Entertainment Local

Dwayne Gretzky band performing for first time in Barrie next Friday at Mavricks Music Hall

By Susan Doolan, Special to Postmedia Network

Nick Rose runs the band Dwayne Gretzky along with Tyler Kyte. Both front it and draw on a talented group of Toronto musicians to perform cover songs under the name, Dwayne Gretzky. The group performs next Friday at Mavricks Music Hall in downtown Barrie. ANTHONY TUCCITTO/PHOTO

Nick Rose runs the band Dwayne Gretzky along with Tyler Kyte. Both front it and draw on a talented group of Toronto musicians to perform cover songs under the name, Dwayne Gretzky. The group performs next Friday at Mavricks Music Hall in downtown Barrie. ANTHONY TUCCITTO/PHOTO

Loosely named after a famous hockey player, the Dwayne Gretzky band is well on its way to becoming a legend in its own right for playing cover tunes.

The band is known for playing some the most popular songs of all time, from Bowie to Beyonce, Springsteen to Spears, The Supremes to The Strokes.

Dwayne Gretzky is made up of a collective of Toronto musicians, including local singer Carleigh Aikins, who will be joining the group for the Barrie show next week.

Despite sell-out shows in Toronto, southern Ontario, Buffalo and New York, it the first time the band has played Barrie. They came close last summer, when they appeared at the WayHome Festival at Burl’s Creek.

“The goal is to bring these songs to life in the best way possible. Usually it is a lot of ‘70s and then a bit of ‘80s as well, classic rock and pop, some ‘60s and a few from the ‘90s,” said Tyler Kyte, adding that people often start their own party at their party.

“We play the songs that you know, songs you’ve forgotten about but love,” he added. “We’ll rock out and play some big epic songs and leave it all out there on the ice.”

He and Nick Rose run the band, both front it and they have a cast of Toronto musicians, many of whom are regulars and will front the band for different songs.

It began about 12 years ago out of an apartment building at Bay and Leslie streets in Toronto when several musicians, all in their early 20s, would jam together in the basement.

They built up a repertoire of songs they cared about and enjoyed playing, just because.

They didn’t play live until four years had passed and then, they spontaneously backed a singer at the Dakota Tavern and then did covers in the second set.

At the time, they had no name, until Rose said ‘we’re Dwayne Gretzky’ as a kind of joke, but someone posted a video and the name stuck.

The band has taken off in part because of the songs they play and the energy they bring to live performances.

Kyte gives credit to a company Young Offenders that began around the same time and they worked together to bring the first shows to the Dakota Tavern.

The company, which produces transformative art and music experiences through creative collaboration, has a number of artists under its umbrella and continues to manage Dwayne Gretzky.

The band can average nine to 18 people on stage at one time, depending on the event.

And that’s what makes it fun, because it turns into a pop orchestra.

Jill Harris, Lydia Persaud, Meg Contini are among the regulars. Each musician also plays in a different band.

Kyte started out acting when he was younger before he made the transition to music.

He and Nick Rose had parallel lives, grew up in Lindsay, but were several years apart in age. He played drums and Rose, a guitarist, were in a band called Sweet Thing.

The alternative rock band had some success, played original music together for seven years and was signed to EMI.

The Dwayne Gretzky concert party takes place on Friday, Nov 17 at Mavricks Music Hall, located at 46 Dunlop St. W., in downtown Barrie.

Doors open at 8 p.m. for a 9 p.m. show.

This event is age 19 and over.

Tickets are $17.70 plus HST, available through www.ticketfly.com