Monday, May 21, 2018

Theatre Of Night & June Jam Updates, Plus More News & Notes!!

I hope everyone's having a great Victoria Day/May 2-4 weekend! News remains at a slow pace this month, so today's post is largely comprised of assorted shorter stories, but we are leading off with some big updates from bands on each side of the border, starting with the latest from Sault Michigan classical metal project Theatre of Night! Yesterday, the group revealed on their Facebook page that they are indeed planning their second Christmas tour run for the end of the year, and had recently conducted "late night sessions" towards the tour. After the positive response to their gigs last year from here to Illinois and points in between, hopefully the encore is bigger and better for them! While not seasonally timed, this preview video was posted to their YouTube channel yesterday, which is ostensibly of their November 2011 debut CD "Christmas Night", but actually features newer recordings featuring their recent touring band members (as distinguished particularly by the inclusion of vocals.)

The video proper combines live concert footage from the tour with some in-studio performances, as well as some scattered photos. It's well put together and a nice sampling of what to expect this winter, so if you can get past the seasonal content in late May, give Theatre of Night's new video a look below, and stay tuned for more from them soon!

Next up, here's some new updates related to the upcoming June Jam concert at The Rockstar Bar in Sault Ontario on June 1st, starting with a lineup withdrawal, as local hard rock quintet Skeyes of Seven have dropped out of this concert, as per their Facebook page. A reason was not publically stated for their exit, but hopefully nothing bad happened, and that we see them back on stage sooner or later! At press time, they have not been replaced on the bill, we will let you know if they are. Ticket details have also been confirmed for the June Jam, with prices at $8 in advance online (details on that front are not public yet) or $10 at the door, so keep those in mind. Of course, this Live705-promoted show will feature Timmins punk quartet All The Wasted Years alongside locals A Dire Setback and Sault Ontario heavy/power rock quintet Re:Born, who posted four new jam session videos onto their Facebook page last week, so what can be said on those?

The videos include Re:Born covering The Scorpions' "Rock You Like A Hurricane", Saxon's "Denim & Leather", and their precedessors Project 421's original song "Into The Darkness", but embedded below is their new cover of "Lavatory Love Machine" by the German power metal band Edguy. That's gotta be a first from a local band! Though we don't get an optimal look at the band on these clips (we only tend to see singer Robert Nevitt from behind), these performances are solid given the setting, and it'll be cool to see them back on stage next month, especially after their spring break! Give Re:Born's new videos a look above and below!

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

  • Local punk trio A Dire Setback (of the aforementioned June Jam) will hit the road for a second out of town show this summer, as they'll be featured on a rock/rap hybrid event at The Asylum in Sudbury on Saturday, July 28th! Full details are not out yet, beyond the involvement of an act named Mooch, but this should be another big chance for A.D.S. to make new fans outside of the Soo, so hopefully this show goes as well as their Timmins trip next month!
  • I have deleted the former WLSO radio show CRaMPS from our "Other Sault Michigan Metal Links" section due to the quiet deletion of it's Facebook page for unannounced reasons in recent months. Airing on Friday mornings on Lake Superior State University's campus radio station in late 2010, the student-hosted program hadn't visibly on the air since then, though to be fair, I don't even know if 90.1 FM still broadcasts on terrestrial radio at all. Hopefully Pat and Seth have found success in more recent endeavours!
  • Former Din bandmates Mike Haggith and Tammy Hill reunited in Windsor on Saturday when they travelled from Manitoba and Sault Ontario respectively to attend the long awaited Canadian premiere of the movie Ashes of K, whose soundtrack is entirely comprised of songs from The Din and Mike's solo project. It's great to see this movie finally released and distributed, and you can see photos of Mike, Tammy, and Din producer Daniel Schmidt on the red carpet at their Facebook page! (Yes, a review of Ashes of K could make the SMS if we can find a way to see it.)
  • I have also deleted former local concert venue Docks Riverfront Grill from our inactive concert venue listings, due to the deletion of it's Facebook (and last surviving online) page in recent months. The Foster Drive nightclub and restaurant had initially been sold to new ownership in 2014, and after brief stints as Waterfront Legend and The River Cookhouse, it became The HD Sports Grill in 2016, and has sporadically hosted live music since Docks itself ended. Hopefully more is on the horizon there down the road!
  • The Indie Spring concert at LopLops Lounge on Saturday had a late lineup withdrawal, as Sudbury garage rock headliners The Almighty Rhombus were forced to drop out after bassist Laura Willett badly cut her finger in an accident. That's definitely a bummer, hopefully Laura gets well soon! In their place, local indie/hard rock quartet Id Iota played an extended headlining set.
  • A local musician named Jay Daug is looking for a "heavily influenced (John) Bonham drummer" between 20 and 40 years of age, as per a post on the Musicians Wanted Facebook group on May 9th. Jay didn't specify if this was for a band he's working on, for informal jamming, or something else, but message him at this link or above if you fit the bill and need more details!

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

Friday, May 18, 2018

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (The Wyld Stallyns), A New Local Band, And Much More!!

I was not expecting to have a news post today (more likely Sunday), but with a SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for TONIGHT, I had to rush this one. That said, we can get the postponed Mike McCleary story from yesterday back up, as well as some assorted updates from an upcoming festival and some recent news and notes, but let's start with a new addition to our band links directly tied to that new show, and check out last month's poll results and this month's new poll in the post below this one!

We have a new-ish band to add to our active band links, and they are The Wyld Stallyns, a.k.a. the two man acoustic hard rock act from Elements frontman Rob Speers and guitarist Jesse Cook! Yes, it appears that the Bill & Ted homage is 100% their official name now, though remember that they were previously called The Kariokeheads and Rob & Jesse, depending on who was advertising their concert online. This band is nothing new locally, having debuted back in November, but The Wyld Stallyns only just launched their Facebook page today, hence the delay for making our band listings. Their bio indicates that Rob's wife Christina is a permanent member of the band now, and while their cover photo features Rob's Jack Spades bandmate Daniel Horton, he's not listed in their official lineup. The page indicates that they play "rock from the '60s to today", and can customize setlists for specialized gigs, and have encouraged crowd involvement at past shows.

Primarily seen at Room 21, your next chance to see The Wyld Stallyns will actually be TONIGHT,  as they'll play a rare hard rock show upstairs at The Upper Deck Bar & Grill above The Canadian Nightclub! Profuse apologies for the short notice, this show was only announced this afternoon via it's official Facebook event page. This will be their venue debut, and it will have an early-ish 9:00 PM start time with a 19+ age limit and no announced cover charge. It's great to see Jesse and the Speers' finally expand their online presence, and hopefully the phone booth trip to The Upper Deck doesn't have any hang-ups! Don't miss their unplugged cover action there TONIGHT, and here's The Wyld Stallyns live at The Rockstar Bar earlier this year!

Next up, here's the latest from local hard rock solo musician Mike McCleary, who was once pencilled in for yesterday's weekend's concert previews himself, as he had advertised recently that he'd be playing a special acoustic set today at the local New Democratic Party office on Queen Street East in the lead-up to the provincial election. Mike cited "the unpredictable nature of politics" for the set being put on hold, as per his Facebook page, but he teased that updates will follow. If you can get past the political nature, it'd have been a unique setting! Leading from that, Mike's Soundcloud page strongly hints that his next solo album will be entitled "The Party Album", based on a preview playlist there featuring 5 songs, including an intro, a title track, "Superstition", "Rain", and "The Great Musical Landscape". This presumed cover artwork is also online, which features the colours of the NDP, Liberal, Conservative, and Green Parties. Is Mike's aim to release this on or around the provincial election on June 7th? Time will tell!

We'll keep you posted when more comes out on it, but Mike has two new videos on his Facebook page to close with! One from this past Saturday is a lyric video for his "Hourglass" song "Lest Ye Be Judged" (which is about the West Memphis Three, and features extra information about the trial and case), but embedded below is something a little lighter, namely a solo acoustic rendition of title track from his "Weight of the Truth" album, featuring a cameo appearance from his son. Solid casual performance, and it's cute to see father and son like this, so check out Mike's new videos above and below, and stay tuned for more on "The Party Album"!

Also today, here's the latest updates for the second annual Oh!No concert festival in nearby Leeburn, Ontario on September 8th, so what's new to report there? Well, there have been two lineup alterations, as the aforementioned Elements have been added as an 18th act for their second appearance at this event, while the still drummer-less Vol. have been replaced by frontman Steve Edwards and guitarist Mikaela Murtonen's duo project Mik & Steve, who fans will have seen at the Steves concert at LopLops earlier this month. Nice to see Steve and Mikaela still on the bill, and hopefully The Elements deliver a fun set once again! This poster was unveiled last week on the Facebook event page to add The Elements, and revised on Monday to replace Vol.. The poster also confirms admission fees and ticket availability for Oh!No II, as tickets will jump from $25 last year to $35 (which is unfortunate, but remember, there are 5 more bands this year.) Tickets are reportedly on sale at both Case's Music and The Rad Zone, and presumably through promoters Six, Two, Oh. and perhaps some of the local openers.

Also, while doors open at 11:00 PM, a full setlist has not been confirmed at press time. That said, the poster does list the out of town bands (including the relocated Shit Liver) above the locals, and if the band placement is intentional, does that mean Peterborough doom rapper Garbageface is headlining? Time will tell, but this is an immense lineup for Oh!No 2018, so visit the above links, and get your tickets A.S.A.P.!

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

  • This doesn't bear directly on the local radio market, but The Bob & Tom Show returned to Northern Michigan last fall after Black Diamond Broadcasting moved the syndicated morning drive radio show from Classic Rock: The Bear (now at 95.3 FM) to 106.3 Mac FM in Onaway, coinciding with that station's move from adult contemporary to classic hits. Read more on the changes at this link. It's great to see that Bob & Tom weren't off of the Northern Michigan FM dial for long, and 106.3 FM arguably gets much better reception here than The Bear's post-Newberry signals ever did, so keep their new local-ish home in mind!
  • After a couple years of uncertainty and rumours to this end, The Gore Street Cafe will close by the end of June, as per this photo of the letter received from property owners advising of the rental agreement ending, as shared to the laundromat's Facebook page. I won't elaborate further here, give the negative feelings and personal details in the thread, but I hope business is strong in the final weeks! Nicole's done great work for the community with the unique events and concerts, "pay what you can" meals, and local engagement done there, and hopefully she stays busy in related ventures after June 30th, even if a new cafe isn't imminent!
  • I have replaced the link for former local concert/marijuana culture festival Hempfest in our concert festival links, as it's website's domain name has expired and been adopted by a women's clothing seller (there's no visible connection whatsoever to hemp or any fest.) It's new link here is it's Facebook page, which is teasing details on the forthcoming 2018 return after a year's hiatus and ownership change, but it remains to be seen if it will remain in Moonbeam, return to Ophir, or move elsewhere entirely. If we hear anything locally relevant, we'll let you know!

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

Last Month's Poll And Your Final Poll On Your Favourite 2017 Concerts!!

It's the 18th again, so let's shut down last month's poll and launch our new one to round out our "favourite _____ of 2017" polls for another year! 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 second half of 2017? Only 9 votes came in this past month, which is actually an improvement on our first half of 2017 poll, so there's that, and thanks to everyone who voted!

Diamond Head at The Rockstar Bar on September 2nd (3 votes, 34%)
The Din & Bizotic at LopLops Lounge on October 21st (1 vote, 11%)
Taryn Bugyra benefit at The Rockstar Bar on October 14th (1 vote, 11%)
AlgomA & Shit Liver at The New American Pub on October 2nd (1 vote, 11%)
Oh!No 2017 Music Festival in Leeburn on September 9th (1 vote, 11%)
Mike Mikus & Id Iota at LopLops Lounge on July 15th (1 vote, 11%)
Vaultry & Garbageface at The Canadian Nightclub on July 7th (1 vote, 11%)
Darsombra & Pillory at The New American Pub on July 17th (0 votes)
Project 421 & The Din at The Canadian Nightclub on July 22nd (0 votes)
Treble Charger & A Dire Setback at LopLops Lounge on July 27th (0 votes)
Dany Laj & The Looks at The Canadian on August 10th (0 votes)
The Din at the Fringe North Theatre Festival on August 12th (0 votes)
Project 421 at The Canadian Nightclub on September 8th (0 votes)
Dokken & Firehouse at The Essar Centre on September 30th (0 votes)
The Ripcordz at The Algonquin Pub on October 7th (0 votes)
K-Man & The 45s at LopLops Lounge on October 10th (0 votes)
Halloween Party night #1 at The Rockstar Bar on October 27th (0 votes)
Halloween Party night #2 at The Algonquin Pub on October 28th (0 votes)
Dany Laj & The Looks at The Rockstar Bar on November 18th (0 votes)
Guy Thiffault tribute at The Canadian on December 27th (0 votes)
Other (0 votes)

What do you guys think? In ascending order, you'll notice that all but 7 choices received 0 votes, of which the Treble Charger, Dokken, and Ripcordz shows surprise me the most, given their scope. Alas, it's all in who votes! Six shows tied with a single vote each, which can be hard to accept as a "second place" finish given the turnout, but someone liked each of these shows the best, which is important! All six were big in scale or importance in their own way, from a large-scale festival to a farewell concert and everything in between, and they'll all be back for this month's poll! However, the clear winner of this poll with a third of the overall turnout is the Diamond Head concert at The Rockstar Bar in September, and for all the NWOBHM fans that came out in full force for this concert, I can easily see a pocket of attendees voting this show as the poll winner! There's one more poll ahead, but for the second half of 2018, Diamond Head's local debut is your victor, and thanks to everyone who voted!

As you may expect, we're now bringing the voted shows from last July's poll on your favourite concerts of 2018 together with the aforementioned 7 shows for one final poll on this topic, so here's the question we're posing this month: What was your favourite local metal, hard rock, or punk concert of 2017? Remember, to make the poll, this show must have received a vote in one of our half year polls, so if something's missing, that's why, and if you must vote for it, "Other" will return as an option. Now, here are your final choices as we close the book on 2017 and find out what show was your favourite in all of last year!

Bands: Gianni Gagoots, Bizotic, and Handsome Sandwich
Venue: LopLops Lounge
Date: February 18th, 2017
What started as the first headlining showcase for creative instrumental jam/hard rock project Gianni Gagoots soon evolved into a special showcase for them and two new local bands, including the second live set from alt-hard rock quartet Bizotic and the debut live appearance from punk/alt/no genre trio Handsome Sandwich. With three extremely original bands on hand, including the headlining sauce masters, it's easy to see why it was well received, but would you concur?

Bands: Bone Yard, Justin Langlois, and The 3 Day Millionaires
Venue: The Canadian Nightclub
Date: May 6th
, 2017
A fundraiser concert to help kick off last year's Algoma Ride for Autism and help buy sensory equipment for the Algoma Autism Foundation's Sensory Lending Library, May 6th's Rock For Autism was a well attended and received event for a great cause, with country veterans Bone Yard and classic/hard rock cover quartet The 3 Day Millionaires sandwiching a solo set by Redundant frontman Justin Langlois. Kudos to everyone for their support, but was this your #1 choice?

Bands: Northwest & Greg Callaghan
Venue: LopLops Lounge
Date: May 27th, 2017
After a 9 month hiatus from the local stage, indie/punk quintet Northwest re-emerged from the studio with a headlining set at LopLops two months ago, reintroducing themselves to fans with their up-tempo originals that punk and indie rock fans can each appreciate! Opened in a solo set by guitarist Greg Callaghan's solo project, this concert received a solid reception, and surely gave fans a preview of their upcoming second EP, but can you vouch for it in this poll?

Bands: CKY, The Wild, Jack Spades, and A Dire Setback
Venue: The Canadian Nightclub
Date: June 8th, 2017
Despite the late drop-out by the reunited As It Stands, fans flocked to The Canadian on June 8th for this highly anticipated concert, with Pennsylvania alt-metal trio CKY hitting the Soo for the first time with a set full of classic and new originals alike! Joined by Victoria, B.C. hard rock standouts The Wild, the new-look Jack Spades' first show since late 2016, and a rousing opener from A Dire Setback, this concert won many fans over, but after winning our early 2017 poll, would you vote for now?

Bands: The Din, A Dire Setback, and Electric Church
Venue: Queen Elizabeth Park
Date: June 21st, 2017
A free and all ages concert returned for a third straight year for Tidal Records' annual Go Skateboarding Day event at the John Rhodes Center's skatepark, with The Din returning from 2016 for another vibrant set of original hard rock action, as joined by recent live favourites A Dire Setback and Electric Church in rare outdoor appearances. All three bands rocked the top of the ramp while local skaters demonstrated their skills, but was this concert your favourite of last year?

Bands: Rick E & Kodex, A Dire Setback, Garbageface, Vaultry, Bizotic, Coach Bombay, Handsome Sandwich, and Mikey Thomas
Venue: The Canadian Nightclub
Date: July 7th, 2017
Arguably Live705's biggest concert of last summer in scope, this July concert united the worlds of punk and rap into a well received clash of styles at The Canadian, including three out of town acts, fan favourite Peterborough rapper Garbageface among them. Despite mid-show lineup placements for the touring performers, this show was a success, but can you vouch for it?

Bands: Mike Mikus & Id Iota
Venue: LopLops Lounge
Date: July 15th, 2017
Fresh off of both acts' Rotaryfest Stage 2 appearances that same afternoon, LopLops would play host to former Pixo Control frontman Mike Mikus' final concert as a solely local artist before moving to Montreal. Also featuring his bandmate Dustin Goodall's indie-hard rock quartet Id Iota, Mike got a great sendoff, and we even got a Pixo throwback, but was this your favourite 2017 show?

Bands: Diamond Head, Jack Spades, and Project 421 
Venue: The Rockstar Bar
: September 2nd, 2017
: Fans of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal were undoubtedly excited when the legendary Diamond Head came to Sault Ste. Marie to help kick off the fall season with hits like "Am I Evil?" and "Helpless" in tow! Also featuring explosive heavy rock from Jack Spades and Project 421, this well received show was definitely a highlight, but after winning the late 2017 poll, does it win your vote now?

Bands: DJ Seith, Run Coyote, Beaver Slap, Lightmares, Artificial Dissemination, The Franquilizers, Vol., Jack Spades, Pointless, A Dire Setback, The Elements, Slumshine, Winkstinger, and
Handsome Sandwich
Venue: "Robbie's Church" in Leeburn
Date: September 9th, 2017
Finally realizing their goal for a large-scale concert festival, local promoters Six, Two, Oh. hosted the Oh!No 2017 Music Festival last September to a very positive response, attracting dozens of concertgoers for the wide array of local and out of town bands, and the camping and hangouts surrounding it! With this year's now announced, was Oh!No I your pick?

Bands: AlgomA, Shit Liver, Winkstinger, and The Bear Hunters
The New American Pub 
Date: October 2nd, 2017
Death metal fans flocked to The New A in October for local/St. Catharine's favourites Shit Liver's tour finale in support of their and fellow locals AlgomA's split covers cassette tape "Trading Faces", with both bands unloading lots of brutal renditions for the occasion! Notably featuring AlgomA's only tour stop after prior medical concerns, did this concert win your vote in this poll?

Bands: Lucky 13, The 3 Day Millionaires, Cherry Crush, and The Soo Fighters
Venue: The Rockstar Bar
Date: October 14th
, 2017
Four local bands joined forces last October to help raise funds for the family of Cherry Crush frontwoman Taryn Bugyra, due to medical expenses related to her battle with kidney cancer. A big crowd came out to support her and bear witness to a one-off Lucky 13 reunion and the debut of the Soo's own Foo Fighters tribute band, but were you among them to pick this show?

Bands: The Din & Bizotic
Venue: LopLops Lounge
Date: October 21st
, 2017
After a successful local run together, alt-hard rock trio The Din announced their dissolution last fall following their "Suburban Sendoff" concert, where they ended their run with a bang via releasing their final studio album "Suburban Dream". Fans packed LopLops to see Mike Haggith off before his move to Manitoba, and the show & CD received rave reviews, but would you have agreed?

Other: Did we miss a show that you'd prefer to vote for in 2017, perhaps one with few or no metal, hard rock, or punk bands, or one in Sault Michigan? For reference, acts like Adam's Mind, The Alien Boys, Anavrin, The Apocalyspe Afterparty, The Bananas Guerillas, The Band Camp Rejects, Bankshot, Curtis McKenzie, Darsombra, Destroyer, Dokken, Dri Hiev, Eclipse, The Faps, Firehouse, Flying Fortress, Gnaeus, The Gutter Demons, The HTs, If I Look Strong, You Look Strong, Incredible Woman, K-Man & The 45s, Love 'N Revenge, Mike McCleary, Mourning Wood, Nebraska Arms, The Noochin' Lanterns, The Old Wives, Pillory, Pseudo, The Raygun Cowboys, Return For Refund, The Ripcordz, River Jacks, Rob Speers & Jesse Cook, Ruptured Birth, Skeyes of Seven, Soundcheck, Special Ops, Stegadeth, Stiffler's Mom, Talk Shit, The Tea Party, Telephone & Address, Thekillingfield, Them, Treble Charger, Twistory, Tym Morrison, Who Made Who, Worst Days Down, and Zaum all played shows this year not otherwise included in the poll, not to mention shows only featuring bands who played in shows listed in the poll. If, for whatever reason, we missed your preferred choice, "Other" is for you! 

VOTE TODAY!! You guys have until June 18th to cast your votes, and it'll be interesting to see who the ultimate winner is before we shut the polls down for a month! This is it, so vote A.S.A.P., and stay tuned for more news in the coming days! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Soundcheck), And This Weekend's Concert Previews!!

(Updated at 5:22 PM) I know things have been slow on the site lately, but so has news from the local hard rock, metal, and punk spectrums. Hopefully this weekend concert preview post will help, as there's a solid amount of concerts to take, so let's start with SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS!

Local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck are advertised to return to The Esquire Club for concerts TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, these shows were only announced earlier this week on SooToday's events calendar courtesy of the venue, and the band proper has not publically acknowledged them on their Facebook page at press time (they hadn't for their shows two weeks ago either.) After splitting their last weekend across two venues, the Mourning Wood successors will return to this popular west end nightclub TOMORROW & SATURDAY for the first time in three weeks with another weekend of hard rocking covers, so keep Soundcheck's new gigs in mind for some solid and familiar action this weekend! As usual for their Esquire Club stops, TOMORROW & SATURDAY's shows are 10:00 PM affairs with no announced cover charge and a 19+ age limit. See above for more details, and no public videos of theirs yet!

Next up, we'll move to previously announced concerts, starting with the ever-prolific Tym Morrison's ongoing weekly concert arrangement at Gliss Steak & Seafood, which continues for yet another week TOMORROW & SATURDAY! Fresh off of his short notice Monday-Wednesday returns to Mark's Breakfast Plus, Tym will play his fourth & fifth shows in six days this weekend, and should have another stacked slate of classic and hard rock covers ready for Gliss patrons and fans alike tomorrow and Saturday, so keep these downtown matinees in mind as usual! As is standard for Tym's supper-time concerts at this restaurant, expect 6:00 PM start times tomorrow and on Saturday, and while these shows do not have announced age limits or cover charges, mind the locale. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's Tym live!

Also this weekend, Sault Michigan fans can take in a pair of shows from Sault Michigan blues/hard rock quartet Project 906, including shows TOMORROW NIGHT at Bird's Eye Outfitters, and then a trip west to Hulbert Happy Hour in Hulbert Township THIS SATURDAY NIGHT! As announced last week, these will give fans their first chance to see Project 906 on a solo stage since their Hulbert debut in March, having solely stuck to multi-band showcases and competitions at The Superior Cafe in the interim. Tomorrow's Soo show is a relatively rare headlining concert in their hometown, and while logic would dictate that The Superior Cafe would be the host venue compared to it's hunting/outdoor store on the same complex, all band and venue advertising says that the show will be in Bird's Eye, so the cafe proper must be geared more to smaller or unplugged acts. Venue advertising indicates that a duo act named Brian & Keith will be opening for 906 tomorrow, and while I don't know much about them, I believe they've played at here before.

The Hulbert Happy Hour show on Saturday appears to be a standard stop for this well traveled hard rock group, so if you're out that direction, keep that show in mind too! Tomorrow's stop on the former Golanka's Bar location has a 7:00 PM start time and no announced age limit or cover charge, while Saturday's Hulbert show is at 9:00 PM with no cover and a 21+ age limit. Click here and visit the above links for more details, I've added Bird's Eye Outfitters and The Superior Cafe to our Sault Michigan venue links, and here's Project 906 live in concert earlier this year!

Lastly for known hard rock shows this weekend, fans of Sault Ontario indie/hard rock quartet Id Iota can see them back on stage THIS SATURDAY NIGHT when they take part in the Indie Spring concert at LopLops Lounge! As memorably hyped in this Facebook video where Id Iota summoned "Father Spring", this concert will mark Id Iota's third local concert appearance with their current lineup, and with new songs from their forthcoming full length album expected, look for more good times from this fan favourite quartet on Saturday! Id Iota will play support to Sudbury garage rock band The Almighty Rhombus, who are touring in support of their brand new EP "Swish", and with their lively, upbeat brand of rock music, they'll be a fine fit at LopLops this weekend too! Also playing support is local drone/noise rock trio Pointless (featuring Treble Charger's Bill Priddle and Id Iota's Dustin Goodall), who should deliver in their own unique way on Saturday as well, so don't be late for their set!

Promoted by Dustin Goodall via his recording studio Unsalted Audio (in a pseudo-revival of his old Unsalted Records agency), this concert has a $10 cover charge, 19+ age limit, and 9:00 PM start time. Indie rock fans should take to this show well, and with some hard rock and punk glimmers to boot, so visit the Facebook event page for more details, and here's Id Iota live!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for last month's poll results and our newest poll on the site tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Abhorrent Forest - "To See Eternity" EP Review!!

With news quiet this week, let's break the silence with our 107th monthly CD review on the SMS, namely our review of local black metal solo project Abhorrent Forest's third EP "To See Eternity"! Released to their Bandcamp page on March 11th, this release is a return to their primary genre after the ambient-focused "Ethereal" in September, and is described on Bandcamp as "an EP made in the late winter nights". Once again, Abhorrent Forest is represented on this self-produced and independently released album by Will "Old Man Wyrn" Tholberg (or just "Wyrn") on all instruments, and the project remains an instrumental effort. As was the case with "Ethereal", "To See Eternity" is available for $10 at the above links, and while you can stream it free there as well, consider buying it to support Old Man Wyrn's work! Featuring 4 songs running for about 22 minutes total, let's begin this month's CD review with it's opening and shortest track, "Plague"!

Starting with brutal and devastating instrumentation that completely reverses course from "Ethereal", this song has a very ominous guitar riff that almost sounds like a villain's theme music in an epic video game. The drums aren't as varied as they could be, but I love the guitar work and the bass is a very solid match to it. This is a song that's begging for better production values and perhaps vocals, but as it stands, it's definitely a highlight of this EP! This song sounds like it ends abruptly, but it appears to flow right into the second track "Asunder", which moves from the grandiose dramatic feel to more of a traditional black metal vibe with rapid fire drumming and drone-like guitar work, while still maintaining a steady aggression. The song changes pace to a slower, more deliberate rhythm late, and this will definitely please black metal loyalists more than "Plague". Myself, I find the instrument mix is muddier here, and while this is well in range, I do prefer the opener overall.

"Season of Death" comes third, and I'd be lying if I didn't say this gave me a "Black Sabbath" vibe (as in, the band's self-titled song.) The cadence of the guitars, the ominous thunder sound effects, the deliberate pacing, it's all there for the first half. The song varies in the second half with a faster groove, and starts to diversify itself to good effect, with solid bass and drumming all around, though the latter use of the thunder effects feel thrown in, and the abrupt ending doesn't do much for it. The first half feels too derivative, but the second half helps bring it home! The EP's title track "To See Eternity" closes things, and at a whopping 9:07 runtime to boot! This lengthy track starts with more black metal intensity a'la "Asunder", but it sounds cleaner and heavier all at once, if that makes sense. The marching eerie sound is a bonus, and Wyrn's straightforward heavy guitar riffs are always a plus! At the same time, similar instrumental sections are extended to lengths that get very repetitive, without much structural variance.

This especially strikes me as a song that could have been severely chopped down without losing anything substantial, which doesn't take anything away from Wyrn's solid performances and the brutality on display! I just find that the song would work better if it was shorter and less repetitive, but fans of Abhorrent Forest's black metal material will definitely enjoy the closer!

So, how do I sum up Abhorrent Forest's third EP? Well, it's definitely a return to form for black metal fans, and pound for pound, their strongest overall release to date! I especially loved "Plague", which showcases Old Man Wyrn's musical diversity very well with a grand, ominous sound that shows a lot of potential beyond just black metal and ambient compositions! In more traditional black metal territory, the rest of the album delivers the good with strong guitar work and assaulting riffs and drum tracks, and I liked that the cymbals were toned down from "The End of Life" too. That all said, the title track dragged on too long without any major changes in tempo or structure, "Season of Death" is almost too Black Sabbathy in it's first half, and I am still curious to hear how this material would sound with vocals. Abhorrent Forest are on an upward trajectory for sure, and I'm very curious to hear what Wyrn has in store next, so buy or stream "To See Eternity" at the above links!

I hope you guys liked this month's CD review! Next month, barring a sudden huge album release, I am planning to keep with new CD reviews via looking at defunct local alt-hard rock trio The Din's posthumous live album "Suburban Sendoff", which was released in February but held until this point due to our 6 month anti-bias buffer (having just reviewed their last studio album in December.) Look for that at some point next month, and stay tuned for weekend concert previews next! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Tym Morrison) & I Mother Earth/Finger Eleven Concert Videos!!

Happy Mother's Day to all of our moms who follow the site (I know there's a few of you out there!) The fact that much of this post deals with a band named I Mother Earth is purely coincidental, but we have lots of concert videos to look at today, and to start, LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (some on short notice), so here's what you should know!

Former Caveman Morrison frontman Tym Morrison will bring his acoustic solo show back to Mark's Breakfast Plus at the Market Mall for early-week matinees TOMORROW, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, and on Monday-Wednesday, June 11th, 12th, and 13th! Apologies for the short notice on this week's shows, they were only announced via their Facebook event page yesterday (all six shows share it.) After having just played the former Kackleberry's Cafe a couple of weeks back, this run of shows will see Tym Morrison play the second full week of this and next month, with six evenings of fan favourite and often heavy covers in store in the west end, so keep these in mind for your supper-time entertainment TOMORROW through WEDNESDAY, and then next month! No word yet on if this scheduling will maintain in July, but if it does, he'd play Mark's from July 9th-11th.

If you missed Tym at Friday's finger food-featured concert at Room 21, you'll get a quicker than expected encore at this other frequent recent venue of his! All six of these Mark's Breakfast Plus shows (TOMORROW, TUESDAY, and WEDNESDAY included) are 4:00 PM affairs with no announced cover charges or age limits, but mind the locale, this is a restaurant first. See above for more details, and here's Tym live!

To round out today's post, let's feature some long awaited videos from last month's I Mother Earth/Finger Eleven concert at The Machine Shop, courtesy of frequent local concert attendee Christopher Paci's YouTube channel on Tuesday! I'm not sure why these videos took this long to make his channel, but better late than never, and we all know Chris' work is excellent by now! We usually go in descending order by lineup placement when featuring videos like this, but I'll reverse things given how the two bands joined forces to close the night. Chris didn't post anything from the acoustic pre-show or J.J. Thompson's opening set, but he did get 7 videos of Burlington hard rock quintet Finger Eleven in action, including of their songs "First Time", "Living in a Dream", "One Thing", "Falling On", "Drag You Down", "Paralyzer", and as embedded below, their set-opener "Above". While not super close to the stage, Chris has a good & central view!

As noted in our prior thoughts on videos from this concert, Finger Eleven sounded great, especially on their older and heavier material, and Scott's voice is as solid as ever! I'm sure it was a thrill for local fans to finally hear "Paralyzer"-era songs on a local stage too, of course. Nice work from Chris once again, so check out "Above" below, and their other songs above!

Likewise, Chris also filmed 7 videos of headlining Toronto alt-hard rock band I Mother Earth's set last month, filming them playing their songs "Used To Be Alright", "Raspberry", "Undone", "Summertime in the Void", "One More Astronaut", "Rain Will Fall", and as embedded below, their opener "Not Quite Sonic" (complete with spoken interlude from Edwin.) The camera work here is a little shakier, but the performances here are solid, if only marred by some muddy vocals, but long-time I.M.E. fans were right at home at The Machine Shop! Note that later songs from their set were filmed from a sharper angle to our left/the stage's right, but the camera quality is no different otherwise. Give "Not Quite Sonic" a look below, and see more from I Mother Earth's set above!

Finally, Chris shot two videos of I Mother Earth & Finger Eleven's joint encore, including the two bands playing I.M.E.'s "Levitate", but embedded below is their combined rendition of Finger Eleven's own "Good Times" (no Supertramp cover here.) These had to be a thrill for fans of both bands, especially in a more intimate live setting, but when you have 9 band members plus I.M.E.'s touring musicians playing the same song at once, the instruments and sounds do admittedly get cluttered up. The spectacle of it all is absolutely there, but I'd rather hear both songs with just one band, not two at once. Maybe I'm wrong though, so see for yourself below and above!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates this week! Thanks everyone!