Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Our Full Rundown Of Purses, Pies, And Pinot @ Home!!

Virtual Rotaryfest wasn't alone last week in the realm of at-home concert/charity events on YouTube, as the Zonta Club of Sault Ste. Marie & Area's annual Purses, Pies, and Pinot gala for Ovarian Cancer Canada took place on Thursday, with a surprising hard rock tie! In case you don't know, the Zonta Club are a service organization who promote and advance women's statuses, and every September, they focus their efforts towards Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, which is why you saw signs and teal ribbons down Queen Street East. Normally, Zonta hosts a fundraiser gala at the Grand Gardens North where you can take part in a silent auction for purses and pies while enjoying wine, appetizers, and live music, while also learning about ovarian cancer and the Zonta Club's mission. I won't get too personal here, but ovarian cancer has deep personal resonance, so I was absolutely following what Zonta would do this month in spite of the pandemic.

As posted on the Zonta Club's YouTube channel, this almost hour-long video serves as the 2020 entertainment portion of Purses, Pies, and Pinot, with the auction being conducted online last week, so expect plugs for the auction in between the music. The gala video proper begins with a cover of Journey's "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" by a band credited as Danger Cat Covers, who are of no known relation to the defunct (and all-female) Danger Cats. I am not certain of this band's identities or background, but they have a faithful handle on this song, and the singer has pipes! Afterwards, you'll see speeches and testimonials, including messages from representatives of Zonta's 15th District (covering the Soo area and most of Michigan), host segments from long-time local news anchor Lou-Anne Young, and a comedy segment featuring Tim Murphy in character as Gina Lollointernationalbridgida leading a pie-making contest of sorts.

The next musical act is local acoustic hard rock band The Wyld Stallyns, (sans guitarist Jesse Cook), and their presence was a complete surprise to me, as they did not plug their involvement online in advance! Their at-home song is a cover of Pharrell Williams' "Happy" with Christina on lead vocals, and while not a heavy number, it's fun and upbeat, which is definitely needed nowadays. Afterwards, we get another stretch of speeches and testimonials, including a special announcement from Ovarian Cancer Canada Vice President Cailey Crawford and more pie making with Gina and friends. The next band on offer is Crackerjack Palace, a classic rock band from the Stratford area featuring Sault native Mark Diotallevi on keyboards (watch for his Dos Equis parody at the beginning.) Their remotely filmed performance sees them cover Jethro Tull's "Living In The Past", which is loose & well performed!

Following more speeches and remarks (including Mayor Christian Provenzano and more pie making action), we get a performance of "Wishing Song" by Paul Reddick, a Juno Award winning blues musician from Toronto. Even in a virtual sense, that's a big get, and the song's nice & smooth! Sault native and former Bachman-Turner Overdrive bassist Mick Dalla-Vee performs his own brand new original song "One Kind Word" next, helpfully subtitled so you can sing along, and it hits the right emotional notes! After another check-in with the pie contest, we get a cover of The Beatles' "Here Comes The Sun" by Cantation, a local women's choir filmed remotely. The ladies have nice voices, but this cover may take adjusting if you don't listen to choirs often. Some more speeches and "judging" of the pie contest (by the Algoma Repetory Theater's Marc Beaudette) follow, before the musical portion concludes with Virtual Rotaryfest performers Jay Case & Frank Deresti.

Filmed in the same outdoor location as on Saturday, the guys played "Hitchhike To Mexico" from their 2018 joint album "Working Titles", before closing remarks and an "auction" for the pies from the contest. I wasn't expecting to have so much to write about for Purses, Pies, and Pinot @ Home, but the Zonta Club and musicians put on an entertaining and informative hour, and with ovarian cancer awareness being supremely important, I hope people tune in/show their support. The music on offer was solid, if surprisingly more rock-based than I expected, so tune in below, and stay tuned for more news and notes on the site soon! Thanks everyone!

Monday, September 28, 2020

A Full Rundown Of The Virtual Rotaryfest Concert!!

As you likely know by now, this summer's annual Rotaryfest was cancelled as we knew it due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but organizers made due this past Saturday by hosting a delayed "Virtual Rotaryfest", a 2+ hour at-home concert that was posted onto SooToday's YouTube channel! While there are extra segments related to usual festival tropes and personnel, the music is the key focus, with involved artists performing two songs (save for the headliner, who gets a full half hour to close). I guess it's up to you if this officially counts as equal canon with actual Rotaryfest lineups at Clergue Park. but it is certainly better than nothing! Now, none of the performers selected for the Virtual Rotaryfest are hard rock-based, but a few SMS-friendly covers made the cut, and there are lots of familiar faces to be seen, so I want to give this a rundown! As tradition, the usual town criers open Rotaryfest, even in this virtual sense.

Co-hosted by Andrew Steutz and Rotary Club President Megan Wigmore, they introduce the festivities by discussing how everyone wanted to keep Rotaryfest going in a tough year, discussing the history of the festival since 1922, introducing a highlight reel of what the Rotary Club does in the community, and introducing this year's Take Your Pick draw. After Andrew runs through the lineup, he introduced the first act, local country singer Tyson Hanes, who allegedly would have reunited with Asylum Country had the normal Rotaryfest went forward in July. Recorded on location in Alberta, Tyson played two original songs, namely "Watch This" and "Other Than That". Next we get two originals from local folk/indie musician Jackson Reed and his band The Tweeds (ex-Pillory frontman Robert Sartini and Aldous/Vol. alum Shane Storozuk). Performing at Unsalted Audio, the guys played two originals, "Back To Me" & "Go".

After showing classic cars at Border Town Classics (in place of the Wheels on the Water car show), a plug for the Take Your Pick draw, and some remarks by stage managers Shaun Antler & Valerie Pluss, we get our first cover act of the evening, namely classic rock quintet Mustang Heart, who were annual mainstays of Stage 1 for over a decade before skipping 2019. Their at-home set sees them cover The Eagles' "Love Will Keep Us Alive" and, in a welcome bone for hard rock fans, Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O Mine"! This multi-camera video is well shot, and while the cover is slowed down, it's well handled by these local staples, especially with Marci's more than capable vocals! After discussing the annual ribs vendor competition and checking in with Billy Bones BBQ (a frequent prize winner at Rotaryfest), we get a performance from Algo Rhythms member & solo singer/guitarist Kelly McGillivray, who covers Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" ...
...and Miley Cyrus' "The Climb", followed by another Take Your Pick plug and a statement about the Rotary Club's goals. Next, we get a joint set from local/Pembroke musicians KT Antler & Kyle McKey, who you'll recognize from bands like Turner Up, Hat Trik, The Pocket, and various other acts separately. Their at-home set sees them cover Miranda Lambert's "Bluebird" and Halsey's "Without Me", preceding a check-in with Silver Bullet BBQ, a thank you message for supporting Rotary, another history moment on the first community parade, another video from Border Town Classics, and another draw reminder. The next set (filmed outdoors, even) is courtesy of prolific local folk musicians Jay Case & Frank Deresti, who play two songs from Jay's new solo album "Foundation", including "Beautiful You" & "Intend To Be". After outlining more of what the Rotary Club offers locally and plugging the draw again, we get the last opening act of the evening.

That band is country rock cover quartet Bone Yard, whose set was filmed on stage at Reggie's West with some semblance of a live audience, so this one truly has the full concert feel more than any other act! Their two songs are covers of The Tragically Hip's "Blow At High Dough" and "New Orleans Is Sinking", and while not representative of their country side, Hip fans will certainly approve! After one last plug for the Take Your Pick draw and an introduction from OLG Municipal & Community Relations Director Jake Pastore, we get our half-hour headline set from Juno Award winning local/Wiikwemkoong country/blues singer Crystal Shawanda, accompanied by her husband Dewayne Strobel on guitar, and their daughter amusingly pops up often as well. Crystal's at-home set features "Hey Love", "Church House Blues", Hank Williams Sr.'s "Your Cheatin' Heart", Patsy Cline's "Crazy" & "Walking After Midnight", "You Can Let Go", ...

...and finally, her own bluesy take on The Hip's "New Orleans Is Sinking". Of course, kudos to every musician and sponsor for stepping up and keeping Rotaryfest going in 2020, despite unprecedented challenges! Everyone did a solid job musically in their genres, and while I'd have liked to have seen some more heavy acts (or at least a "Stage 1" & "Stage 2" again), this was well put together! I will nitpick that Megan & Andrew did come across a little stiff in their hosting, especially reading off of notes when cue cards would have been ideal given the circumstances. Give the 2020 Virtual Rotaryfest a watch below, and stay tuned for more news soon! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, September 27, 2020

YouTube Channel Profile Series: Project 421

It's now time for our last monthly feature post of September 2020, namely this month's YouTube Channel Profile! This regular series looks at 1-3 randomly selected YouTube channels whose content is at least half devoted to local metal, hard rock, or punk artists or concerts, in order to spotlight what can be seen there for fans and potential subscribers. This installment features lots of strong footage of a fan favourite local band from the mid-2010s, so here's what you should know!
Project 421 (http://youtube.com/channel/UCjffE-do3Kl5Lx1UUWSmdZA)
Owner: A member of 2013-2017 classic metal/power rock band Project 421 (exact identity not stated, but my guess would be guitarist/vocalist Blair Burch)

Channel Timeline: Launched on August 19th, 2015; All videos uploaded that same day

Channel Summary: Project 421's channel features 15 videos filmed at eight concerts and two jam sessions across their first couple of years as an active band, all uploaded on the channel's inception date. Concert videos here include performances at The Algonquin Pub, The Grand Theater, and The Oddfellows Hall, among other locales.
Why You Should Watch: If you were at all a fan of Project 421 during the first half of their run, this channel will be appointment viewing, and there is a lot of old school metal and hard rock renditions to take in, plus select originals! However, many of these videos were previously posted online on other pages (our Facebook page included), and this channel has not been actively used since these videos were posted, so nothing is included from their concerts in their last two years together.

 Our Recommended Videos To Check Out: 

"No One Rides For Free" - Project 421: Three videos here come from "The Basement Sessions", as filmed in 421's then-jam space on March 9th, 2014, featuring then-new singer Curtis McKenzie (The Bridge Heads) alongside guitarists Blair Burch (Re:Born) and Frank McGillivray, bassist Daniel Horton (Jack Spades), and drummer Larry Mousseau (ex-Fitswitch). Filming is credited to PaperClip Productions, the studio that Curt & Dan co-owned during their time in the band Haggith. Alongside covers of Black Sabbath's "NIB" and Iron Maiden's "Powerslave", the guys were filmed playing their original "No One Rides For Free", which is well performed and suits their sound nicely, and from an interesting camera angle too! However, note the dark lighting and occasional visual glitches. One more jam session video from August 2015 (of their original "Into The Darkness") is also on this channel.

"Am I Evil" - Project 421: The most viewed video on Project 421's channel comes from their fourth public concert, which saw them open for Anvil & Caym at The Canadian Nightclub on March 15th, 2014, where they covered Diamond Head's "Am I Evil?" As filmed by yours truly (original URL here), I admittedly didn't have my best camera on hand for this concert, but the guys sound good on this lengthy live favourite, bolstered by Curt's strong vocal range! A higher quality video from a different filmer of them covering "Powerslave" at this show was also uploaded here.

"No More Mr. Nice Guy" - Project 421: In March 2015, a now Curt-less Project 421 took part in two local battles of the bands, including the Speak Easy Battle at Algoma University and the VM Radio Battle at The Rockstar Bar (both saw Gnaeus winning with 421 outside of the top 3.) Videos from both of these battle sets are on this channel, but the higher quality one is their Speak Easy set on March 5th, where they covered Alice Cooper's "No More Mr. Nice Guy" as the final band of the night, complete with Daniel's new short haircut. Originally filmed by SaultOnline's Mike Caruso for his own YouTube channel, this multi-camera footage is well done and edited, and while not as rangy of a singer as Curt is, Blair's vocals are a good fit for this song!

I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profile! This series will return on or around October 26th for another multiple channel feature, as the first randomly selected channel (death metal solo project Black Cloud's channel) only has three audio demos, not enough for a single profile. As such, I randomly picked two more channels who I could only realistically feature one video from each, namely Frank Thomas' channel (featuring an Offspring video from their concert here last year) and Dave Prendergast's channel (featuring a live video of his old band Nebraska Arms). Look for these next month, and for more news and notes this week! Thanks everyone!

Friday, September 25, 2020

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Soundcheck), The Inner City Surfers' New Song, And More!!

A new post today wasn't in my original plans, but with SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS hitting the news desk, I threw one together otherwise focusing on new videos from local talent on both sides of the border, including a long awaited new song. Here's what you should know!

Local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck will return to Reggie's West for concerts TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, these shows were only announced via their Facebook event page late yesterday. TONIGHT & TOMORROW'S concerts will mark Terry, Cameron, Paul, and Glen's second public concert weekend since the pandemic began, following a booking at the Reggievelt early last month. Soundcheck's fan favourite blend of classic and hard rock covers should provide an entertaining soundtrack to assembled west end fans this weekend, so despite the late notice, don't miss out! Both TONIGHT and TOMORROW'S shows have early 8:00 PM start times, 19+ age limits, and no cover charges, but be mindful of social distancing restrictions in the nightclub, wear your face masks where mandatory, and use common sense. See above for more details, and here's Soundcheck live!

Next up, local punk quartet The Inner City Surfers released their first new single in 13 years on Wednesday! Entitled "Excess Express", it is the first of three songs recorded by the reunited band last summer to see a public release, and SooToday contributor Chris Belsito spotlighted The Surfers and the single for this article posted last week. While the article still describes last summer's reunion show at LopLops as "the first time (they) were on stage together in a decade" (their actual last prior gig was in 2012), this is still a very informative article outlining what Dustin, Dave, Brad, and Mikey have been up to as of late, their thoughts behind their reunion gig and their new songs, and how natural things feel both with this song and as a group even at this stage. Definitely worth a read above! Of course, with the pandemic and Brad living out of town, who knows when the guys will hit the stage again, but at least they'll have some new songs to play the next time around!

As for the song, you can find "Excess Express" on digital streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, but we have it embedded below via their label Tidal Records' YouTube channel. As set to a lyric video featuring footage of a couple kinds of rolling, this song has that bluegrass-tinged punk sound that only The Surfers could pull off this seamlessly, albeit with raspier overall singing than long-time fans may be accustomed to. Check out "Excess Express" below, and stay tuned for the other two new songs of theirs!

Also today, here's some new videos from Sault Michigan classical metal band Theatre of Night's Facebook page! While their annual Christmas tour is on increasingly shaky ground due to the pandemic, the guys are staying busy in studio, as seen in two new clips of guitarist Steve Giles performing alongside backing tracks, and click here to watch the shorter one. Curiously, the videos are not the same aspect ratio despite a very similar setting and identical blue monochrome filter. Steve's on his game here, so fans of his strong playing will want to give these clips a watch above & below!

Finally, here's a new video from Jack Spades/Stegadeth/et al. guitarist Tiffany Stocco's YouTube channel earlier this month! Alongside re-postings of her recent acoustic covers with Buzz, her newest solo performance sees her tackle Volbeat's "Another Day, Another Way", which is totally natural given her Sault Ontario band background. She admitted that her cover isn't perfect, but honestly, I'm more distracted by the original song in the background, which is a little distorted through her camera. Tiff handles this cover well overall, so give it a look below!

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

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (The Uncanny Valley), New Videos, And Much More!!

Between the ongoing slow patch and some personal concerns, it took until Wednesday evening to get a news post on the site this week, but I think this is an eventful one! Along with a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for next week and some related videos, we have an early concert preview for this weekend (in case things remain slow in the short term), and some assorted news and updates, so here's what you should know!

Young local classic hard rock quartet The Uncanny Valley will end their pandemic-induced hiatus from the live concert stage when they make their Rockstar Bar debut on Saturday, October 3rd! Last seen opening for Heaps at LopLops Lounge back in February, it's great to see this rising young band back at it (at least at a show that's publically attendable), and with their 1970s throwback sound and impressive original content on hand, they should deliver a good time for fans next weekend! This is a one night only event, as The Rockstar Bar has generally been booking bands only on Saturdays at this stage of the pandemic. A somewhat later 10:00 PM start time is in effect for this 19+ concert, which has no announced age limit, but remember to be mindful of ongoing social distancing limitations at the venue, remember your face mask, and please use common sense. For more details on The Uncanny Valley's return to action next weekend, visit the official Facebook event page!

While we're on the subject of The Uncanny Valley, they have posted a couple of new videos on their Facebook page, so what can be seen in these? The first of the two videos was uploaded last week, and it features the guys playing 90 seconds of their new original "Sweet Like Sugar", curiously bookended with clips from Post Malone's interview on The Joe Rogan Experience, where Post actually mentioned "the uncanny valley". Musically speaking, what we hear of the song sounds promising and with a little bit of a psychedelic tinge, but the overly blue lighting and slightly blurry visuals don't help. Embedded below is yesterday's (sadly vertical) video, which features the guys practicing in their jam space, having fun, skateboarding, and most intriguingly, what appears to be them tracking music on a computer. If they're working on studio material and/or a debut album, they have yet to firmly say so on Facebook, but the talent's there! Interesting teasers, so give these a watch above & below!

Next up, due to the news slowdown of late, here's a somewhat early weekend concert preview, as local classic/hard rock solo musician Tym Morrison will return to The Motley Market on Gore Street THIS SATURDAY NIGHT to wrap up his month of Saturday gigs there! Just to clarify, the Facebook event page created for his show there this past Saturday (which wasn't live-streamed again) is scheduled to run through 9:00 PM this Saturday, so that accounts for that show and the next concert in one scheduling. I do not know yet if Tym will be back at this new vendor space/performance venue in October, but his unplugged classic and hard rock covers should go over well with assembled fans and patrons this weekend as usual! A 6:00 PM start time is in effect, there are no advertised age limits or cover charges, and please use common sense re: social distancing and face masks. Visit the above links for more details, and here's Tym live!

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

  • Local alt-punk trio A Dire Setback announced on their Facebook page this morning that they "will be doing our CD release party as soon as we feel it's not a dumb idea", though they are still willing to offer refunds if you are still holding onto your tickets from the original date in March. Nice to get some clarification that this show is still planned to go forward, but how will it look, and when will it happen? Stay tuned for updates!
  • I have moved local progressive metal solo project Kraken Mara back to our inactive band links due to a year's inactivity. Despite announcing on September 16th of last year that they had resumed activity after project leader Brendan Christie's return from work overseas, no public updates have followed on official accounts (pandemic acknowledged.) Brendan's a very talented guitarist, and hopefully we see new material from Kraken Mara down the line!
  • In a post on his Facebook page last week, local/Thompson, Manitoba solo artist Mike Haggith asked fans publically which of two dates would be best for his next #LockdownLive at-home concert: this past Sunday (which obviously came and went with no show) or this Saturday. I think there was more of a vocal response to the question in his private fan group, but does this mean that Saturday will give us #LockdownLive XV? Keep watch, in any event!

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

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Redefined - "Risk & Uncertainty" CD Review!!

It's now time for our 135th monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, and with new album releases not in any hurry at this stage of the pandemic, let's dip into the archives for a look at defunct local/St. Catharines hard rock quartet Redefined's debut studio album "Risk & Uncertainty"! Independently released after October 2001, their now-closed website erroneously credits this as a 4 song EP, possibly confusing it with one of the two preceding demos alluded to on their Geocities page's lyrics section. "Risk & Uncertainty" was primarily recorded at Easter Island Studio in Sudbury with producer Billy Bruhmuller, though the last two songs were done at Metalworks Studios in Mississauga. Redefined are represented here by future Driving Dave Home/Late Shift vocalist John Barber (recently of Parabol) and guitarist Matt Sibilo (now of Fort Creek), alongside ex-Swamped bassist Josh St. Amour and My Son The Hurricane drummer Dan (not yet Danno) O'Shea.

For the record, this review is tied in with Matt's concert at Reggie's Place with Fort Creek earlier this month. Physical copies of this nearly 19 year old CD are now out of print, but a free streaming copy was generously uploaded onto YouTube by the Oh!No Collective's Alex Moore last month, and song names below are linked to their timecodes therein. Curiously, the liner notes do not list the titles of the 10 songs on "Risk & Uncertainty", but the above lyrics page does confirm all of their names. Running for about 40 minutes, let's begin this long-awaited album review!

Redefined's first studio album begins with it's longest track, "Vertigo Center", which seems to be about trying to save yourself and be a better person. I like Josh's isolated bass tracks to lead into verses, and everyone performs well in hindsight, making this a good introduction to Redefined's very Tool-inspired sound, especially helped by John's vocals. Danno's has some catchy drum fills late, and I like how the song builds to heavy choruses, but softer lyrics can be muddled in the mix. Next is "Face Down", which seems to be themed around fear of the inevitable. The heavy choruses are where this song shines, especially compared to the somewhat shaky verses, with John's angrier singing flowing really well as the intensity varies. Strucutrally, this song isn't as technical as the opener, and it could use more lyrics, but it gives Matt a good showcase for heavy hard rock riffing, and while I may be biased from it's long presence on their old PureVolume page, it is pleasantly familiar!

The third song is "M.T. Bundies", which you may recognize as the heaviest track on the well-remembered compilation album "Foggy Style Volume 1", put out by the former Foggy Notions nightclub circa 2003. I already looked at this song on the SMS last June in my review of "Foggy Style", so I won't go into the same detail again, but I now know that this song is the shortest on "Risk & Uncertainty", and it's lyrics reference wanting to end a relationship. In short, I liked the tonal shift from the ska-inspired verses to the heavy choruses, and everyone delivers musically, especially Josh on bass, and this is a highlight on both this album & "Foggy Style"! Afterwards, we have the CD's partial title track "Risk", which seems to allude to unfairness & depression. I like the psychedelic guitar work, and as on "M.T. Bundies", this one veers a little away from the Tool influence in the intense chorus.

The vocals seem a little forced on the verses, the late breakdown feels out of place, and the ending on just a quiet drum hit didn't feel right, but this is a solid track for modern hard rock fans all the same! The first half of the CD concludes with "Fellow Bedwetter", a metaphorical title referencing a predestined fate you can't change. The first half of the song is largely a nice instrumental showcase, but when John jumps in, the Tool-esque sound becomes fully formed again, and the choruses are very catchy. The plodding bridge is a slight buzzkill though. Everyone gets moments to shine, and Matt & Josh are a good compliment in particular, so this is definitely another album highlight for me! Song #6 is "Shackles", where one speaks up against a bad influence or oppressor holding them down. The verses have an odd carnival music cadence to them, but like on "M.T. Bundies", they contrast well with the heavy choruses, and don't feel as out of place as the isolated bass in the bridge.

I am admittedly not a fan of the isolated moan before the last chorus, and I did detect some shakiness as the song got heavier, but the song works for fans of Redefined's heavier songs, if not as technical as some others. That's followed by "Mad At Me", which seems like it's about regretting not introducing yourself to a crush. This one has a little too much of a stop/start structure for my liking, and the solo bass from Josh is getting overdone, but John's singing is well controlled, and Dan's technical drumming is arguably his best yet on the CD! Definitely not my favourite song as a whole, but elements do work. Eighth is "Travis Walton" (I don't know if that's named after someone specific), which seems to be about confusion and mixed messages.  The fast instrumentation outside of the main verses is very welcomed by this metalhead, especially the crushing breakdown at the end, and I like the lyrics too! That said, this is by no means a technical showcase.

There are stronger compositions, but I can see this song going every very well live, and Matt & Danno particularly shine here. The penultimate song is "Insane Dog", which has themes of demanding & deserving honesty. A very Tool-ish structure to this song (not a surprise, given many of the players), this all works in it's favour, aside from Josh's isolated bass tracks, which are well performed but grind things to a halt again. I liked where it was going, but it felt like the song got too repetitive after a while despite strong musicianship. The album closes with "People On Skis", which is the most lyrically ambiguous song on offer, especially given the title. I like the staccato riff to start this one, and the song itself has a catchy, high energy rhythm with nice soaring vocals from John. Everything comes together nicely, including one of Josh's best performances, and it's a solid closer overall!

So, what are my final thoughts on Redefined's debut album, almost two decades later? While not perfect, this is a strong first effort with solid songwriting, especially given the guys' age at the time, and having a Tool-influenced band locally in 2001 must have been a thrill in that regard! Some songs definitely reminded me of Maynard and company, but others were primarily from John's singing, whch was a consistent presence, if shaky at times on softer verses. Matt showcased a good technicality to his playing, if sans guitar solos, while Josh's bass work had really impressive moments, and Danno's drumming was often very impressive, if a departure from the brasshop collective we all know and love today. I like the creative lyrics they used too, with lots of metaphors and a sparing inclusion of their song's titles. That said, there were things to address. Tool is a great influence, but it would have been nice to get more musical variety on offer.

Guitar solos would have been a help, and the occurrences of Josh playing bass alone between verses got a little old after a while. The production quality was good given the age, but softer stretches could be muddled. I can't speak for Redefined's 2004 recording sessions that gave us "Pitters" (did the intended EP ever come out?), but "Risk & Uncertainty" was a solid debut from this talented band who had a lot more to offer through the mid-2000s, and it's definitely worth checking out for new and old fans alike! Give it a look at the above links, and I hope you guys liked this month's CD review! As for next month in this series, I am unsure what I'll be looking at yet, but here's what I do know. A new paid album release from a heavier or punk band will take precedence, and our next "Where Are The New Albums?" post will have hints to that end on October 2nd. If we have to dip into the archives again, our 6 month anti-bias buffer period remains in effect.

As such, do not expect Redefined's 2004 EP(?) or an Inner City Surfers or Chase Wigmore release next, but anything else unreviewed within genre range is fair game. Given the lack of concerts nowadays, I couldn't begin to suggest a convenient tie-in album yet, but who knows what the fall season holds, and I will keep you posted in the weeks ahead, but stay tuned for more news & notes on the site this week! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Fort Creek & Tym Morrison) And A Local Musician's Return!!

I like to ensure that there is a new post of some kind at least every 3 days, even with news at a crawl, and we're keeping that up tonight with LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (one on short notice) and lots of info on a former mainstay behind the drumkit and his return to active music uploading. With all of that said, here's what you should know!

Local classic/hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison will return to The Motley Market on Gore Street for two more Saturday evening gigs THIS SATURDAY and next weekend! Apologies for the short notice on the former date, Tym only announced both shows on their Facebook event page yesterday. Note that the event page lists this booking as one show as taking place for one week + 3 hours, but that appears to be just a way to encompass both dates, and this does go along with his regular Saturday schedule at the Market in September. No word yet on if he will be playing there next month, let alone on a similar weekly basis, but don't miss out on his unplugged hard and classic rock covers there on SATURDAY and next week! For what it's worth, Tym did not live-stream his Motley Market gig this past Saturday for unannounced reasons, so the jury's out on if he will do so in two nights. Hopefully he hasn't given up on the live-streams, they were a fun regular sight for his fans during the pandemic!

As recently usual for his Motley Market bookings, THIS SATURDAY and next Saturday's shows have 6:00 PM start times, no announced cover charges, and no age limits, but be respectful of the venue, which is a non-traditional locale for concerts and hosts other vendors (and of course, use common sense re: social distancing). Visit the above links for more details, and here's Tym live at the Motley Market earlier this month!

Next up, local southern hard rock quintet Fort Creek have announced their second and third public concert dates (open mic/jam nights aside), and both are next month, so fans have time to prepare! The first one will see the guys return to the newly re-opened Reggie's Place for one night only on Saturday, October 3rd (the band says they are back by popular demand), so if you didn't see their live debut or want to check out the downtown Reggies anew, keep this date in mind! The other new date is a week later on Saturday, October 10th, when the Halfway Loaded successors make their debut appearance at The Rockstar Bar, and it will be great to see Fort Creek rock a new venue (for them) as the fall season winds along! Both shows have an 8:00 PM start time, 19+ age limit, and no announced cover are in effect for both shows, but of course, mind the social distancing regulations and limited seating. Visit the Reggie's show's official Facebook event page and the above links for more details, and stay tuned for updates!

We'll close today with some new videos from local hard rock musician Joe Falco's YouTube channel! Though we haven't seen Joe on a local stage in a long while, he has been staying busy in the past 4 months with new solo videos with him on vocals and guitar, albeit not branded as "The Joe Falco Experience" anymore. Here, he uses the handle JoeJitsuMusic, partially referencing his Brazilian jiu jitsu pursuits that the channel documented from last year onward, and you can support his music and BJJ work by backing him on Patreon. There is a lot of ground to cover here, which old fans of his drum work with No Arrow and Faithless Sin will definitely want to explore, and we will cover those bands' uploads in a future post. For now, let's start with Joe's solo videos, which include many diverse covers and even some demonstrative videos to showcase his gear, including his beautiful Kerry King Warlock guitar, plus some a handful of jam and improv videos.

From the past 4 months, you can see or hear Joe cover The Counting Crows, Willie Nelson, The Goo Goo Dolls, Evanescence, Seether, The Meat Puppets, Creed, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Incubus, Radiohead, Marcy Playground, Eric Clapton, and even Bubbles & The Shitrockers!? Don't think that Joe is just doing covers though, as he has posted at least two original (non-improv) compositions, including "Teary Blue Eyes" (a softer ballad with full instrumentation) and "Dancing In Summer's Rain" (a classical piece). Joe tackles a wide array of influences here, which won't surprise fans of his old classic rock band Flashback, and if you're more familiar with him as a drummer, you may be surprised to see some very solid guitar performances on his channel, especially after 9 years of not playing! Vocally, he has a good melody that is very adaptable, but on many of his covers, the singing is drowned out under his electric guitar (a microphone would be very handy in this regard.)

Joe last posted a solo cover two weeks ago, but will more arrive on his channel in the near future? To embed here, I wanted to pick one of Joe's solo videos that showcased his talent beyond just one song, so I settled on this black and white video from August, where he improvised over 50's G major progression with some solos and teaser covers, though you have to identify them yourselves. It is great to see Joe working on new music again, so give everything solo a look above, and stay tuned for his archive videos soon!

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

Monday, September 14, 2020

New Videos & Lots Of Assorted Updates!!

News has continued to be slow as of late, so let's tackle a bunch of shorter stories today, along with some new videos! We'll start with the first live concert footage of new-ish local southern/hard rock quintet Fort Creek, courtesy of their one-off gig at the newly re-opened Reggie's Place on Friday, September 4th! Filmed by attendee Justyne Gilbert and shared from her personal Facebook page onto the band's Facebook page, this has Fort Creek covering Thriving Ivory's "Angels On The Moon", which is in tribute to frontman Justin Grayson's grandmother, who passed away in 2007. The performance is well done and suitably emotional, if not a showcase of their heavier chops, and everyone tackles their instrument nicely! However, the vertical camera angle isn't ideal, and Robin's usually obscured from view. The new Reggie's looks good, though I assume the band is cordoned off due to social distancing. Give it a watch below!

Next up, here's a new acoustic cover video from Guitar Gangsters bandmates Erik "Buzz" Boissineau and Tiffany Stocco, courtesy of Buzz's YouTube channel on August 28th! Some viewers may have caught this on CTV News Northern Ontario two weeks ago at the end of the 6:00 PM newscast, but it's on YouTube for all to see, and it has the ex-Garden of Bedlam frontman and Stegadeth frontwoman covering Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt" with Buzz on vocals. Nicely done cover of this dark ballad, and Buzz's singing is a nice match, so give it a watch below, and hopefully they have more in the works!

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

  • Blood Shed Productions have announced that they will be hosting a private bonfire jam this Saturday entitled "For Bunk Sakes & Headaches". The event will take place at "the park", but you have to contact the label for the specific address. Message Blood Shed at this link or above for full details if you are interested in attending!
  • Despite a shared Facebook post on February 4th indicating that frontman Henry Switzer wasn't ready to play a full concert due to health issues, now-defunct Sault Michigan classic/hard rock quartet Highway 63 did play at The Rapids Lounge at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino on Friday, March 13th, which was the last weekend before the full-scale lockdown, as per a comment thread by ex-Full Throttle guitarist Jason Lamoreaux on their Facebook page. Given Henry's earlier post, I opted not to cover this concert at the time on the SMS, which I learned went forward too late. My sincere apologies, hopefully it was a good show!
  • Sault Ontario/Thompson, Manitoba alt-hard rock musician Mike Haggith was interviewed by Camille Mola of the Philadelphia-based lifestyle blog Positive Publicity last month, where he discussed his experiences during the pandemic, his musical background, what inspired his new album "If Ever Comes The Day" (he's more candid than ever about it here), and his future plans. Entertaining and informative read, so give the interview a look at this link!
  • SooToday's James Hopkin posted this article onto the local news website on August 28th, which discusses the transition back into hosting live music for local nightclubs. The article features interview remarks with the owners of Soo Blaster (which has resumed live music) and Coch's Corner & The Whiskey Barrel (both of which hadn't at press time), and it is a good read to see how different venues are adjusting to "the new normal" and social distancing limitations when trying to host even one band on a given night. This has been a rough year, but hopefully things will ease up before we know it!
  • Sault Michigan hard rock trio Tarnished announced yesterday that their planned live-streamed concert on Facebook on Wednesday has been put on hold, due to concerns about reported changes to Facebook's terms of use agreement that would penalize or take down accounts that included copyrighted music in videos. News articles since seem to have cleared up the concerns of many Facebook content creators (covers seem to be alright, but not the original recordings), but in any event, Tarnished indicated that they'd look into doing live-streams on other platforms. Stay tuned for updates either way!
  • I have deleted local extreme metal solo project X's & Y's from our Sault Michigan band links due to the quiet deletion of their Facebook (and only online) page at some point in the past two months. Led by Werehold Records founder and ex-Life's Eclipse guitarist Jason Mills, X's & Y's had sporadic updates between December and June, including a handful of videos. I was glad to see Jason working on new music again, and hopefully he resurfaces in some form!

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

Friday, September 11, 2020

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Tym Morrison) & His Newest Live-Stream!!

Single topic post on this Friday night, all devoted to a SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERT and attached new concert video, and primarily due to the latter note, there's a lot to take in here, so let's get things rolling!

Local hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison will play his sixth acoustic solo concert at The Motley Market on Gore Street TOMORROW! Apologies for the short notice, Tym only announced the show via it's Facebook event page yesterday. This will be the third straight Saturday gig for Tym at this new downtown performance space and vendor market, but if he has a weekly arrangement there like his still-on-hiatus Gliss dates, he hasn't firmly said so on his public band pages. Still, despite the late notice, it's great to see a hard rock musician playing live in any fashion as the pandemic winds along, and hopefully there's a solid (yet social distance-minded) crowd TOMORROW! No word on if he will have the camera rolling for a live-stream again, but he hasn't missed at this venue yet! Unlike his past Motley Market standalone gigs, this will have a later-ish start time of 6:00 PM, and while there are no announced cover charges or age limits, use common sense if you come out for this concert.

See above for more details, and for a preview, let's finally discuss Tym's live-stream of his last Motley Market show this past Saturday, as viewable on his YouTube channel. I held off on talking about it in case he had a short notice show there again this weekend, and lo and behold! If you like Tym's solo concerts, you are in luck, as Saturday's live-stream ran for 3 hours & 17 minutes, easily his longest to date, and with no S.O.Y.A. presentation in the middle like on the previous Monday's 3+ hour video, that does means more music for fans! The set proper begins about 3:40 into the video with covers of Jim Croce's "Time In A Bottle", Ludwig van Beethoven's "Piano Sonata No. 14", The Beatles' "Here Comes The Sun", Van Morrison's "Have I Told You Lately", and Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive", before bringing back his jazz instrumental. Covers resume with the Cutting Crew's "(I Just) Died In Your Arms", Phil Collins' "One More Night", Oasis' "Wonderwall", ...

...The Romantics' "Talking In Your Sleep", Amanda Marshall's "Dark Horse", Chris de Burgh's "Lady In Red", and Prince & The Revolution's "When Doves Cry", after which Tym takes a 20 minute break that is oddly split by an instrumental version of Red Rider's  "Human Race". When he returns for good, Tym picked things back up by doing that song again (now in full), Roxette's "Listen To Your Heart", Toto's "Hold The Line", Berlin's "Take My Breath Away", Amy Holland's "Shooting For The Moon", Bryan Adams' "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You", The Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", Alice Cooper's "Only Women Bleed", Amanda Marshall's "Trust Me (This Is Love)", David Wilcox's "Riverboat Fantasy", and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's "Fishin' In The Dark", before closing set #2 with an instrumental composition. This break runs for 12 minutes, and he kicks off his third and final set of his 42nd live-streamed concert by playing his regular Spanish guitar instrumental.

Next, Tym covered Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters", Firehouse's "Love Of A Lifetime", and Journey's "Open Arms", before playing a softer instrumental track. The concert and live-stream wrap up with covers of Kiss' "Rock & Roll All Nite", The Bangles' "Eternal Flame", Aerosmith's "Dream On", Fleetwood Mac's "Never Going Back Again", and finally, another rendition of "Human Race", though Tym did acknowledge before the third take that he was still trying to figure it out. 36 songs in 3+ hours, this was quite a marathon to watch and assess! Tym's performances are as solid and reliable as ever, despite his still minimal banter with assembled fans (watch for The Comic Book & Magic Man), and it's neat seeing the Motley Market slowly add to it's interior layout! However, we just heard "Fishin' In The Dark", "Eternal Flame", "Dream On", and the jazz & Spanish instrumentals in the previous Monday's live-stream.

Also, the dreaded video lag does rear it's ugly head during the second & third sets, which will be all too familiar for regular viewers of Tym's at-home shows, and if there was a way to remedy it, Tym wasn't manning the camera the same here.  Fun concert overall, with standby and somewhat newer songs alike to check out, so give it a watch below, and don't miss Tym at the Motley Market TOMORROW NIGHT, new live-stream or not! Thanks everyone!