Written by: Chris Harrington
The music scene in Barrie, ON has been rapidly growing and changing in recent years. In a city of pubs, nightclubs, and country bars, original live music has always struggled in the face of cover bands and DJs. For such a large city, there are only a few places that host original bands, and even fewer that do it on a regular basis. In fact, The Foxx Lounge Rock Bar & Hotdoggery is Barrie’s only venue dedicated to supporting local bands who play original material. Of course, one can cry “BIAS!” because I book shows out of The Foxx Lounge or because I am from Barrie or whatever else, however no one can deny the strength, growth, and pure talent of the scene. Not only are indie bands from other cities (even other countries!) asking to play The Foxx Lounge, but bigger bands like Unearth, Cancer Bats, Darkest Hour, and The Creepshow are making Barrie a part of their tour more and more.
In the end, it is the local bands that are the lifeblood of the scene. The competitive mindset of
the past has been replaced by a true community where bands support bands, working together instead of against each other. The result is a united music scene that is doing better than ever.
There are so many musicians working tirelessly to get their music out there, and I have put
together a list of eight bands that are worth keeping an eye on. Check them out, listen to their music, and if you get the chance – see them live! Without further ado, here are 8 Barrie bands to watch in 2019!
This three-piece rock/grunge band is made up of Bennett Jones (vox/guitar), Adam Polan (vox/bass), and Derek Stewart (drums) and has quickly caught the attention of everyone who has seen them live. Pulling influences from 90’s grunge, rock and roll, and modern alternative styles, Cudbear has crafted a unique sound that is powerful, emotional, and raw.
All three members have yet to hit 20 years old, but already they are well on their way to success. Their on-stage presence is bursting with energy, making it just as enjoyable to watch as to listen to. With an impressive repertoire of original songs already, Cudbear will begin recording their debut album at One Star Studio in Barrie, ON – which will likely be released early this summer.
After a short hiatus, Barrie-based pop-punk quartet Flight 97 is back with big plans for 2019. Addam Tompkins (vox/guitar), Eric Bolton (bass), Jason Miller (guitar), and Brennon Oster (drums/vox) came together and released their first EP ‘Empty Vessels’, followed by several shows in Ontario and Quebec, including two sold-out CD release shows. Blending alternative rock and pop-punk, their songs are packed with emotion, angst, melody, and lyrics you can’t
help but sing along to.
They are currently working on their next EP ‘Singled Out’ which will contain the tracks ‘Surgery’, ‘Never Again’, and the recently recorded ‘Overreact’. The EP is slated for a spring release, followed by another EP with five brand new songs to be recorded this summer. With a handful of shows booked for March and April (which includes a show March 14th at The Foxx Lounge in Barrie with The Penske File); things are just starting to heat up for Flight 97!
For power-punk trio The Highdives, 2019 has already been a productive year. Releasing their debut full-length album ‘Ocean Blood’ (see my review of it!), playing two packed album release shows, as well as Hamilton and Oshawa, these guys show no sign of slowing down!
Between upcoming shows supporting ‘Ocean Blood’ and whispers of a festival appearance or two, The Highdives are already working on their next album to be released in 2020. These punk rock veterans put on one hell of a live show jam-packed with a raw, unfiltered sound that few modern bands achieve. Keep an eye on their upcoming shows for a date near
Yes, once again I mention Barrie metal band Dead Beyond Fear (see previous articles!). Their growing presence in the local music scene and beyond is hard to ignore, and having debuted only six months ago, they have already built an impressive resume including an opening slot for Unearth and Darkest Hour earlier this month.
Soon they will be heading to HK Recording Co in Orillia to begin working on their debut album, a 12 song full length titled ‘Malice for the Hated Enemy’. Expect it to be released later this spring, followed by a possible tour supporting the release. I highly recommend following DBF on social media (their posts can be quite entertaining!) and catching them live!
Formed in the summer of 2015, Cousin Jack has become known for blending blues, folk, and rock into catchy, emotive songs that are as Canadian as tossing back an ice-cold beer in a Muskoka chair beside a lake on a summer day.
Vocalist/guitarist Lucas Millar, bassist/vocalist Cameron Stevenson, and drummer/vocalist Jake Thompson have been working tirelessly since the band’s inception, playing shows at The Opera House, The Horseshoe Tavern, Lee’s Palace, The Foxx Lounge, and many others.
CJ rang in 2019 by opening for Sam Roberts at Barrie’s Downtown Countdown. They followed this up with a show at The Horseshoe Tavern with Barrie friends The Noolands, The Mystics, and Kansas Stone where they packed the venue by filling two busses with fans to attend the show. On March 9 th they will be at The Foxx Lounge with Texas King, The Vidos, and Crast in support of Smash the Stigma Canada – a local mental health awareness organization raising money for youth mental health support. March will also see the release of their new 4 song EP recorded with Shane Heath of One Star Studio in Barrie, and have been teasing a huge EP release show at the end of March!
Cousin Jack plans to head back into the studio in the spring to begin work on their debut full-
length album, so make sure to follow them on social media for updates!
Crast has been a wild-card in the Barrie music scene since their live debut one year ago. While there’s no doubt that their musical style has firm roots in rock and roll, influences from a wide array of genres add to the dynamic quality of their sound. Guitarists Austin Myers and Corey Dzula, bassist/vocalist Derek Upham, and drummer/vocalist Zach Franchetto have been working on their debut EP entitled ‘Sound Goods’ to be released late this spring.
Crast kicked off 2019 playing The Foxx Lounge for New Year’s Eve, and since have been
relatively quiet about what they are up to. Whether intentional or not, this level of mystique
makes what they have planned much more exciting (however can be a bit of an issue when
trying to write an article about them!). What I do know is that they will be joining Cousin Jack
(#5 on this list) on Saturday, March 9 th at The Foxx Lounge for Smash the Stigma Canada’s
fundraising show headlined by Texas King. What happens next is hard to say, but I look forward to hearing their debut EP and watching them make their mark in cities throughout Ontario.
Formed in 2017, Heavy Petter is pure punk greatness! Guitarist/vocalist Casey, bassist Core, and drummer Jon create a sound that captures the spirit of old-school fast-paced punk with a dash of modern influence. They have been featured on ArtsTalk Radio, Radio Hootenanny, and shared the stage with the likes of The Creepshow and Black Cat Attack.
This year will see the release of their debut full-length album this spring recorded by band
member Core, mixed by Shane Heath of One Star Studio, and mastered by Kyle McDonald – and will be released in May at an album release show. They have also just announced that they will be playing the legendary Pouzza Fest in Montreal this May!
Last but not least, ska-punk trio Bigfoot Portal Crisis continues to push forward into 2019. The band consists of Tyler Desroches on guitar/vocals, Barry Lachance on bass/backing vocals, and Jon Boyer on drums/backing vocals. They began the year with a packed show at The Foxx Lounge on January 12th (see the full review here) and are working on two more 3-song EPs to be released in 2019, following the release of ‘Portal Kombat’ last year, at One Star Studio – eventually combining them into one album. On March 29th , they will be opening for The Creepshow at The Foxx Lounge, and will be playing several shows throughout the year in support of their upcoming releases. Most notable is their on-stage energy and catchy songs that has the crowd dancing along from start to finish. I expect this will be a big year for BPC, so make sure to follow them on their social media for updates.
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