March 17 2013 – The Rockpile is Toronto’s best kept rock secret. Neatly tucked away from the bright lights of downtown Toronto, the venue continues to offer top notch rock acts with a great emphasis on major acts from yesteryear. On their flyer we noticed upcoming gigs for acts like Quiet Riot, Lee Aaron, and Molly Hatchet and many more shows we would not hesitate to cover given the opportunity.
On Friday March 15th the focus was on tribute bands namely Hot Rocks and Floyd Factor. They are tribute bands to the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd respectively.
Kicking off the night was 16 year old Ivy James, who went on stage simply with her acoustic guitar, her voice, and some songs she has written. She clearly loves music and her effort on stage won over the Rockpile’s early patrons. Great job Ivy and a nice way to set off the night with some sweet acoustic folky tunes.
Next up was the main opener JK Mantis. This is a band that is familiar to us as we reviewed them playing The Rockpile previously (review is here) and we wrote: JK Mantis is a quartet of David Fox (Lead Vocals/Guitar), Dario DeCicco (Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals), John DiCenso (Bass) and Steve Konstantarakos (Drums/Backing Vocals). . Stylistically they might be described as a heavier version of The Tragically Hip, or maybe The Tragically Hip when they’re rocking. Their song Waves is a big favorite of our photographer/senior editor Steve Mallinson. We will be featuring the band in an upcoming Emerging Artist Spotlight and we have a bonus YouTube video from the band’s performance at the bottom of this article.
On to the first of the headliners – Toronto’s Rolling Stones tribute band Hot Rocks. Musically accurate, visually deceptively accurate. The moves of Jagger and Richards were so exact that if you were sitting at the back of the ACC watching these guys play you would not belive they werent the real deal. Robert Wotherspoon does an excellent Jagger and the night was thorougly enjoyable.
The setlist consisted of Stones staples and played out like this: Satisfaction Get Off My Cloud Shattered You Can’t Always Get What You Want Wild Horses Under My Thumb Sympathy For The Devil Paint it Black Gimme Shelter It’s Only Rock and Roll Jumping Jack Flash Miss You Beast Of Burden Honky Tong Woman Start Me Up Brown Sugar Like A Rolling Stone
As you can see from above there really are alot of hits in the Stones arsenal and everyone in attendence know every song being played. Very impressive versions of You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Gimme Shelter and Brown Sugar ensured that the audience was hopping. Despite some sound issues, Hot Rocks really delivered a blistering set and truly kicked ass.
A great night up till now and one that in most other places would have been a full night. A couple of openers and a headliner – over 3 hours of music – quite impressive. Hold on for the ride because at The Rockpile things just got even better with a Pink Floyd tribute band known as Floyd Factor. We had high expectations for this band and let me get right down to it, they blew our expectations away. Before the show we were able to interview guitarist/vocalist Andre Fillipetti here (he is 3rd from the left on the picture above). As the band kicked off with smoke machine and a double bass rendition of One Of These Days, everyone in the place took notice. This was the real deal!
Typically Floyd bands dont get into the longer more complex cuts from the Animals album until later on into the set but Floyd Factor took the gloves off and went right into Pigs. The only thing their rendition was lacking was a flying pig above the Rockpile audience, truly one of the best renditions we have heard (and we have seen many Floyd tribute bands – including the Roger Waters shows). As an aside is going to see Roger Waters perform The Wall considered the same thing as seeing a Pink Floyd tribute band? Probably but if you get to see David Gilmour on The Wall like we did here in London you really would’t care if they called themselves Nickelbieber. But I digress.
The set continued with a couple of cuts from the Wish You Were Here album and The Wall but the reason why this show was happening was to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of the greatest rock and roll album of all time Dark Side Of The Moon. The masterpiece was to be presented in it’s entirety and Floyd Factor nailed it. From the opening samples of Breathe, to the spine tingling female vocals on Great Gig In The Sky, and to the epic Us and Them, the band was firing on all cylinders. The coolest thing to see was how much fun they were all having up there – I love seeing a band smile at each other on stage. A very special guest joined the band for Us and Them and it was a rock legend. Terry Watkinson who was the keyboardist of Max Webster donned a white lab coat and strolled onstage holding a saxophone. He played the Dick Parry part perfectly and it was a treat to have a rock legend on stage for this performance. You can see the video of Us and Them below (advice – watch it in 1080p in full screen, its a beauty)
After the full Dark Side Of The Moon was presented the band ended the night with a 1-2 blow of Run Like Hell and Comfortably Numb – both of which were exceptional performances.
Setlist: One Of These Days Pigs Wish You Were Here Have A Cigar Happiest Days Another Brick In The Wall Part 2 Young Lust Breathe On The Run Time (Breathe Reprise) Great Gig In The Sky Money Us and Them Any Colour You Like Brain Damage Eclipse Run Like Hell Comfortably Numb
What an incredible band, we strongly endorse any future Floyd Factor shows and we will be sure to cover them again if possible. Usually we call out some highlight songs, but we couldnt decide on any for this show. They all rocked. Kudos guys (and gal) for a 5 out of 5 star performance We leave you with some pictures from the show.