This week in RCS Music News Weekly: Jason Hook auctions off rare Five Finger Death Punch memorabilia for Roadie Relief, live concerts slated to return to Alberta this August, radio legend Alan Cross explains what he doesn’t like about today’s music, and Canadians are set for a road-trip summer. But first…

RCS Music News Weekly - Ontario Begins Step One

Ontario Starts Step One Today!

Ontario begins Step One of Roadmap to Reopen today (June 11th), meaning gradual lifting of public health measures and restrictions based on the provincewide vaccination rate. As of June 6th, 2021, 72% of Ontarians 18+ have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The numbers currently exceed the best-case scenario presented in recent Science Table modelling, and the Ontario government expects the trend to continue.

What This Means for Bands

While Step One focuses on the resumption of more outdoor activities with small crowds up to 10 people, bands cannot perform outdoors for audiences until Step Two. So, Step One is a good time to rehearse and prepare.

Ontario will remain in Step One for at least 21 days to evaluate any impacts on key public health indicators. Once Step Two gets the green light, expanded activities should include:

  • Outdoor gatherings up to 25 people.
  • Indoor gatherings up to five people.
  • Outdoor cinemas and performing arts with capacity limits.

Step Two May Happen on Schedule

Step Two hinges on 70% of Ontario adults having received one dose of a COVID vaccine and 20% with two doses. Given that 72% of Ontario adults have already received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as the province’s accelerated second-dose vaccine rollout, it’s difficult to imagine that Step Two won’t happen on time.

RCS Is Open Right Now for Rehearsals

While events and live concerts at Royal City Studios can’t happen until July 23rd (at the earliest), RCS is currently open for rehearsals and recording under COVID protocols.

To book your rehearsal room or recording time:

There’s no up-front payment required and no charge for cancellation. So, you can book something and change your mind without cost.

If you have any questions at all about Royal City Studios’ safety protocols, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Together Again Concert Series

Alberta Live Concerts Slated for August

After almost 16 months of social distancing, shutdowns, and stay-at-home orders, Alberta should see live music return this August with a series of socially distanced Together Again outdoor concerts.

Set to take place at the Racetrack Infield on the Edmonton Exhibition Lands in Central Edmonton, the concert series is planned to kick off August 6th and continue through the month with performances by Blue Rodeo, Serena Ryder, Dean Brody, Our Lady Peace, The Trews, Alan Doyle, I Mother Earth, The Road Hammers, Bif Naked, and more. Together Again will mark the first major outdoor concert series in Canada since the pandemic hit.

Royal City Studios Music Hall

Bands Can Now Use the RCS Concert Hall for Free

Not a typo. The pandemic has hammered artists. To help bands get back to performance without the restriction of budget, Royal City Studios is making its music hall free for bands to book and use for shows once provincial restrictions allow.

Bands take all ticket sales. RCS takes all bar sales. If no one buys a drink, no worries. Bands still take home all ticket sales.

>> Book your spot today

No charge for cancellation caused by COVID restrictions.

Alan Cross - RCS Music News Weekly

10 Reasons Why Alan Cross Doesn’t Like Today’s Music

“As much as I try to get into today’s music, it’s been hard. Pointless, even,” writes Canadian radio broadcaster and music writer Alan Cross in a recent entertainment piece for Global News. Why?

After an introspective dive, Cross came up with a list:

  1. Much of it is too perfect, with few production imperfections.
  2. Too much Auto-Tune. “That’s not how humans sound.”
  3. Too much emphasis on technically great singers versus distinctive voices.
  4. Virtuosity and even competency replaced by a desire to be famous.
  5. Too much focus on compression to make music loud.
  6. Formulaic song composition “that would make Einstein’s head hurt.”
  7. Streaming, which has warped the very nature of song composition.
  8. Streaming, which is “killing the concept of the album.”
  9. Record companies not investing in long-term talent any longer.
  10. Rock bands missing in action. “Where have all the rock bands gone?”

While Cross did not write the above list as a helpful guide for bands interested in gaining the attention of radio broadcasters who aren’t playlist button-pushers, the list nonetheless serves this purpose.

Please Note: RCS Music News Weekly understands there are lots of rock bands out there writing great songs. Yet to Cross’s point, rock is indeed noticeably missing from mainstream radio if you discount the classic tracks that stations insist on spinning again and again like someone stuck in a revolving door.

Canadians plan on road trips - RCS Music News Weekly

Canadians Cry, “Road Trip!”

According to a recent poll by Toyota Canada, nearly half of Canadians are planning on road-tripping this summer once restrictions allow. Unsurprisingly, pandemic lockdowns and stay-at-home orders have given Canadians a whole new appreciation for the outdoors and fuelled a greater desire to get behind the wheel to explore the country. Of those planning road trips, many are interested in exploring new cities and towns.

What does this mean for bands?

While the Toyota poll did not indicate the number of Canadians who are planning overnight getaways, logic dictates that at least some will go beyond the daytrip and check out local music venues. This means, if you’ve been reticent to toss your gear into the back of a van and hit the road (even briefly) for an out-of-town gig, this summer could be the perfect time to do that to promote your music, meet new fans, and have a blast.

Roadie Relief auction - RCS Music News Weekly

Rock Memorabilia Auction for Roadie Relief

Canadian musician and record producer Jason Hook (former guitarist for Five Finger Death Punch) is hosting an online auction of exclusive Hook memorabilia to raise money for Roadie Relief and assist roadies left with no money or financial assistance after the pandemic shut down live concerts. Auction items include Hook’s custom Gibson M4-Sherman guitar and his airbrushed Gibson Explorer, used on Five Finger Death Punch’s Got Your Six world tour. Click here to visit Hook’s auction page and see everything he’s selling, including drumheads and a signed skateboard.

George Harrison - All Things Must Pass

Capitol/UMe to Release 50th Anniversary Edition of All Things Must Pass

Hailed by Rolling Stone as “the War and Peace of rock ‘n’ roll,” George Harrison’s landmark album All Things Must Pass will be reissued on August 6th, 2021, as an Uber Deluxe Edition and Super Deluxe Edition (meaning both are chock-a-block with extras and goodies).

The first-ever triple studio album, All Things Must Pass (full remastered for the reissue) reflects the full scope of Harrison’s remarkable gift for songcraft, powerful spirituality, and individuality.

You can pre-order or check out the full scope of the goodies at MusicVaultz.

Even if you’re not a Harrsion, All Things Must Pass is certainly a reassuring truth in COVID times.

Promote Your Band in RCS Music News Weekly

Got an upcoming show? Music release? Something else? Send the details to Royal City Studios. RCS Music News Weekly is committed to supporting local artists, and the easiest way to do that is if we hear about it. Email or DM on social.

As always, we hope you’re staying well. Until next time, stay awesome.