Sunday, November 29, 2015

Bad Back - "ALbums" Review!!

It's now time for our 77th monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, as we're looking at local grunge/hardcore duo Bad Back's first full length release "ALbums" today! Technically their third album (following their minimally advertised demos "VOLumes!" & "VOLumes TWO" from last year), "ALbums" was self-recorded at Six Two Oh (with assistance from AlgomA frontman Kevin Campbell), mixed and mastered by Mark Rand in Peterborough, and independently released on September 17th of this year. Like on the 2014 demos, Bad Back's lineup features singer/guitarist Jamie Vincent (a.k.a. "Jaymang Vinsang") and drummer/backing vocalist Nathan Sauve (a.k.a. "Naythang Sauvege".) Copies of "ALbums" are available on their Bandcamp page on a "name your price" model, so while you can get yours free if you want, consider buying "ALbums" to support Bad Back's work! Availability of physical copies is unknown, possibly as the band hasn't played an announced show since the release.

Featuring 8 songs (including at least 3 re-recorded from the earlier demos) clocking in at about 25 minutes of runtime, let's begin our "ALbums" review with the first song, "Lung Bucket"! A shorter re-recording of the opener from the "VOLumes" demo, this was the first song Bad Back wrote, and it opens with a consistent guitar riff before vocals kick in and the song nicely ramps up for intensity in the choruses. Jamie's vocals take on a high yet harsh quality on this song, which doesn't take a lot of risks, but for their two-man blend of styles, they make it work well, with Nathan shining on drums at points! Second is "Number One Hit Single" (from their second demo, physical copies only), which is a faster and more hardcore punk leaning number featuring Jamie and Nathan trading off vocals amidst some blistering instrumentation, and this would definitely be a solid mosh pit starter live! Nathan's raspier and lower vocals are a good contrast here, but the instrumental bridge in the latter third of the song comes across as too plain compared to the rest. Still, very fun!

Next up is "Breeding Weak", another fast track with a creative opening and more of a freewheeling punk flavour! The only song on "ALbums" with Nathan on full lead vocals, he puts an amusing snarl on this one, with Jamie chiming in for gang vocals on the choruses, and the relentless guitar riffing and solid attitude carries this one high on the scale for the included tracks! The low singing at the end seemed out of place, but this maintains the spirit of it's predecessor track, and is another early highlight! That's followed by "Drum My Way Home", which suitably begins with Nathan laying down a catchy drum rhythm before Jamie jumps in to fill things out. A mid-paced number, this song pays more homage to their grunge roots, but with suitable energy and some of Nathan's best drumming yet, and their complimentary vocals are again used to good effect! Without getting too fast, "Drum My Way Home" serves as a nice showcase of their two man talents!

Song #5 is "Party Bus" (which was given the comical subtitle "Party Bugs"), and it is the only song on the album to surpass 4 minutes in length. Taking on some more mainstream alternative flourishes with the instrumental bridges, things get heavier and faster on the verses, with Jamie sounding particularly intense therein, helping add to the party atmosphere of the song! The stop-start nature of the song drags it down a bit for me, as it seems to shift back & forth in mood too much, but Bad Back fans should definitely enjoy this one on it's own merits! Then we have "Oh! (Nothing In My Pocket)", which is more of a punk-edged song that has a bit of an old school vibe, yet retaining Bad Back's minimalist qualities to good effect! Jamie's vocals soar over the material, and Nathan holds up his end on drums and backing vocals, and while it's not as fast and blistering as some earlier tracks, it's very listenable, albeit with an ending that feels like something's missing to drive it home.

The penultimate (and shortest) song on "ALbums" is "Shirt Tucker", which was previously recorded as the opening track of last year's second demo release. Making use of fast spoken word vocals in the verses courtesy of Jamie, this song shines most on the punk-style choruses, and I like the surf-esque guitar solo in the second half, but this song ends before it really gets going, and the joint vocals throughout the later stretch don't really add anything to the song. It's not a bad track at all, but elements of it are done better and more extensively earlier in the CD. The album closes with "Two Tongues", a fun closer that sees Jamie unleashing more melodic yet aggressive lead vocals, which create an interesting contrast on this song, which is punk-esque and not as in-your-face as some earlier songs. Nathan's drumming holds up as usual, and this is a fun & reliable closure to Bad Back's newest release that ends things on a high note!

So, what are my final thoughts on Bad Back's first full length album? Overall, this is a fun and ideal way to hear Jamie & Nathan's original music, which retains the live atmosphere even in this setting! Jamie (and Nathan when focused on) both handle vocals well, and are a nice compliment throughout "ALbums",  which helps make you forget that this is a two man band with no bassist, which can be tricky! Production wise, these songs improve on their 2014 demos (which weren't badly recorded as it was), but Mark Rand's mastering helped up the ante, so kudos to him for giving these an extra boost! At least "ALbums" (redundant plural and all) was well advertised ahead of time, and with quality tracks like "Number One Hit Single" and "Breeding Weak" will get fans going, though at times, some songs felt like they were missing something and/or weren't taking enough risks (I'd also liked to have heard more of a guitar solo element.) It'd also have been nice to hear songs like "Togna Sharogna" and "What I Want" redone from the demos, but maybe a second album is in the works?

Either way, "ALbums" is a very solid mixture of grunge, hardcore punk, and good times from Bad Back, and be sure to buy it (or download it free) at the above links, and presumably at their next concerts! I hope you guys liked this month's CD review, and next month, I'm eyeing a review of The Pixo Control's debut CD "Probably Not" following it's release on December 12th, so fingers crossed we get a copy by month's end, and stay tuned for more news and updates this week! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Toystock IV Concert Preview, Eugene Orlando Services, And New That's Chester Videos!!

For our post on this Saturday morning, we're largely tackling a major returning seasonal concert for a preview, but we also have some new videos from a recent event that feature a recently passed fixture in the local music scene, who leads things with information on his final services. Here's what you should know!

The obituary for late That's Chester guitarist Eugene Orlando has been posted on SooToday at this link, which confirms that his funeral services will be held on Tuesday at 1:30 PM at St. Gregory's Church (71 Estelle Street, near St. Theresa Catholic School) with Father Alex Saurianthadathil presiding. Visitation will be held at The O'Sullivan Funeral Home at 215 St. James Street on Monday at 5:00 PM and Tuesday at 11:00 AM, and interment will follow the services at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Eugene was just 56 years old, and he is survived by his wife Estelle, his three daughters, his grandson, his father, and other extended family members. His family would appreciate donations to the Sault Area Hospital Foundation in his memory, and you can offer online condolences at this link. This is all still very sad for friends, bandmates, and fans of Eugene's, but I do hope everyone remembers the good times he had and brought during next week's functions. Stay tuned at post's end for more from his last live concerts, and R.I.P. Eugene!

Next up, here's our preview of the fourth annual Toystock fundraiser concert, which goes down TOMORROW with 10 bands in 10 hours once again rocking out for a great cause! Moving from The Canadian Nightclub to The Grand Gardens at 1324 Great Northern Road this year for size concerns & to encourage more families to attend, this annual seasonal concert will still provide loads of quality ALL AGES entertainment from the accumulated bands, with all proceeds going to Christmas Cheer, a great cause as always! Despite the move, expect the Stuff-A-Bus to be on site like before, as well as food & drinks, prize giveaways (including a GoPro camera as the door prize), and yes, appearances from Santa & Mrs. Claus too, so keep all of this in mind if you're planning to attend! Like in past years, Toystock is largely focused around cover bands and scattered younger talent, but only three of this year's bands are back from prior installments, so things will be suitably different for year 4, but who can you expect to see during tomorrow's festivities?

In apparent order from online materials, the headlining band will be country cover quartet Bone Yard (in their record-tying third Toystock set) at 9:00 PM, and they'll be immediately preceded by post-punk quartet Gnaeus, who should have lots of songs from their forthcoming CD "Loomings" in store! A one-off punk cover band named The Rude-Offs (featuring Destroilet's Christian Foisy, Adam Larocque, and Matt Waples, Treble Charger's Greig Nori, Bone Yard's Greg Simpson, and special guests) will take the stage at 7:00 PM for a set of punked-up Christmas carols, which should be an intriguing attraction to say the least, so make sure you stay for their set! The debuting local rock trio Under The Influence (featuring Turner Up/Wishbone alum Brent Royer alongside guitarist Mike Muto & bassist Ryan Bell) will hit the stage at 6:00 PM, but what do they play, and how do they sound? Be the first to find out!

A pair of classic/hard rock cover quartets will take the stage in the preceding blocks, they being Havadder (replacing Nikkfitt) at 5:00 PM and Mourning Wood (in their second straight Toystock set) at 4:00 PM. Blues rockers Mojo will rock the house at 3:00 PM, as preceded by all-female classic rockers Domina (who are also returning from last year) at 2:00 PM, veteran country trio The Algo Rhythms at 1:00 PM, and students from the Bocturoc Academy of Music kicking things off at 12:00 PM. Very solid lineup, so come early for all of the talent on display! It should be noted that Toystock comes just days after the sudden passing of Eugene Orlando, who was a bandmate of Bone Yard's Greg Simpson and Ric Datson in That's Chester, and was a friend and colleague of many of the night's performers. Nothing has been announced regarding a possible tribute as of this writing, but if we hear anything, we'll let you know!

Promoted by Maxx Entertainment as usual, this all day and ALL AGES concert event has admission via a donation of a toy, non-perishable food, or (if you can't donate either) money, and visit the official Facebook event page for more details! Once again, Toystock IV sounds like a great event for a great cause, especially at this time of year, so be sure to consider attending for this all-day lineup of local talent tomorrow (and remember, it's now at The Grand Gardens, out near The Trading Post!) I do wonder why Lucky 13 aren't on the lineup though, this is the first Toystock that they've missed... hopefully all's well with them! See above for more details, and here's Gnaeus live earlier this year!

We'll close today with some newly posted videos from local classic/hard rock cover quintet That's Chester's performances during the live production of The Who's Tommy at The Machine Shop earlier this month, as per drummer Ric Datson's YouTube channel in the last few days. These hold more resonance now given that they were the final live concert performances from guitarist Eugene Orlando, so take note of them on that basis as well, and at least this was quite a high note to go out on! These three newest videos include That's Chester covering The Who's "Captain Walker" & "It's A Boy",, "Underture" (both with cast members providing vocals), and as embedded below, "Amazing Journey", with Greg Simpson singing as the narrator. All preceded once again by lengthy credits, these show That's Chester in fine form as both a band and as the backing musicians for the play at hand, and "Amazing Journey" is a fitting selection to show Eugene's skill at both the guitar and keyboard! 

Vocals are muffled again on these videos, but the multi-camera angles and professionalism come through well, and while it's too soon to speculate on That's Chester's future, Eugene's diverse talents are very much on full display! Our condolences again go out to his family, friends, and bandmates at this difficult time, but give these new Tommy videos a look above & below!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for much more news and updates in due course! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

R.I.P. Eugene Orlando

The Sault Metal Scene sends it's deepest condolences to the family & friends of That's Chester/Agave Blue guitarist Eugene Orlando, who just passed away according to a post on That's Chester's Facebook page. Further details, including on services, have yet to be made public, and we'll let you know more when appropriate. Eugene had been a talented sight as a guitarist and keyboardist in numerous local bands (primarily cover-focused ones), including a stint with Touch of Class in the early 1990s, but will be more familiar from his recent work in Agave Blue and as a founding member of the classic/hard rock quintet That's Chester, who just played live earlier this month at The Machine Shop during their live production of The Who's Tommy. The band noted that the Tommy run had reawakened his love for playing the keyboard, and while it's a shock to learn of his passing, at least he went out on a high note to cap an 11 year run with the band!

It's way too early to know what this means for the future of his bands, including if the teased New Year's Eve show from That's Chester at The Water Tower Inn will go on as scheduled (we hadn't plugged it here yet anyway), but that's not what's important right now. I didn't know Eugene personally, but he was a prolific and dependable veteran in the local music scene that could handle multiple genres with ease, and he will be missed for sure! We'll of course acknowledge a handful of new Tommy videos on the site in the coming days, but take a look at Eugene rocking a Deep Purple classic with That's Chester at Rotaryfest a few years ago. R.I.P. Eugene!

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Mourning Wood) & Most Weekend Concert Previews!!

Let's touch on this weekend's concert previews on this Thursday morning, but of course, I do wish our American readers a happy Thanksgiving! Before we get too deep, I wanted to note that the advertised Stiffler's Mom concert at The Rockstar Bar on Saturday appears to now be off, as the Mike Haggith & The Din concert (previewed below) was moved upstairs in it's place. If we hear anything concerning a relocation or postponement (or a reason for cancellation), we'll let you know! And yes, we'll preview Toystock this weekend as well likely on Saturday, but let's begin our previews with SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS!!

Local classic/hard rock cover quartet Mourning Wood will return to more familiar confines with solo headlining concerts TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT at The Rednecks Saloon! Apologies for the short notice, the band only announced the shows via their official Facebook event page on Monday, though at least the shows got an event page this week! Fresh off of their returns to the OLG Casino last week, these will be Mourning Wood's first concerts at the former Nicolet Tavern in over a month, and will join their second straight Toystock set on Sunday. Terry, Steven, Paul, and Glen have a busy weekend ahead, so whether you're up for solo nighttime shows or a daytime all ages set during Toystock, you have plenty of options this weekend! There is no announced cover charge for TONIGHT & TOMORROW's Rednecks shows, you must be 19 or older to attend either, and 10:00 PM start times are in effect. Check the above links for more details, don't miss Mourning Wood at Rednecks or Toystock this weekend, and here they are live this fall!

Moving to previously announced concerts, we'll next take a look at longtime Caveman Morrison frontman Tym Morrison's ongoing weekly concert arrangements at Gliss Steak & Seafood and The Harp Bar & Grill, which are expected to continue with matinee shows at the former TONIGHT, TOMORROW, and SATURDAY, and regular nighttime shows at the latter TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! As recently usual, he hasn't acknowledged the shows via Facebook event pages yet, but all are confirmed on on his website, and Facebook plugs are surely coming. His ongoing runs at these two venues continue to march on, providing steady and often heavy entertainment despite the acoustic base, and hopefully Tym has more great shows this weekend, including the first Gliss restaurant matinee TONIGHT! The Gliss shows are all at 6:00 PM with no cover or age limit, and both Harp shows are 19+ at 10:00 PM with no cover. See the above links for more details, and here's Tym live at The Harp!

In a brief detour across the border, Kinross, Michigan classic/hard rock trio Banned will return to The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT! Though not recently acknowledged on their website, the band did plug them in a concert calendar post on their Facebook page early last month, and they're also listed on Kewadin's entertainment page. Last seen in Hessel last weekend, these maintain a recent monthly trend for the Traynors & Wayne at the St. Ignace Kewadin, which will continue for their final Soo-area concerts of 2015 over the Christmas weekend (their last show of the year will be in Drummond Island for New Year's Eve.) Good to see Banned staying busy, and hopefully this weekend's concerts are hits as usual! There's no announced cover charges tonight or tomorrow, you must be 21 or older to attend, and there are 9:00 PM start times in effect. Check the above links for more details, and here's Banned live this summer!

Finally for this preview post, we'll head back north to The Rockstar Bar in Sault Ontario, where three local hard & alternative rock bands will congregate for a concert THIS SATURDAY NIGHT! Your headliners will be local alternative trio Mike Haggith & The Din in their Rockstar Bar debut, and just their second concert set with new guitarist Tammy Hill (and first at a typical venue/setting), so if you have yet to see the new incarnation live, be at The Rockstar Bar on Saturday! They're headlining at 12:15 AM, with support coming from pop punk quartet Stereo North at 11:15 PM and hard/alternative quartet Long Shot (in their first local concert in 4 months) opening at 10:15 PM. Nice selections, all three bands should impress in this union of three rising local acts! Remember, this show was moved upstairs after originally being placed downstairs in The Algonquin Pub, possibly after the presumed Stiffler's Mom cancellation. There will be a $5 cover charge for this 19+ concert, so for more details on this intriguing show, visit the official Facebook event page, and here's The Din live earlier this year!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes in the coming days, including our Toystock preview! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Project 421), Punk Rock Bingo Preview, And More!!

We're nearing a week since our last news post without an attached concert preview, so let's correct that with today's post, which features new archive video discoveries, the latest from a popular music webseries, and a preview of a non-concert event for you punk fans, but first, here's a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for next month!

Local classic metal quintet Project 421 will mark the second anniversary of their live debut with a headlining concert on Saturday, December 5th (or, next Saturday) at The Rockstar Bar! As announced yesterday via the official Facebook event page, this show should be a fun time for fans of Project 421's fan favourite covers and increasing originals, and while it's upstairs rather than at The Algonquin Pub downstairs (the site of their live debut), they should rock the house next weekend! Opening bands will include funk/hard rock quartet The Elements and the mysterious new band Eclipse (not spelled Eclypse like before), but what do we know on them now? Not a lot, but the concert poster uniquely lists covered bands by each group, and Eclipse are listed as covering nu-metal and modern rock bands ranging from Billy Talent to Disturbed to Three Days Grace. Interesting range! Also, the poster credits this as as their live debut, implying that they didn't play the Jason Michaud benefit after all, but the band advertising for that event was always vague.

I believe I know at least one band member's identity, but we'll wait to confirm anything until something is publically announced! There will be a $5 admission fee for this concert, you must be 19 or older to attend, and a 10:00 PM start time is advertised. Check the above links for more details, and stay tuned for updates on this concert (and Eclipse) in the coming week!

Next up, here's our preview of the rescheduled second installment of Six Two Oh's punk rock bingo at The New American Pub TOMORROW NIGHT! After the planned October installment was postponed following the late Sabrina Pelchat's passing, the punk rock bingo encore goes down tomorrow, so get your dabbers ready to mark those cards, and unlike in September, the prizes are described online! The Facebook event page notes that everything from CDs & VHS tapes to skateboard decks & paintings, and even cans of soup, plus an apparent contest to make the Six Two Oh gang sign. Sounds like a fun time, and even if it's not a concert, expect punk music on the loudspeakers and many prizes befitting the genre! Once again, prolific local hardcore punk singer/bassist Brent Ellis will be the caller for tomorrow's bingo action, which has a lower price of 50¢ per card, no cover otherwise, a 19+ age limit, and an 8:00 PM start time. Check the above links for more details, and don't miss out on tomorrow's punk rock bingo action!

Also today, here's the latest from Local2's ongoing music webseries Tuned with Donna Hopper! While most recent episodes have not directly touched on metal, punk, and hard rock bands (including ones featured around DJ Seith & Conika, The Mayhemingways, Kalle Mattson, The Gore Street Cafe, and The Elwins), the newest episode is set at the K'Man & The 45s concert at The New American Pub on November 8th, so what should you know within? Bookended and interspersed with concert footage, the episode features Donna interviewing frontman Kristin "K'Man" McNulty about his experiences playing live & on tour, what he expected from the crowd that night, and future recording plans, with the requisite bloopers during the credits as well. Fairly concise (especially with no mention of the local openers), but it's a fun interview, and K'Man definitely seems to like playing in the Soo! It's nice to see a new Tuned episode focusing on recent punk or metal bands, and The 45s sound good in the clips, so give it all a look at this link! Remember, I can't embed Local2 videos here.

Finally for today, I wanted to acknowledge some old local concert videos that a reader shared with me in a recent e-mail conversation! A few days ago, reader Mark Felt sent me links to videos from an early 2000s local punk band named Polly Pockets Melting In The Microwave (a.k.a. PPMM, PPM², or Polly) that has never crossed our radar since the SMS started. According to Mark, their lineup featured future Stripped Of His Wings singer Matt Parent, guitarist Steve Mogg, bassist Ivan St. Jules, and future Motion Carried bassist Jamie Whalen on drums, though he also played guitar at times. Details on PPMM are minimal at best, but Jamie's YouTube channel features four videos from two concerts from their 2001-2003 run, mostly posted there 5 years ago, so what can be seen there? Covers of The Screeching Weasels' "Talk To Me Summer" and d.b.s.' "Sunday" are featured from one show (the latter with d.b.s. singer Jesse Gander on guest vocals), while the other two videos from a different concert venue are of Face To Face's "Blind" and, as embedded below, Minor Threat's "Look Back & Laugh", so give these a look!

It's odd that these videos have flown under the radar for our purposes for this long, but kudos to Mark for alerting me to these! The quality is mixed given the age of the videos, but P.P.M.M. have a hard hitting skate punk sound that looks like it attracted positive notices during their heyday, and the band sounds good overall! To get d.b.s.' own singer to guest on a cover of theirs, you'd have to be! Check these videos of Polly Pockets Melting In The Microwave out above and below!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and features as we wind down the month! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

YouTube Channel Profile Series: Nick Pavlat

Here's this month's YouTube Channel Profile, as we continue are monthly spotlights of randomly selected YouTube channels featuring at least 50% local metal, hard rock, and/or punk content! This month's choice is courtesy of a hard rock guitarist who may be familiar to Yooper readers of recent years, so read on below for what you should know!
Nick Pavlat (

Owner: Former Intrepid guitarist Nick Pavlat

Channel Timeline: Launched on August 30th, 2009; Videos posted from May through August 2013

Channel Summary: Rather than focusing on his band work from the turn of the 2010s, Sault Michigan's Nick Pavlat dedicated his YouTube channel around 13 solo performance videos, all posted over two years after Intrepid fell inactive. Among others, his channel includes solo guitar renditions of songs by Modest Mouse, Joe Satriani, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Black Label Society, Chelsea Grin, and Franz Ferdinand.

Why Should You Watch: Give Nick's channel a look for some solid renditions of familiar metal songs, with even a bit of indie rock thrown in for good measure if that's your thing! Nick shows promise as a guitarist, as fans saw with Intrepid, but note that he has no videos of his band work there, and the audio quality is mixed given the home recording setup. Also, while Nick does still actively maintain this channel for personal use, he hasn't posted a new video in over two years, so keep that in mind if thinking about subscribing.

Our Recommended Videos To Check Out:

One Day Remains by Alterbridge Cover: One of two bands to be covered twice on Nick's channel, Alter Bridge are the source for his renditions of "One Day Remains" and "New Way To Live", the channel's second & last respectively. The latter has scratchier audio, but both show Nick's skill level well, especially the solo sections on "One Day Remains", as well as a nice ease during his playing!

My Own Summer by Deftones Cover: Nick covered no band more frequently on his channel than The Deftones, including versions of their hits "Change (In The House Of Flies)", "Swerve City", and featured here, "My Own Summer (Shove It)", all among 7 videos with this camera angle of him performing beside his laptop. All featuring the original audio in the background, Nick seems to know these songs well, with "My Own Summer" particularly impressing, but I wonder why he walked out of view of the camera for the last stretch?

Stand or Walk Away by Hellyeah: By far Nick's most popular video (with 225 current views), his cover of Hellyeah's "Stand Or Walk Away" from August 2013 is also well done, but the camera angle is way too tight to him, and makes it very hard to see his fingerwork. Still, not a bad rendition!

I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profile! Through completely random selection, we have chosen local hard rock solo musician and longtime Caveman Morrison frontman Tym Morrison's YouTube channel to be profiled next in this series, which should be a good & diverse way to end 2015, so look for that on or around December 22nd! That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes this week! Thanks everyone!

Friday, November 20, 2015

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Mourning Wood & Highway 63), Sault Michigan Concert Previews, And Much More!!

Let's get another news post on the site on this Friday morning, including the last of this weekend's hard rock concert previews (barring any very late notice confirmations, we'll touch on them if possible), plus updates from a local band and their next show, and some assorted updates! Without any further adieu, here's what you should know, starting with SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS!

Sault Ontario classic/hard rock cover quartet Mourning Wood will return to The OLG Casino at 30 Bay Street TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, the band only announced the shows via the official Facebook event page this morning (but at least there's an event page this time!) Fresh off of their Reggie's West show last week, this will be Mourning Wood's first concert weekend at our own downtown casino in four months, and consequently, their first there with their current four-piece lineup. The OLG Casino still isn't a venue that we touch on a lot for concerts here (only them and Glitch have played there for shows we've covered on the SMS), but hopefully this weekend's shows go well for Mourning Wood's varied & often heavy covers, so keep them in mind for TONIGHT & TOMORROW! Both shows have 9:30 PM start times (and appear to end early at 12:30 AM), you must be 19 to attend, and there's no announced cover charges. Check the above links for more details, and here's Mourning Wood live earlier this year!

Next up, Sault Michigan classic/hard rock cover quartet Highway 63 will return to The Rapids Lounge at the Soo's Kewadin Casino TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, the band only announced the shows on their Facebook page on Wednesday, though Kewadin's entertainment page was finally updated in the past month to reflect Rapids Lounge gigs for this and next month, so the shows had been advertised there prior (for reference, these are the only full hard rock shows scheduled there at present.) Last seen at the Sault Kewadin last month (and elsewhere on Halloween), it's good to see Henry, Nathan, Chris, and Ron keeping busy, and fans of their varied and edgy blend of hard rock covers this weekend at the Soo's Kewadin branch! There's no announced cover charge for TONIGHT & TOMORROW'S 9:00 PM concerts, and you must be 21 or older to attend. Check the above links for more details, and here's Highway 63 live!

We'll close by moving to a pair of previously announced concerts in the Eastern U.P. this weekend, as Kinross classic/hard rock trio Banned are advertised as returning to The Runway Bar in nearby Hessel TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT! Fresh off of last week's Kinross gig, these will be Banned's first concerts in Hessel (an hour south of the Soo) in over 3 months, so if you've missed them there or in the St. Ignace area since then, definitely consider a trip to see Alex, Wayne, and Don live this weekend at The Runway Bar (or, go see them at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino next weekend or over the Christmas weekend!) Tonight & tomorrow's shows have 9:00 PM start times, no announced cover charges, and 21+ age limits. Check the above links for more from this talented trio, and here's Banned live!

We'll close today in Sault Ontario, including the latest from local alternative hard rock trio Mike Haggith & The Din, so what's new in their camp? Regarding their headlining concert next Saturday with Stereo North & Long Shot, the show has seen a slight venue shift, as it's been moved upstairs from The Algonquin Pub to The Rockstar Bar, as per the Facebook event page on Tuesday. A reason for the move wasn't announced, but given that it was just moved to a higher floor of The Algonquin Hotel, a scheduling conflict or opening may be to blame. All should work out well though, and I think this may be The Din's first ever Rockstar Bar appearance too! To hype the concert, the band posted this teaser video to hype the concert onto their Facebook page on Wednesday, which has Mike, Tammy, and Brendan energetically previewing the show, followed by outtakes that actually outlast the original clip! Fun and light, so give it a look below, and don't miss The Din's new lineup's first headlining show next Saturday!

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

  • Following recent teases on their Facebook page, local glam/hard rock trio Caroline Divine have confirmed via personal Facebook accounts that they have indeed began recording sessions for a debut album! No word yet on any further details, but they have found a location to record at, and fans can hear songs from the planned release at the Pixo Control CD release concerts at LopLops on December 12th. Encouraging to hear, so stay tuned for updates!
  • Local "blue Chinese metal crash punk" quartet Sykotyk Rampage have revealed that their 55th "album" will be entitled "Zombies 2: The Devil's Taint, Acoustic Sessions", which indicates that it will be a sequel to their 2011 album "Zombiez", though taking on the unplugged format that the band used at this year's Soo Zombie Walk. Though recent Sykotyk Rampage material has not been released for sale, "Zombies 2" is listed to come out next month as a free posting. This should be an intriguing collection of songs, and different from their norm, so visit their Facebook page for full details and the familiar album artwork!
  • Mike Haggith & The Din guitarist Tammy Hill is looking for a drummer that is willing to jam classic rock originals and covers (she has a drum kit and practice space), but it's unclear if this references replacing Nic Buckner in the recently dormant Leaked, or if it's for a new project. In any event, message Tammy at this link or via her Musicians Wanted Facebook group post from yesterday!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news, updates, and profiles in the coming week! Thanks everyone!