The 2012 Thunder Music Awards.

I think by now, most people who know me know two things:

1: I have a zine called Thunder.

2: Every year, I compile a list of what I personally think is the best in Ontario’s Punk and Alternative Rock. Whoever wins gets my unwavering support and some kind of candy in a golden wrapper to mark the occasion. (If I had the money for actual trophies, the zine probably wouldn’t exist.)

This was a, pardon my language, a fu*king fantastic year for music in Ontario. Metal, Punk, and much more filled the clubs, streets, and headphones. Whether you were taking in a free show this summer at one of many festivals, or taking in a show in the colder weather, you were sure to be in awe. (I know I was.)

Now, a few things. I’ve added some new categories for this year; I allowed for more ties, and I vow to hand out the momentos. (So bug me if you don’t get your gold-encased chocolate.)

Best Album (Punk) Tie:

Adelleda ‘Let’s Talk About Adelleda’

Born Wrong/ Klein96 Split 10″

Best Album (Non-Punk) Tie:

Gatling ‘Beforemath’

The Barettas ‘The Night Is Young’

Best Album Not From This Decade:

UXB ‘Tick Tock Boom’

Best Bassist (Female): Lindsay Campbell Beaudoin. (Rackula.)

 

Best Bassist (Male): John “Uprise” Kedini.   (The Pre-Nods.)

 

Best Guitarist (Female):Candice Skullian.    (Skullians.)

 

Best Guitarist (Male): Brandon Kummer.     (Web Society.)

 

Best Drummer (Female): Justine Cowie.                                                                                                                                                                                        (The Boys.)

 

Best Drummer (Male): Alex Sallas.                                                                                                                                                                                                (Gatling.)

 

Best Vocalist (Female): Samantha Rutherford.                                                                                                                                                                            (The Boys.)

Best Vocalist (Male): Glen Faulman.                                                                                                                                                                                                (The Steeltown Spoilers.)

Best Musician Who Plays An Instrument Uncommon To Their Genre:

Female: Alisun (no last available) Band: The Saints Are Coming. Instrument: Violin.

Male: Jim Fitzgerald. Band: The Pre-Nods. Instrument: Harmonica.

Best ‘Intense’ Performer: Nathan Ivanco. Band: NOT.

Best Duo: Frankie And Jimmy.

Best Band (All Members Under 25): NOT.

Best Band (That Sounds Like Another Decade): Wiggler!?! And The Tiny Humans.

Best Band (Mixed Gender): Skatalyst.

Best Band (All Members Over 25): The Steeltown Spoilers.

Best Band (Female-Led): Rackula.

Best Band (Male-Led): The Safety Collective.

Best Band (From Outside Of Hamilton): Armed And Hammered.

Best New Band: The Sketchbooks.

Best Band (Cover Band): The Krumones.

Best Band. (This Year. Period.): Web Society.

Best Song (Tie):

‘Champion’ Adelleda

‘Threat From The Deep’  Wiggler!?! And The Tiny Humans.

Best Band Name: Nothing Helper.

Best Album Name (Tie):

‘Lets Taco Boat Life’ NOT

‘Summertime Blues’ Wiggler!?! And The Tiny Humans

Best Solo Project (Tie):

Steve Hanson In Transit

Nathaniel Blizzard

Best Reunion:

Razor Eater.

Best Record Label (Tie):

Schizophrenic Records

Rebel Time Records

Best Event: Rebel Fest.

Best Way To Spend A Weekend: At a show.

Best Store (Punk Rock): Crash Landing.

Best Store (Non-Punk Rock): The Button Pushers.

Best Place For Rare Music (Tie):

Hammer City Records

Cheapies

Best Venue (Indoors): Crash Landing basement (R.I.P!)

Best Venue (Outdoors): Gage Park.

Best Festival (Tie):

It’s Your Festival (New Music Expo)

Burlington Sound Of Music

Best Venue Outside The City: The Horseshoe Tavern.

Best Idea: Zines Becoming Widespread Again.

 

Even though they did not win, I would like to thank the following bands/ artists. I’ve been listening to them all year, and I think they’re fantastic. I encourage everyone to check them out!

Stick and Bone

Nanochrist

Weekend Riot Club

T.V Freaks

Thunderdykes

Trampled By Turtles

The Cola Heads

The Stragglers

Paul Federici

Theatre Crisp

The Waterbodies

The Snips

Sondra Du Ville

Snakecharmer

Poison Spur

Gag Order

Bourbon DK

The Safety Collective

Slender Loris

Swords Of Texas

Sailboats Are White

Paper Lions

Senile Feline

Social Club No. 27

Ophelia Syndrome

Mean Tangerine

The Lucky Ones

Gabrielle Papillion

Emma Hill And Her Gentlemen Callers

Greasemarks

Devils Hotrod

Charlotte Cornfield

The Balconies

The Rebel Arms

Alert The Medic

Aetherborn

413s

Hold A Grudge

Nine Eleven

The Dinner Belles

Brixton Robbers (R.I.P!)

Jesse LeBourdais

Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra

Darcy Hepner Jazz Band

Problem Children

Hockey Teeth

Sexbeast

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Review Of The Safety Collective & Web Society at Homegrown Hamilton.

*Note: I did a few things in one night, so I’ll be doing one of my rare combination reviews.

There are some nights in Hamilton. I don’t know where they’ll take me, and I’m glad they went that way.

I had one such night on the 12th.

After viewing artist Pat Bellamy’s latest collection at Hammer City Records, I headed to Homegrown Hamilton to see The Safety Collective and Web Society. (The poster had the show tagged as ‘2 bands, 3 hours of music’ or something along that line. So I was all for going.)

Along with a great show by the artist and the bands, I got a preview of a new zine, I tried my hand at bass, and stumbled on either the beginning or end of a secret show.

This was my night:

1st event: Viewing Pat Bellamy’s collection.

The style of Pat Bellamy, no matter the medium he chooses to expresses himself in, demands either a good long look or a couple of quick takes where you see something different each time.

The reason?  The art contains a lot. Little jokes. Great colours. Things we can relate to. And that’s just what I’m took away from it. As with all art, I’m sure others see different things from me, and I’m sure Pat himself has a completely different take as the actually creator of the collection.

The collection is fantastic, and I encourage everyone to see it before the next Art Crawl. It’s on display at Hammer City Records. (228 James St. North.)

2nd event: Seeing A Little Bit Of A Secret Show.

I won’t reveal the band, (it’s a secret), but I got to see the either the end or beginning of their show in the alleyway of Hammer City Records. While I obviously wish I could have seen more, it was really fun to stumble into something I hadn’t even been looking for. That’s what I think adventures are.

3rd Event: Receiving and reading the preview of Clusterbomb.

Along with being the drummer of Web Society, Stephen Petrina is also a great artist and has a fantastic way with words. He’s been talking about doing a zine for a while, and I’ve been waiting impatiently for a while.

Well, the preview for the zine finally got here. And let’s say I’m waiting impatiently again. For the first issue. (The preview was telling everyone what they could expect, some drawings, and the like.)  I think Clusterbomb is going to be good.

4th Event: Seeing The Bands.

This was the last part of my night, and I had expected it to be quiet and a sit-down kind of event. Not so, and that isn’t a bad thing.

1st Band: Web Society.

I’ve seen Web Society a fair number of times, and the best sets are always the ones where they mix things up.

The night of Art Crawl, the band had one of those sets. They gave one of the best performances I’ve seen them give. (Rivaled only by their hometown Stoney Creek show.) They played much of their ‘Gutter’ demo material, which I thought was awesome. (Those songs are my personal favorites of theirs.) And the three generally kicked ass through their words and instruments.

It’s not often I’ll give a show Historical status, but there you have it. Web Society had a set that I’ll keep in my Historical files. (Believe me, it’s a select few.)

10 out of 10.

 

2nd Band: The Safety Collective.

Lest anyone get the wrong idea, The Safety Collective was not to be out-done.

Singer Stephen James Hanson was sick, but he played awesomely to the end of the set. The other two band members were no slack-a*ses either. The drummer broke out a mini hip-hop set, and the bass player was lightning quick and capable when it came to switching between all three instruments.

And that’s what I think the band’s two strengths are. Switching, and social activism.

They change instruments regularly. They mix genres.  All the vocal stylings are different. But in-between songs, and the songs content themselves, talk about either our city or world; and what can be done to make it better.

But if two things also remain the same for The Safety Collective, it’s that they seem to put their fans enjoyment and knowledge first.

I’m giving this set a Historical stamp too. I’ve never seen live hip-hop before, I’m all for a good cause, and I love awesome music.

10 out of 10.

 

Thunder Issue 14

(*Note: This is an issue featuring a S.C.E.N.E artist.)

One of the bands that contacted me earliest to be interviewed for S.C.E.N.E was Theatre Crisp.

Nicer still, the band was first to respond about getting a later interview when I couldn’t make it to S.C.E.N.E.

Theatre Crisp is very unique, in that they combine Hip-Hop with a live, traditional bass/drums/guitar band.

Recently, the band held their 3rd annual Petestock and raised over $1800 for charity. They’re a great band, and they do some great work.

It was nice to talk with the guys, and I hope I get to see a live show soon.

 

How did the group get it’s start?

PETER:The whole thing started in December 2008 with Kyle who at the time had already been writting hip-hop tracks for 10 years.  He worked with our original guitarist (also named Kyle) and myself and was already friends with Trevor from highschool.  He always wanted a live band to back him up on stage instead of the typical mp3. beat playing in the background while he raps.  So knowing that we all played different instruments he got us together to jam on friday nights just for fun and after a few months we decided that we could actually give it a real shot and thus Theatre Crisp was born.  A few months after that Dave (DC) showed up with a mutual friend and his tap shoes.  He liked dancing with us so much he kept coming out and eventually jsut became the 5th member of Theatre Crisp.

Kyle: Theatre Crisp got its start when our lead vocalist Kyle aka humbleHAB wanted to work on producing his hip hop music with a full band. Computer beats and production were just not cutting it anymore and instrumental song writing with a band was just the next step that had to be taken to do something different.  You can create such a better live feel when you have a band backing you up both on stage and in the studio. Every member kind of just fell into place, bringing their own influences and originality to the sound of the band.
DC: It all began with Kyle Petch, AKA Habbilus, wanting to bring a band behind some of the tunes that he had written as an MC. I was a hip hop and Habbilus fan since high school so when we met and started jamming it wasn’t long before he considered me a member of Theatre Crisp and viola, you have taps.
You guys are very unique, in that you perform hip-hop and have a standard guitar/ drums/ bass band at the same time. What made you decide to perform that way?
PETER:  Again this all goes back to Kyle not wanting to perform hip-hop in the typical way of an mp3 track playing in the background, and once we started jamming for fun and realized that we all worked together real well it really started to take off from there.
Kyle: I kind of just answered the 2nd question in my answer to the 1st.  Having a band creates so much more for this style of music.  Its not just one guy jumping around on stage with a DJ spinning his beats for him (not theres anything wrong with that, its just been done so many times). Its a rapper feeding off the vibe of everyone else in the band, creating music together rather than just for one’s self.  The live sound of real instruments being played, and the groove that everyone gets into, creates a more organic sound to this particular kind of hip hop style.
DC: Well like how the band got started, it was hip hop beats as Habbilus, and with the band we still want/have that feel, but were all about making fresh new funky sounds, still experimenting with other sounds and grooves too. To top the sound right off Habbilus’ lyrics are like crispy wafers that deliciously crunch as you digest them. Its all positive music.
Alot of your lyrics are very positive, but not in such a way that things feel sugar-coated. Can you tell me a little bit about the writing process? PETER: The lyrics are all Kyle, but for the overall song Kyle will bring a simple chord progression to the band where we in turn “crispify” it by adding all out our own parts and work out the structure together.
Kyle: Kyle has been writing raps for almost 15 years, and he has always maintained a postive vibe in his writing.  Generally, most of the songs start with him putting together a chord progression acoustically, with lyrics aswell, in which the band uses as a blueprint to construct a full sound out of. With everyone coming from different musical backgrounds, it allows each band member to put there own touch on each song. We are a lyric drivin band though, and thats due to the thought provoking poetry that Kyle writes.  He just likes being real with people, he wants them to relate to what he talks about in the songs.  With lots of negativity in the world today, some postive vibes in this style of music can go along way.
DC: Thats all Petch. Like i said I was a fan back in high school when he was makin’ Habbilus mixtapes. All I can say is, I can relate to it, and I think the vast majority can too. He deals with real life in his raps, some call it storytelling music. Whatever it is and how he comes up with it, it has weight behind it and for those who really ‘listen’ to the music understand that.
How would you describe your sound, yourselves?
Peter:  We’re pretty unique so it’s hard to label us as any one specific genre so we’ve been calling it “Funk-Hop”.  We’re a pretty cross-genre band so people have comparred us to everything from Sublime, Rage Against The Machine, Beastie Boys  and Atmosphere to name a few. I  think our diverse sound caters to so many people so depending on their own personal taste they tend to pick out whatever genre they relate to most in our music.
Kyle: We are a mixture of hip hop, funk and rock with a sprinkle of regga and blues almost.  But we lean more towards the hip hop and funk side of things I’d say.  We’ve been describing ourselves as funk-hop for the past while, so we’ll go with that.
DC:Well I think Pete’s coining “Funk-Hop” and I like it. but it’s just really be yourself, have a good time, live your life to the fullest music.
You all played S.C.E.N.E music festival recently. What was that experience like?
Peter: SCENE’s always an awesome festival to play.  Especially for Southern Ontario and Niagara it really is the only venue that features so many indie artists at one time.  Having the oppertunity to represent our hometown in a festival like this is real real honor and great oppertunity to reach out to people who otherwise wouldn’t necesarilly have the gotten the chance to hear our music.
Kyle: SCENE is a great event for all music lovers, from any genre.  Its a a full day party with 160+ bands and close to 6 or 7000 fans.  You couldn’t ask for a better time.  Its a chance to gain some exposure and gain new fans.  This was our 2nd year playing it and really, we hope to come back every year.  Playing a festival like this in your hometown is awesome! Having the merch area in Market Place Square is great for all the bands to sell clothing and CDs, and talk to fans close hand. Its a well orginized event.

DC: We all Love S.C.E.N.E it’s a crazy day that any music lover waits for! I have been going for years just different now we’re playing. Great time, great way to reach a new audience, great entertainment, great fans!

I know one event you all have coming up is Petestock. Can you tell me about that event?
Peter:  Petestock’s really my “baby” and the rest of Theatre Crisp all contributes to help make it work.

In 2010 I wanted a way for Theatre Crisp to say thanks to its fans, so with the help of my band mates we hosted the 1st Annual PETESTOCK Music Festival consisting of 6 local bands and 120 fans.  In 2011 after building the festivals reputation and gaining more connections in the music industry PETESTOCK had 9 performing artists, 200 fans and 100% of its profit donated to the Niagara Peninsula Children’s Center.  For 2012 PETESTOCK is now recognized in the Niagara Indie music scene as Niagara On The Lake’s premier music event.  We have a total of 13 of the Niagara regions biggest and best bands.  Local media outlets will be on site covering the event. There is an estimated 350+ fans coming out to this year’s festival and again 100% of its profit is being donated to charity.  This year we are proud to announce that we are working in cooperation with Niagara On The Lake’s Red Roof Retreat (http://www.redroofretreat.com/) to help raise funds for them.

 

The whole concept of this event is “Local artists giving back to the community”.  PETESTOCK is unique in the way that it is run 100% by volunteers with every band also volunteering their time to rally together to give back to Niagara.  This really is the only event around which caters to young Indie bands from all genres be it folk, funk or punk along with Niagara’s young adults to give them the opportunity to do something tangible with no strings attached, and no middle man; just the pure love of music and love for Niagara.