Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Telephone & Address Concert Preview, SweetKenny Album Updates, Rotaryfest Notes, And More!!

With a special Wednesday night concert taking place TONIGHT, I threw a second post together today before we dive into weekend concert previews, so what's on tap? Some assorted recent notes, a few finds and notes relating to the newly released Rotaryfest schedule, and a new album release, but let's kick things off with that mid-week concert preview!

Local acoustic punk/grunge solo project Telephone & Address will return to The Gore Street Cafe TONIGHT as openers for Calgary indie/jazz rock quartet Fox Who Slept The Day Away to close the venue's Fortnight Festival! The Chris Shoust-led local solo act should be in good form with plenty of new and recent originals during this show, with Fox Who Slept The Day Away's soft, psychedelic originals sure to attract a good audience at the laundromat themselves, so give them a listen to see what you think also! This is the closing event for The Gore Street Cafe's Fortnight Festival, a two week sequel of sorts to the early-2016 Fishbowl Festival there, and with this being the only event this time around with a punk or hard rock act, it's great to see one just before the bell! Unless you already have a $25 pass for all Fortnight Festival events, admission is $5 at the door for tonight's ALL AGES event, which will start at 7:00 PM. Check the official Facebook event page & the above links for more details, and here's Telephone & Address live!

Next up, here's the latest from Dafter, Michigan solo hard rock musician Ken "SweetKenny" Sutton, who quietly released his 19th solo album "Gator's Bayou" onto his Bandcamp page on Monday! For the sixth time in his last seven studio album postings, "Gator's Bayou" is yet another instrumental album intended for use as a score in film, TV, or video games, which he says was inspired by 1960s and 1970s adventure films and cartoons. As well, his December 2015 compilation album "Comic Book!" is now available to the general public after previously being exclusive to paid yearly supporters on his Bandcamp page. It features 14 songs from prior SweetKenny albums, plus one exclusive original song ("Myra The Hunter") that isn't on any other release of his. Both are available for $7 via the above links, but can you expect a review of either on the site soon? For the latter, no, as precedence goes to original studio albums

For the former, we're leaning towards April's non-score album "In Your Face" for a review next, which could be as soon as next month, and assuming he continues releasing new albums at his fervent pace, we may only get to "Gator's Bayou" if "In Your Face" is delayed so far where it's not "new" anymore. In any event, check out SweetKenny's newest solo albums above for more of his prolific & varied hard rock originals and scores!

Also, I received my copy of Rotaryfest's program in the mail today (it's not online yet), and there's a few things to take away from it's Stage 1 & Stage 2 schedules that weren't previously online, so what should you know from the Sault Ontario summer festival? Thanks to the inclusion of pictures with most bands in the schedule, we can put faces to some of the newer and online pageless bands (like Jukebox Deluxe), but the most revealing picture of all may be the apparent album cover for Second Stage performers Gnaeus' upcoming debut CD "Meditations"! Though tiny and monochrome (I have a feeling the official cover is in colour), this confirms that the post-punk quartet completely discarded the original "Loomings" cover when they changed the album's name. Nice to see, so stay tuned for more on "Meditations" when announced! The program also confirms that Shaun Antler and Chelsie Parayko are back as the Stage 1 and Stage 2 directors respectively, and for what it's worth, the program makes no reference to the ongoing Stage 2 crowdfunding campaign.

And lastly, I've made the tough decision to stop classifying online pageless classic rock quartet RPM as a hard rock band in our primary SMS coverage. We had covered them as hard rock since their original Rock For Dimes set in 2013 based on reports at the time, but nothing I've seen since credits or describes them in our primary genre ranges (the program lists them as covering classic rock, blues, country, and top 40 pop.) That said, they're a talented band with a fan friendly sound, and be sure to check out Marcel, Dino, Ben, and Rob at Rotaryfest on July 16th at 3:00 PM!

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

  • We have changed the link for local music/arts podcast 7L in our "Other Local Metal Links" from it's Soundcloud page to it's Facebook page, as the former is down or deleted. A reason hasn't been announced, but if 7L is done, it's a sudden move, as they had just posted a song by RedD Monkey alum Pete Mozarowski onto Soundcloud two weeks ago. For what it's worth, technical difficulties relating to broken equipment had kept full new episodes from going online since April. Hopefully 7L comes back, as Jordan and Teddy had a great thing going!
  • This doesn't bear directly on the local metal scene, but it's worth noting: Former Gates of Winter bandmates Bryan Belleau and Brian Holmes will reunite on stage for the first time since (I believe) 2008 when Bryan and his wife, Fort Nelson, B.C. contemporary singer Melinda play an unplugged show at LopLops Lounge on July 30th, with Brian's local progressive rock band Machines Dream opening! Could there be an on-stage reunion between the two that night? Be there to find out, and click here for full details!
  • Remember how we deleted defunct local music store Mister Disc from our "Other Local Metal Links" due to the deletion of it's Facebook page? Well, as it turns out, the Todd Gordon-owned store always had a Facebook group too serving very much the same purposes, including daily song dedications, so they are back with the "new" link! While I'm still not sure why the page was deleted, I apologize for not knowing about the Facebook group before!

That's all for today, but now stay tuned for weekend concert previews next! Thanks everyone!

RedD Monkey - "Thought Control Tower" Review!!

Without any further adieu, it's now time for our 84th monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, and without a new hard rock or metal release to look at, let's dive into the archives for our latest pick! To tie in with local death metal band Kaepora Gaebora's gig opening for Foam earlier this month, we have chosen drummer Kevin Overton's defunct local/Toronto/Victoria punk band RedD Monkey's debut EP "Thought Control Tower" for a long overdue review this time! Independently released on June 1st, 2010 (prior to the band's partial relocation to the Soo), and reissued in 2013 with a new cover, "Though Control Tower" was recorded with producer, engineer, and ex-No Arrow bassist Brad Griffith, likely locally at Green Room Productions, though that isn't specifically stated online. RedD Monkey are represented here by singer/guitarist Steve Mozarowski, his brother Pete on cello and backing vocals, and Kevin Overton (Steve's former Smeltzer bandmate) on drums.

Though now out of print, "Thought Control Tower" is available on a "name your price" model via RedD Monkey's Bandcamp page, and the whole EP can be streamed on the band's YouTube channel (song names below are linked from there), but consider paying for it to support their work! With 7 tracks running for just 15 minutes in length, let's begin our look at RedD Monkey's debut CD with the first song!

"The Clock's Dement" kicks off this EP with minimalist cello playing by Pete before the band slowly kicks in for this mid-tempo punk rocker that benefits from a nice melodic rhythm, strong instrumentation, and a nice chemistry, but it lacks the fast paced fury of many later RedD Monkey songs, and Steve's vocals come across as very melancholy. Strong lyrics and, at the time, the novelty of cello in a punk song help keep this one worth listening to! Next is "Friar's Ire", the disc's longest song (at a whopping 2:38), which has the familiar stop/start guitar riff, nicely blended and performed cello, and steady drumming, adding to a very catchy song that reminds me of a hybrid of their usual style with a rock radio song. That said, it's not really more aggressive than "The Clock's Dement", but it's a stronger musical package, and it builds well to it's conclusion!

Third is "Lethargic Rampage", which has a nice up-tempo alternative sound with arguably the heaviest guitar work yet, a solid tandem of the guitar and cello on riffs, and Steve's most varied vocal performance yet on "Thought Control Tower", finally hitting some louder and higher notes late. However, the song feels incomplete, with minimal lyric sections and the sense that they could have went further to extend and round out this track, but it's still an early highlight! The EP's shortest song is next, namely "Fight Skateboard with Fire!", which is one of the band's most familiar early originals (especially for the "Whoa oooh" choruses), and despite it's early runtime, packs in an extended cello solo from Pete. This is a song that I found worked better live for RedD Monkey, especially with a live crowd to feed off of and a generally faster, heavier bite in that setting, but it's a fun, if short, number with quality drumming and a good rhythm!

The EP's fifth track is "No Teeth & A Lazy Eye", which makes steady and downbeat use of Pete's cello throughout this morose yet punk-edged song that still manages to escalate in impact up to the end of it's runtime, which ends fairly abruptly compared to other songs on this disc. It's not my favourite song on "Thought Control Tower", but fans will like the classical-influenced punk attack here, and everyone plays to their strengths! The last advertised song (on original pressings, at least) is "The Attic", which shares the most similarities with RedD Monkey's later "All Baroque" material from it's hardcore-influenced bridge, but otherwise fits with this EP's tone, with a steady, upbeat rhythm, good chemistry from the guys, well utilized cello, and Kevin's solid drumming! Though likely coincidental, I've always found that the post-chorus riffs here bear a resemblance to "Rebel Scum" by The Fury, the then-band from Steve & Kevin's old Smeltzer bandmate Paul Stanghetta.

Originally an unlisted bonus track on the CD release (though it's fully advertised in digital form), "Thought Control Tower" closes with "Fo' Dozen Cookies", possibly best known as RedD Monkey's rap song, with Steve not playing guitar and instead focusing on spitting rhymes. Doubling as a loose recipe for four dozen cookies (what else?), this song works better than you'd expect, with Pete and Kevin providing a good beat, and Steve showcasing real skill as a rapper in the process!

So, what are the final thoughts of "some metalhead" on RedD Monkey's debut CD? Overall, "Thought Control Tower" is a successful first outing from this unique trio, succeeding Steve & Kevin's Smeltzer work with good humour and a nice classical edge! Especially in a local sense, the idea of combining punk or alternative music with a cello was an extreme novelty six years ago, but they made it work, with Pete Mozarowski serving as de facto bassist, classical soloist, and rap beat maker where need be! Kevin Overton was solid on drums in his only studio appearance with RedD Monkey, and of course, Steve Mozarowski maintained his familiar and likable musical presence with melodic vocals and strong punk guitar work! Songs like "Friar's Ire" and "Lethargic Rampage" remaining among their original highlights, but the EP is over quick, lacks the hardcore bent that populates their follow-up "All Baroque", and at times, is sorely lacking the spontaneity and environment of a live concert.

"Thought Control Tower" is a solid first effort for RedD Monkey that feels like a bridge between Smeltzer and "All Baroque" in some respects, and it's a fun listen for fans of punk, alternative, the cello, and even a little rap, so definitely check it out at the above links! I hope you guys liked this month's CD review, but what's coming next month? All I can say at this point is that it will be a new CD, and at the moment, Dafter, Michigan hard rock solo musician SweetKenny is looking likely, as we'll be past our 6 month anti-bias buffer next month since our review of "The Hitman Files" in January. If that is the case, his April solo album "In Your Face" would be this month's review choice, as it's his only non-film score album yet this year in his prolific release schedule. With that said, this isn't a given, and he may be bumped pending the potential release of a bigger local album in July, so we'll let you know either way next month, and stay tuned for weekend concert previews next! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Defunct Punk Band Discovery, An Upcoming Sault Michigan Concert, And Much More!!

We're back with what could be our last non-concert preview/CD review post of the month, so what's on tap for this Tuesday morning? Lots of shorter assorted recent updates, and preliminary details for what could be the biggest Sault Michigan concert of the summer, but first, here's a surprise find for local punk fans from over a decade ago!

We have a newly discovered (albeit long defunct) local punk band to add to our inactive band links, and they are Why! Active from at least 2003-2004, Why may be best known as an early band from
Northwest frontman Wayne Watkins, who played bass alongside singer/guitarist Cory Coulter (ex-Outspoken/The Fallout) and drummer Dave Cote (a.k.a. "Dirty Dave Sanchez"), while Cory's former bandmate Chris Nielsen was a later addition on guitar. Forming circa December 2003, Why's debut concert appearance was at the Bon Soo Battle of the Bands at Club Princess in February 2004, where they didn't place, but Cory did apparently win a Best Individual Musician award. I can't find substantial information on the band's post-battle activities beyond Chris' addition, but their Angelfire page features photos from the battle, biographies, song lyrics, and some juvenile humour that might not be to everyone's taste

Dave's YouTube channel uploaded three concert videos from the Bon Soo Battle in December 2007, likely the original source of the defunct mp3 links from Why's page, and they include their originals "Break From the Madness", "Tchike Davis", and as embedded below, "Isolation". Why weren't as polished as Wayne's later bands, but they had a fun punk sound with hardcore tinges, and very good enthusiasm to boot, so if they played more beyond this battle, I'm sure they were crowd favourites! Given their name though, it's hard to find info on them. Give Why a look above & below!

Next up, Sault Michigan MMA/concert promoters Superior Entertainment are back with their first announced music event since last August's Superior Festival, and while specific details are forthcoming, organizers are bringing North Carolina glam metal quartet FireHouse back to the Soo on Saturday, August 6th! Quietly announced via Superior Entertainment's Facebook page on June 11th, we learned a bit more via the video below (posted early this morning to Facebook) where the members of FireHouse confirmed the show will take place as part of Sault Michigan's annual Downtown Days. A planned stop on FireHouse's 25th anniversary tour (with hits like "Love of a Lifetime" & "When I Look Into Your Eyes" sure to be in tow), this would be FireHouse's first concert here since opening for Bret Michaels at the Sault's Kewadin Casino in January 2014, and third total in the area, but first as a headlining act. As of this writing, organizers have yet to confirm a venue, ticket pricing, or age limit.

With that said, the early August scheduling could point to it being a sequel event to the Superior Festival (which was held on short notice at The Savoy Bar & Nightclub after a relocation and rescheduling from Aune-Osborne Park, for what it's worth.) In any event, this is not being held at The Dreammaker's Theater, as Kewadin Casino has a British Legends tribute show there on August 6th, continuing their run of tribute bands this year in place of 1980s hard rock (hopefully they're not gone for good!) Give FireHouse's teaser video a look below, and stay tuned for more info when announced!

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

  • Last week's Go Skateboarding Day festivities were filmed and spotlighted in this SooToday video from this past Wednesday, where interviewer Jasmyn Rowley chats with (among others) co-organizer/Jack Spades frontman J.D. Pearce about the event at large, skateboarding culture, and more! Jack Spades are briefly shown performing as well, though they're muted behind existing background audio. Solid press for the event, which looks bigger & better than last year, so give it a look above (we can't embed it here) and read SooToday's full article at this link!
  • Local indie rock outfit Great Chamberlain have launched a petition on to attempt to gain support towards being added as a late local opener for Hedley at The Yard on FRIDAY! According to drummer Keeghan Rosso (recently of The Pixo Control) on the Musicians Wanted Facebook group, the band needs 300 signatures to be added to the bill, as per their agreement with event management. As of this writing, Great Chamberlain have 152 votes on the petition, so if you want to help them get on this huge pop/punk show, see the above links for full details!
  • A local singer named Greg McLeod is looking to jam with local musicians to "see where things may go." He cites alternative and classic rock among his influences, naming bands like Collective Soul, The Foo Fighters, and 3 Doors Down among favourites of his. I'm not familiar with Greg from past local bands, but if you're interested in jamming with him, message him at this link or via his Musicians Wanted Facebook group post from last week!
  • The long-teased Iskra-headlined concert from Blood Shed Productions on Tuesday, August 2nd has quietly been cancelled, as per the recent deletion of it's Facebook event page. A reason for the cancellation wasn't announced, but the show never had a confirmed venue, despite having a full advertised lineup and hopes to book it at The New American Pub. Disappointing, but if you want to see Iskra, remember that they'll still be headlining at The Oddfellows Hall via Six, Two, Oh. on July 14th, so click here for details on that event!
  • The second song from local hard rock quartet Long Shot's forthcoming debut EP is now on their Bandcamp page! Entitled "The Beat", I believe this is one of Long Shot's more recent original songs, and like before, we'll hold full comment until our likely review of this EP. Check out "The Beat" above!
  • In their newest Facebook page update from Saturday, local pop punk quartet Stereo North revealed that they're "taking a little break" due to guitarist Matthew Anich being on paternity leave (congratulations to him!) However, the other three guys are staying busy in other projects, including planned solo acoustic work from frontman Andrew Pucci, while Bill Bennett & Brett Norton are apparently jamming with "some other local bands". The band didn't elaborate on these projects, or give any indication about when Stereo North's break may end, but fans will surely anticipate whatever comes next!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for this month's CD review and more shortly! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

YouTube Channel Profile Series: TWCD

It's now time for this month's YouTube Channel Profile at the SMS! Like in past months, this monthly feature looks at 1-3 YouTube channels that have at least a 50% concentration of local metal, hard rock, or punk-relevant videos, in order to spotlight them and their content for current readers, and encourage subscription and views therein, with channels still being randomly selected! This month's random choice is a channel from a talented local punk musician, so read on below for this month's YouTube Channel Profile!

Owner: Northwest singer/guitarist Wayne Watkins, also known from prior work with bands like A Fall From Innocence, The Blockade, Nebraska Arms, Renderware, The Small Town Rivals, and Why

Channel Timeline: Launched on December 26th, 2006; Videos posted from September 2008 until August 2014

Channel Summary: An apparent personal use channel for prolific local punk/indie musician Wayne Watkins (though the meaning of "TWCD" isn't clear), he has posted four videos there, including three focusing on two of his successful recent bands, and an Ice Bucket Challenge video from mid-2014 in support of the fight against A.L.S. (or Lou Gehrig's Disease.)

Why You Should Watch: Give Wayne's channel a look for some solid videos from a pair of recent musical projects, as he's a talented multi-instrumentalist with a lot of familiarity! However, no videos of his current band Northwest are featured (nor anything pre-2008) despite the channel's 2006 launch date, and it hasn't visibly been used in almost two years.

Our Recommended Videos To Check Out

Nebraksa Arms: Wayne's first video on his channel is a live clip of his then-new indie punk quartet Nebraska Arms playing their original song "Lighthouses" live at The Speak Easy at Algoma University on September 5th, 2008. Featuring Wayne on guitar alongside Hangdowns alum Guy Thiffault on vocals & bass, ex-Gilmour guitarist Dave Prendergast, and Wayne's old Renderware bandmate Adam Sauve on drums, this is a lively rendition of one of Nebraska Arms' better known songs, but despite a solid camera angle, the video suffers from grainy audio and inconsistent visuals when zoomed in.

Nebraska Arms: This channel's most viewed video is of a posthumous music video for their song "I Was a Writer", with it's studio version from their album "We'll Never Sleep Again" set to assorted band photos, and live video footage from their set at February 2010's Sault College/Scotties Tournament of Hearts Battle of the Bands (which was professionally shot by organizers) at what's now the Community First Curling Center. Posted online three years after the battle, this is a nice retrospective look at Nebraska Arms' two year run in the local scene, which quietly ended a few months after their battle set, and with a clear & well produced studio track to boot, fans of Nebraska Arms won't want to bypass it!

Small Town Rivals Heart Breaks & Fairy Tales: Wayne's other music-related upload is this preview music video for his defunct local/Whistler, B.C. pop punk band The Small Town Rivals' song "Heartbreaks & Fairytales". Posted a month after the release of the band's only studio album "East vs. West", the video features Wayne and company jamming, hanging out, and rehearsing in studio, with guitarist Jesse Nelson, bassist Scott Phillips, and drummer Liam Murray (all from their British Columbia lineup) representing the band here. Ending with some lighter outtakes and cut segments from the shoot, this is a well edited clip that captures The Small Town Rivals' studio process well, and while the band is now inactive, catch their local wing in Northwest!

I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profile! Next month in this series, we'll again look at a single channel that was randomly selected, and you've gotta love when things line up, as next month's channel actually features more video footage from the aforementioned Sault College Battle of the Bands! Next month, we'll take a look at the original crash band, Sykotyk Rampage's inactive YouTube channel, which has 5 in-house music videos of early studio favourites, so look for that on or around July 26th, and stay tuned for more news and notes soon! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Rotaryfest Stage 2), Plus More Recent Updates!!

As promised, we have full details on the lineup for the other musical half of our local summer festival's concert schedule, so that's obviously leading things off, but to round things out, we also have new videos from two local acts and album updates from one of them, so here's what you should know!

The full lineup for this year's Rotaryfest Stage 2 has been announced, courtesy of the festival's website in recent days, so what should you know? Returning to it's post-hiatus "redirected" location at the Clergue Park stage by the Art Gallery, the 11th installment of the Second Stage will take place as a one day event on Saturday, July 16th for the second straight year. Though the ongoing Indiegogo fundraising campaign to fund the sponsorless Stage 2 is only at $762 (as of this writing), the originals-focused Second Stage is a go, and here's who to look out for! Headlining this year are VM Radio Battle-winning indie rock quartet K.I.C.K. in their Rotaryfest debut, which is fitting given that 2015 battle winners Gnaeus headlined last year! The Keep It Cool Kids will hit the stage at 7:00 PM, with ex-Sailor's Tongue guitarist Liam Seymour co-headlining at 6:00 PM in a solo set that will apparently be focused around pop covers in a rock style. It's not his Rotaryfest debut, but it's his first as a solo artist.

He'll be joined by Boatload Killers bandmate Blake Jackson on bass and Gianni Gagoots drummer Frank McCormick for this set. Liam's a very talented guitarist with a good singing voice, as you may have seen both in high school events and in concert, and it'll be interesting to hear how this solo showcase goes! Post-punk quartet (and 2015 headliners) Gnaeus will return with a set at 5:00 PM as the highest placed hard rock or punk act, while 2013 Stage 2 performers Machines Dream will return with a set of progressive rock originals at 4:00 PM. Alternative hard rock quartet Id Iota will make their Second Stage debut at 3:00 PM, while jazz/prog rock quartet The Wild Iris will perform at 2:00 PM in their second straight year at Stage 2 (fourth total at Rotaryfest, counting their Stage 1 appearances as The Pesto Shirts in 2012 & 2013.) Opening the day on July 16th will be alternative hard rock trio The Din in their Rotaryfest debut, and they'll kick things off at 1:00 PM.

Solid & varied lineup for this year's Second Stage, and very different from last year too, with only Gnaeus and The Wild Iris back from last year! I do like the more varied, all-original lineup that the "Redirected" era Stage 2 has, and hopefully this year's installment increases it's funding goals and is a huge hit! As usual for Rotaryfest, this is FREE & ALL AGES, so see the above links for more details, and don't miss The Din and Id Iota that same night at LopLops Lounge for the afterparty! 

Next up, here's the latest from 2015 Rotaryfest Stage 1 performers Long Shot, who are still hard at work on their debut EP! The local hard rock quartet posted the first studio track from the apparently self-titled release onto their new Bandcamp page on Monday, namely the song "Double Take", complete with full lyrics. We'll hold full comment until the EP's release (apparently coming "very soon"), as we're hoping to review it, but be sure to stream it above! Now, we haven't seen Long Shot in concert yet this year due to their studio work, but we actually have a pair of new-ish concert videos of theirs to share on here! These come from the band's Eagles Club show in Heyden last June, and were filmed by attendee Melissa Philion, then shared to the band's Facebook page. The videos feature Long Shot covering part of Queen's "Under Pressure", and as embedded below, Velvet Revolver's "Fall to Pieces", so how did they turn out?

Aside from some camera orientation early in the Queen cover, these are well filmed from a close angle, but the dark lighting doesn't help (the set appears to have been outdoors under a tent at the club.) Long Shot handle "Under Pressure" well, as fans are accustomed to, but Evan Dawe's vocals aren't a great fit on "Fall to Pieces" (however, Nathan Muto's guitar solo is excellent!) Give Long Shot's Heyden videos a look above & below, and stay tuned for more on their EP!

Lastly for today, here's a new video from Audiofumes podcast host and prolific local guitarist Mike Cliffe's YouTube channel, posted in response to Led Zeppelin's recent court victory over plagiarism charges from the band Spirit over "Stairway to Heaven". Jokingly titled "Keeping in the Spirit of Things", Mike notes that the ruling should open up things to allow more bands to avoid copyright infringement complaints, before unveiling a new guitar riff of his own that may or may not bear a resemblance to a certain iconic hard rock song. Cute little video to jump on a recent news item, so give it a look!

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

Friday, June 24, 2016

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Rotaryfest Stage 1!!)

Today's post is dedicated to the reveal of this year's Rotaryfest Stage 1 lineup, as our annual summer festival again welcomes plenty of covers-focused bands to the outdoor Clergue Park stage over the July 15th weekend! Though the complete program/schedule is not out yet for the festival proper, the full band lineup for all three nights (and Stage 2, more on that tomorrow) can now be seen on Rotaryfest's website's music page, complete with the requisite biographies for each band, so who can you look for at this year's FREE & ALL AGES lineups? Experimenting with themed daily lineups this year, the Thursday, July 14th lineup is branded "A Musical Journey Through The Years", but like in the past, remains hard rock-free. Bands playing this year include 1960s classic rock cover quartet The Peace Vibe at 10:00 PM, newer classic rock quintet Jukebox Deluxe at 9:00 PM, 50s-60s classic rockers Flathead Ford at 8:00 PM, country veterans Crossroad at 7:00 PM, and new jazz/blues sextet Lise White & The Sault Crew at 6:00 PM.

Aside from Crossroad & Flathead Ford (each two time Rotaryfest veterans in recent years), the Thursday bands are newcomers to the festival, so fans who crave different acts should enjoy the variance and classic rock on the 14th! It's worth noting that this will be the first Thursday lineup in memory without jazz veterans The Bob Jenkins Band, who had played Rotaryfest for (I believe) 16 straight years. I know how respected Bob is in the local scene, especially for still playing live regularly well into his 80s, and hopefully all is well with him and the band!

Moving to the lineup for Friday, July 15th, the theme for that night is "Rock the Night Away", and remains at just 5 bands for a third straight year. Headlining on the 15th are local hard rock cover trio Stiffler's Mom in their second Rotaryfest appearance in the past three years, and they should deliver a fun set to cap the night at 10:00 PM! R&B cover veterans The Reptiles will return after a year's hiatus as co-headliners for their sixth Rotaryfest set since 2009, and you can see them that night at 9:00 PM. Classic rock veterans Mustang Heart will continue their 12+ year run as Rotaryfest mainstays with a set at 8:00 PM, while new hard rock quartet The 3 Day Millionaires will make their festival debut that evening at 7:00 PM. If you ever wanted to see Havadder or Turner Up at Rotaryfest, this may well be the closest thing we'll get, so keep their debut in mind! Friday's lineup will be opened by classic rockers Mid Life Crysis in their fifth straight Rotaryfest set, and you can see them hit the stage at 6:00 PM.

Not a bad lineup for Friday, and while all of the bands (save for The Millionaires) are Rotaryfest veterans, only two of them played last year, so things are varied a bit for fans of classic & hard rock! As usual, this is FREE & ALL AGES, so keep this lineup in mind for Friday the 15th at Clergue Park!

As for the main Saturday lineup on July 16th at Stage 1 (which is themed as "Saturday Sound Smorgasbord"), nine bands are scheduled, including for the third time in four years, two out of town bands, so who can you expect? Playing last that night are The Ghost Town Cryers, a folk/classic rock band from Pembroke who some may recognize as the current band from prolific local musician Kyle McKey, so keep his long awaited return home in mind for the 16th! They're on at 10:15 PM, while the previously advertised headline act, London-based Beatles/Paul McCartney tribute The McCartney Years (who feature Kyle's brother/Sailor's Tongue bandmate Dean on drums), will take the stage at 8:30 pm. The highest slotted local band will be classic/hard rock quartet That's Chester in what will be their first concert appearance since the passing of guitarist Eugene Orlando last fall, last playing publically during their live production of The Who's Tommy in November.

It's great to see That's Chester back after their recent hiatus, so be at Stage 1 at 7:00 PM for their (at least) seventh Rotaryfest appearance! I'm sure Eugene will be with the guys in spirit for their grand return, also notable as their first traditional concert set since last year's Rotaryfest. While the band has not visibly replaced Eugene in their lineup, note that this teaser photo appears to show an unidentified female singer making a guest appearance during a jam session, so read into that however you choose.

Country rock cover trio Mojo (featuring That's Chester's Ric Datson on drums) will make their Rotaryfest debut at 6:00 PM, with hard rock cover quartet Griphook rocking the main stage for the fourth straight year at 5:00 PM, in just their second announced show of any kind since last year's festival. No idea why they've been so quiet lately, but it's great to see them back out there! Classic rock veterans Obsession will hit the Rotaryfest stage for the eighth time in nine years at 4:00 PM, while sporadically seen classic/hard rock quartet RPM will make their Rotaryfest debut at 3:00 PM, albeit with a lineup change, as Rotaryfest's website credits veteran local bassist Rob Gilmar in place of Lindsay Pugh. Without an online page, I can't confirm why Lindsay left, especially with RPM founding via his adult music camp, but hopefully things were amicable, and it's great to see Rob back in a new band!

A newer local band named Indians & Cowboys (not to be confused with the defunct indie rockers Cowboys & Indians) will play classic rock, blues, and country favourites at 2:00 PM, and have a lot of familiar veterans to enjoy! The Saturday lineup will be opened by veteran classic rockers Coverfly for their eighth Rotaryfest set since 2008, so come early for their set at 1:00 PM! The Saturday lineup shakes things up a bit with the McKey brothers' homecoming, That's Chester's big return, and some new bands with familiar faces, and this ALL AGES & FREE entertainment should win over the crowd on Saturday the 16th! It is worth noting that this year's lineup features some notable absences, like the aforementioned Bob Jenkins Band, country favourites Thin Ice (who last missed Rotaryfest in 2008) and Summer Thunder (who played each of the last four years), and one-time festival mainstays Spyder's Web (who haven't played Rotaryfest since 2014.)

This year's main stage at Rotaryfest is shaping up well, especially if you like classic rock, with dashes of hard rock in store also for fans on Friday & Saturday, so check the above links for full details on this year's main stage, and stay tuned for full schedule details for the Second Stage TOMORROW! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Lucky 13), Weekend Concert Previews, And More!!

Before we dive into the newly announced Rotaryfest band lineup for next month, we have weekend concert previews to get to over the coming days, including a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT, while we also have a new cover video to cap things off. Now, here's what you need to know!

Local classic/alt-hard rock cover quartet Lucky 13 will return to the stage for one night only THIS SATURDAY NIGHT at The Rockstar Bar! Apologies for the short notice, the band only announced the show via the official Facebook event page yesterday. A one nighter due to the Jizzy Vibes rap concert taking place there tomorrow, this summer kick-off show will end a two month hiatus for Ed, Robin, Jeff, and Roger since their most recent gig at the same venue in April. Lucky 13 should have a fun set in store for fans of their varied yet often heavy blend of covers, so keep their latest show in mind for THIS SATURDAY despite the late notice! There's no cover charge announced for this 19+ event, which will start at 10:00 PM. For more details, visit the above links, and for a preview, here's Lucky 13 live earlier this year!

Moving to previously announced concerts, veteran local acoustic hard rock solo artist Tym Morrison will continue his long-term weekly arrangement at Gliss Steak & Seafood for more solo concerts TOMORROW & SATURDAY! With July dates ready to be added to our listings when publically confirmed, this prolific local favourite should have more good tunes at the ready for his unplugged matinees at the downtown restaurant, so if you're up for more acoustic hard rock hits this weekend, you know where to be! Tomorrow & Saturday's  Gliss shows are at 6:00 PM like before, and while they are all ages events with no announced concerts, remember that this is a sit-down restaurant. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's Tym live at The Harp a few years back!

Lastly for currently known concert previews for this weekend, we'll head across to The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino for the latest shows from Sault Michigan classic/hard rock cover quartet Highway 63, who will continue their monthly run there TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Though still not plugging their shows regularly on Facebook, these shows have been previously advertised by the band and venue, and will also mark Highway 63's first shows since frontman Henry Switzer donated his long hair to charity to make wigs for children with cancer (great gesture!) Fans in St. Ignace should be raring to see the guys in action once again with their hard hitting cover selection this weekend, so don't miss out tomorrow and/or Saturday at 9:00 PM! Both shows have 21+ age limits and no announced cover, so see above for details, and here's Highway 63 live!

Finally for today, here's the newest "Cover of the Month" from local alternative hard rock trio The Din, as per their YouTube channel last week! This is of their rendition of Bruce Cockburn's "Lovers in a Dangerous Time" (well, The Barenaked Ladies' version of it), which the band is tying with a more serious hope to spread peace & tolerance in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting. The multi-angle performance notably features drummer Brandan Glew on co-lead vocals, and while his singing does sound a little forced at times, it does compliment Mike Haggith's singing! Well done and thoughtful shift from their norm, so check it out below!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for full details on this year's Rotaryfest lineup next! Thanks everyone!