Friday, August 22, 2014

YouTube Channel Profile Series: suavij's Channel

It's now time for this month's YouTube Channel Profile, our monthly feature post to take a look at 1-3 YouTube channels with at least a 50% concentration of metal, hard rock, and now, punk videos! Thanks to our full punk integration that began last month, we now have our biggest selection pool yet for YouTube channels to randomly select from (219 as of today, and counting!), and hopefully we'll have much more on the punk side of things to come as we close in on 2015! This month's random selection comes from a recently prominent drummer and his local music work both recent and dating back to the mid-2000s, so read on below for this month's profile!
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suavij's channel (http://www.youtube.com/suavij)

Owner: Bad Back drummer Nathan Sauve, also known from previous work with bands like Fuller and as Lion Ride's original bassist (under the stage name "Lionel Itchy")

Channel Timeline: Launched on July 16th, 2007; Videos posted from that week through November 2013

Channel Summary: Coinciding with the early days of Lion Ride's run, Nathan's original YouTube channel covered his late 2000s local band work originally, including 6 early Lion Ride videos, 3 live Fuller concert clips from their earlier run, and 7 solo drum performance videos, with his early content rounded out by this solo audio track from 2009, a live video of a Sexual Vigilantes concert in the Soo the previous year, and two jam videos from a short lived band named "Loud Shirt Aaron & The Plain Looking Crew". After a 4 year hiatus from new video postings, Nathan uploaded 7 videos of his current band Bad Back live in November of last year, though he's since focused newer uploads towards his new solo YouTube channel.

Why Should You Watch: You should check out Nathan's original channel as it covers a lot of diverse ground relating to his local music work since the mid-2000s, and the videos are all generally well recorded also! It's better than it was too, as Nathan un-privatized his Lion Ride videos (plus the Sexual Vigilantes clip) in 2012 after a stretch where they were unavailable for unannounced reasons. His drumming and bass skills are present throughout, and there's a fun carefree spirit on most of these as well, so don't bypass his old channel (though remember, he's focused on his new channel linked above for newer Bad Back footage.)

Our Recommended Videos To Check Out:

Fuller - Love Is Always: Uploaded at least a year after their breakup, Nathan posted three videos of his older alternative/punk trio Fuller onto his channel in September 2007 from an undated concert at The Oddfellows Hall. Then also featuring Bad Back bandmate Jamie Vincent on vocals & guitar alongside Nathan's then-Lion Ride bandmate Mark Rand on bass, the uploaded videos include Fuller playing their songs "Batteries", "Dance Jamie Dance", and below, "Love Is Always". Though far lighter in sound than Nathan & Jamie's more recent work, Fuller's energetic indie punk sound had a solid audience in their heyday, and you get a good sense of that on these videos, albeit with muffled sound and somewhat washed out colour. Nice glimpses at Fuller in their heyday though, and worth checking out to see the guys' older material!



Cocaine Crazy - Lion Ride: Courtesy of his tenure as Lion Ride's original bassist alongside singer Mikey Hawdon, guitarist Mark Rand & Marco Pedalino, and drummer Marc Muto (a.k.a. Mikey Lion, Marky Lion, Marco Lion, and The Italian Stallion.) Nathan's videos come from shows at the former Foggy Notions in late 2007, including videos from their live debut that July of "My Baby's Bad", "Lazer Lover", and "Cocaine Crazy" (this channel's most viewed video), and of "Cocaine Crazy", "Sneak Attack", and "Slapdance" from their show there that December. The latter three are all full concert videos with the actual audio, with dark lighting and mixed audio quality, but the first three are edited as music videos from The 705 Video Magazine using audio from Lion Ride's early studio demos, which are notable in part because "My Baby's Bad" & "Lazer Lover" didn't make it to the "Awesome" EP the next year, which "Lionel Itchy" did play on. Well put together, and a great early glimpse at Lion Ride's excellent live concert experience, though click here to see Nathan play "Slapdance" in a solo video too!



bad back - drum my way home (live): Nathan's last videos on this channel come from their all ages show at The Moose Lodge last fall where his current band Bad Back opened for Biipiigwan. Capturing most (if not all) of their set that night, the videos include their songs "Party Bus", "Two Tongues", "#1 Hit Single", "Lung Bucket", "Breeding Weak", "Oh (Nothin' In My Pocket)", and (as embedded below) "Drum My Way Home". Presumably as an attempt to lighten the videos, the colours are incredibly washed out, but Jamie & Nathan are up to their usual recent tricks with an aggressive minimalist set that alternative and hardcore fans should take to (but Fuller fans should tread with caution, Bad Back are very different.) Remember, for newer videos of Bad Back in concert, visit Nathan's new channel linked above!


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I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profile! Next month, through 100% random selection, we'll be looking at multiple channels for the first time since March (2 in fact, for just the second time in 2014), so what's coming next? Sault Ontario punk trio The Northern Tragedy's channel (featuring videos from two of their shows), and to fill things out, we're adding YouTube user filghtmaster's channel, which features one Bring The Fallen concert video! Watch out for all of this on or around September 22nd, and stay tuned for more news and notes shortly! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Stiffler's Mom) And Weekend Concert Previews, Including Jackyl!!

Today on the site, we're covering this weekend's metal and hard rock concert previews in the Sault and close surrounding areas, and there's a few big shows going down, including a certain huge show in Sault Michigan! For reference, yes I do know of Banned's show in Gould City this weekend, but that's a bit outside of our coverage range (1 hour of drive time from either of the Twin Saults), though look for some other Banned news on the site in the coming days! Now, here's what you need to know, starting with a SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERT!!

Local party hard rock cover trio Stiffler's Mom will take the stage at The Rockstar Bar TOMORROW NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, the band only confirmed the show on their Facebook page last night, though it had been displayed on the marquee outside of the venue as early as Tuesday. This will be Greg, Mike, and Jon's first public concert since rocking the same venue late last month, and following Greg's show with That's Chester last week, the guys should be in fine form to deliver a fun night of hard rocking classics for their fans tomorrow! Remember, this is a one night only gig due to the Red Rails/Danger Cats show on Saturday that we'll touch on in a bit. Like usual for Stiffler's Mom's Rockstar Bar shows, this will be a 19+ event with a likely $5 cover charge, and a 10:00 PM-ish start time is to be expected. For more details, check the above links, and for a preview, here's Stiffler's Mom covering Golden Earring at Rotaryfest!



Moving to previously announced concerts, the last hard rock show of the summer at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino's Dreammakers Theatre goes down TONIGHT, when Georgia heavy metal quartet Jackyl & New York glam metal favourites Winger make their way to our neck of the woods! This will be the second local stop for Jackyl following their great (though poorly attended) Essar Center show in May 2008, and their chainsaw-laden classics like "The Lumberjack" and "When Will It Rain" should be more than welcomed tonight, so if you're a fan of their AC/DC & southern rock hybrid sound, don't miss out on their local return! Of course, Winger had their own string of late 1980s and early 1990s hits like "Seventeen" and "Heading For A Heartbreak", and hair metal lovers will be sure to enjoy Kip & company's set to open tonight's proceedings as well! This ALL AGES concert still has tickets available from the second row and back, but judging by seating charts, Jackyl will have a much fuller house than they did six years ago, so make sure to get your tickets A.S.A.P. at this link, 1-800-KEWADIN, or at the in person box office!

Everything starts at 7:00 PM tonight, and there is no announced local opening band. For more information, visit the above links! This should be a fun night of metal from two of the more popular bands from the turn of the 1990s, and fans who saw Jackyl in Sault Ontario should agree with that especially, so don't miss out on tonight's action, as who knows when we'll get another Dreammaker's Theater hard rock/metal show! For a preview, here's Jackyl playing "I Stand Alone" live earlier this summer!



Heading back to Sault Ontario next, Caveman Morrison frontman Tym Morrison has a busy weekend on his hands, as he returns to The Roadhouse Bar & Grill once again TONIGHT for their monthly customer appreciation night, before kicking off his 38th straight week in his ongoing weekly arrangement with The Harp Bar & Grill with yet another hosted jam night TOMORROW and a normal unplugged concert on Saturday night! Tonight's show coincides with free food and specials at The Roadhouse (a venue Tym has recently returned to play a monthly show at), while his ongoing run at the former Madison's Pub will be business as usual from what I can tell this weekend, but does precede a weekend where he'll only be playing next Friday, so if you prefer Saturdays, don't miss Tym's second show this weekend! TONIGHT's show has an earlier supper start time of 5:00 PM, and is likely all ages as a result, but the regular Harp shows are at around 10:00 PM with 19+ age limits, and in any case, there's no announced cover charge. For more details, check the above links, and for a preview, here's Tym covering Metallica!



Finally for known hard rock concerts this weekend within our distance range, we return to The Rockstar Bar THIS SATURDAY NIGHT, where local all female hard rock quartet The Danger Cats will take the stage as openers for Ottawa rock trio The Red Rails in that band's second local appearance! This will be the girls' first live set since opening for Late & Loud at the same venue earlier this month, and they should be in fine form after that show (albeit likely without the guest performers), so don't miss out on their opening set! As you may remember, The Red Rails are the current band from former Driving Dave Home drummer Steve Brogno, and their blues-tinged alt-rock sound will surely be welcomed this weekend, so give Steve a nice return home if you're in attendance for this next stop on tour for their new CD "A Living Fiction"! A higher admission price of $7 if in effect for this concert, you must be 19 to attend, and there's a likely 10:00 PM start time as well. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page!

Nice to see Steve playing locally again, if only for one night, so check out The Red Rails to see what you think, and come early for The Danger Cats! For a preview, here are the girls live at their most recent concert!



That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes this weekend, plus this month's YouTube Channel Profile tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A New Local Band, New Video Postings, And More!!

Before we get to this weekend's hard rock concert previews, let's cover some more recent news and notes, including a new guitar video, new Das Bunkerfest clips, and more, but first, here's a new local band to take note of!

Remember how a new local punk band named Habitat Shuffle were slated to play at the Great Sabatini concert at The Moose Lodge in June, but later dropped out? Well, they finally have a Facebook page, so here's what you should know on them! Their lineup features 3/4ths of the defunct local ska punk quartet Free Beer (a.k.a. M.O.B. & Sarah's Valley), with singer Christian Lemay, guitarist Dustin Goodall, and drummer Ryan Gray reuniting for this new project, albeit with Dirty Few/ex-Vertically Impaired bassist Blair St. John enlisted in place of Free Beer's Keith Gagnon. Surprisingly, the band has already released a digital EP via their new Bandcamp page featuring 4 songs, and it's available on a "name your price" model, so it's free if you choose! The EP (entitled "Sober Drift") was recorded at Tidal Records with producer & Rising Tide frontman Dustin Jones, and later mixed in Toronto by Fairmounts guitarist Simon Head. It should be noted that Habitat Shuffle are hyping a live debut, physical EP release, and merchandise coming "soon and/or never", so take from that whatever you want.

As this is a new album release, and is available for paid release if you choose (support the guys and pay something!), it is eligible for a review on the SMS, but how do Habitat Shuffle sound? Honestly, fans expecting the ska punk sound of Free Beer may be disappointed, as this is more of a groovy alt-punk sound with more of a laid back casual feeling, but with grungier vocals. Interesting change of pace, and as it's new, this could be our first CD review on the SMS to come via our punk band expansion, so keep an eye out in next week or so, and Habitat Shuffle are now in our active band links!

Next up, here's the latest from local grunge/hardcore duo Bad Back! New media of theirs are now online via drummer Nathan Sauve's Soundcloud page and new YouTube channel, and on the former, you can now hear long new original songs named "Boyz" & "What I Want", as recorded at recent jam sessions. "Boyz" has a summer anthem sort of feel to it, while "What I Want" has more of an alternative chaotic bent, though neither have the fury of their live sets. Solid songs though! For what it's worth, the band's newest Facebook page post yesterday implied that they had begun full recording sessions, though whether this is for an album or not has yet to be proven. As for Nathan's new videos, he uploaded clips of Bad Back at the recent Das Bunkerfest private concert event in Garden River this past weekend, and they're of covers of NOFX's "Linoleum" and (as embedded below) their cover of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' "American Girl".

Diverse lineup, but they handle these covers in their own unique minimalist style, and Nathan's lead vocals on the latter work out well! The video quality is the main fault of these clips however, as they're dark, poorly lit, and very far from the stage, so you don't see too much. Check out Bad Back's newest media above & below!



Also today, Full Throttle/ex-Bottom Line guitarist Joe Jenkins has posted a brand new solo performance video onto his YouTube channel, this time a revised version of his own original song "Pitch Black". His first upload there in 3 months, this actually isn't a video per say, as all you see is a partial shot of an amplifier. The song itself has an early tuning issue due to Joe breaking in new guitar strings, but this is still a solid modern rock original that could benefit from having a full band around it, so check it out below, and stay tuned for more from Full Throttle in the Sault Michigan area!



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

  • In terms of clarifying some unanswered questions regarding the lineup of the aforementioned Das Bunkerfest event, we can now confirm that The Beau Regards were actually Bear Hunters drummer Johnny Belanger's new punk band under a temporary name (though they have yet to publically launch otherwise), while Mikey Thomas is a local rapper. We'll keep you posted on Johnny's new band as we hear more, and thanks to AlgomA's Darby Wigwaus for filling in these gaps!
  • Former March Into Regression guitarist Christopher Neveau is looking for a drummer and bassist for his new progressive metal project, who have apparently already written an album that is ready to be jammed and recorded. Chris has actually shown me some rough demos of his recent originals, which do sound promising, so if you're interested in trying out, message him at this link or via his Musicians Wanted Facebook group post from last week!
  • The Sault Ontario hard rock solo project StrykerGC has apparently changed their name to StonesmithGC, as per recent updates on their Facebook & Reverbnation pages. A reason for the change has not been announced. Unless it's necessary due to a naming conflict, I honestly like the StrykerGC name better, but at least Troy's keeping at his original music, and check out their new song "Blue Mountain" on Reverbnation, it has a slow driving feel to it!

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

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Project 421, Rotopsy, And Skeyes Of Seven Updates, And More!!

Getting back to news for the first time since Saturday, we have new videos and/or updates from 3 different local hard rock bands, and out of fairness, we've got their items listed in alphabetical order below, with some shorter assorted updates to round things out at post's end! Without any further adieu, here's what you need to know!

Local classic metal band Project 421 have quietly parted ways with singer Curtis McKenzie, as per his recent removal from their Facebook page's lineup. A public reason for his departure has not been announced, but guitarist Blair Burch indicated in a recent e-mail that the split was related to musical differences, but was 100% amicable. It should also be noted that Curt hasn't fronted Project 421 in concert since Dank Fest at The Oddfellows Hall in April, and work commitments kept him from the band's most recent gig (Jack Spades' EP release show at The Rockstar Bar in May.) While his brother Travis filled in for that show, and Blair handled lead vocals on some songs that night too, he indicated that they are looking for a full replacement singer, so if you're interested, message the band at the above links! It's disappointing to hear that Curt left, especially given the impressive singing range he displayed with them during his early 2014 run with Project 421, but follow Haggith for his and bassist Daniel Horton's current music!

Next up, we have some new videos from local goregrind duo Rotopsy, who've uploaded two videos onto their label Blood Shed Productions' YouTube channel from their set at the private Das Bunkerfest in nearby Garden River earlier this month! Uploaded yesterday, these include performances of one song whose name we won't post here due to it's explicit name, and as embedded below, their original "Shovel Packin'" with Shit Liver's Josh Penno on guest vocals, so how do these turn out? The videos are incredibly dark, and are filmed from what appears to be behind the stage, but this photo comes from their Das Bunkerfest set, and Josh does rock the sombrero well! The audio's scratchy too, but the vocals can be loud and forceful, and things appear to be consistent musically from surrounding public Rotopsy shows! Check out the full "Shovel Packin'" video below, and see more from Rotopsy at the above links!



Also today, here's the latest from local hard rockers Skeyes of Seven, starting with the confirmation that they are publically looking for a new bassist to replace the departed Mike Mannarino. As per guitarist Alain Fletcher's post on the Musicians Wanted Facebook group on Sunday, the band is looking for an experienced bassist that is reliable, able to rehearse twice a week, and be willing to write music, while back-up vocals are an asset (though not a dealbreaker.) If you're interested in trying out, message the band at skeyesofseven@gmail.com! Auditionees will have big shoes to fill though, as you can see in Skeyes of Seven's newest video that the band uploaded to their Facebook page on Saturday, which is similar to the Tool cover that was posted onto YouTube last week. All were filmed using a Go Pro camera mounted on Mike's bass head, but in this video's case, it captures clips of their original songs "Anything At All", "Fallen Faith", "Destinations Unknown", "See The Truth", and "I Am", and for reference, I think the last two are relatively new, but I may be wrong on that.

The biggest visual difference here is that the camera was mounted vertically, so we get a narrower view of Mike playing, and consequently, it's smaller and lower quality, but the audio is great, and you can see Mike's bass skill nice and close! Hopefully Skeyes of Seven can find the right guy (or girl?!) to replace Mike going forward, but check out their newest bass cam video below, and if you're interested in trying out, message the band above!



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

  • As a clarification from our recent write-up on Frapperteterhead's cassette demo that recently made it onto YouTube, we can now confirm that their bassist (credited as "Swartz") was future Lost Souls bassist Eric Schweinzer, while their drummer (credited as "Mr. Phibinger") was Tom Dawson, older brother of Jack Spades frontman J.D. Pearce. Thanks to the aforementioned Blair Burch for filling in the gaps!
  • The Apocalypse Afterparty's planned Smokin' Heroines team of costumed female fans now has their own Facebook page, and if you're interested in taking part at their concerts and Soo Band Roulette, and firing and shooting off various fun paraphernalia mid-set, message above to inquire within! As they're not a "band" in and of themselves, The Smokin' Heroines are now in our "Other Local Metal Links" section.
  • The new Telephone & Address album will apparently be back from it's pressing in Toronto at some point today, as per their Facebook page last week. The album will be $15, which may seem high, but the album will have 15 songs too. No word yet on if it will have an in-concert or online availability or just be on request, but for reference, Telephone & Address did just play a private house party concert with Bad Back and out of town punk duo Bardos on Saturday. Keep an eye out for updates!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for weekend concert previews and more updates soon! Thanks everyone!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Last Month's Poll Results & This Month's Poll!!

As it's the 18th of the month, it's now time to shut down last month's poll and launch our newest poll at the SMS! As you may remember, last month's poll posed this question to you guys: What was your favourite local metal/hard rock/punk concert in the first half of 2014? We got a respectable 29 votes, so thanks to everyone who voted, and now, here are the final results!

Jack Spades at The Rockstar Bar on May 16th (6 votes, 21%)
Fuck the Facts at The Oddfellows Hall on May 4th (6 votes, 21%)
Anvil & Caym at The Canadian Nightclub on March 15th (4 votes, 14%)
Late & Loud at The Rockstar Bar on February 21st (3 votes, 10%)
Pillory & Rotopsy at The Oddfellows Hall on January 24th (3 votes, 10%)
Anciients at The Canadian Nightclub on June 24th (2 votes, 7%)
Swampstravaganza at The Oddfellows Hall on May 10th (2 votes, 7%)
Other (2 votes, 7%)
Punch at The Roosevelt Hotel on February 6th (1 vote, 3%)
The Merves at The Rockstar Bar on January 17th (0 votes)
Jack Spades at The Roosevelt Hotel on February 13th (0 votes)
T-Rex Manning at The Roosevelt Hotel on February 27th (0 votes)
Skynet & Chronobot at 180 Projects on March 16th (0 votes)
Medi-Fest 2014 at The Grand Theater on March 22nd (0 votes)
Who Made Who at The Rockstar Bar on March 28th (0 votes)
The Merves at The Rockstar Bar on April 4th-5th (0 votes)
The Fever Tops at Cafe Natura on April 15th (0 votes)
Dank Fest 2014 at The Oddfellows Hall on April 19th (0 votes)
Crued at The Rockstar Bar on May 3rd (0 votes)
The Great Sabatini at The Moose Lodge on June 10th (0 votes)
Heart & Jason Bonham at The Essar Center on June 20th (0 votes)

What do you guys think? In ascending order, I'm a bit surprised by the wide spread of concerts with 0 votes, and especially shocked that no one voted for the Heart show at The Essar Center in June. That was such a well attended & well recieved show, and no one voted for it? Very odd. The first Heavy Thursday at the former Roosevelt Hotel made 9th place with a single vote, which is nice to see as a posthumous recognition of The Rosie! I'm not shocked by the shows tied for 6th with 2 votes (can't speak for "Other" though), but the Oddfellows Hall show on January 24th is very surprising to see tie for fourth in the poll, as that show was dogged with lineup replacements and dropouts, partly thanks to poor weather. Must have been a fun show even still! The Anvil show fittingly got a high placement in third place, but as you can see, we tied for the final tally with 6 votes a piece for two May concerts, those being the Fuck The Facts show at The Oddfellows Hall and the Jack Spades EP release show at The Rockstar Bar. With a tie, who technically won the poll?

Both were solid and entertaining (though very different shows), but in the case of ties regarding our (bi-)yearly concert polls, the higher placing one is the newer one, as it's been in our consciousness for a shorter time, and therefore, had less time to garner the same amount of votes. As a result, congratulations to the Jack Spades EP release show for "winning" this poll by a hair, and thanks to everyone for voting! We'll see the shows that got a vote in our poll on all 2014 concerts early next year, so watch out then!

As for this month's poll, I wanted to gauge people's opinions on a recent occurence that we haven't seen much of in recent years in the local metal & punk scenes, hence why we're posing this question: What is your opinion on the recent influx of two man metal bands in the Sault area? In the past year or so, attendees of recent all ages concerts may have seen a trend towards bands with smaller lineups, to a point where local bands with 4-5 members are a noticeable minority at such events. Among this are bands with just 2 members, including such recently prominent bands as The Apocalypse Afterparty, Bad Back, Brutaly Fatal, Rotopsy, Shadowthrone, This Is Your Band On Drugs, and even 415E in Sault Michigan. Of course, there are differing reasons from each as to why they play as a duo only, or it may only be a temporary measure pending future additions, but minimalist bands like these have become a fixture at many recent all ages shows. This is far from a new occurrence (Sue Inside & the 2wo Man Baand are late 2000s examples), but what do you guys think about the current crop?

Myself, I think most of it is intentional artist expression, and if it's a response to a lack of available musicians to flesh out a fuller band, then they're definitely making the most of it! I'm just curious to see what readers think on the whole. Before we get into the choices, I'll clarify that we're NOT getting at acoustic duos featuring two singer/guitarists, as they're largely from different scenes and not visibly a recent trend therein. We're also not focusing on solo acts largely for that reason, though you may consider Crucify The Whore and Mike Haggith among the above bands given that their live sets are electric with programmed backing instruments. Now, here are your choices for this month's poll!

I love them, keep them coming!: Do you enjoy two man metal bands no matter how big their lineup may or may not be? Do their energy, songwriting, and individual talents make up for any perceived gaps in their roster? There are definitely fans who feel this way, judging by the lively reception at most Bad Back and Blood Shed Productions concerts, but if you're among them, vote for this option!

It depends on the band: Simple enough choice, as everyone has their own personal preferences, and no one is guaranteed to like every single band in the area. The rap metal stylings of The Apocalypse Afterparty may not be the cup of tea of the goregrind-loving Rotopsy fans, and vice versa, for example. Everyone's tastes are different, so consider this option in the poll if you enjoy certain duo bands, but not all of them!

I have no preference towards band member amounts: Music is music, and whether a local metal band has 1 member (i.e. Crucify the Whore) or six (2008-era Woods of Ypres), they'll have their own fanbase who likely isn't focused on how many people are on stage playing the songs. Such a fan loves the band for the music, not their membership count, so does it just not matter to you how many members a band has?

We need more active musicians to fill out their lineups: The above bands weren't all duos forever (415E used to be a quartet, and Sue Inside became a trio after moving away), but maybe some of you think that the lack of available and willing musicians is a cause for some bands playing live as a duo, and using a drum machine, pre-recordings, guests, or just a more active stage presence to make up the difference. Do you feel that the Soo needs more active musicians to help supplant or add to these minimalist bands?

They're not my thing: Do you not see what the big deal is surrounding bands that only have two members? Maybe you don't like the minimalist approach, maybe you find them to generally not be your genre preference, or maybe you just find their sound incomplete, and not ready for the stage as a result? If you don't tend to like these recent two man bands, this is your choice!

VOTE TODAY!! You guys have until September 18th to cast your votes in this poll, and I'm interested to see how it scores! I believe that a band can exist in any form that the members want, but will that be the general consensus? We'll see how things look next month! That's all for now, but stay tuned for more news shortly! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Meet The (Inactive) Local Punk Bands!! Part 6

It's now time for our 6th (and maybe second-last?) post to roll in defunct/inactive local punk bands with surviving online pages into our band links on the SMS! Sourcing mainly from MySpace now, it's sadly incredibly hard to search for local bands on there now due to last year's layout overhauls, and with biography information and bands' hometowns no longer listed, it makes the search a lot more difficult. We have enough bands there that I can verify their local ties to for at least one more installment after today, but I can't guarantee an 8th or not yet. Now, here's four more inactive punk bands from Sault Ste. Marie to formally add to our site links, in alphabetical order!

We'll start with A Fall From Innocence, an emo/pop-punk band that attained some notability in the Sault area in the mid-2000s! Active from roughly 2003-2007, their only full cited lineup online featured singer Larry Babic (later of Backroom Concept), guitarists Matt Durette and Jeff King, bassist Waylon Bougie (who's since manned some solo projects), and drummer Marc Santos (Fuller), while the band also featured Stay Seventeen singer Matt Maccarone and current Northwest frontman Wayne Watkins in other incarnations, possibly among other artists. A.F.F.I. released two CDs ("The Breathing Method" in March 2005, and a self-titled CD in February 2006), and would tour Canada in support of both discs, open for bands like The Planet Smashers, and appear at popular local concerts like the 2005 Heatwave Festival, before quietly breaking up by the following year. While I'll admit that emo punk isn't my favourite of punk subgenre, you can sense a strong talent and chemistry with A Fall From Innocence's MySpace tracks, which had strong songwriting and melodic sensibilities!

I imagine they made some fans in their tour runs, and if you listen close to some songs, Larry might have some screaming vocals too! It'd be nice to get a hold of their albums, and while I don't know of any videos of A Fall From Innocence, check them out at their Bandspace, MySpace, and PureVolume pages to hear their public original material!

Next is the popular late 2000s ska-punk band Free Beer (also known for short stretches as M.O.B. and Sarah's Valley), who fans should be familiar with from a number of big local concerts of their own! Their lineup featured singer (and Shaw TV correspondent) Christian Lemay alongside current Habitat Shuffle guitarist Dustin Goodall, and local metal band alums Ryan Gray & Keith Gagnon on bass & drums, though Stefan Zaharuk played bass for Free Beer at one point early in their run as well. During their original run as Free Beer, the band opened for the likes of The Rebel Spell, Broadcast Zero, and The Flatliners at numerous local venues between 2007 & 2009, as well as placing third at the 2008 Skid Row Battle of the Bands. Free Beer changed their name to M.O.B. in 2010, though the band didn't last terribly long under that name, and played only the occasional one-off gig before reuniting as Sarah's Valley last year, which itself was also a short lived run, and they broke up for good last summer.

I don't recall Free Beer ever putting out an album, but they had entertaining originals and covers all the same! As heard on their MySpace & Soundcloud pages, they could deftly take on both Chili Peppers-esque funk rock on originals like "My Reality" and more reggae influenced material like on "Come With Me", and their sound and fun stage show definitely helped them get a strong following! It'd be cool to see the guys turn up again under any name down the road, but give them a look at the above links, on Reverbnation, and on Christian's YouTube channel, which has a fair amount of Free Beer concert & jam videos from their heyday, including this mid-2008 video from the old O'Aces! Hear more above!



Also, we're adding defunct mid-1990s punk band Room 206 to our links! One of the few pre-2000 punk bands from the Soo with a posthumous online page (via MySpace), there isn't a lot of surviving information on them, but they were a well recieved band that were among the roster of bands that frequented the Windsor Park Hotel during that venue's heyday, as vividly depicted in Paolo Colascco's book "Going Underground", which is on the local punk scene. At the time of their feature in the book, Room 206's lineup featured singer/guitarist Mike Yorke, current Role Models frontman Brad Lacell on bass, and Mike's future Totally Confused bandmate Al Watson (later of Startlefish) on drums. I know that I'm missing members, as their MySpace photo shows a quartet lineup (and I seem to recall Brad's longtime bandmate Dave Bahun once being in Room 206 too), but I can't verify much else. Let me know if you can fill in any blanks!

Though long since inactive, Room 206 had a successful run in the local punk scene, apparently recorded some sort of album named "2 Innies & An Outie", and their song "Good Enough" even found their way onto the "Punk: The Next Generation" compilation CD alongside fellow locals The Spigots. Room 206 had a good skate punk sound with fitting vocals, very good riffs and hooks, and a nice explosive sound that must have gotten a good reception live, and you can check that out for yourself via this YouTube video of themr covering Fugazi's "Waiting Room" at the former Club Princess in February 1995! Muffled audio and patchy video, but look at that crowd! Check out much more from Room 206 via their MySpace page!
 



Finally for this punk band feature is Smeltzer, who were among the most prominent young alternative/punk bands in the Sault area in the mid-2000s! Their lineup featured both "songwriters" of the new local band The Apocalypse Afterparty, those being singer/guitarist Steve "Knuckles" Mozarowski and The Fury's Paul "Pauliford" Stanghetta on bass, while Steve's former RedD Monkey bandmate Kevin "Kevo" Overton (also formerly of Gates of Winter) rounded out their lineup on drums. Active from roughly 2006-2008, Smeltzer opened for notable bands like Propagandhi and Means at assorted concerts during their run (including a sizeable amount at The Oddfellows Hall), and though they've been broken up for 6 or so years now, the guys did reunite for a one-off headlining show in 2011, and Steve has been known to cover Smeltzer songs like "The Jock Song" both with RedD Monkey and in solo gigs. An album release named "Dropping the S-Bomb" was also teased on MySpace, but I can't confirm if it came out or not. I actually can't find a video of Smeltzer from their run, but how'd they sound?

Sound wise, I'd compare Smeltzer to a more grungy 1990s-alternative variant of Steve & Kevin's later RedD Monkey sound, and with the lack of cello, not as original, but effective in itself! I remember enjoying Smeltzer at local all ages show when I was a teenager, and their darker essence served them well, though of course, turns with a dress at live gigs did offset that a bit! Nice to hear Kevin's drumming again too, he was a local standout before he moved from the area. Check out Smeltzer above, and follow The Apocalypse Afterparty for Steve & Paul's newest material!

I hope you guys liked this newest defunct punk band feature! The only thing I can guarantee for our 7th (and maybe final?) of these introductory posts for older punk bands is that Bin Hawdon & The Taliband WILL finally be a part! Anything else is up in the air, mainly due to the awful MySpace layout changes last year, but keep an eye out regardless in the coming weeks, and stay tuned for this month's new poll and the results of last month's poll tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (The Danger Cats), Apocalypse Afterparty Updates, And Much More!!

As we clear out more recent news on the site, we have another news post for you guys today, including some assorted recent news items, a video find, the latest from a creative new band, and first, a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for one week from today, so here's what you need to know, and check out more recent news and notes in the post below this one!

Local all female hard rock quartet The Danger Cats will return to The Rockstar Bar one week from today when they open for Ottawa rock trio The Red Rails! In case you're not familiar, The Red Rails are the current band featuring drummer and Sault native Steve Brogno (formerly of bands like Driving Dave Home & Turner Up), and these power rockers were last seen locally in September at the same venue. Very modern sound with some bluesy touches, so keep The Red Rails in mind for next weekend, and help welcome Steve back to the Soo! The Danger Cats are a solid choice as openers, and are riding off the success of their Late & Loud farewell gig appearance, so they should be in top form for an entertaining opening set of originals and covers! There will be a higher cover charge of $7 next week's local stop on their "A Living Fiction Tour", you must be 19 to attend, and a 10:00 PM-ish start time is likely. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! Should be a good concert, and it's nice to see Steve having such success since moving, so remember this show for next week!

Next up, here's the latest from the new local punk/rap duo The Apocalypse Afterparty! While we wait for their public concert debut, X & Z are looking for around 6 local women who can wear costumes and bring and fire off water guns, marshmallows, flyers, confetti, bubbles, and pillows at their gigs (and at Steve Mozarowski's upcoming Soo Band Roulette on August 30th), and they would be called "The Smoking Heroines". This may seem like an off the wall idea, but remember how the guys looked and dressed at Das Bunkerfest (they are definitely not business as usual.) If fleshed out, this could be very fun, so any female readers who want to join the insanity should message above! Two new Facebook videos are now online also, including this 19 second clip of a member jokingly talking about freestyling in a British accent (complete with mask & ski goggles) and the video embedded below, of "songwriter" Paul Stanghetta and recent AA video filmer Amanda Brown rehearsing a rough version of a new original song, so how does it sound?

Played only on drums and piano with rapped vocals, it has a fun lively sound, though obviously not complete from what we'd see live, but fans of The Fury will enjoy it either way! I'm curious to see where things lead with The Apocalypse Afterparty, who have already shown a ton of originality, so keep posted for updates, and here's their newest rehearsal clip!



Also today, I wanted to get up to speed on local classic hard rock cover band Havadder now that they're in our full coverage on the site, so I hope to share some more of Havadder's concert videos on the site when we come across older examples of them! This one comes from their Facebook page, specifically a March 2012 gig at The Nicolet Tavern (now The Rednecks Saloon), where they covered Temple of the Dog's "Hunger Strike", as featuring their then-lineup of singer/guitarist Jason Roy, guitarists Jason Nisbet & Robert Brown, bassist Travis Sharpe, and drummer Scott McLurg. Strong lineup, and almost identical to their then-sister band Turner Up (for a comparison, it was reminiscent of Gates of Winter & Woods of Ypres' 2008 lineups, which were also near-identical.) As for the video, it's dark and pixellated, but the audio is good, with the guys handling this song well, Travis' backing vocals adding a lot to the proceedings, and they managed the triple-guitar attack nicely on this ballad too! Give this 2012 Havadder 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.

  • In a comment reply on the band's Facebook group in June, Caveman Morrison frontman Tym Morrison clarified his local metal cover trio's status, saying that he's "not sure what's happening with the band", as there's "not a lot of places for us to play, but you never know what the future holds." Last seen at the old Rosie on New Year's Eve, Caveman Morrison haven't played a regular bar gig outside of there or The Water Tower Pub since 2012, though Tym has been playing solo gigs at The Harp each weekend since December. At least the door's not closed on the band, but we'll keep you posted if we hear more!
  • For The Music Inside's photos of Late & Loud's headlining (and possibly last ever) set at The Rockstar Bar on August 1st are finally online, and you can check them out at this link! No major surprises, but things look lively and with a purpose, and they're all well shot like with the openers, so check them out, and best of luck to Brendan & Marisa in Great Britain!
  • A young local drummer named Trey Piraino is looking to jam with similar musicians, specifically identifying himself as a "prog-metal" drummer that has practiced with bands like Dream Theater and The Liquid Tension Experiment since he was a kid. High quality stuff to take after, which is promising! If you're interested in jamming with Trey, message him at this link or via his Musicians Wanted Facebook group post on Friday!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for a new punk band feature soon, more news, and our new poll tomorrow! Thanks everyone!