Concerts Concerts Dwayne Gretzky at Lee's Palace

Dwayne Gretzky at Lee's Palace

Dwayne Gretzky at Lee's Palace
Dwayne Gretzky
The Elwins
Lee's Palace in Toronto, ON
July 6, 2012

Review by: Colton Eddy
Photos by: Pete Nema

Adolescence and summer dresses packed the room at Lee's Palace for everyone's favourite cover band loosely named after a hockey legend.

Dwayne Gretzky

Organized by Young Lions Music Club and sponsored by Rolling Rock Pilsner, the entire atmosphere brought to mind a 1980's teen film, caught somewhere between Porkys and Fast Times at Ridgemount High. That sentiment kicked into full gear as the opening chords of "Fast Times" echoed, and Tyler Kyte of Sweet Thing put on his best Tom Petty "She was an American Girl..." As if it had been scripted, the ladies in attendance screamed at Kyte's every smirk and danced to every beat from Rich Knox or Adam Hindle.

When Sam Roberts claimed that kids don't know how to dance to rock 'n' roll any more, he obviously never bought a ticket to a Dwayne Gretzky show.

Most concerts offer up a few hours of child-like adventure, escaping reality and allowing the music to take you places. In this case, nostalgic places in records of yesteryear. This supergroup - composed of members of Sweet Thing, Arkells, The Elwins, The Goldendogs, Sheezer and a few more - played basically every great song written with enthusiasm, as if we were peeking through the window into someone's garage jam. It was honest, well-rehearsed, and a fine compilation of tunes that resulted in some of the greatest off-key audience harmonies. It was what's needed at the end of a long week.

In a tip-of-the-hat moment, Kyte poured all he had into a distortion-fueled jam by his hometown's hero, Neil Young. Blistering solos and a thumping bass line captivated the crowd as we witnessed Ian Docherty, Brian Murphy and Kyte strumming away, smiling at each other and playfully garnishing licks, attempting to out-play each-other. Nick Rose, also of Sweet Thing and Kyte's hometown buddy, brought the baritone for some David Bowie, Electric Light Orchestra and a flawless Ric Ocasek during "Just What I Needed".

Dan Griffin, on hiatus from Arkells, joined the mop-top crew for a rousing rendition of Van Morrison's "Domino" and stuck around for a few tracks that included a tambourine duel during Springsteen's "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" - honourable mention to Edwin Sheard for tackling Clarence Clemon's iconic alto-sax runs. As the crowd became drunker, the music turned bubblier; Allie Hughes put on smug renditions of new-wave classics like Blondie's "Call Me" and flirtatiously bopping through Cardigans' "Love Fool". Oh, and she shamelessly slayed Heart's "Baracuda".

For an hour's worth of minimum wage work, we had a taste of Petty, a sprinkling of Elton, a kick of the Boss and a fine testament to Levon Helm in the encore. No complaints, just searching to find the next time that they're in town.

Setlist:

"American Girl" - Tom Petty
"Just What I Needed"- The Cars
"Let Me Roll It" - Paul McCartney
"Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover" - Paul Simon
"Call Me" - Blondie
"Suffragette City" - David Bowie
"Bennie And The Jets" - Elton John
"Domino' - Van Morrison
"Under Pressure" - Queen
"Be My Baby" - The Ronettes
"Mr. Blue Sky" - ELO
"Southern Man" - Neil Young
"Tenth Ave Freeze-Out" - Springsteen

Act Two:

"The Chain" - Fleetwood Mac
"Band on The Run" - Paul McCartney
"Lovefool" - The Cardigans
"Oh! Darling" - The Beatles
"Blinded By The Light" - Springsteen
"Barracuda" - Heart
"Brown Sugar" - Rolling Stones
"Take On Me" - A-Ha
"I Want You Back" - Jackson 5
"Born to Run" - Springsteen
"Twist and Shout" - The Beatles

Encore:

"The Weight" - The Band

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The Elwins

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