The Horseshoe Tavern was more packed than I had ever seen it. People commented on how full the place was. Not that it was surprising, because Brody Dalle has been a large name in the punk rock scene for years (with The Distillers, Spinnerette and now her solo material). Even so, it felt like a concert that would take place at a venue like the Kool Haus or the Phoenix was squashed in the Tavern’s secret gang hideout in the back. Perhaps it was a great turnout because it’s Canadian Music Week. Nonetheless, when fans saw a blonde haired, tattooed girl setting up the gear before the main event, many fans went crazy. That is until she turned around. It was not Brody Dalle, but merely a cheerful technician. That was the level of excitement we dealt with the entire night. I was up against the stage with my camera, waiting to grab shots of this mythical being known as a sex symbol to many in the scene. A mega fan beside me had a tattoo of her on his bicep, and I honestly do not blame him; It looked great.The music started, and my legs were on the verge of breaking against the edge of the stage instantly as hundreds of fans pressed up against me before Dalle had even walked onto the stage.
Then she finally walked on stage, and, if imaginable, the crowd got even more rowdy. She strutted onto the stage like the second coming of Joan Jett; Without a care in the world. She was there to rock and not to play games. Dalle played new material from her album Diploid Love, as well as older material of hers. She clearly had a good time but not without her signature punk smirk and sneer. She asked if we wanted to dance, as if many weren’t already. She rocked out the entire night, even if her hair got in the way of her face, her bra strap kept falling off of her shoulder, her guitar got slayed out of tune and the music was insanely loud. She wasn’t unprofessional, as though it may seem to be the case, as she was very attentive to the mixing levels. She would continuously ask for levels to be changed in between songs. She talked a little bit with the crowd, for instance she briefly mentions her birth place Australia, but she mostly let the music do the talking.
At high volumes, the chords cut into my ears like sharp blades. For punk, that is a good thing. She kept the intensity going her entire set, and never took a break or got tired. As the entire bar was taken by the hair into this street fight, we were all smiling as we were roughened up. And like a shot in the night, Dalle was done and off the stage. We all stood still, full of sweat, messy hair and possible bruises. Many of us waited until 1:30 in the morning waiting to see her again and to get material signed, but the punk icon never appeared. Like a superhero, she came, took everyone for a ride, and disappeared like a story to tell. As a new and massive fan of her live performances, I consider this to be like a song you want to hear again but have no way of reaching. I will wait until she comes back and witness her raw energy before she vanishes again. For now, I’ve had a bit of a taste of the fanaticism many feel when it comes to Brody Dalle. Whether you like her music or not, there is an aura about her that can cut through brick walls. At this point, when it comes to her reputation, there is no Tim Armstrong or Josh Homme. There is no Distillers or Spinnerette. There is only Brody Dalle, and Brody Dalle has solidified herself as the punk rock icon many had hoped she would be.