I’ve got a little story to tell and it goes like this: for those that don’t know me, I am Rich “The Meister” Dillon and I love Hard Rock and Metal. I love the classics like Guns N Roses, AC/DC and Judas Priest. I grew up on that and it’ll always have a special place in my heart. But even more than that, I love what I call “The Discovery” bands. Sometimes an old band that you missed back in the day, but mostly a new band. And from anywhere across the world, there’s so much awesome music and bands out there, you just have to know where to look, CGCM Rock Radio can help. The local scene in your town is a good place and that’s the crux of this blog today.
After the “dry spell” called COVID restrictions during which there was no travel and no shows, I haven’t seen live music since early March of 2020. For a dude that, between travelling the world and here at home, saw bands several times a month, that’s a harsh reality. So when my buddy (and CGCM writing contributor) Eric (aka: Dr. Tardis) said he was going from Montreal to a show in Ottawa, I was “all-in”! Looking at the list of four local Ottawa area bands on the bill, I was happy to see Rockin Engine‘s name. I’ve played them in episodes of the CGCM Podcast and they have four tracks in our station rotation as well! The other bands were totally unknown to me. Many people think I’m a bit nuts making an approximate 5hr train/bus journey from Toronto to another city to see not only a band, but not even the headliner….I don’t need that kind of negativity 🤣… I’ll do it every day of the week (and also go right back early next morning and straight to work I might add….maybe I am nuts).
Before too long Ottawa-based, CGCM radio show host BenSCORZ! signed on to meet us. And as I reached out to Ottawa friends to advise them I would be in town, I found many of them were already going. OMFG, an actual concert and meeting actual friends in real life again….can it be true or a dream! It was not a dream and I couldn’t help but begin becoming overwhelmed with waves of euphoria as I enjoyed a pre-show dinner/drinks meet up with Ben and Eric as well as friends Colin and Chantal and some of their friends.
The Brass Monkey (The Scene of the Crime)
Entering the venue was on the whole rather smooth overall. The new covid systems of course slowed things down a little as vaccination, ID and tickets were checked and login questionnaires filled out. Of note, I didn’t see anyone causing issues over entrances nor the mask-wearing rules once inside… everyone behaved like an adult, actually restoring some vague faith in humanity for me. Glen and Rox soon arrived, joining our little collection near the barrier left side of stage as an acoustic duo warmed up the crowd.
Before long, the presenters of the event, The Pop Cult Ex-Perience podcast, took stage to introduce the first electric band and thank everyone for attending. The event was being put on in support of the Canadian Mental Health charity, so great to see the decent attendance. BTW, I read after that the charity raised $1950 For Ottawa Mental Health!)
Feed After Midnite
Feed After Midnite have the distinction of being the first live electric band I’ve seen in like 18 months! The electricity in the air and throughout the audience as many were surely in similar situations, was almost its own personality at the gig! As I said, I was totally unfamiliar prior to this with Feed After Midnite and straight up, their style was not my preferred flavour. Now that doesn’t mean that they were bad by any means and they certainly had their followers in the crowd as well. On the whole, I felt they performed well on stage with a set of original material and covers (Pink Floyd and a Quiet Riot snip). Just a little more on the “modern rock” side of the spectrum. I should actually like to hear their recordings and will get to looking them up this week.
Again unfamiliar, but on an indescribable high after hearing live music fueled by a couple of the “unnamed” lager beer offered on draft, I was ready for band #2, In Heat! No, no, no, I thought I was ready, but indeed was clearly not prepared for this! With the drummer decked out in mime-type face paint, the three guitarists and a bassist took position. In Heat came out and right away from the first riff my body tingled, ears perked on the cusp of something awesome about to take place. In Heat hit with a hard energy out of the gate and I was loving the straight-ahead balls-out approach of this band. By the end of song 2 my arm thrust high, devil horns displayed, I remembered that I’d injured my arm a while back and struggle to raise it above my head creating difficulty even putting on a shirt. However, I cared not and the anesthesia provided by “unnamed lager” assisted me in ignoring the stabbing pain.
“Ballbreaker” was the third song that In Heat delivered and I saw the huge smile on Eric‘s face as he began to film the song (see his video below). Ben and I also traded several “holy fuck these guys are good comments“. I became overwhelmed right there of finally once again feeling alive! Next up, “Evil (We Got It)” almost had me feeling Keel‘s “The Right To Rock, you got it” line. Awesome set and I can’t wait to see In Heat again….now where do I buy that damn album?
Also infected by this new discovery, Eric had some things to say regarding the In Heat set and their latest album:
Eric’s In Heat – Fixed (Album Review)
What can I say? Let me go back to Saturday night, Oct. the 2nd 2021 my first live show in almost 2 years. I am repeating myself from the last review I did (see below). Well, this is the other band that absolutely kicked my ass to the floor.
IN HEAT came as a surprise to me, I did not expect the third act to steal the night away! As good as the other bands were, these guys came in and kicked down the door and were ready to rock!
I mean these guys were AC/DC on steroids! I loved the fact that there were three guitarists on stage playing strong powerful riffs in unison these guys were tight! The fact that they all share the role of lead guitars, I found that pretty cool.
Brent Walker’s vocal fits in perfectly with the rhythm of the band, you can’t ask for anyone better.
After the show, I went to buy their older CD. The next day I went online and purchased their latest album FIXED.
I needed to hear the studio album and I made my family listen to it. Their reaction was “Holy shit, these guys are good“. Even my wife said she loved the beat.
Fixed is such a great hard-rocking album, I’m a firm believer for those who don’t know In Heat, they will like them immediately. I mean what is there not to like? The song “Ballbreaker” is so catchy and so freaking raw! The song just goes through you and makes you smile! In Heat is a real party band fun to listen to. Just raise your fist in the air and sing along to songs like “Shots“!
These boys are due to punch their ticket to the big times, it’s only a matter of time. Let’s hope that this Covid crap can go away so In Heat can start touring, get their name out there and get the credit they deserve! The world needs to hear this band! I sure can’t wait to hear new material from them!
The Fixed album consists of 10 songs.
1. Bow Down
2. Evil (We Got it)
3. Victim Club
4. The Ballad of Chocolate Jesus
7. Crab Cakes
8. Hit and Run
9. Hot Lixx
10. She’s Gonna Blow
Dr. Tardis signing off.
Directly to the merch table Eric and I rushed, coming away with In Heat‘s first CD. Unfortunately, the new one was unavailable and only on Spotify currently…. I’m gonna need that damn thing a.s.a.p. I should mention the t-shirt deal was also quite attractive, but I refrained from purchase.
From there to the bar for unnamed lager. Now I’ve said that a couple of times in this blog, but it’s not a joke. The draft taps all contained pieces of blank paper with “Lager” or “IPA” or whatever markered on with a sharpie…good stuff though! In line ahead of me, I watched one of In Heat‘s guitarists approach the young lady ahead. After a couple of quick and extremely excited accolades on the show. I ordered my lager.
Now it was time for the reason I came, the only band I knew prior to arrival, Rockin Engine. Somewhere I’d been sent the promo for this band’s 2019 released album Midnight Road Rage. The lead song on the album, “Shake That Ass” has enjoyed exposure on CGCM Podcast episodes as well as airplay on CGCM Rock Radio along with four other songs from the album. Clearly, we at CGCM love it! I’m gonna let Eric jump in here with his thoughts on Rockin Engine first:
Eric’s Rockin Engine – The Wretched and the Damned (EP Review)
From the capital of Canada! Yes, Ottawa, Ontario comes the one and only Rockin’ Engine!
By now you should get used to me saying “I just discovered this band“! This has not changed.
Well, I had seen a few of their videos on YouTube and I liked them. I had a friend who told me about the band and they were going to have a live show at The Brass Monkey along with four other bands. Obviously, after not attending any live events for nearly two years, I was craving for a live show! The main band I wanted to see was Rockin’ Engine it was the main reason I attended.
Well, I have to say they delivered the goods and didn’t miss a beat! These guys rocked the house and didn’t let up! They were tight in their set and entertained the crowd; it felt so good to be back at a live show, it was music to my ears. I believe everyone in the bar was very happy to have some normalcy after over a year and a half of nothing but staying home and watching Netflix and buying giant rocker boots after having one too many…. That was not me by the way (Meister).
Anyhow, this is about Rockin’ Engine – The Wretched and the Damned, their 2020 EP release.
After the show was over I purchased their CDs. The EP has 5 songs. “Let it Burn“, “Mass Hysteria“, “Broken Angel“, “I Sold my Soul to the Devil” and “The Wretched and the Damned“! There is not one bad song on this EP, every song is solid with a top-notch production! The album sounds so good!
It’s hard to believe that Rockin’ Engine has only been around since 2015, you listen to these guys and they sound like they have been around for decades. They are that damn good.
Whomever they got influenced by seems to have possessed them. It’s hard to compare them to any other bands out there because they have so many influences and what comes out of Rockin’ Engine is quite unique and wonderful! I see a great future with this band, Now that the world is opening up, it’s time for a little exposure to new bands and spread the word! Metal will never die!!! Rockin’ Engine is the proof of that!
The Wretched and the Damned is a must-buy EP for everyone!
Looking at their bio, these guys are not only hard rockers but they care for their community; they did a fundraiser show to support Breast Cancer Research! And the show at the Brass Monkey was also a fundraiser for Mental Health! How great are these guys! I have become a Rockin’ Engine fan, and so will you!
Get out there and get their music online or go see them live!
You heard it here on this CGCM Review from Dr. Tardis.
I’d heard the tunes, but not stalked the band so I had no idea what they would look like. Getting to the barrier as they cranked into their opening song, I surveyed the scene. The NWOBHM band Raven quickly popped into mind and I wonder if that was any influence in Rockin Engine (which I will surely ask during our upcoming interview). The band were sporting things like kneepads, space goggles and long capes, each member with their own style creating what I imagine to be an apocalyptic image. Rather striking and nice to see the stage visuals.
Vocalist/guitarist Steve O Leff was, like myself, not the tallest guy I’ve ever met. He sported what looked like knee pads and delivered clear strong vox throughout every song of the set. His facial expressions displayed his commitment and helped draw in the spectator. Guitarist Ste Vy Leff (Brothers? Another question for said future interview) tall and exhibiting a long flowing goth style vest/cape clearly well-versed in his craft, treated our side of the stage to numerous closeups, his fingers dancing across the strings as he stepped out front on stage monitors. The backbeat of the group, Joel Bilodeau had on what I can only think to describe as “space goggles”, Mad Max-ish… remember I said post-apocalyptic earlier….that look. And completing the four-man team saw JP Buzzard at the far side of the stage from our position spewing out thumping basslines and a visual of “the old school rocker”, tall in stature with long flowing hair.
The soundman (and band of course), I felt, had an excellent mix going on with all instruments clearly audible to me in the speakers. Rockin Engine literally assaulted the Brass Monkey with their heavy, yet melodic tunes. This was definitely worth the lengthy trip (a little Planes, Trains, and Automobiles for me) and I’m so glad to have seen them slay this stage….now when do they play next and who’s giving me a place to crash?
The evening’s headliner, Cynical Sons, I personally owe a huge apology to. As I liberally indulged in unnamed lager, met and chatted with friends new and old and literally got my mind blown by In Heat and Rockin Engine, I was a bit spent and got lost in the party, not paying as much attention as I should have. I’ve heard two songs by them, which are quite enjoyable and I should like to catch them live at a different time still. I guess I’m just untrained and out of practice in my concert-going/drinking/party game…..oh well, as they say, “practice makes perfect” right?
The Meister (with segments by Dr. Tardis)
Find more of my album reviews here: Meister Music