Drop Top Alibi and Gilby Clarke rocked the The Rockpile in Toronto, Ontario on September 28. As the final leg of DTA’s EP Release Tour, it was a bittersweet homecoming. Beginning in Toronto with their EP release on September 16 (You can read more about that here) the band hopped from Barrie, to Waterloo, to Newmarket, before coming full circle back to their hometown of Toronto.
Their high-energy dance rock belongs on the stage and lead vocalist Brandon Gregory knows how to work the crowd. With a fan conveniently placed at the front of the stage, blowing wind through his shaggy rocker hair, Gregory looked like he stepped right out of a 1970’s hard rock time machine.
The venue (The Rockpile), a little bar on the outskirts of Toronto, exuded grunge vibes with celebrity mug shots plastered on the wall and a surprise appearance by Kim Mitchell (of the Canadian hard rock band Max Webster). The scene was set- and despite being a Thursday night, we were ready to rock. As Gilby Clarke put: “Rock and Roll doesn’t know the difference between Saturday and Thursday.”
The opening act, The Road Heavy, self-described as “a Southern Rock and Blues band with a Vintage Vibe,” got the party started. The raspy vocals of female vocalist Jules Cardoso gave their performance an edge, while the accompanying vocals of Pat James provided a smooth balance. The band just released their self-titled EP with Jeff Martin (of The Tea Party) after previously working and touring with Gilby Clarke on his Canadian East Coast Tour.
By 10pm, as Drop Top Alibi took to the stage, fans clad in their DTA t-shirts were eagerly awaiting at the front of the stage. The band began grouped together around the drummer, backs facing the audience, before dramatically turning and beginning their rock and roll set. They opened with a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song,” after which Gregory checks in on the crowd: “is everybody warmed up?”
After getting the crowd amped up on heavy guitar riffs and groovy rock beats, DTA performed their lead single “Holding the Gun,” from their EP. A catchy tune that pays homage to the hard rock conventions of the past, the live performance of “Holding the Gun” proves that their polished sound is not a recording studio illusion. They are seasoned musicians, and while they may not take too many risks during their live renditions, they can hold their own on stage.
DTA also performed “Home,” a slower, mellow rock song with soul influence, and “Burn,” a punchy song with heavy metal and scream influence. Both songs are featured on their self-titled EP. Stay tuned for more information and an exclusive interview with the band later on this week!
Once DTA was finished rocking the house, their musical mentor and producer, Gilby Clarke, took to the stage. As a Rock and Roll veteran, Clarke opens his set with a cheeky statement: “If you guys are looking for Rock and Roll, you came to the right f*cking place!” As the former guitarist for the 80s rock legends, Guns N’ Roses, Clarke knows how to put on a show, even if it leaves your ears ringing by the end of it.
Clarke likes to interact with the crowd as if he’s having a casual conversation with them. In between completely rocking out, he would pause for a little bit of Rock and Roll reflection. At one point, he shares: “When I think of Rock and Roll, I think of the Greats: The Rolling Stones, The Beatles (yes they are Rock and Roll!), Led Zeppelin, and of course Kiss.”
Once again, Rock and Roll has that special quality that allows us to appreciate the past while looking to the future. Drop Top Alibi looks to the future, taking inspiration from the Greats of the past, with Gilby Clarke’s steady guiding hand.