavy, but we do have some assorted recent updates to wrap things up with. We'll start with the two newest solo vocal/ukelele cover videos from local punk musician Mikey Hawdon's YouTube channel, as his daily quarantunes have hit their 97th installment! In fact, both of the two new installments have a local relevance, including yesterday's cover of Jimmy Martin's "Ain't Nobody Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone", which was inspired by hearing the song live in Nashville when he and his mom vacationed there two years ago. The rendition features three of Mikey's Tidal Records colleagues, including Jay Case on the banjo, Frank Deresti on the bass, and his old Rising Tide bandmate Sheldon Jaaskelainen on the fiddle. Nice rendition with poignant lyrics, so give that a listen above! Embedded below is today's quarantune, where Mikey covers U2's "With Or Without You" with members of 1990s local punk band The Spigots!

The cover choice is fitting, as Mikey saw The Spigots in his first ever local concert back in 1993 at The Windsor Park Hotel, and "With Or Without You" was a staple of Spigots setlists. Mikey is on ukelele, guitar, and drums for this cover, alongside Spigots alumni Trevor Hartless on vocals and Frank Guidoccio on bass. The Spigots are well before my time, but this is a solid yet loose cover, albeit with a very repetitive chorus, and it must have been a thrill to revisit the dawn of Mikey's local punk fandom here! Give this quarantune a watch below, and look for more tomorrow!

Next up, local hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison live-streamed his 22nd at-home concert on his YouTube channel on Thursday, so let's do another full recap on the SMS! You may notice that I skipped over Tuesday's show, which Tym did attempt to start, but he doesn't get to play any songs due to technical difficulties. No, the video feed wasn't glitchy, but he was clearly having problems hearing the guitar and his setup on his end, and he attempted to fix it for 17 minutes before giving up on the stream. At home, we could hear his guitar, but Tym will know better than I if things aren't working right. This is the third straight Tuesday stream of Tym's to be abbreviated due to technical difficulties, which is a very odd coincidence, but hopefully next Tuesday's isn't cursed! He did resolve the issues in time for Thursday's live-stream (embedded below), though "Starting Soon" card aside, it falls 15 minute shy of 2 hours.

In order, Tym starts by covering The Beatles' "Golden Slumbers" & Bryan Adams' "Everything I Do (I Do It For You)", before playing an instrumental composition. Afterwards, Tym tackles Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" (which the feed abruptly cuts off), Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise", Supertramp's "The Logical Song", Jim Croce's "Time In A Bottle", Phil Collins' "One More Night", 10cc's "I'm Not In Love", Tom Petty's "Yer So Bad", another instrumental, Phil Collins' "Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)", Richard Marx's "Hold On To The Nights", his Spanish guitar instrumental, and an original song named "The Reason Why", with lots of anecdotes about it's composition and how he recorded it in high school, though it's not on his CD. Tym's set closes with Gary Wright's "Dream Weaver", Billy Joel's "You May Be Right", and Pink Floyd's "Another Brick In The Wall", before thanking everyone and apologizing for Tuesday's show.

Strong set overall, and Tym performed to his usual standards despite the obviously warm temperatures! His story about "The Reason Why" and working with ex-Phatstick frontman Jason Taillefer was nice too, especially if you followed Tym's original career. However, if you're not instrumentally inclined, you may not appreciate the three vocal-less songs here, and Tym just did the Richard Marx & Billy Joel songs this past Thursday. Give the whole show a watch below, and fingers crossed Tuesday's live-stream is glitch free!

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

  • Mikey's Inner City Surfers bandmate Dustin Jones sent an acoustic cover of Cyndi Lauper's "True Colours" to SooToday for this article on Monday, which is tied into Pride Week festivities and for something the whole community can enjoy. Nicely done rendition for a great cause, so give it a look above! The video host SooToday used here does not allow external embedding. 
  • Sault Michigan classic/hard rock cover quartet Highway 63 have announced that they are cancelling their planned Rudyard Days event and all other upcoming dates "until further notice" due to a (non-COVID) health issue with one of their members, as per their Facebook page on Wednesday. The band had no shows left in our calendar as it was, but I believe Rudyard Days was the community gathering/concert that Highway 63 had discussed in April, to be held once the shutdowns ended. Hopefully we see Highway 63 back on stage in some way, shape, or form down the line!
  • It goes without saying at this point, but the Northern Vibe Festival in nearby Ophir, Ontario will not take place as scheduled next month due to the coronavirus outbreak, as per their Facebook page earlier this week. The Northern Vibe Festival only features heavier and punk bands sporadically, but their diverse entertainment on the old Hempfest grounds is always a great time, and hopefully they can return better than ever in 2021!

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

Thursday, June 18, 2020

New Quarantune Videos, Last Month's Poll Results, And More!!

As you may have noticed by now, our daily posting streak during the pandemic ended after Monday's 91st straight post on the SMS. Basically, I ended the run to help us build up stories for future posts (we were starting to run thin), and get them out on a more typical schedule like what we were doing up to mid-March, especially as "the new normal" is taking effect and the Sault area continues re-opening to the public. This regular run was good to keep everyone engaged and informed during the lockdowns, and if there is a second wave of COVID-19 forcing everything to be shut down again, I may pick things back up daily! Now, let's get to some recent updates, starting with the latest daily cover videos from veteran local punk musician Mikey Hawdon's YouTube channel! He posted three new "quarantunes" on there in as many days, including a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Second Hand News" with guest singers, notably including his long-time bandmate Amy Gabba.

The other two are punk songs, including an original song (a rarity for this series) named "I Did It All For The Dookie", and despite the Limp Bizkit allusion, it's a tribute to Green Day and their "Dookie" album. It's no secret that Mikey is a huge fan of theirs, as anyone who's seen him front the tribute band The Dookies knows, and this solo performance is fun and fits in the right spirit of the band! Comparatively speaking, it's a long video too, as Mikey's quarantunes don't generally exceed 3 minutes like this one. Embedded below is yesterday's video of Mikey & his uke, only here, his one is stacked with guest musicians! Mikey aside, this cover of Operation Ivy's "Unity" features members of Goldfinger, Less Than Jake, The Anti-Queens, Fishbone, Big D & The Kids Table, and No Big Deal. Fittingly, the acoustic ukelele pretense is dropped early for a full band performance, albeit remotely filmed.

Nice choice of song to cover, and with this all-star crew, you know everyone handles this classic very well! Strong editing by Dean too, allowing good looks at every performer, though the jumps from black and white to colour aren't ideal. Give Mikey and crew a watch below, and look for more quarantune videos above and on his YouTube channel tomorrow!

We'll finish today's post by diving into the results of last month's poll on the SMS, where we posed this question to you guys: What was your favourite local metal, hard rock, or punk concert of 2019?  Sadly, this poll only received 5 votes, but thanks to those who did chime in, and there is a clear winner, so here are the final results from the past month!

Michale Graves at The Canadian Nightclub on September 28th (2 votes, 40%)
Oh!No III (night #2) in Leeburn on September 7th (1 vote, 20%)
Anvil, Striker, and Jack Spades at Soo Blaster on June 9th (1 vote, 20%)
The Killer Dwarfs & Re:Born at Soo Blaster on April 27th (1 vote, 20%)
Joni Radford Memorial at The Algonquin Hotel on March 2nd (0 votes)
Parabol & The Elements at The Rockstar Bar on March 23rd (0 votes)
The Tea Party at The Machine Shop on March 27th (0 votes)
Dopethrone & AlgomA at The New American Pub on May 20th (0 votes)
Random Killing & Jack Spades at The Rockstar Bar on July 5th (0 votes)
Dany Laj & B.A. Johnston at The New A on November 9th (0 votes)
Other (0 votes)

After claiming the late 2019 poll last month with just as many votes, the Michale Graves concert in September narrowly wins for the whole year! Of course, 2 out of 5 votes is hardly representative, but it's encouraging to see such a strong horror punk concert win out, esepcially given it's attendance and the one year delay in the show taking place. Oh!No III's second night and the mid-2019 Soo Blaster gigs from Anvil and The Killer Dwarfs all got representation too, which won't surprise attendees of those well received concerts I am most surprised that the Joni Radford tribute concert, The Tea Party, and Random Killing didn't get votes this time out, but alas, it's all in who votes in a given poll. Thanks to everyone who did vote! For now, I will put our monthly polls on the shelf due to the 2019 cycle ending and our recent polls recieving low totals anyway. As for our usual "favourite concert in the first half of the year" poll next month..... yeah, you probably know why I'm postponing it, no point in reiterating the obvious.

It would hardly be fair of me to run a poll on early 2020 concerts when we only had live concerts for two and a half months before the coronavirus outbreak shut down the local concert industry, and while there have been noises about social distance-friendly concerts in the E.U.P., I fear we're a ways off from anything major up here, sadly. I will probably end up doing just one poll on all concerts in 2020 down the line, and who knows what the rest of the year will hold for that anyway. I'll keep you guys posted, and look for more news & notes on the site soon! Thanks everyone!

Monday, June 15, 2020

New Videos & Updates From Three Local Solo Artists!!

Yes, we can stretch our daily post streak to 91 days! Time will tell how far this goes, but for now, we have new videos from three very different local solo projects to take in, so here's what you should know!

Local/Thompson, Manitoba alt-hard rock musician Mike Haggith live-streamed his fifth #LockdownLive post-show on his Facebook page yesterday, so what all went down here? Mike started by outlining what happened in #LockdownLive XI on Saturday night, while also re-iterating the updated share contest, which has moved to the most engaged share on Facebook rather than the most shares total (so as to lessen spamming and presumably make it easier for Mike to tally the results, and Mike teased some possible format changes to #LockdownLive to boost the view count. He did reveal that the planned #LockdownLive XIII in two weeks will be a quarterly review of past installments, but the theme of this week's episode is not public yet (the private fan group may tell you that answer though!) Mike then calls the winner of the share contest live, namely first-time winner Brandi Martel, who will be a familiar sight from Din concerts during their run.

Brandi decided to be kind re: the nominated cover for next week, as she chose Elton John's "Your Song" for him to play. Luckily, Mike already loves the song, so you know he'll give it the proper respect on Saturday, assuming work doesn't postpone #LockdownLive XII! Mike also let Brandi pick an original for him to close the post-show with, and this time, she went with two, namely "Come On Home" from Mike's upcoming studio album "Bridges" (which is still planned for release by the end of the year) and "In Search Of The Perfect Moment" from The Din's debut CD. After playing them, Mike wrapped up by talking with fans watching along, letting us see his cats, and hyping up #LockdownLive XII. Entertaining after-show as usual, if a little more straight-laced than a lot of his recent live-streams have been, so check it out below, and stay tuned for much more from Mike on Saturday!

Next up, let's take a look at local punk musician Mikey Hawdon's two newest quarantune videos on his YouTube channel! Yesterday's is of him and guest musicians covering Tom Petty's "Wildflowers", but embedded below is today's 92nd straight daily video, which sees Mikey alone with his uke covering The Replacements' "If Only You Were Lonely". Both are well done in their own way, and the spare, almost country-ish take on The Replacements is effective, so give both covers a watch, and look for #93 tomorrow!

Finally for today, here's some new YouTube videos from local goregrind solo project Crucify the Whore, as uploaded to label Blood Shed Productions' YouTube channel in the past month! A lot of their recent uploads there have been related to drum & bass projects like Alegendary and Nothing Good, but goregrind fans haven't been left out, including a re-recorded version of "Fixing GTA", a 56 seconds-long track that fans will have previously heard in 2013 on C.T.W.'s "Grindshed" split with the defunct Tomgrindy. The new version is 14 seconds longer, and has a heavier and fuller sound with better production, but the pig squeal/gurgling vocals will still not be to everyone's taste. Embedded below is the full YouTube streaming copy of Tyler's new full-length release "P.C. Sells... But I Ain't Buyin'!", which you can also buy on a name your price model on Bandcamp. This won't convert non-believers (especially lyrically), but it delivers more one-man death metal action, so give it a listen for free below, and stay tuned for more updates from the Blood Shed camp!

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

Sunday, June 14, 2020

The Full Rundown on Mike Haggith's Eleventh #LockdownLive Concert, And More!!

Single topic post today, as local/Thompson, Manitoba alt-hard rock musician Mike Haggith hosted his eleventh #LockdownLive at-home concert yesterday on his Facebook page! Mike previewed the live-stream in this video an hour prior, where he announced that the theme was "Mike's Got You Covered", which would feature Mike's 12 favourite cover songs from the first 10 episodes, while also revealing that the share contest to determine a fan-requested cover song has indeed changed format, from the most shares to the Facebook share with the highest engagement (likes, comments, reactions, etc.) In this way, it alleviates spamming, and I presume this will be easier for Mike to determine a winner given how increasingly fast the shares were racking up. Plus, we get to see Artemis, and that's worth a watch alone! As for #LockdownLive XI proper, this is a somewhat shorter episode overall, only clocking in at 97 minutes, but it is heavy with songs we already heard.

After re-iterating the share contest changes and discussing some of the activity on his closed Facebook fan group, Mike begins his set with a cover of Death Cab For Cutie's "I Will Possess Your Heart" (from episode #7), before opening it up to viewers to determine rules for this week's drinking game. Next, Mike covers The Foo Fighters' "Times Like These" (from episodes #1 & 5), before tackling Tears For Fears' "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" (from episodes #4, 5, and 7), his troll cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird" (from episodes #2, 4, and 7), and Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget About Me)", which you previously heard on episodes #5 & 6. The first half ends with his share contest-dictated version of The Gourds' version of Snoop Doggy Dogg's "Gin & Juice", which memorably ended episode #9 two weeks ago.

Afterwards, Mike covers The Gin Blossoms' "Hey Jealousy" (from episode #5), Bruce Cockburn's "Lovers In A Dangerous Time" (from episodes #2, 4, and 6-7), The Barenaked Ladies' "The Old Apartment" (from episode #5), Tears For Fears' "Shout" (from episodes #2 & 5), and Prince & The Revolution's "Purple Rain" (from episode #7), before closing the cover portion with The Killers' "When We Were Young" from episode #5. Nice selection of covers overall, which will be very familiar for fans of Mike's past live-streams and concerts, especially #LockdownLive V: The Cover Story! Only three #LockdownLive installments weren't represented here, namely episodes #3, #8, and #10, which were solely based around original songs from his solo & band output, two share contest-dictated covers aside. Speaking of which, we're at that point of the show where Mike has to do his cover from the share contest, and beforehand, he does leave to put on his famed dragon onesie!

As you'll recall, Re:Born singer Elly McWatters won the share contest for a second straight week, and nominated Mike to cover "Sugar Daddy" from the musical Hedwig & The Angry Inch, as popularized for many by Neil Patrick Harris in the 2014 Broadway production. Fun cover as you'd expect, and look for another "Bob Dylan" cameo mid-song! Mike then wraps up the live-stream and encourages fans to check out the after-party in the private fan group. Time will tell when he publically announces the winner of the revamped share contest, but there's a lot of fun and familiar songs to take in via #LockdownLive XI, so check everything out below!

We'll close today with one more new video from Mike's Facebook page, namely a 5 minute compilation video of amusing "out of context" moments from the first 5 #LockdownLive episodes. Given that the theme is intentionally out-of-context clips, it'd be absolutely pointless to try and recap this one, but it is funny to watch, and that's the whole point! Give it a watch below, and look for one on episodes #6-10 in the future!

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

Saturday, June 13, 2020

New Videos From Frankly Speaking, Mikey Hawdon, And That's Chester!!

Let's dive into our 89th straight daily post at The Sault Metal Scene today, and it's a video-heavy one once again, specifically around cover performances from many familiar faces. Here's what you should know!

Veteran local classic rock cover duo Frankly Speaking held a special live-streamed concert on Facebook on Tuesday night that does have some hard rock content! While their setlist is largely not on the heavier spectrum, frontman Frank Gioia and keyboardist Frank Greco have a solid talent base and an extensive setlist that you may have seen at bars and special events since at least 2012. In fact, Frank Gioia was the featured musician in Northern Superior Brewing Co.'s final "Songs & A Six-Pack" live-streamed concert last month, so check that out if you haven't already! Shame that The Wyld Stallyns never got a redo. As for Frankly Speaking, their live-streamed concert is entitled "Healing Songs By The Fire", as the Franks are performing outside around a bonfire, which is a familiar and warm locale for many readers! This was shared onto the band's Facebook page from Frank Gioia's personal Facebook page, and was promoted with this SooToday article.

The 76 minute live-stream opens with Frank Gioia introducing the band and talking about how fire represents hope and how they want to bring everyone together in uncertain times, primarily social injustice. In order, Frankly Speaking cover Bruce Hornsby & The Range's "The Way It Is", Otis Redding's "Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay", Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth (Stop, Hey What's That Sound)", Seal's "Crazy", The Tragically Hip's "Ahead By A Century", Bill Withers' "Lean On Me", Supertramp's "The Logical Song", Joe Cocker's version of Billy Preston's "You Are So Beautiful", Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful", Queen's "You're My Best Friend", Johnny Cash's "Ring Of Fire", Elton John's "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me", and John Lennon's "Imagine". Effective set overall, and Frank & Frank have a good handle on these (mostly) classic rock favourites! You can tell that they put in the care and effort to include songs reflective of the themes of hope & healing.

Frank Gioia's between-song banter is very reassuring, and with how his speaking voice sounded, was anyone else reminded of Carl Sagan a bit? Frankly Speaking delivered a fun set, and having it take place at dusk with the sun setting was a nice touch, so give the whole thing a watch below!

Next up, we have another veteran act coming together (albeit remotely) to cover a song reflective of recent times, as the surviving members of classic/hard rock cover band That's Chester's best known lineup got together to do a rendition of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here"! Uploaded to drummer Ric Datson's YouTube channel earlier today, this features Ric alongside singer Greg Simpson (in his now-familiar smokeroom), guitarist Gabe Tessaro, and bassist Aubrey Falls, with Greg also playing acoustic guitar in lieu of the late Eugene Orlando. The video description notes that That's Chester broke up due to Eugene's passing in 2015 (their two Rotaryfest reunion sets in 2016 & 2018 excepted), and the cover is in dedication to him and everyone who's lost a friend or family member. I'm not a Pink Floyd guy, but this is a nicely done cover, and you do get the sense that this was emotionally tough to do.

The double meaning of wishing that everyone was here due to social distancing also exists, but the tribute to Eugene dominates given the optics of this particular cover, and I know how much he was missed following his sudden loss over four years ago. Give That's Chester's reunion video a watch below, and hopefully we'll see the guys on stage again down the line!

Finally for today, here's the latest "quarantunes" from prolific local punk musician Mikey Hawdon and his uke, courtesy of his YouTube channel! Two new ones are up that we haven't plugged on the SMS, including yesterday's cover of Wilson Phillips' "Hold On" featuring guest musicians from out of town. Embedded below is today's cover (#90) of The Ramones' "She's The One", and in a first for our embedding choices on the site, this is a completely solo rendition with no guests. Of course, Mikey knows The Ramones very well from his work fronting The Merves and The Gabba Heys, and he adds a soft sincerity with the solo ukelele rendition, so give it a watch below!

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