Tuesday, March 30, 2021

New Guitar Playthrough Videos, A Vocal Cover, And More Recent Updates!!

For our presumed final post of March 2021, we're looking at some recent video uploads, two being playthrough performances towards upcoming album releases, and one being a solo cover, while some assorted news items round things out. We'll start with St. Ignace, Michigan progressive metal quintet Heavy Lies The Crown, who uploaded a new guitar playthrough video for their new original song "Choke" on their YouTube channel two weeks ago! Apologies for the delay, it just fell through the cracks. Filmed and edited by vocalist Brandon West, the black & white clip features guitarist Ted Olson playing along to the song, giving us out best glimpse yet of "Choke", if not completely in it's final studio form. I'll hold comment on the song pending the final album release (no word yet on when that will be), but extreme metal fans will want to hear the "Choke" playthrough for themselves below, and watch out for the 8 ball!

Next up, let's head north to Sault Ontario for another guitar playthrough video from a local band working on a studio album, this time courtesy of progressive metal duo Kraken Mara's YouTube channel! Like for their "Vibe Check" playthrough video, this was published well in advance to "premiere" on YouTube yesterday, but unlike then, this solely features guitarist Jake Valois across multiple camera angles (some in motion). The song featured here is "MinMaj" (short for "minor major", I assume?), and if you want some more technical prog metal, you'll want to give this a look below, but stay tuned for more on their upcoming "Press Start" EP when it rolls in!

Also, here's another new solo cover from ex-Sense of Truth/Skeyes of Seven frontman Cory Murchison's YouTube channel on Sunday, though unlike his usual recent uploads, this is just a vocal cover along with the original track, karaoke style, with no guitar. Here, Cory is covering Audioslave's "Like A Stone", though with an odd video filter that ghosts his movements. Nicely sung rendition overall, if a little "rocked up", so to speak, compared to the original, but give Cory's new cover a watch for yourself below!

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

  • If you've noticed that local alt-punk trio A Dire Setback have recently been playing live-streamed concert jams on Twitch and are wondering why we don't cover them on the SMS, it's because none have been saved to watch on demand, and they appear to be streamed only the once for live viewers. If they do happen to store any to watch after the fact, we will absolutely discuss them here, but in terms of the live airing... I'm lucky to hear about them while they're in progress, let alone early!
  • Prolific local folk punk/extreme metal musician Chase Wigmore announced on his Facebook page on March 19th that he is "almost finished with something that is on an entirely different level of magnitude than my normal work". Does this reference his long-gestating and long-running "A Kid Named Todd" rock opera, or something else entirely? Stay tuned for updates!
  • New local hard rock band Dealing Without have added ex-Redundant/Elements bassist James White and former Re:Born singer Robert Nevitt (guitarist Rick Atkins' old Big Mistake bandmate) to their lineup, as per their Facebook page earlier this month. Now, existing singer Jordan Rains does not appear to have left the band, so how will Dealing Without juggle two singers in a genre that normally doesn't require them? We'll keep you posted, but Rob & James should be solid additions!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and features on the site in the month ahead! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, March 27, 2021

YouTube Channel Profile Series: themarkylion & Buzz Ineau's Channels

It's now time for our last monthly feature post of the first quarter of 2021, namely this month's YouTube Channel Profile! This series looks at 1-3 YouTube channels (two this month) that were randomly selected from our YouTube subscriptions of channels with at least half of their content devoted to local metal, hard rock, and punk musicians/concerts.As the first channel we randomly drew only had one actual locally based project in it's two uploads, I picked one with two distinct video kinds to fill things out, but both have familiar faces to many fans from their local work that you can check out through their channels! Here's what you should know!


themarkylion's Channel (http://youtube.com/themarkylion)

Owner: Prolific local punk musician Mark Rand (a.k.a. Marky Lion), who previously performed as a guitarist and bassist with local bands like Bin Hawdon & The Taliband, Bondar, DDPBB, Detroit, Fuller, hackthemodem, and Lion Ride (among many others), as well as a few bands in his current Southern Ontario homebase, most notably his current hardcore punk trio Cross Dog.

Channel Timeline: Launched on February 9th, 2008; Only videos posted in December 2009 & September 2010

Channel Summary: A personal use channel that hasn't been visibly updated in over a decade, Mark only posted two videos here from two different projects, and despite utilizing his Lion Ride moniker in his username, that band isn't one of them. One is a slideshow for his song "Question" from his 2010-2011 Southern Ontario-originated solo project (credited here to M.R.B., as in "Mark Rand Band"), which fans of his music should definitely enjoy! Featured here is Mark's upload of his local hardcore punk supergroup Detroit's minute-long 2009 original "Darth Vader" from their "Brace For Impact" EP, also featuring then-Lion Ride bandmates Brent Ellis & Mikey Hawdon on vocals and drums, plus fellow Saultite guitarist Curtis Faux. Blistering and explosive track for genre fans while it lasts, but you'll have to seek the rest of the EP out elsewhere on YouTube.


Buzz Ineau (http://youtube.com/channel/UCRvcsVp2Fh0PSzemTFTsYjA)

Owner: Local alternative & hard rock singer/guitarist Erik "Buzz" Boissineau, best known locally for fronting bands like Barfly, Changing Lanes, Garden of Bedlam, and The Guitar Gangsters, as well as Toronto's Midnight Traffic.

Channel Timeline: Launched on May 2nd, 2020; Videos posted from July of last year through earlier this month

Channel Summary: Launched during the pandemic when he couldn't play live, Buzz has dedicated his channel to acoustic covers, presently including two solo performances from this month and two featuring his Guitar Gangsters bandmate Tiffany Stocco on second guitar from last summer.
Why You Should Watch: If you want to see current musical work from Buzz (and Tiffany), even in unplugged at-home form, this is the best spot to do so, and Buzz even got some MCTV airtime from these covers, so they're finding an audience! This is a rare case in this series where the
channel we randomly picked is still very much in active use, so look for more videos here soon!

 Our Recommended Videos To Check Out:
Nine Inch Nails (cover) “Hurt”: The most viewed video on Buzz's channel is of he and Tiffany covering Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt" this past August, joining their preceding cover of The White Buffalo & The Forest Rangers’ “Come Join the Murder” (as seen on Sons of Anarchy). Buzz & Tiff handle "Hurt" well in this format, and Buzz does use his vocal range more than Trent did!

John Lennon (cover) “Imagine”: When Buzz resumed posting on his YouTube channel earlier this month, he did so via two solo acoustic covers of more emotional classics. His newest rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" has gotten more attention, but we just talked about it on the site 11 days ago, so let's shine a light on his less-viewed cover of "Imagine" by one of my mom's favourite musicians, John Lennon. Solidly effective cover that makes great use of Buzz's vocal range, despite it's sharply high camera angle, so fans of his dormant band work will want to see what he's up to here!


I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profile! This series will return on or around April 26th when we look at a single randomly selected channel, namely YouTube user metalmaster666's channel, featuring a handful of mid-2000s hard rock performances at Dunnplugged-related events! Watch for that then, and for a new news post of some kind in the coming days! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Fort Creek Concert Previews, Plus New Solo Performance Videos!!

I have a new news post to check out on this Thursday evening, including new videos from two familiar local frontmen, and leading off, weekend concert previews for a returning band to the pandemic-limited concert scene in the next couple of days! Here's what you should know!
Local southern/hard rock quintet Fort Creek will play their first concerts of 2021 when they return to Reggie's West TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Despite being one of the few heavier local acts to play live with pandemic restrictions last fall, Fort Creek didn't immediately jump back into action last month, with Bones' recovery from an unspecified injury a possible factor. With extra time to practice and get ready, their brand of classic, southern, and hard rock covers should go over very well with assembled fans at the Reggievelt this weekend! As per usual for the few concerts we're getting at this stage of the pandemic, these are 7:30 PM events with no cover charges and 19+ age limits, though please respect the venue's social distancing measures if you choose to come out. Also, note that Fort Creek will be giving away some merchandise, so if you want some free stuff, keep that angle in mind! See above for more details, and here's Fort Creek live!

Next up, here's an hour-long live-streamed concert from Bridge Heads/ex-Haggith frontman Curtis McKenzie! If you know Curt personally beyond his bands, you may be familiar with his live-streaming endeavours on his Twitch page under his handle Deadshot5150_, and he has uploaded a number of videos of him playing Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War in the last couple of weeks, which gamers may be interested in checking out. Musically, he has referenced doing live-streamed shows there on social media, but sadly, only one is still up to check out, which aired this past Friday. Apologies for missing ones that were taken down beforehand, Twitch still isn't a frequent site for SMS purposes. In order, you can see Curtis acoustically cover Silverchair's "Tomorrow", Collective Soul's "December", The Stone Temple Pilots' "Interstate Love Song", Weezer's "My Name Is Jonas", ...

...Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here", Velvet Revolver's "Fall To Pieces", Guns 'N Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine", Nirvana's "About A Girl", Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive", Blink-182's "All The Small Things", an extended instrumental jam (complete with capo), Collective Soul's "Shine", and lastly, a rough & unrehearsed version of The Outfield's "Your Love". Nice to see Curt playing music again, if only in a video, and he sounds good on vocals & guitar as you would expect given his talents! Lighting is so-so, but the audio quality more than makes up the difference. It's worth noting that Curtis does not explicitly reference the Soo or hia bands during the video, as his audience on Twitch (1,200 followers strong!) is largely not local. I can't get Twitch's current embed code to work on Blogger, but watch Curt's live-stream at the above links before it gets taken down(?), and hopefully he has more ahead!

Let's close with a video that I have no problem embedding, courtesy of Inner City Surfers/Rising Tide frontman Dustin Jones's YouTube channel! There's more to talk about from here that we've missed over the winter, but a good starting point is this parody adaptation of Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends" that he uploaded in December, only replace "September" with "2020" for obvious pandemic-related reasons. I have to agree with Dustin in many ways here! Filmed at Mission Control Studios, this obviously isn't a full parody, but it's fun while it lasts, so give it a watch below!

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

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Swampgut - "Swampgut" Album Review!!

It's now time for our 141st monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, as we're taking a look at reunited local "shield rock" duo Swampgut's self-titled debut studio album! While not technically their first "album", their four prior releases are live recordings from jam sessions. Independently released on February 19th via their Bandcamp page, "Swampgut" was recorded locally at their home studio Spiderpotty Records, and was later mixed at 62nd Chamber Productions by ex-AlgomA bandmates Boyd Rendell and Kevin Campbell. Swampgut are represented here by singer/drummer Frank McCormick and guitarist Rob MacDonald, with other instrument roles on select songs credited on Bandcamp where appropriate, while former 12 Gauge Ready bassist Dave "Beano" Barrett guests on tracks #3-4, and Boyd & Kevin are also credited for supplying sound effects.

Exclusively a digital release (remember, Swampgut are a studio project), you can buy this album at the above links for $5 or more if so inclined. As usual for Bandcamp, the album is free to stream there as well, but consider buying it to support Swampgut's work! With 11 tracks running for just under an hour in length, let's begin this album review!

The opening song's title is entitled "Canadian Shield Rock", and is effectively their mission statement about who they are & what they play. After an introduction with bubbling water, the song proper takes on a 1970s funk rock vibe with a fun, bouncy atmosphere, if not really that evocative of the Canadian Shield itself. Listen for horn and violin input, even! Frank's vocals are a wide contrast from the music, taking on an almost rap rock vibe with punk-style chorus shouting, which I didn't expect! In a sense, this song serves a purpose to showcase Frank & Rob's influences and carefree approach to Swampgut, and I can totally picture this in a '70s cop show, but fans of their heavier side may be left wanting. Next is "VoodooTranceMission", whose in-your-face lyrics are about giving someone the voodoo they want/need.

Another funk-based track, Frank's vocals here are buried in the mix, but their rapid fire nature is fun, and they do fit the music a little better here! Again, I am getting a distinct 1970s funk vibe, but the guitar work is solid, and you can tell everyone had fun working on this! For me, I prefer the opener for the more audible vocals and less repetitive structure. Third is "Middle-Class White Boy Blues", which talks of religious skepticism and finding inspiration in life. The first of two consecutive songs with Dave on guest bass, this one is suitably slowed down to better match the blues, but the music proper still has a funk layer, and everyone gets some solo moments to shine, including Frank's best singing so far! That said, I'm not sure that the funk/blues marriage was done to it's fullest, and it did start getting repetitive as it went along.

Song #4 is "Where Is My Snake?!?!", whose lyrics are all over the place, with allusions to voodoo, funk, snakes, and witch doctors crammed into it's relatively short runtime (for Swampgut standards. ) I hate to keep comparing these songs to 1970s funk music, but that is very evident here once again, and the vocals here even almost strike me as James Brown-esque?! Still muffled in the mix at times though. Dave's bass work is a nice fit, and the percussion is catchy. Not especially heavy, but fans of the opening two tracks will be right at home here! That's followed by "Lake Incarnate", very much inspired by nature of the area, and I believe some First Nations references come into play too. While "Lake Incarnate" is thematically similar in sound to prior tracks, this is a slower and more deliberate song that emphasizes Frank's singing more, and even has some rattling sound effects late.

Well performed song that takes a bit of a change of pace without sacrificing what Swampgut are all about, and it's a nice diversion as we near the mid-point, and it's a highlight on the album so far despite not being overly funky! Next is "Batchewana Baby", which is sort of a love song, albeit with a lyrical "who we are" approach similar to the opener. The drawn out opening minute hardly felt necessary, but once the song kicks into proper gear, it's on a very similar fast paced funk rock track as "Where Is My Snake?!?!?", with boisterous raspy vocals from Frank and fun guitar riffs from Rob. Despite it's 6+ minute length, it doesn't feel repetitive or overlong, which is a good sign. Solid track that fits in the album's general wheelhouse, but I'd have chopped the first minute or so off. Seventh on the album is "On The Lake", about enjoying oneself at the lake and feeling the vibrations therein.

The first song on offer that really doesn't have much in the way of a funk influence, this is the most reserved and personal-feeling song on this album so far. It's well performed, and Frank sings with conviction and purpose, but honestly, I'd have cranked the instruments down a little more and went full ballad with it. Without the loose sense of humour and funk stylings of prior tracks, I can't recommend it as strongly, but it's nice to see Swampgut expand their horizons, including with a rare guitar solo late! Next up is "Some Funk", which is the shortest song on the album and the first of two instrumentals, title shouts aside. From seeing the title alone, you should know what you're getting with this song, and it delivers the requisite funk with vim & vigor, and the guys have room to let loose despite the run time!

Ninth on "Swampgut" is "The Factory Falls", about the sudden collapse of a steel factory at the hands of nature. Vocally (if not musically), this is the album's heaviest song, with Frank letting loose with some more aggressive, purposeful singing on the choruses. That said, the deliberate plonking instrumentation is not a good fit, especially as they never vary until the last minute of a 6+ minute song. Missed opportunity to get really heavy or ominous given the subject matter. I like where it's going vocally, but I'd have approached the music very differently. The penultimate song (and last of the two instrumentals) is "Ebb", and honestly, it's not really a song, instead compiling 5 minutes of sound effects, background noise, and increasingly loud instrumentation.

That said, it has all of the ominous qualities that I wish "The Factory Falls" had, and if they had made it a little more tuneful, I think it'd suit Frank's vocals better! On it's own, it'd be a good eerie backing track in a score. The album closes with it's longest track, the near-7 minute "Red Rock Blood", which starts off similarly to "Canadian Rock Shield" lyrically, but soon divulges into a violent personal crusade against people not respecting the region and nature. This is the only full-on hard rock song on the album that has both vocals and music that would fit the subgenre, so of course, I find that the album ends on a high note! Not much of a funk vibe, but the song is always going in forward motion, and is an upbeat listen despite Frank's increasingly angry vocals. Solid bass line too, and I think this would play well in a live setting!

The song is too long for it's own good though (especially with the extended finish), and Frank's ranting can be muffled once again, but if you want to hear Swampgut's heavier side, this is the song for you, albeit with no time to spare! So, what are my final thoughts on Swampgut's debut studio album? While uneven in quality, it delivers the goods for funk rock fans who appreciate the natural beauty of Northeastern Ontario, and it's a fun album on the whole! It's not as heavy as their jam sessions could sometimes imply, but Frank and Rob know what they're doing re: funk rock jams, and if you missed Frank's work in the late lamented Gianni Gagoots, this band exist in the same genresphere, so don't bypass them. Frank had impressive moments vocally on this album and some creative range, while Rob's guitar work was a nice match more often than not, and seeing such locally-relevant lyrics was very nice, especially with such a large focus on the natural beauty!

However, there are things I'd change with this album, including more consistently audible vocals, a bit of editing on those longer 5-6 minute tracks, some heavier music where the singing called for it, and re-worked backing tracks for "On The Lake" and especially "The Factory Falls". I also don't really associate funk music with the Canadian Shield, but hey, artistic license, maybe you'll disagree. It's still a fun listen, and with lots more original music yet to record in studio, who knows when we'll get a new Swampgut album! Give their solid first effort a buy or listen at the above links! I hope you guys liked this month's CD review, but what will we be looking at next month? I don't know just yet, but here's what I can tell you. Preference will of course go to new albums (likely candidates can be found in next week's "Where Are The New Albums?" post, scheduled for next Wednesday.)

If nothing known comes out from heavier local bands in the next month or so, we'll dip into the archives once again. Our 6 month anti-bias buffer period remains in effect, so it would not be anything unreviewed from As It Stands (if their old EPs turned up) or The Bear Hunters. I would lean towards albums featuring musicians performing live in April 2021, but with the pandemic still a concern, who knows if anything would line up. If all else fails, I would pick an album based on prominence, and I have some ideas, but nothing finite yet. Stay tuned for updates, and more news and notes on the site this week, plus our next YouTube Channel Profile! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Local Metal Video Showcase!!

A lot of videos have been piling up in recent days from local metal, hard rock, and punk musicians, so let's try to whittle some of them down today before things get too overwhelming! Half are via recent jam sessions from two local bands on side of the border, while the others are solo performance clips from the other side, so here's what you should know!

Sault Michigan blues/hard rock quartet Project 906 have posted three new jam session videos on their Facebook page, notable as they feature ex-drummer Tommy Korcal one last time! Yes, he did leave the band in the winter due to military commitments, and Gary Croad is his replacement, but with Tommy and family moving to Texas shortly, why not play together once more for old time's sake? Three videos were posted yesterday, including a cover of The Guess Who's "No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature" from a very poor camera angle, but the other two are at least more central to the band, if too tight (and you can't even see Tommy in them, though they do show him on camera for a shout-out.) The shorter of those two videos sees them cover Robin Trower's "Too Rolling Stoned", while the longer 18 minute one is embedded below, and was actually live-streamed during the rehearsal.
In order, you can hear Project 906 cover Collective Soul's "Shine", Audioslave's "Show Me How To Live", and Godsmack's "Awake", and all five covers from these videos are strongly handled with solid vocals from Billy Bernier and some nice guitar solos from Joe Jenkins in particular! Nice way to send off Tommy before his big move, so give these videos a look above and below, and stay tuned for more from 906's new lineup when it rolls in!
Next up, fellow local hard rock quartet Tarnished had their own 18 minute live-streamed performance video to share on their Facebook page last night! This one has many differences from Project 906's though, including a non-stationary camera on a vertical portrait orientation (sadly) and overdone concert lighting, but at least you see everyone... except guitarist Nathan Webber, who was absent for unannounced reasons. Look for dog cameos, however! The music very much holds up, and you can see Tarnished play Aerosmith's "Same Old Song & Dance", their own "Cabin Fever", Sublime's "What I Got", and Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell". Despite being short a guitar, Alex, Donald, and Josh delivered some strong rock & roll in this live-stream, and fans will enjoy their takes on these tracks! Give the full video a watch below, and pre-order their new single "SDR&R" on Apple Music at this link!

We'll wrap things up today with a pair of solo performance videos from Sault Ontario guitarists, starting with a new cover of Radiohead's "Creep" by ex-Sense of Truth/Skeyes of Seven frontman Cory Murchison! Uploaded to his YouTube channel last week, this rendition is well handled, if somewhat slowed down from the original video, but fans of Cory's talents and band work should be on board! That said, the hazy filter put on it in post-production seems unnecessary. Give Cory's new cover a watch below!

Finally for today, here's a new instrumental track from veteran local hard rock/jazz/experimental guitarist Mike Cliffe's YouTube channel on Wednesday! Entitled "Scaley Shuffle", this features Mike playing along to a drum track recorded by former Ike Turner drummer Bill Ray. Mike's performance proper is solid, giving this shuffle a nice 1970s classic prog rock vibe with a nice bounce! Give it a watch below!

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

Friday, March 19, 2021

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Soundcheck), Weekend Concert Previews, And More!!

Today's post is half devoted to weekend concert previews, one via SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS! Nice to have a few hard rock concerts to talk about again, if socially distanced ones, so let's start there, but also check out last month's poll results and a video from the winning topic below as well!

Fresh off of their St. Patrick's Day concert there on Wednesday, local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck will return to Reggie's West for a traditional (if pandemic-impaired) concert weekend TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, the band only confirmed these dates via their Facebook event page earlier this evening. I'm not sure why they didn't just group TONIGHT & TOMORROW's shows in with Wednesday's for ease of promotion, given the run of three gigs in four days, but in any event, I'm sure the guys like that they're playing live more frequently again! Soundcheck's brand of classic and hard rock covers should entertain fans as usual TONIGHT & TOMORROW, so keep these shows in mind if you are able & willing! Like on Wednesday, these concerts have 7:30 PM start times, no cover charges, and 19+ age limits.

It goes without saying at this point, but please respect Reggie's West's social distancing regulations to ensure everyone's safety, be mindful of the capacity limits, and don't forget your mask. Visit the above links for more details, and for a preview, here's Soundcheck live!

Next up, here's a preview of a concert that had lots of advance notice, as local hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison will play his second solo concert of 2021 THIS SUNDAY at Reggie's Place on Queen Street East as part of their Sunday matinee rotation! Fans may have seen Tym live at the original downtown Reggie's recently filling in with The Dorian Gray Band, but Sunday's show will be Tym's first as an acoustic solo performer since his post-lockdown return date there on February 21st. The afternoon timeslot remains atypical for a covers-centric hard rock artist locally, but Tym's extensive setlist and solid musicianship should be on display regardless! An early 3:00 PM start time is in effect, there are no announced cover charges, and again, be mindful of pandemic restrictions on capacity and social distancing. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's Tym live!

Also, I wanted to close down last month's poll on the SMS, which posed this question: COVID-19 aside, what was the biggest local metal, hard rock, or punk news story of 2020? I'm going to forgo the usual write-up we have for monthly polls, because this poll only received three votes, one for Mike Haggith releasing his new album "If Ever Comes The Day", and two for Mikey Hawdon launching his quarantunes video series (now better known as Mikey & His Uke, more on that in a second.) Thanks to the three people who voted of course, and Mikey is a deserving winner given the reach of that series during a dicey time in 2020, but three votes is a dismayingly low number for a poll up for a month. With how the pandemic is going, I don't think we'll have to worry about posting new polls until 2022, with a retool perhaps in order.

That said, let's close with the aforementioned Mikey & His Uke series, which as you may recall, grew from veteran local punk musician Mikey Hawdon's daily solo vocal/ukelele covers to monthly guest star-laden full band performances filmed remotely. He still plays on his 'uke at the start, but the pretense is always dropped early on. We don't cover the new ones day to day because there's not much local about them (I don't think Mikey has moved back home yet, and the guest musicians are always far flung), but Wednesday's is different, as Mikey did recruit his Inner City Surfers bandmate Dustin Jones in this cover of The Pogues' "Streams of Whiskey"! Fitting song choice for St. Patrick's Day, obviously. Other guests here include five alumni of veteran Vancouver-based Celtic punk band The Real McKenzies, plus members of The Dreadnoughts, Nubs & Her Studs, and Old Man Markley.

Packed lineup of musicians on offer here, even including an accordion player, and this is a fun watch to see this talented array give a nice punk edge to St. Patrick's Day during a pandemic, especially with some musicians clearly getting more into the holiday's spirit visually! Give the newest Mikey & His Uke cover a watch below, and see much more at this link!

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

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Soundcheck), An Inactive Band Note, And New Videos!!

It's rare as of late for the SMS to have posts in consecutive days, but as we have a SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERT to address, here we are! Of course, it is St. Patrick's Day tomorrow, so luckily there is a bit of live hard rock to take in despite the pandemic! A related apology for a missed concert is also tied in with that, while this post also features a note on a band moved to our inactive links, and two new videos, so here's what you should know!

Local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck will reportedly be at Reggie's West TOMORROW NIGHT as the musical entertainment for their St. Patrick's Day party! Apologies for the short notice, the venue only announced their involvement on their Facebook page yesterday, though note that Soundcheck proper have not confirmed this date on social media at press time. This will actually be Soundcheck's second Reggievelt date of 2021 so far, having played a one-nighter there on Friday, March 5th (a week and a half ago) that completely slipped us by for proper coverage on the site, partially because it's Facebook event page was only launched with six hours notice. In any event, I do apologize for missing that date, and hopefully it went as well as it could have under current circumstances! Had it had more notice, we would have covered it on the SMS!

As for TOMORROW'S concert, you can see Terry, Cameron, Paul, and Glen rock out with their fan favourite covers at this popular west end venue at 7:30 PM, and there will be green-coloured food and beverages, plus specials. Of course, please respect Reggie's West's social distancing regulations, and remember that there will be an early closing time and capacity limits inside the bar proper. Visit the above links for more details, and for a preview, here's Soundcheck live at this very location last fall!

Next up, I have moved local alternative rock/punk trio Handsome Sandwich to our inactive band links due to a year's inactivity. The band has not been heard from since their planned set opening for Jean-Paul de Roover at LopLops was cancelled just over one year ago due to the onset of the pandemic, and they hadn't posted on their Facebook page since February 15th of last year anyway. Formed by prior Elements, Jack Spades, and Caveman Morrison bandmates, this irreverently named trio debuted on stage in February 2017, and proudly claimed to have "no genre" and to not be a side project or have a similar sound to their prior bands, instead hewing closer to singer/drummer Johnny Belanger's mid-2010s solo concert sets. A relatively frequent sight into early 2018, you may recognize Handsome Sandwich from the 2017 Oh!No festival, opening for Jesse Stewart at Low & Slow, and playing multiple all-local concerts.
Handsome Sandwich's activity became very sporadic afterwards, primarily being seen in a looser jam setting, and a formal 2020 return was stunted last March after just two dates. Hopefully the pandemic is a key factor into Handsome Sandwich's status, as they had a lot to offer, and they were definitely a unique band on the scene (who else was covering Biffy Clyro AND Abba on the same night?) Best of luck to Johnny, Jesse, and James in the future, and here's hoping they're back when normal concerts resume! 

Also, remember how revived local progressive metal duo Kraken Mara had a "scheduled video" on their YouTube channel that was scheduled to go public on Friday? Well, here it is! A play-through of their song "Vibe Check" from their forthcoming debut EP (which will now be called "Press Start", according to the video description), this features guitarist Brendan Christie playing the track across multiple camera angles. I'll hold on commenting on the song proper for now, but the video is well shot and in nice quality, so fans of Brendan's local work and prog metal will want to check out Kraken Mara's play-through video below! Stay tuned for more from their camp!

We'll close today with another YouTube video from a familiar face that scheduled a video for a specific release date, namely ex-Garden of Bedlam frontman Erik "Buzz" Boissineau, whose cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" went up on his YouTube channel on March 7th! Featuring Buzz on vocals and acoustic guitar, this is a naturally strong & powerful rendition that makes great use of his vocal abilities (also, I have that exact "...And Justice For All" poster flag too!) Check out Buzz's rendition of "Hallelujah" below, and hopefully Buzz has more videos in the pipeline!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for last month's poll results and more on the site in the coming days! Thanks everyone!