Friday, December 19, 2014

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Power Slug), An Inactive Band, And Much More!!

I hope you guys are continuing to enjoy the holiday season! As predicted, I assumed we'd have SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS today, so that leads off this post, but we also have a note on a band who's hit a year's inactivity for our band listings, a recent video posting, and more assorted notes, so read on below foe what you need to know!

Sault Michigan hard rock trio Power Slug will reportedly return to the stage for headlining dates at The Rapids Lounge at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, we just heard about these gigs via frontman Chris Leask's personal Facebook page yesterday, and the shows have not been plugged on the band's own Facebook page. Fairly dormant over the last few months, these will be their first concerts that we've heard about since their Manistique road trip in September, and their first at The Rapids Lounge since at least the summer, and while we haven't heard much on why they took a break in recent months, it's great to see Chris, Bob, and Chris back in the saddle for one more weekend before the new year! You can take in their hard rock covers TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT at 9:00 PM, you must be 21 to attend either night, and there's no announced cover charge. Go chug your mug with Power Slug if you can this weekend, and here are the guys at The Bird!

Next up, we regrettably have a band to move to our inactive band links in the next few days, that being local/Toronto hardcore punk/classical trio RedD Monkey. While the guys have not officially announced a breakup, they haven't issued an online update since Boxing Day last year when they played at the former Roosevelt Hotel, with frontman Steve Mozarowski later confirming an indefinite hiatus (or worse) in interviews and Facebook postings. Active since their formation in Kelowna in 2009, RedD Monkey had grown to become one of the more prominent local punk bands of the early 2010s, which saw them go on tour a number of times, record three albums (though only two were released), and play a number of major local concerts like the first three Sewer Swampstravaganzas, Rotaryfest's 2010 Second Stage, and 2009's Algoma University Battle of the Bands. In the past year, Steve had stayed busy "songwriting" with The Apocalypse Afterparty, while his brother Pete has dabbled in solo cello work, and drummer Joe Bumbacco can currently be seen in the Toronto sludge band Larval Host.

RedD Monkey accomplished a great deal in their 5 year run, and while the circumstances behind their year-long inactivity were never publicized, their energetic and fast paced concerts have been missed in the past 12 months. I hope we see their third album "Opus 2" come out at some point at the very least, but for now, best of luck to Steve, Pete, Joe, and their other former drummers in the future, and fingers crossed we see them again!

Also, here's a new video from local grunge/hardcore duo Bad Back, who you can next see live opening for the Detroit reunion at The Algonquin Pub on Tuesday! Hyped as their "Sault Ste. Marie comeback show" (as they haven't played a public gig within city limits since opening for The Archaics in July), this video from drummer Nathan Sauve's YouTube channel on Monday will give you a preview at their setlist on Tuesday, as it compiles many strung together clips of originals & covers alike from a recent jam session. The audio quality is solid, but the camera angle leaves something to be desired due to it's high angle, fish-eye lens filter, and complete lack of Nathan in visible frame. It gets the job done though, so give Bad Back's newest video a look below!

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

  • In their first Facebook page post in almost 3 months, local all-female hard rock quartet The Danger Cats revealed that drummer Calico Katie will be vacationing in England over the Christmas holiday, but they'll be back together in January to return to the stage. The girls haven't played live since September for unclear reasons, but hopefully they're back in action in short order, as they've been missed, and hopefully Katie has a great trip!
  • Rudyard, Michigan hard rock cover quintet Exiled revealed on their Facebook page on Sunday that they're currently taking a break while drummer Justin Lawless and his wife welcome their new baby. Completely understandable, so look for them upon their return in the new year, and congratulations in advance to Justin & Anna on the coming arrival!
  • Have you seen Facebook postings in the past week suggesting that Music Depot closed? A number of personal statuses suggested that the Gore Street music instrument store had it's last day on Saturday, but apparently, Music Depot just had an owner change and will be re-opening at some point soon, possibly next week. Hopefully that's all, as I know how much many local musicians like Music Depot! Our source is longtime staffer and Lucky 13 bassist Jeff Gray in a personal conversation.

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates over the weekend! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Tidal Records Xmas Showcase) And Sault Ontario Weekend Concert Previews!!

As promised, here's our weekend concert preview post for what's shaping up to be a packed holiday season in the twin Saults, but be sure to check out the results of last month's poll and our newest poll in the post below this one! We'll touch on any short notice confirmations tomorrow on the site (and Saturday if necessary), but for now, here's what's going down tomorrow & Saturday for hard rock and punk fans in Sault Ontario, starting with a SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERT!! (Updated at 5:18 PM)

A special Christmas showcase concert from local independent punk/roots label Tidal Records will take place THIS SATURDAY NIGHT at The Rockstar Bar! Apologies for the short notice, we were waiting for confirmation of the scheduled bands, which only came in a public form this week. Saturday night's long-teased Christmas show will feature three of the bands from the similarly formatted Tidal Records launch party show at the same venue last November, and also like then, a newer band will close the night, that being a debuting local quartet named The Cover Up. No word yet on their genre or potential online pages, but their lineup features Wing-Its bandmates Dustin Jones (also of The Rising Tide) and Marco Pedalino, plus his Sinners bandmate Clint Wilson (also of Late Shift), and former Room 206 frontman Mike Yorke. I don't know yet if this band is replacing the recently inactive Wing-Its or not (or if the name implies an all-cover set), but come out on Saturday for your first taste of The Cover Up!

Local Celtic punk quartet Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide are slated for their second of three local shows this month as the co-headliners (they'll be back on Boxing Day too), while the Jaaskelainen brothers will pull double duty with their folk band The Boot Hill Crooners as well! Local roots singer/guitarist Frank Deresti is listed to open (no sign of The Lake Effect), but his Facebook page implies that he will join The Crooners during their set, so keep that in mind also! This 19+ event has a likely $5 cover charge, and should start at around 9:00 PM on Saturday. For more details, visit the above links! This sounds like a great showcase for Tidal Records, so keep it in mind for your holiday season concert plans, and here's The Tide live at Searchmont!

Moving to previously announced concerts, we'll head to a unique venue TOMORROW, as local grunge/alternative trio The Pixo Control will play an acoustic gig at Low & Slow Smoked Fusion BBQ at 113 Gore Street (Remember, that's the former Grazia's Italian Restaurant, not the old GLOW building at 119 Gore!) Still riding high off of their successful Toystock set, this unplugged show isn't unfamiliar territory for Michael, Steve, and Keeghan, as you may remember their run of acoustic sets at Gusto's Bar & Grill earlier in the year. Look for an entertaining (if more reserved) set of originals from this talented young trio tomorrow night, and it'll be curious to see how Low & Slow fares as a concert venue if this is successful! Note that The Pixo Control announced on their Facebook page on Tuesday that "we're pretty damn excited right now and we aren't allowed to tell you why", though it's not clear yet if they'll reveal what they're getting at tomorrow or not.

Promoted by Boxes of Boom frontman Sam Decter, there's no announced age limit or cover charge for tomorrow night, and the show starts at 9:00 PM. For more details, visit the Facebook event page! Hopefully this is a successful show for The Pixo Control that  opens more doors in their fast development, and enjoy some slow cooked barbeque ribs too if you're hungry! For a preview, here's the guys at Lopstock earlier this summer!

Also this weekend, local hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison will return to The Harp Bar & Grill for his last shows of the year, barring a New Year's gig of course! Despite the recent deletion of all future gigs on his website's calendar (and most past Harp gigs, including all after February), his year-long run at the former Madison's Pub will continue for at least this weekend as per this Facebook event page, but were the calendar updates a sign of what's to come, or just a formatting error? We'll let you know if we hear anything, but the listing of weekly dates through the 2020s did seem excessive. Look for an entertaining mix of hard rock covers at both TOMORROW'S weekly jam night and SATURDAY's usual solo gig, so keep Tym's Harp shows in mind this weekend! Remember, Tym is not playing there on Boxing Day weekend, as those dates were removed before the recent schedule wipe.

There are no cover charges, 19+ age limits, and 10:00 PM start times for both tomorrow and Saturday night. Check the above links for more details, we'll let you know regarding Tym's next solo show plans, and for a preview, here's Tym covering Metallica!

Finally for known hard rock & punk concerts this weekend, we'll head back to The Algonquin Hotel THIS SATURDAY NIGHT, and as the Tidal Records Christmas show entertains upstairs, a different punk show will rock The Algonquin Pub downstairs, that being the second annual X-Mess acoustic punk revue! Promoted by local concert promoter J.D. Pearce in his last promoted show of 2014, this is a sequel to his successful X-Mess event last year at LopLops Lounge, though the event has moved to The Algonquin since, with LopLops instead booking That Nineties Band on Saturday (I'll have to find out more on them!) Though this year's X-Mess installment is smaller for advertised bands, there's solid entertainment afoot, including local funk/hard rock quartet The Elements in a rare acoustic set, a one-off unplugged band named Sleigher (formerly Mistlechode) featuring members of Jack Spades, and a one-off Distillers acoustic tribute named Ms. Tillers from Danger Cats frontwoman Kate Drew (replacing Greg Callaghan.)

This 19+ concert has a $5 cover charge and a 10:00 PM start time. For more details on X-Mess 2, visit the official Facebook event page! This should be a fun change of pace once again for your seasonal concert plans, so get ready for a night full of punk action on two floors of The Algonquin on Saturday night! For a preview, here's The Elements live at Rock For Dimes last month!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for possible short notice show announcements and more in the coming days! Thanks everyone!

Last Month's Poll Results & Our Newest Poll!!

Before we touch on the weekend's concert previews, we have a poll to close and another new one to launch, so let's take care of our monthly polls to start this Thursday! As you may remember, we posed this question to you guys last month: How likely are you to attend local metal, hard rock, or punk concerts with a large number of bands (i.e. 6 or more)? Only 14 voters, which isn't a lot, but there's some interesting results, so thanks to everyone for voting, and now, here's the final tally!

Count me in, the more the merrier! (5 votes, 36%)
It depends on the lineup (3 votes, 21.5%)
I can't be there all day, so I'd only go see some bands (3 votes, 21.5%)
It's overkill, why not have many smaller shows? (2 votes, 14%)
I don't go to concerts based on the amount of bands (1 vote, 7%)
It depends on the ticket/door charges (0 votes)
It depends on the event's theme or purpose (0 votes)

What do you guys think? In ascending order, I am slightly surprised that no one voted based on a show's entry fee or theme (particularly the former), as I know some people can be picky on the details, but it bodes well for larger concerts! I did fully expect more people to vote for not going to shows based on the size of them, but it can be a factor for many. Two of the second-fourth place choices fall into breaking a show apart, either by how much one goes to see, or a desire to see promoters divide it into many smaller shows, and while I can see sides for both choices, promoters who book a concert with 6 or more bands usually have a method to the madness, so to speak. I expected voters to put the remaining choices high, but I am slightly surprised that "Count me in, the more the merrier!" won, as I know there are people out there who do find long marathon concerts like Dank Fest and Toystock to be a grind.

This is a small sample size to be sure, but it is clear that most people either love the idea of big concerts like these, or would support them by at least seeing part of them or only certain ones based on their own personal taste. I love the longer concerts, especially for a wide array of local talent, and while some might be better served broken up, hopefully more hit the area in the coming months and beyond! Thanks to everyone for voting!

As for this month's poll, now's a good time to begin our annual "Favourite _____ of the year" polls, as I'm always curious to see what you guys preferred out of the year's albums, news events, debuting bands, and concerts, and we'll start by posing this question: What was your favourite local metal, hard rock, or punk CD of 2014? As of this writing, there's no new SMS-fitting albums in the cards for an imminent release before the new year (barring a surprise announcement), so I feel comfortable with kicking off our 2014 polls with this topic, especially given the amount of notable releases that came out from heavier and punk bands in the past year! As usual, this poll does not include 2013 albums, any yet to be released, free or improperly packaged CD demos, older re-releases, and free song postings, to keep the spirit of a "paid album" in mind. If the album is online only, it must be available to buy as a full online album rather than separate songs, hence the absence of Sykotyk Rampage's 2014 releases, though formatted as albums.

Also, no albums that fall outside of our covered genres are included, but if you want to vote for one of them or an album that we missed, "Other" is back once again as a choice! Also, we condensed SweetKenny's three 2014 albums into one option in the poll due to their similarity and close relative proximity in release dates, and omitted The Bear Hunters' "Collapse The Sun" single as it's a complimentary release to their full length CD in the poll (if you preferred it though, vote "Other"!) Still, we have 14 choices, so read on below for more info on each!

AlgomA - Reclaimed By The Forest: Arguably the biggest local metal release of 2014 on an international scale, local doom/sludge metal trio AlgomA's debut CD has made waves both locally and abroad partly thanks to support from Deadbeat Media and a number of media and press reviews. Even without a local CD release concert, there's a solid reception for their sludgy and slow originals, but was "Reclaimed By The Forest" your favourite new local CD of the year?

The Bear Hunters - Eternal Hibernation: The likely last local metal CD of the year was also the most anticipated by many, as the local death metal quintet have worked for over 3 years to complete their debut full length album. Released at a successful CD release party at The Canadian Nightclub on November 29th, fans have reacted positively to this 10 song collection of The Bear Hunters' early originals, but did you love it enough to vote for it?

Crucify The Whore - Welcome To Earth: The polarizing goregrind solo project by Rotopsy's Tyler Gibson released their first full length demo "Welcome To Earth" on July 1st, featuring 15 minimalistic but brutal songs (including 4 surpassing 3 minutes in length) that definitely piqued the interest of Blood Shed Productions loyalists! With better production and tighter songwriting than on their early demos, was C.T.W.'s newest release your favourite?

Habitat Shuffle - Sober Drift: Surprisingly released on August 20th, "Sober Drift" is the debut album from Free Beer successors Habitat Shuffle, who have surprisingly not played a known public concert yet. Recorded at Tidal Records and released in digital mp3 formats only, but the transition from ska-punk to a 1990s alt-rock style did attract some positive notice late this year! If you've heard "Sober Drift", would you rank it #1?

Jack Spades - The First: Launched at a successful CD release show at The Rockstar Bar on May 16th, local punk/metal quintet Jack Spades' conveniently named debut EP "The First" received a reception akin to the concert that night, with 4 entertaining Misfits-inspired originals (plus a Ripcordz cover) for old Fitswitch & Frightlight fans and new ones alike! This was a very nice EP, but did you like it more than the rest of the poll choices?

Mike Haggith - A Place Of Our Own: Released on May 10th to coincide with his rare solo concert set at the fourth annual Sewer Swampstravaganza at The Oddfellows Hall, Haggith drummer Mike Haggith's 48th solo album "A Place Of Our Own" continued the orchestral themes of his recent solo albums, if a bit minimal and light compared to some of his prior work. Mike's talent is clear, but was his newest studio album your favourite of the year?

The Northern Tragedy - Home Ice: First released on March 16th when they opened for Skynet at 180 Projects, local punk trio The Northern Tragedy's second EP "Home Ice" features just 3 songs, but attracted positive notices after it's spring release! Surprisingly, the guys haven't been seen on stage since, so this EP might have fallen a bit by the wayside by year's end, but were The Northern Tragedy responsible for your favourite 2014 CD locally?

Northwest - Northwest: The second Tidal Records-affiliated punk EP released in less than a month, local indie/punk quintet Northwest launched their first public online page on September 2nd by releasing their debut self-titled EP, albeit only in digital mp3 copies. This veteran outfit featuring Small Town Rivals and Terminal alumni delivered well on their debut release together, but did you see the top choice in this poll out of Northwest's first album?

Rotopsy - Rotopsy: Released on April 18th on the day of their abbreviated Dank Fest set at The Oddfellows Hall, local goregrind duo Rotopsy's debut EP features 8 songs that, though as minimalistic and polarizing as C.T.W., have a lively brutality that definitely got Blood Shed fans going in the past year! Did Tyler & Dylan craft your favourite 2014 CD release with Rotopsy's EP, or do you have something else in mind?

Shit Liver - Shit Liver: Two years (and one move to St. Catharine's) after recording sessions began, local grind/death metal trio Shit Liver released their well anticipated self-titled debut CD on April 20th, delivering a blast of 15 (mostly) short, aggressive, and chaotic originals for their patient fans! Though we haven't heard much from Josh, Mike, and Matt in recent months, was Shit Liver's first CD your favourite local release of the last year?

Any of SweetKenny's 2014 albums: The only Sault Michigan-area hard rock CD releases that we knew of in 2014 came from veteran solo artist Kenneth Sutton (a.k.a. SweetKenny), who released three CDs this year, including "Ink" in March, "This End Up" in June, and "Amazonian" in October, bringing his main solo discography to 10 CDs. Each has a similar style, but Ken's Elvis-inspired vocals and Sykotyk Rampage-esque hard rock has an audience, though are you among it?

Telephone & Address - Need Not Apply: This local punk, grunge, and lo-fi solo project from Red & Black frontman Chris Shoust released their sixth album (and second since reemerging locally) at the IDNS concert at The Oddfellows Hall on September 6th, but unlike prior releases, "Need Not Apply" differed with a more aggressive bass & drum sound rather than acoustic guitar material. Was Telephone & Address' new CD your favourite of the year?

This Is Your Band On Drugs - This Is Your Band On Drugs: Originally released as a free download on May 12th, the local experimental/grind duo featuring the ever-creative Chase Wigmore would later see this demo get a paid physical release at Blood Shed Productions concerts, so it counts for this poll. Though low in recording quality, T.I.Y.B.O.D. delivered intense, irreverent, and explosive metal on this demo, but did you like it more than the rest?

Other: Is your favourite new metal, hard rock, or punk album of 2014 not featured above? Perhaps you preferred one we missed, an album that's incomplete or unreleased, one that was only available in free or unpackaged copies, or isn't even "heavy" or "local" at all? If, for whatever reason, you wish to vote for a different album in this poll, "Other" is for you!

VOTE TODAY!! You guys have until January 18th to cast your ballots in our first "favourite _____ of 2014" poll, and I'm curious to see what album "wins" the poll, and please don't stuff ballots to ensure that a specific CD "wins". Cast your ballots A.S.A.P., and stay tuned for weekend concert previews later today! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Local Punk Video Showcase (Part 6)

Despite a slow news run over the last few days, we have some big stuff to come shortly, but first, here's our 6th local punk video showcase! Apologies for the almost 1 month delay for the next one, it slipped through the cracks. Though this installment is similar to our first 5 punk showcases (and focuses mostly on Dustin Jones & Mikey Hawdon-featured projects), it's also our first to deviate in channel selection, as one regular channel and one regular band will merge this week, and as older punk videos get picked off, things will continue to be shuffled. Concert footage from four different shows follow, so here's what you should know!

We'll start with the last punk video from Jamie Penno's YouTube channel that we hadn't featured on here, and it'll be of interest to fans of defunct local punk quartet The Inner City Surfers! Filmed at what appears to be a Foggy Notions show around the turn of the New Year in 2007 (it was uploaded on January 4th of that year), this video is during their song "The Quest" (which closed their self-titled CD from that year), though the video actually focuses around a mid-song guitar solo battle between frontman Dustin Jones and lead guitarist Dave Bahun. If you know Dave's bands well, you'll know that behind-the-head guitar solos aren't uncommon, and here, he and Dustin duel at playing the solo to Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" behind their heads. I won't spoil the end result, but it's a fun diversion! The video closes with the last section of "The Quest", though Jamie didn't film the whole song. Solidly shot from close to the stage, the quality is solid all around, so give the guitar solo battle a look below!

Next up, here's some television footage of local/Toronto punk standouts Treble Charger from June 2003! This comes from a piece filmed by MusiquePlus (then the French-language version of MuchMusic) at that year's Woodstock en Beauce festival in St-Ephrem-de-Beauce, Quebec, which features footage of fans, the festival environment, live concert footage, and interviews with some of that year's bands. Uploaded to former MusiquePlus VJ Rebecca Makonnen's YouTube channel in April, the piece features her interviewing an unidentified Quebec francophone punk band (possibly Vulgaires Machins?) followed by Nickelback, Sum 41, and Treble Charger, with their segment beginning 5:16 into the video. Conducted in English, the interview takes place on the band's tour bus, with frontman Greig Nori lightly discussing reactions to them playing the festival, and if it's possible to play this festival sober.

A brief clip of them playing their song "American Psycho" is sandwiched in between, and the studio version of "Hundred Millon" can be heard briefly at their segment's start, but the guys are only featured for less than a minute before ending with more attendee interviews. Though short, it's nice to see Treble Charger getting some media attention during this big annual festival (which wrapped up it's 20 year run this summer), so give it a look below, and remember, Treble Charger are 5:16 in!

Third, here's the video that kills two birds with one stone (so to speak), as this is both from Mikey Hawdon's YouTube channel AND of his current local band Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide, who we have some concert news on for this weekend too, so keep an eye out for that! Surprisingly Mikey's only video of the popular Celtic punk quartet on his channel, this was uploaded there in February of last year, and it's of the guys covering Trampled By Turtles' "Wait So Long" in Portland, Ontario (45 minutes north of Kingston), though around a table rather than in concert, with Mikey using said table as the drums. More of a straightforward cover of this folk/bluegrass song, but they make it work, and if you didn't know better, you might confuse it for a DJRT original! Though shot at the vertical cell phone camera angle, the quality's nice, so give it a look below!

We'll close things today by coming full circle with a bonus video of The Inner City Surfers, this time a full concert video from their show at Brennan's Pub in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island in August 2007! Uploaded by YouTube user nifftyfriggins in May of 2011, this video is filmed from an overhead camera for most of it, though it does change angles at times, and moves completely to closer to the stage for the last 12 minutes. That night's set featured a high number of songs from their 2007 CD as well as non-album tracks and select covers from the likes of Weezer, The Vaselines, The Rolling Stones, and The Ramones (the latter three with Mikey Hawdon on lead vocals, for all you Merves & Fairmounts fans.) If you miss The Surfers, this is a great way to check out the guys' full concert experience, though the colour is awful, and if it wasn't for the camera zooms, it wouldn't be shocking to assume this was filmed in black & white. Solid audio and you do get a nice glimpse back at The Inner City Surfers' heyday, so give it a look below!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for a new punk video showcase hopefully sooner than this one came, and keep an eye out for weekend concert previews TOMORROW! Thanks everyone!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Rednecks Saloon Battle Updates, Plus The Latest From Blood Shed Productions!!

After a quiet Sunday, we're back with news and updates on this Monday morning, so what's on tap? Lots of updates and media from a local independent metal label, and first, some updates on one of the upcoming 2015 battles of the bands, so here's what you should know!

We'll start today with the latest updates concerning the Rednecks Saloon Battle of the Bands on February 20th, mostly concerning the lineup, so are you curious who's playing yet? Despite some verbal confirmations by bands on their own pages, co-promoters Steven Flint announced on the Facebook event page yesterday that band registration forms are now available to sign up with, and if you contact him at this link, he can arrange a pick-up or drop-off of the forms to fill out. Completed registration forms (plus the $100 band entry fee) must be submitted by Thursday, January 15th, so you have a month to officially sign up for the battle! Twin City Sound must have the registration form and entry fee for you or your band to be locked into a slot for the battle, and remember, don't let the entry fee scare you, as you'll make the money all back if you sell all 10 tickets that your band is given!

Message Steven Flint or fellow promoter Terry Eaton A.S.A.P. to arrange a pick up or delivery of registration forms for the February battle, before it's too late! Now, with that said, promoters appear to be waiting until bands are 100% registered before officially confirming performers (that, or until the January 15th deadline), but who has stated their involvement so far? Members of local death metal veterans The Bear Hunters and grunge/hard rock quartet Haggith confirmed that they're "in", as per the Facebook event page, while local doom/punk trio The Revolution indicated that they'd be competing as well on their own Facebook page, despite not announcing a new bassist yet. Steven also tagged various artists who had shown interest in a comment on the above registration form post on the event page, including members of The Danger Cats, Beaumont Avenue, Them, Infamous, and Project 421, but none of these bands have publically acknowledged plans to play this battle, at least not as of this writing.

Until an official announcement from promoters is made, we won't officially confirm any of the competing bands, but things are shaping up well at this early stage! For the record, we've heard no new confirmations yet regarding the Canadian Nightclub Battle throughout March since we first plugged the event on the site, but we'll be sure to let you know when updates and additions are announced! I'm excited for both battles, so stay tuned for updates, and contact Steven and/or Terry for your registration forms!

We'll close with the latest updates from local goregrind/rap label Blood Shed Productions and their heavier acts, who have been hard at work on new demos in recent weeks, including a full length release from goregrind duo Rotopsy and early plans for an EP from Brutally Fatal (their first under their current name and lineup), which have been acknowledged on the label's Facebook page in the past week. Right now though, much of the Blood Shed's work is concerning their planned 11-way split demo, which is being previewed via new YouTube channel uploads and on flagship band Crucify The Whore's Bandcamp page. The latter has 3 new songs that C.T.W. will include on the split disc, which suggests that bands will be allowed to submit multiple songs for inclusion, but given that only one of C.T.W.'s new songs exceeds 73 seconds, it helps to have a few. We won't give the title of two of them here due to their potentially offensive content, but one song is called "Verbally Abused", and two of them are posted on YouTube.

Embedded below though are multiple tracks from C.T.W./Rotopsy mainstay Tyler Gibson's cybergrind solo project Malignant Neoplasm, who are also being featured on the split, though the brief songs aren't titled via this YouTube upload from last week. The techno-infused noise metal won't be everyone's taste, but there's originality and drive at work, so give the new songs a listen below, and stay tuned for more on upcoming releases!

Finally, here's two new videos from the Rotopsy camp, both coming from house party concerts this summer! One is from the private release party for Crucify the Whore's release party for their "Welcome To Earth" demo on July 1st, which captures Dylan & Tyler playing the Rotopsy original "Grinded Live In Your Faces". Uploaded last week, the video was filmed vertically on a cell phone camera, is backwards, only captures Tyler in frame, and is of mixed quality otherwise, but Rotopsy fans should find something to like from the music and intensity, so give it a look above! Embedded below though is a video from a private concert on August 23rd that served as the live debut for The Apocalypse Afterparty, but also featured Rotopsy, Bad Back, and other acts. The video features Rotopsy playing their songs "Lesbian Luxuries of a Lobotomy Factory" and "Let Us Rot", but if the volume was down, you'd have to take their word for it, as the camera was oddly set up in another room.

The camera was shooting through a doorway with no lighting in the room with the stage, but it may have been an issue with space in the building, as there are attendees headbanging in front of the camera. The audio quality isn't bad though, but I do wish that the camera was mounted in the same room where we could actually see Rotopsy. Give it a look below, and see more from their summer house parties at the above links!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for more news and notes this week, plus this month's poll! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Battle Of The Bands Rewind Profile: Viva La Battle

Hey guys, in a surprise second post today, here's our overdue latest installment of our Battle of the Bands Rewind series! As you may remember, we're profiled a selection of recent battles of the bands on the site in the last few years, in order to spotlight what happened, who competed, what were the stakes, and where the bands are now, with new installments coming a year after the original battle took place. However, we admittedly forgot about our profile on the most recent Sault Ontario battle last month, but with two new ones coming up in early 2015, now's better than ever! Remember, our battle of the bands profiles are strictly informative and do not feature reviews or criticism of the bands or their sets. With that said, read on below for our newest Battle of the Bands Rewind Profile!
Viva La Battle (November 13th, 2013)

Background: Seven months after his successful Rockstar Bar Battle of the Bands, local concert promoter J.D. Pearce hosted Viva La Battle in November 2013 at The Canadian Nightclub. Much like his Battle for the Blood the previous summer, this was a smaller battle featuring less bands, fan voting rather than judges, and an opening concert slot for the winner being the only prize. In this case, the winner of Viva La Battle would be named as one of the local openers for Bam Margera's Fuckface Unstoppable at The Canadian on December 14th of that year, similarly to the past year's prize of opening for 3 Inches of Blood at The Rosie. All competing bands would play 30 minute sets, and after they wrapped up, concert attendees marked their chosen winners on a paper ballot to be tabulated after the show. The battle's name was inspired by Bam Margera's MTV reality show "Viva La Bam".

Prizes: Again, just the opening slot for Bam Margera the next month, where the winners would also join Detroit party/hard rock quintet Wilson and two other local bands on the lineup, including punk/metal quintet Jack Spades and hardcore punk notables Destroilet. There were no other announced prizes for the winners or runners-up.

Competitors: Though four bands were scheduled for Viva La Battle, only three would end up playing, including local death metal veterans The Bear Hunters, debuting local indie/punk quintet Northwest (then spelled as "North West"), and the debuting hard rock quartet Punch, a supergroup merger of Suicide Kings & Haggith alumni.

Results: The fans voted The Bear Hunters as the winners of Viva La Battle, scoring 21 of a possible 43 votes and giving them the right to open for Fuckface Unstoppable the following month. Northwest made a strong impression in second place with 13 votes, while Punch rounded out the podium in third with 9 votes. 

Aftermath: The Bear Hunters continued their success with a number of high profile concerts throughout 2014, and also released their debut CD "Eternal Hibernation" last month, with more big CD plans and concerts to come in 2015! Northwest have played more sporadically, but have opened for the likes of Gob over the past year, and also released a debut self-titled EP over the summer with their original lineup. Finally, Punch played a handful of concerts over the following months, such as opening for Diemonds and playing at one of the Roosevelt Hotel's short lived Heavy Thursday shows, before falling inactive due to members' other band projects.

Some Notable Performers' Newer Bands (Metal/hard rock/punk in italics; ex-members noted with an *):

Beaumont Avenue (Mitch Sirie from The Bear Hunters, and Steven Flint & Ben Boudreau from Punch)
Chronic Demonic (Nik Deubel from The Bear Hunters)
The Cover-Up (Clint Wilson from Northwest)
Haggith (Curtis McKenzie & Daniel Horton from Punch)
Late Shift (Clint Wilson from Northwest)
Lorrie Lynn & The Sinners (Greg Callaghan & Clint Wilson from Northwest)
Jack Spades (Justin Lam & Johnny Belanger from The Bear Hunters)
Project 421 (Daniel Horton & Curtis McKenzie* from Punch)
The Sorrow Fields (Mitch Sirie from The Bear Hunters)
Urawk (Mitch Sirie from The Bear Hunters, and Steven Flint & Ben Boudreau* from Punch)


  • A new (and intentionally secretive) local band named Keep It Lit were originally scheduled to play this battle as the fourth band, but dropped out on the day of the show after an undisclosed band member broke their hand. Keep It Lit would never play a live concert, but their lineup was to have featured singer/bassist Paul Stanghetta, guitarists Alice Rose & Paul Fowler, and drummer John Mignacca. Had they competed, Paul Stanghetta & John would have had a chance to better their second place finishes at past battles with The Fury and As It Stands respectively, though Paul plays similar material in his current band The Apocalypse Afterparty.
  • Local hard rock quartet The Suicide Kings (now known as Beaumont Avenue) were originally slated to play Viva La Battle, but were replaced by the debuting Punch a few weeks prior due to frontman Mike Gaetano having external commitments, though Steven & Ben were also in Punch, and bassist Mitch Sirie was still playing the battle with The Bear Hunters. Had The Suicide Kings competed, they could have tried to win their second straight battle, following their Rockstar Bar Battle win that March.
  • The Bear Hunters' victory at Viva La Battle was their first in three tries, following their 6th place run at 2012's Sault Humane Society Battle of the Bands, and their finals run in the aforementioned Rockstar Bar Battle. Unlike at those battles however, the band played Viva La Battle as a quartet due to Josh Stephney's move to Brampton that summer, but Josh made a surprise return to The Bear Hunters at the Bam Margera show on December 13th, where the band debuted some new original songs in the process.
  • While Punch are now inactive, members Daniel Horton & Curtis McKenzie carried over their original songs (like "By The Hand", "Road Rage", and the self-titled "Punch") to their reunited current band Haggith, who play these songs live and will release them in studio quality on their forthcoming CD "XIV".
  • While this was the first battle of the bands to take place at The Canadian Nightclub since the Kiss Battle of the Bands in November & December 2009, this was also the first metal/punk concert to be held at the Pim Street bar since their most recent major renovations following serious flooding during a major rainstorm last September. The new look features more of a rustic/garage motif, including a number of road signs on the nightclub's walls.
  • Though they didn't have to compete in that show's battle to get on, The Bear Hunters also played the 3 Inches of Blood show in July 2012, which saw the Battle For The Blood take place the previous month to find the opening band (which was won by Winkstinger.)
  • Along with being ballots for the Viva La Battle fan vote, everyone who voted was also entered for a prize package of merchandise from the pre-selected local openers of the next month's Bam Margera concert, Jack Spades & Destroilet. The winner of the draw was Christine Purvis.
  • Surprisingly, this was the last local battle of the bands to be held in Sault Ontario until 2015, when a one night battle of the bands will be held at The Rednecks Saloon on February 20th, followed by a four night battle (similar to the Rockstar Bar Battle, and also by J.D. Pearce) that will take place throughout March at The Canadian Nightclub. As of this writing, Viva La Battle performers are scheduled to compete at one or both of these events with The Bear Hunters, Haggith, Late Shift, and Project 421, though full schedules aren't public yet.


Sources/More Info:
Viva La Battle's official Facebook event page
SooToday's review & photo album from Viva La Battle
I hope you guys liked our newest Battle of the Bands Rewind Profile! Barring a mass information dump on an older un-profiled battle (like a non-2008 Case's Music Battle, or one of the old Bon Soo Battles), this series won't return until February 2016, which will be a year removed from the Rednecks Saloon Battle early next year, but be sure to attend both of next year's battles to see what we'll profile in 2016! That's all for now, but stay tuned for more news and notes to come over the next week! Thanks everyone!

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Highway 63), New Video Finds, And More!!

After a two day run of weekend concert previews and battle of the bands updates, let's take a look at other stories from recent days before we dive back into the battle pool, and believe me, there's big news on both to mention shortly! For now, we have some neat video finds, assorted recent notes, and leading off, LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS for over the holidays, so here's what you need to know!

Newer Sault Michigan classic/hard rock quartet Highway 63 will play their last gigs of the year (barring a New Year's Eve show) when they return to The Rapids Lounge at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino on Friday, December 26th and Saturday, December 27th! Coming just three weeks after the Sir Charge successors' most recent Soo Kewadin dates, I will note that these shows are not among those listed on Kewadin Casino's entertainment page, but they may be waiting to list the 2015 schedule there before updating it. The Switzers and company should be in good form after a successful late 2014 string of concerts, so if you're up for some post Christmas hard rock action, you know where to be! Our source is the band's Facebook page, which also revealed yesterday that the guys are getting ready to record "our demo for the Petoskey casino", presumably meaning that they're auditioning to play gigs at the Odawa Casino & Resort there.

Sault area cover bands playing in the Lower Peninsula aren't unheard of (Highway 63 bassist Chris Leask has played down there with Power Slug), and it'd be great exposure, so hopefully things work out for the guys on that front! As for their Boxing Day weekend shows in the Soo, there's no announced cover charges, 21+ age limits, and 9:00 PM start times in effect, so check the above links for more details, and stay tuned for more from Highway 63 as we hear it!

Next up, here's some older performance videos that we just recently came across on YouTube, starting with defunct Sault Ontario hard rock cover quartet Sneaky Pete live at The Rockstar Bar! Uploaded to lead guitarist Mario Carlucci's YouTube channel in October, the video itself is undated, but it was likely filmed in 2011 (it's not the same show as the one we filmed at in January 2012, and they didn't play live in other years.) The almost 9 minute long video features Sneaky Pete covering Guns N' Roses' "Mr. Brownstone" before transitioning to Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" to close what was filmed, and the guys sound good here! Mike Oakley's vocal range does come up short at times, but Sneaky Pete had chemistry and a good thing going, and it's s shame that they only played live concerts for less then a year after such a long stretch of preparation. The colours are also badly washed out after post-correction, but kudos to Mario for posting this after 3 years! Give it a look below!, and hopefully the guys turn up in bands again!

Also today, remember how Mourning Wood drummer T.J. Case frequently takes over lead vocals for renditions of AC/DC's "Highway To Hell" during their shows? Well, it turns out that he's been singing AC/DC live long before Mourning Wood were ever a thought, as evidenced by a video posted on YouTube over 4 years ago! Uploaded by user TheLilspirit, this appears to come from his brief run with the veteran local rock band Wishbone, specifically their show at The Roosevelt Hotel (now Reggie's West) on November 20th, 2010. While the Dennis Duguay-fronted band is best known for their original material, they do play the occasional cover, and TheLilspirit filmed 2 at this show, including The Surfaris' instrumental "Wipe Out" and the aforementioned AC/DC cover, though in this case, T.J. and Wishbone did AC/DC's classic "TNT". Both are well performed, and while "TNT" benefits from having two guitarists, the backing vocals are barely audible & aren't as effective.

I'll also note that both videos are definitely centered on T.J. over Wishbone (the songs are credited to T.J. only in the title, and the other Wishbone members aren't in frame), but a reason for the single member focus isn't stated. Maybe the filmer has a personal connection, and/or the videos are intended as a solo showcase? Give Wishbone's "TNT" cover a look below, see more above, and don't miss Mourning Wood at Rednecks TONIGHT!

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

  •  Local funk/hard rock quartet The Elements have quietly been added to the lineup for the second annual X-Mess acoustic punk show at The Algonquin Pub next week, as per the Facebook event page a few days ago. No word on how their set will adapt to an unplugged setting (especially concerning drums), but it's great to see the guys on board for this seasonal event! Stay tuned for more updates, and the first 11 people in the door on Saturday will get a gift!
  • Redundant frontman/Thrill Junkies bassist Justin Langlois is looking to join another band on bass, saying "I need to play more bass" via a post on the Musicians Wanted Facebook group this past Friday. Justin's talent and resume speaks for itself, but if you're interested in jamming with him, message him above or at this link!
  • Speaking of bassist searches, a new local modern rock/punk band named Stereo North are also looking for a bassist, as per a post on the Musicians Wanted group yesterday by drummer Brett Norton. The band is comprised of experienced members, have a setlist ready with new and old songs, and plan to begin playing live once a bassist is found. If you want to try out for Stereo North, message Brett A.S.A.P. at this link or at the Musicians Wanted group!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for more updates over the weekend, especially concerning both of next year's battles of the bands and the acts playing them! Thanks everyone!