Monday, August 22, 2016

The Din - "Give In To The Din" CD Review!!

Let's help remedy our recent slow period with with our 86th monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, as we're taking a look at local alternative/hard rock trio The Din's debut studio album "Give In To The Din'"! Released on August 12th during their CD release show at The Tech, this is The Din's first studio album, but it does follow a live acoustic demo from earlier this year, plus a few free "albums" during their acid/jam beginnings, though no songs on this album are held over from the free releases. Recorded with one exception at Pretoria Hill Productions over the past year with producer Daniel Schmidt (guitarist Tammy Hill's father), The Din are represented here by frontman Mike Haggith on vocals, bass, and keyboard, Tammy on guitar, and Brandan Glew on drums and backing vocals. Copies of "Give In To The Din" are available at The Rad Zone, directly via band members, and in concert for around $10, and while the band has yet to announce full online availability, three songs can be heard at their Bandcamp page, and song titles are linked to public streaming copies where available. With 9 songs clocking in at around 38 minutes, let's begin with the opening track!

This CD begins with "In Search of the Perfect Moment", which has a fun, upbeat sound that calls to mind The Foo Fighters a bit, though the timing on the intro sounds a little off compared to live concerts. Mike's singing shows more of a light range than he's often showed live, where the choruses had lower vocal keys, which is an adjustment on first listen, but it's not a problem afterward. This is a good showcase of The Din's talents and songwriting skill, with the lyrics bearing some clear personal ties, and Tammy has a nice solo as well,and it's a solid sing-along number to kick off this album! That's followed by "Flux" (notably named by Brandan from a random thesaurus page), and this is a slightly harder edged song that showcases The Din's musical talent a little more in-depth, and I like the vocal melody! The constant cymbal percussion through the chorus isn't really needed (it sounds like someone's ringing a bell in the background), but Brandan gets a solid drum solo before the chorus, and the song should appeal nicely to fans of the members' heavier music backgrounds!

Third is "Alleyways & Apartments", which was notably recorded at Mission Control Studios with producer & Tidal Records founder Dustin Jones, and yes, the song is suitably well mixed and recorded! A softer and more mid-tempo song than what preceded it, this is strongly done with Mike's vocals coming through very crisp, and the same goes for his bass playing, while Tammy gets a strong, if abbreviated, guitar solo to boot. I like the instrumental layering here too, and though I do prefer their faster and heavier songs, this gets the job done! Fourth is "Out Of My League", which is a re-recording of a song from Mike's 2015 and latest solo CD "The Warinside". (which you can read our full review of at this link.) Compared to the original, The Din's version is less symphonic, heavier, better recorded, and less melancholy, helping the new version stand out on it's own even more, and I do prefer it! Dropping the twinkly closing stretch doesn't hurt either. Tammy has her best guitar solo yet, and The Din did a good job making this a fun, top listen on the first half of the album!

The next song is "75", which is another re-recording, this time from Mike's earlier grunge band Haggith, who originally recorded the song in 2013 with Mike on vocals & drums for their third album "Deuce" (you can read our review of it at this link as well.) The two versions are similar, though the new version has stronger production, is slightly faster, and the absence of backing vocals actually helps here. Lyrically about taking an aggressive stance against a person who isn't helping you in life, this was a fan favourite with Haggith, and The Din keep the hard edged intensity going here, with a slight pop sensibility, and it's welcome to hear in this tightened form! We return to songs originated by The Din with "Remember", which is by far the softest and most reserved song yet on this CD. Making expert use of Mike and Brandan's vocal harmonies, this song feels like a campfire jam had professional production, if that makes sense, though it ends somewhat abruptly, and I definitely prefer their harder, fuller songs just out of personal preference. It's well done though, especially for fans of Mike's softer side!

Song #7 is "Potato (Should Have Known Better)", which is also a re-recording, this time from Mike's 2014 solo album "A Place of Our Own", where it was titled "This Potato May Be Used As A Flotation Device" (read our full review at this link.) The new version of "Potato" is shorter (an album low, actually), more guitar driven, has cleaner production, and all but drops the heavy keyboard symphonics of the original. This gives the song a punk vibe and more band-suited sound, and I like the vocal melodies and Tammy's strong guitar work, from the opening riffs to her slow but dramatic guitar solo! For my tastes, this is a strong improvement, and always fun to hear in concert! Next is "The Rose", which is the last song on the CD that isn't a re-recording. A slower, more drawn out number, this still has a good energy from Mike's up-tempo singing, plus an extra crunch to the choruses helps break things up. The drawn out nature of the song isn't optimal for my tastes (especially the slow closing minute), but the deliberate melody and impassioned lyrics help this one stand up on it's own!

"Give in to The Din" closes with "A Drive Through The Peninsula", which is also a re-recording from Mike's "Warinside" album from last year. Again, this version dispenses of the symphonic elements of the original, though here in favour of just the core band. While it has stronger production and great guitar work, it maintains the mid-tempo sing along style of the original, but in this case, the song could actually use some filling out as a result, unlike on the other re-recordings. That said, it's actually almost twice as long as the original, with The Din filling out the previously 4:50 song with 3½ of extended instrumental jamming. I don't know whether you'd call it an homage to their acid jam era or not, but it gives a chance for Tammy to really let loose on guitar and show off more of her very clear skill, and both Mike and Brandan have some fun on bass and drums throughout as well, so this is a nice surprise for fans to cap off the album!

So, what are my final thoughts on "Give In To The Din"? Overall, this is a solid debut release for The Din, who put their cards on the table well as a skilled alt-rock outfit with clear chemistry and an entertaining sound that can be hard-edged, poppy, or introspective at will! Mike has really came into his own as a frontman with his deep yet diverse vocal style, his bass work matched up well, Brandan's drumming was steady and dependable, and Tammy remains an excellent find on lead guitar, adding a touch of flair and technicality throughout, and when she gets going, you can feel it! The choice to do re-recordings for almost half the album is somewhat of a gamble, but the new versions are all improvements that suit The Din's sound and themes, and Pretoria Hill Productions made a solid first foray into album production here too! Songs like "Flux", "75", and "Potato" are among my favourites for good reason, as they are in concert with fans, but the dinging cymbal percussion can be a distraction, the last song did sound empty at times, and given The Din's extended repertoire of songs from Mike & The Din's back catalogs, and new compositions, this album did feel a little short.

"Give In To The Din" is a very entertaining debut studio release from this fast-rising trio, and I'm sure they have even bigger material to come for round #2, so be sure to follow the band for details on their next shows, material, and more, and buy it A.S.A.P.! I hope you guys liked this month's CD review, and next month on the site, we will look at a new album of some description, likely either the now-defunct Long Shot's debut EP, or a recent SweetKenny album, though maybe a surprise new release will come along in the next month too? Stay tuned for more next month, for this month's YouTube Channel Profile later this week, and for more news and notes shortly! Thanks everyone!

Friday, August 19, 2016

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

At last, it's time to close down last month's poll and launch our newest poll at the SMS, but be sure to check out more weekend concert previews and updates in this morning's post below this one! As you may remember, we posed this question to you guys last month: What was your favourite local metal, hard rock, or punk concert in the first half of 2016? Sadly, we only got 12 votes, but there is an interesting result to be had, so here's the final tally!

Redneck Rock Bash 2 at Rednecks on June 4th (4 votes, 33⅕%)
Project 421 & Eclipse at The Rockstar Bar on May 13th (2 votes, 17%)
Gorod & Bookakee at The Oddfellows Hall on April 15th (2 votes, 17%)
Go Skateboarding Day at Queen Elizabeth Park on June 21st (1 vote, 8⅕%)
Id Iota & The Pixo Control at LopLops Lounge on April 21st (1 vote, 8⅕%)
The Din at The Gore Street Cafe on March 4th (1 vote, 8⅕%)
Other  (1 vote, 8⅕%)
Stereo North at The Rednecks Saloon on January 23rd (0 votes)
The Pixo Control at The Rockstar Bar on February 12th (0 votes)
Eclipse & The Din at The Rockstar Bar on February 13th (0 votes)
The VM Radio Battle of the Bands from March 9th-23rd (0 votes)
The Speak Easy Battle of the Bands on March 10th (0 votes)
The Rednecks Saloon's Relaunch Party on April 2nd (0 votes)
Black Tremor at The New American Pub on April 6th (0 votes)
The Metal Massacre house party show on April 14th (0 votes)
The Redneck Rock Bash at Rednecks on April 23rd (0 votes)
The Motherfuckers at The Oddfellows Hall on April 30th (0 votes)
Bon Jovi Forever at The Rockstar Bar on May 6th (0 votes)
Eclipse at The Rednecks Saloon on May 20th (0 votes)
The Bear Hunters at The Oddfellows Hall on May 21st (0 votes)
Foam & Twistory at The New American Pub on June 19th (0 votes)

What do you guys think? Well, in this poll, I'm most surprised that both of this year's battles of the bands attracted no votes, as well as the Rednecks Saloon relaunch, but it's all in who votes! Of the six shows that attracted a vote ("Other" aside, I can't speak for that person's choice), most of the choices aren't shocking given their prominence or reputation in the first half of the year, and with all taking place at different venues, that is a good sign for variety's sake! April's Gorod/Bookakee show definitely deserved the attention it got after the headliners' brutality and theatrics, and Project 421's return show delivered the goods, but the winner of the poll was arguably the biggest surprise. June's Redneck Rock Bash 2 clearly won the poll despite two late band dropouts, the absence of Curtis McKenzie from Project 421's set, and a relatively late notice public announcement, but fans must have really taken to this one, and hopefully another Redneck Rock Bash occurs down the road!

Thanks to everyone for voting! As for this month's poll, I was inspired by Six, Two, Oh.'s recent punk shows with stand-up comedians to tackle a question that I've had in mind for a while now, so I pose this to you guys: When attending a concert that doesn't solely feature bands, what kinds of entertainers would you most want to see? Most multi-band concert events in the area stick to musical entertainment, and given the themes of the SMS, we generally cover bands more than anything else, but that doesn't mean that other types of performers aren't welcome on shows when the time is right. Promoters can experiment, honour multiple art disciplines, maintain a theme, or fill time between band availability by inviting a variety of disparate performers to a concert, and in many cases, it helps set that event apart from other shows that just feature bands. That said, everyone has different preferences, so I was curious to see what you guys would prefer to see at shows that don't only feature musical groups.

As a result, I'm experimenting with this poll by allowing multiple choices per vote, so if you have two or more that you like seeing at concerts, by all means, choose all that apply! Also, the poll window is white rather than the usual red due to a glitch with host PollCode, and I hope to address that shortly. Now, here are your choices for this month's poll!

Solo musicians/rappers: Likely the most frequent non-band performer at a local concert, solo artists like Telephone & Address and Shit Creek Survivor have provided their own more reserved but talented brand of acoustic music at many recent events, while we have also seen rappers and hip-hop artists like Mikey Thomas, Conika, and Killabeatz dropping beats & rhymes at some as well. Solo musicians can pack in some entertaining music to change a show's pace, but do you like seeing them with bands at local concerts?

Open mic/jam performers: Though you typically see an open mic or jam night as it's own standalone event, local promoters have hosted an open mic block as a scheduled set at a concert otherwise populated by bands, notably occurring at the last two Swampstravaganzas. There's an unpredictable element to an open mic or jam block before or during a concert otherwise containing scheduled acts, as you never know exactly who will perform and what, but that's precisely why some fans like them, but would you prefer it among a concert?

DJs/turntablists: On occasion, you'll see a DJ credited among performers on a concert, and recent years have seen the likes of DJ Seith and DJ Spruceau mixed in with scheduled bands to provide some turntable mixes for attendees, with DJ Seith in particular being a regular sight as a guest performer, disk jockey, and original music creator. That said, some may not find vinyl records on a turntable as an "instrument", but DJs can offer a fun break in the action, and can provide some entertaining mixes! Do you look forward to a DJ among bands?

Stand-up comedians: This is a relatively new sight for local concerts, but in the past few weeks, both Shane McGuigan and Ray Lemieux have been slotted on Six, Two, Oh.'s Debutaunt and Big Brother concerts at The New A, and given that they've now done it twice, then Shane and Ray must have been well recieved! You can see comedians opening for bands on occasion in bigger cities, and while every comedian is different, this can work well if they appeal to the audience. Would you want some stand-up in a concert?

Spoken word/poetry: Now, this admittedly isn't a frequent sight at local concerts with bands, but with spoken word performances and poetry nights having been held in the Soo in the past, the prospect exists that a poet could appear to recite their work at a local concert. If there was a poet or spoken word performer in between bands at a local concert, would you be in favour?

Performance art: You can lump anything that involves a non-musical or non-vocal demonstration of acting or special skills here, including magicians (Ryan McFarling, Aardvark the Magician), stage plays ("Nothing To Do In Sault Ste. Marie" from 2009's YMCA Battle of the Bands), sideshow acts (Karnival of the Grotesk), burlesque (The Salty Mollies), and even the War of 1812 moments from 2012's Rotaryfest Stage 1. Depending on the type of performance art, this can be a great fit or a surprise inclusion, but would this appeal to you within an otherwise musical event?

Bingo/live audience games: Most recently seen via Six, Two, Oh.'s experiment with punk rock bingo at The New A, some interactive scheduled games and contests can break with the flow and allow attendees a chance to be a part of the show and potentially win a prize or bragging rights. You could include trivia contests and the old audience games from Hempfest here as well, but as long as what you have in mind involves a live game of some kind as a block of a concert, vote here! (I wouldn't count draws, silent auctions, and door prizes here, as the live element is just announcing who won.)

I just want to see live bands: Do you go to concerts solely to see live bands, and don't really have a consideration or desire for any other types of performers in the lineup? Would you find any of these performers to be filler and/or not your style? If, for any reason, you don't want to vote for any of these choices, this is for you!

Indifferent/no opinion: If you don't have an opinion either way regarding seeing performers that aren't bands at a local concert, or go to a show just for the experience or a specific act and don't pay attention, vote here!

Other: Did we miss a style of live performance that we couldn't/didn't classify that you'd rather vote for? Is there a niche market you subscribe to that you'd love to see in a concert with bands? Did we just forget something? If you want some varied entertainment that we left out, check off "Other"!

VOTE TODAY!! You guys have until around September 18th to cast your ballots, so do so above on the right as usual, and remember, you can vote for multiple choices! Hopefully we get a solid response for this month's poll, so VOTE A.S.A.P., and stay tuned for more soon! Thanks everyone!

The End Of Long Shot, Sault Michigan Weekend Concert Previews, And More!!

Before we finally tackle the results of last month's poll, we have a new news post on this Thursday morning, and it includes the last of the previews for this weekend's hard rock shows, some assorted recent updates, and leading off, here's a surprise band breakup on the Ontario side of the border!

Local hard rock quartet Long Shot have surprisingly announced that they have disbanded, as per their Facebook page yesterday. The band cited that it "was a mutual decision" and "that now was the right time", and while they did not elaborate otherwise on the reason for the breakup, note that Long Shot have only played one public concert in the past nine months. Though their members were previously unfamiliar from other recent bands, Long Shot migrated from covers-centric sets at private and corporate events in 2014 to becoming an increasingly familiar sight at concerts in the mid-2000s, including a runner-up finish at last year's Speak Easy Battle of the Bands, a set at last year's Rotaryfest Stage 1, and a number of solo headlining sets at The Eagles Club in Heyden. In the above Facebook post, the band also confirmed that their debut self-titled EP is officially out, presumably upon the posting of the last song on their Bandcamp page on Jully 13th, but if there was a physical CD release or additional songs in that format, I can't confirm them at this time.

Long Shot were a solid band that injected some added flavour to the local scene, combining catchy hard rock originals with some unexpected yet well played covers, and while the guys weren't well known commodities in the local scene beforehand, they definitely made a good mark in a short time! Regarding a review of their EP, , we could look at it as soon as next month, now that I know it was completed, so keep an eye out, and best of luck to Evan, Nathan, Adam, and Jeremy in the future!

Next up, let's head across to the Sault Michigan area for previews of this weekend's remaining hard rock shows (barring a super late notice announcement), starting with the return of local hard rock quartet 415E to The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT! Two weeks removed from the private "Bro Bash" event in St. Ignace, this will be the former Hubbard Menard Band's first public show since last month at the Soo Kewadin, and 415E should be ready to party with a strong weekend of hard hitting, Van Halen-inspired favourites for fans at The Northern Pines Lounge! If you can't see them this weekend, you can check them out at the end of September in Sault Michigan too. 415E will be on tonight & tomorrow night at 9:00 PM, both shows are 21+ affairs, and there are no announced cover charges. Check the above links for more details, and here's 415E live!

Lastly for this weekend, the first annual Musicians Festival in Rudyard will go down TOMORROW at the Rudyard Township Park! Launched by local classic rockers Steelhead to help raise funds for Rudyard area school music programs and the Carol's Corral Foundation, this special family concert event will see a dozen musical acts rocking out tomorrow, with other activities planned including a bouncy castle, a smoked pig roast and other food items, and much more, so visit the above links and the official Facebook event page for more details on non-musical events! Steelhead will headline at 12:00 AM tomorrow, with Bay Mills masked metal quartet Stoned Ape Evolution co-headlining at 11:00 PM, and local hard rock/blues quartet Project 906 playing at 10:00 PM. Evening bands (largely sans online pages that I've found) will include Dondee Lanes regulars Second Offense at 9:00 PM, The Gaskins at 8:00 PM, The North Country Band at 7:00 PM, The Wednesday Night Headliners at 6:00 PM, and Traverse City's New Jazz Trio at 5:00 PM.

Early acts will include Crossroads member Denny Verrett at 4:00 PM, Hayley Malaska at 3:00 PM, Jimmy Williams at 2:00 PM, and Rob & Bob Malaski at 1:00 PM, while Traverse City experimental trio The Neighborhood Dogs (replacing Alex Schrovenwever) will open at 12:00 PM, and while they aren't on the poster, they were confirmed in official lineups elsewhere. This FREE & ALL AGES event will take place at 18725 South Mackinac Trail in Rudyard, with camping encouraged, but food and vendors will have costs that you can double check above. This sounds like a fun event that could very well fill the LemmaFest gap, and with some heavier bands to cap things off, so check the above links for more, and here's Project 906 live!

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

  • Local alternative/hard rock trio The Din are planning to launch a new "Din Talks" series on their YouTube channel where they'll answer fan questions both about the band and even about unrelated topics. If you're interested in submitting a question for a future video, comment on The Din's Facebook page's thread about it, and stay tuned for more from their recent album release!
  • New local progressive metal band Kraken Mara have posted two new introductions for new original songs named "Straus" and "Ishka" to their Reverbnation page in the past month. While the Late & Loud successors have yet to unveil the full versions (vocals or not), these have the promising djent-influenced metal that has given fans a good early impression, so give them a look above! Note that the band spells their name on their Facebook page as one word ("KrakenMara") now, but if this is permanent, no other official links omit the space yet.
  • The original crash band, Sykotyk Rampage, will make their first concert appearance of 2016 when they take a rare road trip to Sudbury to headline at The Asylum on September 9th! The improvised local blues/hard rock quartet will headline this show, which will also feature ex-bassist Brian Cattapan's current Sudbury band Aggressive Acoustic among the openers. It's great to see Sykotyk Rampage back at last, so click here for more details on their concert out east, and hopefully we see them back on a local stage sooner rather than later!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for last month's poll results and our newest poll next! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (The Nailheads & The 3 Day Millionaires) And Weekend Concert Previews!!

On this Thursday morning, let's tackle the first of another weekend's concert previews! Today's focuses on shows in Sault Ontario this weekend, including some SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS, while we'll cover Sault Michigan shows in our next preview post. Now, here's what you need to know!

Montreal punk trio The Nailheads will return to Sault Ontario for a headlining concert TONIGHT at The New American Pub! Apologies for the short notice, the show was only announced via it's official Facebook event page on Tuesday, where they admitted themselves that it was super short-notice (the band listed this show on their official tour poster in July, but we received no local promoter confirmation until this week.) Last seen headlining in the Soo last October at The New A, this stop on The Nailheads' Too Cool For School Canada Tour will be their third in our neck of the woods, and their brand of old school punk rock should be welcomed TONIGHT, especially if you loved them in 2011 or last fall! Given the late local notice, promoters Six, Two, Oh. don't have a local opener secured, but will instead host an open mic before The Nailheads' set, so keep that angle in mind whether you're a fan or prospective performer. This 19+ show has a 9:00 PM start time (the headliners are pencilled in for 11:00 PM) and no announced cover charge, but bring $5 or so just in case. Check the above links for more details, and here are The Nailheads live!

Next up, local classic/hard rock cover quartet The 3 Day Millionaires will return to the stage for one night only THIS SATURDAY NIGHT at The Rockstar Bar! Again, apologies for the short notice, the band only confirmed the date via their Facebook event page on Tuesday. After taking the better part of a month off, this union of Havadder, Boxcar Junction, and Wishbone alumni should be in fine form to unleash their varied but often heavy blend of favourite songs onto fans at The Algonquin Hotel's upstairs bar on SATURDAY, so keep this show in mind for your weekend plans! Note that this is a one-nighter due to tomorrow's previously announced show by recent LopLops headliners Sulfur City.

THIS SATURDAY'S 3 Day Millionaires show has no announced cover charge, a 19+ age limit, and a 10:30 PM start time, so visit the above links for more details, and here are The 3 Day Millionaires live at The Rockstar Bar!

Moving to previously announced concerts, local acoustic hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison will continue his long-term weekly concert arrangement at Gliss Steak & Seafood with more solo matinee gigs TONIGHT, TOMORROW, and SATURDAY! As the longtime Caveman Morrison frontman progresses his Gliss run week by week, his relaxing unplugged covers should keep fans entertained once again this weekend, especially given his hard rock pedigree, so don't miss out on Tym's extensive covers over the next three evenings at The Quality Inn's house restaurant! As usual for his Gliss concerts, these are all 6:00 PM affairs with no announced cover charges or age limits, but remember that this is a sit-down restaurant. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page, and for a preview, here's Tym Morrison live a few years back!

Finally for today's preview post, the guys at Six, Two, Oh. have one more show this week at The New American Pub (albeit with plenty of advance notice), as Toronto "ska-core" trio Big Brother will make their local concert debut there THIS SATURDAY NIGHT! The first of two "Ska Saturday" shows there from the promoters, this will be a great opportunity to check out Big Brother's hard hitting yet fun blend of hardcore punk and ska, so don't miss out during this stop on the band's swing of northern dates this weekend, and consider getting their new split cassette tape in the process! Local openers have also been recently confirmed via the official Facebook event page, and in a thematic reprisal of the Debutaunt show from earlier this month, Six, Two, Oh. have enlisted a Blood Shed Productions goregrind act and a stand-up comedian to open on Saturday night, they being solo goregrind project Crucify the Whore (replacing new local hardcore punk band The Eighties) and comedian Ray Lemieux.

While this is again a wildly varying lineup, there is a little something for everyone! This 19+ show will start at 9:00 PM, and has a $5 cover charge. See above for more details, and here's Big Brother live!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for last month's poll results and our newest poll, plus more weekend concert previews, next! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Local Punk Video Showcase!!

We've been in a slow stretch for news lately, so let's keep things active on the site with a special punk video showcase, like we we did after rolling punk bands into our full coverage! These are all from channels whose content isn't largely of local bands, none of which we've covered before on the site, so let's start with a concert video from local/Toronto Celtic punk quartet Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide! Filmed by YouTube user Richard Gale, this comes from a tour date at The Foundry Pub in Thunder Bay on June 15th, 2013, and it is a cover of The Stray Cats' "Rock This Town" featuring two guest performers from labelmates Frank Deresti & The Lake Effect, who joined them on tour, including Frank himself on the mandolin & Chris Johns on drums (Mikey Hawdon appeared to have missed this tour run.) Filmed from a close angle of the stage, The Tide and company deliver a strong rendition of this 1980s classic, with solid video quality to boot, so give this 2013 tour video a look below!

Next up, we do have some videos featuring Mikey Hawdon that we can share here, courtesy of YouTube user fromstephtolast's channel, and the more recent ones are of his Toronto-based Green Day tribute band The Dookies live at The Rockstar Bar in April 2012! Steph filmed 8 videos at this concert, from one of two weekends that Mikey, Matt, and Darren played in the Soo that year, and they include renditions of Green Day's "All By Myself", "When I Come Around", "Walking Contradiction", and "Nice Guys Finish Last", plus two songs whose names I can't place (here & here), as well as a cover of Goldfinger's "Wayne Gretzky" with drummer Darren Pfieffer (formerly of Goldfinger) switching vocal/guitar and drum spots with Mikey, which is a nice surprise! Embedded below is The Dookies' version of "The Grouch", and while these have very staticy audio and are generally not of the full songs,  the angle's nice of the guys in action, and kudos to Mikey for rocking a Greyhounds shirt! Check out Steph's Dookies videos above & below!

Steph also filmed three videos of Dustin & Mikey's inactive local punk band The Inner City Surfers from a Rockstar Bar show also in April 2012, with her videos including this song whose name I can't place, this cover of John Denver's "Leaving on a Jet Plane", and as embedded below, their original "Grab My Pen". Though featuring similarly staticy audio and short lengths as her later Dookies footage, Steph got some solidly close angles of The Surfers in action once again, during what was one of their last local concerts prior to their 2013 hiatus. Check these Inner City Surfers videos out above & below!

Finally, here's a recap video from September 2013's Koi Music Festival in Kitchener, where local/Toronto indie/punk veterans Treble Charger were headliners! Performance footage from their sets at the festival are included among many other bands from the large festival, which saw locally familiar bands like Gob, The Planet Smashers, and The Salads among it's roster. Treble Charger are only featured in part, as it's designed to showcase the festival at large, but the studio version of "American Psycho" plays throughout, overlaid with some attendee & band remarks. The Koi Festival looks like fun, and I'm sure Treble Charger knocked it out of the park, but give the full video a look below, and see more from the festival at this link!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for weekend concert previews and this month's poll next! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Deathsticks & Eclipse), Tantrym Tyme Updates, And More!!

(Updated on Monday at 3:25 PM) Before we begin this post, I wanted to apologize for missing local classic/hard rock cover band Mourning Wood's shows at Reggie's Place this past weekend, as the band didn't publically plug them on their Facebook page (we only heard about them after the fact via drummer Glen Thomas' personal page today.) Hopefully they were great shows, we'd have plugged them had we heard about them! Now, today's post features two LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (one on SHORT NOTICE), plus a new concert video and more updates, so let's get things rolling!

Fresh off of opening for The Ripcordz last night, local modern hard rock quartet Eclipse will head to The New American Pub TOMORROW NIGHT when they open for Montreal stoner rock trio The Hazytones in their local debut! Apologies for the short notice, we only heard about Eclipse's involvement via the headliners' new Facebook event page on Friday (an earlier private event page didn't list Eclipse.) The Hazytones' brand of psychedelic originals have been getting a solid response during their Canadian tour, and while they're not a metal band, their songs do have some heavy thematic qualities, so don't miss them TOMORROW NIGHT! Eclipse will join forces with local indie rock quartet and fellow VM Radio Battle finalists K.I.C.K. on TOMORROW's lineup, so look for K.I.C.K. to keep it cool mid-show also! Admission for this 19+ show is $5, and the headliners have confirmed that it will take place at a typical 9:00 PM start time, not 5:00 PM.

This should be an intriguing show for fans of a few different styles, with psyhedelic, indie, and hard rock all represented on the bill, so definitely keep this special Monday nighter in mind TOMORROW! Also, I believe the guys in K.I.C.K. are largely responsible for promoting the show, marking a rare original show at The New A that's not from Six, Two, Oh. Check the above links for more details, and here's Eclipse live!

Next up, here's a new show that Six, Two, Oh. are definitely putting on, as Whitby, Ontario garage/noise rock duo Deathsticks will make their local concert debut at The New American Pub on Saturday, October 15th! Described by Six, Two, Oh.'s Boyd Rendell as his "favourite new band discovery" from AlgomA's recent tour run (having played together in Peterborough in June), Deathsticks' hard hitting brand of "power slop" originals definitely have original and entertaining qualities, so come see Matt & Laura lay into the Soo for the first time in two months! A debuting (one off?) hardcore punk band named The Eighties will open the proceedings, and while I can't confirm their lineup yet, they appear to be a supergroup merger of AlgomA & Winkstinger alumni. Sounds promising, we'll let you know if we hear more from The Eighties, whether they launch a Facebook page or not! At least one more local band is to be announced to round out the lineup.

Admission fees haven't been announced yet for this 9:00 PM & 19+ concert, but in the event that promoters don't announce them, bring $5 or so just in case. Sounds like a solid time, with Deathsticks carrying a solid endorsement from the guys in AlgomA, not to mention the debuting Eighties, so circle this show on your calendars for your fall plans, and visit the official Facebook event page for more info as it comes in!

Also today, here's a new video from Sault Michigan hard rock band Tantrym Tyme, in their first Facebook page update in almost a year(!), so it's great to see that they're still alive and well! This comes from a (publically unannounced) outdoor set that the guys played during the annual Downtown Days events earlier this month, with the video capturing Tantrym Tyme covering A Perfect Circle's "Judith", so how does the 75 second clip sound? The vertical camera angle does the band no favours, but the guys are definitely progressing their material and cover selection towards more difficult and less predictable songs, and they sound good from what I can hear, with Jacob Hotlen's voice maturing very well! It should be noted that the video does not feature second guitarist Michael McLeod, who played with Tantrym Tyme at last year's Superior Festival, but with no visible public evidence of him playing with the band since, it's looking more & more like his involvement was a one-off.

Michael was a solid guitarist from the videos that I saw from the Superior Festival, and hopefully we see him in a band again at some point! I wish Tantrym Tyme would update their public online pages with more frequency (what else have we missed in the past year?), but hopefully Jacob, Mike, and Ethan have much more to come for fans in the E.U.P., and give their Downtown Days video a look below!

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

  • Hamilton garage punk duo Artificial Dissemniation have been added as the third and final band on the K-Man & The 45s concert at The New American Pub on September 17th, where they will play second between the headliners and The Elements. Promoters Six, Two, Oh. confirmed their addition on the Facebook event page on Wednesday, and Artifical Dissemination's hard charging minimalist punk should give this "Ska Saturday" an extra kick, so see above for more details on this event!
  • During last night's Ripcordz concert at The Canadian Nightclub, local punk/metal quartet Jack Spades reportedly enlisted a special guest performer during their set, and while there hasn't been a public confirmation, personal postings indicate that the guest was Dayglo Abortions bassist Willy Jak! Nice surprise to be sure, and hopefully media turns up of Willy with Jack Spades! For reference, fellow performers Project 421 reportedly debuted at least one new original song too, as per sister band Eclipse's Facebook page.
  • We have moved local cybergrind solo project Malignant Neoplasm to our inactive band links due to a year's inactivity. The Crucify the Whore side project hasn't posted a public update since releasing their "Kittens Have Crustys" album on August 10th last year, with their Facebook page having since been taken over as C.T.W.'s new Facebook home. Malignant Neoplasm were a creative studio act for Blood Shed loyalists, if an acquired taste for many newcomers, but don't miss Tyler Gibson in all of his other active bands!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for much more news and notes as this week continues! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Din CD Release Concert Review, Plus More On The CD!!

It's now time for our review of last night's "Give In To The Din" CD release concert at The Tech, so what should you know about the festivities? This was the first concert that I've ever attended at the former Lakeway Collegiate/St. Mary's College site, and while I didn't get to explore the venue, the bands' merchandise tables were set up outside of The W.W. Baldwin Auditorium, where the show itself took place. However, things took an unexpected turn before the auditorium doors opened, as a fire alarm went off in The Tech, resulting in everyone being evacuated from the building as a precaution, with the Fire Department called down to inspect the cause, for what became a 20 minute delay. Din frontman Mike Haggith told me that a loose fitting was rumoured to have set the alarm off, but I can't verify that otherwise. The show went on though once given the all clear, and once in the auditorium proper, you had a good sense of how nice and spacious it was, reminding me of The Grand Theater with permanent seating! Sadly, the balcony was cordoned off.

From my close, sixth row seat in the auditorium, I had a good view of local post-punk quartet Gnaeus for their opening set, where they largely played songs from their own new CD "Meditations", with originals like "The Edge", "Circles", and "Fire" (ironically) attracting the notice of fans! However, Gnaeus did have two non-album tracks in their set, including their standard cover of "Hang Me Out To Dry" and a very new original song named "Electricity" that sounded very promising and true to their style! Gnaeus were on form from past concerts, with Aaron Alessandrini's vocals and guitar work strong as ever, and Brad Irwin's synth work was very clear in particular, though the guys could have moved around a little more and explored the stage more than they did, especially given it's size and expanse. Overall, Gnaeus delivered a solid set to kick things off last night, and I'm sure we'll hear more from them in short order!

With their entrance announced via a vintage TV displaying band footage, headlining local alternative/hard rock trio The Din hit the stage next in grand fashion with dramatic entrances (Tammy Hill even entered through the crowd!), and the band didn't disappoint with a strong set loaded with originals from their debut CD like "Out Of My League" and "Flux". The Din also gave us some non-album originals and live favourites, plus a smattering of covers from the likes of The Foo Fighters, The Barenaked Ladies, and The Beatles. Making good use of the stage's confines, Mike Haggith's vocals and bass work were on point, and his amusing banter with drummer Brandan Glew kept the fans laughing between songs, while Tammy's excellent guitar work continues to show her talents and potential! The Din's entertaining, often poppy, and hard charging originals definitely had attending fans giving in, and hopefully there's much more to come from The Din in the near future!

Overall, this was a fun concert with two very talented & fast rising local bands giving it their all, and despite the fire alarm early, maybe it was a sign that the bands would heat up the stage? Shaw TV's Christian Lemay (also of Id Iota) was on hand to film both bands' sets, so be sure to look for a likely feature or two on channel 10 when ready as well! As for our media, you can check out our album from the release show at this link or via our Facebook page, and while the dark theater wasn't the best friend of flash photography, I got some cool shadow shots of the bands, so keep that angle in mind! Now for our videos, so here's Gnaeus playing "Exercise of Self-Awareness" & The Din playing "In Search of the Perfect Moment"!

Lastly for today, I wanted to acknowledge the contents and interesting notes regarding The Din's debut studio album "Give In To The Din", as I did buy a copy last night! Printed to resemble a vintage CD release from the 1980s, the album's nine songs were largely written & composed by Mike Haggith or the band as a whole, though Brandan Glew did write both "Flux" and "Remember" (with the former notably being titled via a random thesaurus pick), while Tammy Hill is given direct credit for composing the latter. For the song "Alleyways & Apartments" (which was recorded at Mission Control Studios rather than Pretoria Hill Productions), the booklet notes that Mike mixed that song himself, while the album's cover photo was taken by Forrest Heard. The 9 songs run for 38 minutes in total length, with "A Drive Through The Peninsula" closing in at over 8 minutes alone, so prepare for that one in particular! A review of "Give In To The Din" is coming this month, so look for it in the coming weeks, and get your copies A.S.A.P. at upcoming shows, or when online/in-store availability is announced!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for a new news post tomorrow, with more to come still! Thanks everyone!