The Red Light Riot
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The Red Light Riot

Band Rock Alternative


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"RLR Live at The Salt Lounge, London - March 2007"

After witnessing The Red Light Riot's high energy rock n' roll show and the brilliant musicianship of guitarist Donna Grantis and the powerful vocals of Francine Scala, I can't help but think that they are on the road to rock superstardom. The Red Light Riot should be playing the arenas, knocking people off their seats and pumping their fists in rock n' roll glory. - RJ, CHRW Radio

"Toronto's Red Light Riot Isn't Just Girls With Guitars - March 2007"

For the female rockers of The Red Light Riot, nothing matters more than staying true to their music.

In their early teens, The Red Light Riot lead guitarist Donna Grantis and vocalist Francine Scala joined musical forces. The Toronto-based duo was inspired by bands like Led Zeppelin, Guns ‘N’ Roses and Aerosmith. “When I watch a Zeppelin DVD, I’m so inspired,” Grantis says. “I think the reason I started playing in the first place is because I was so inspired by Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page and Slash.”

Though Grantis and Scala teamed up as teenagers, they didn't form The Red Light Riot until they joined with bassist Dave McMillan and drummer Kevin Mendes last year. “I wanted RED to be in there because I was thinking of high energy,” Grantis says. “Red is a very passionate colour, and it’s very bold. I was thinking of RIOT in terms of something different. Francine and I first started writing at a time filled with Britney Spears pop. Since then, I think some very good rock bands have emerged. As for LIGHT, it seemed to fit well with the band’s individuality.” The band’s passionate and bold name also reflects its performance style. “Our music is pretty strong and energetic,” Grantis says. “I think it surprises people and it surprises guys when they see that.”

The Red Light Riot’s debut album, War and Ribbons of Euphoria, which references the Hendrix song “Bold As Love,” was released in January. “Francine and I were checking out song lyrics, and ‘war and ribbons of euphoria’ is a reference to one of my favourite songs,” Grantis says. “In that song, [Hendrix] talks about different colours and the line ‘My red is so confident that he flashes trophies of war and ribbons of euphoria’ really spoke to us.”

The album was recorded at The Shed Studios located in the small town of Hillsburgh, Ontario. “We thought [Hillsburgh] was really cool because it was in the middle of nowhere,” Grantis says. “We stayed there for about two weeks, and we were totally focused on playing. Had we recorded in a studio in the city, there would have been distractions. There are always distractions at home.”

In the past, Grantis says there have always been more guys than girls at the band’s shows. However, she believes this dynamic is changing. “I love seeing women out in the audience,” Grantis says. “People like to see women rocking out, and doing something that’s a little more aggressive than usual. “I’d rather be known as a great guitar player than a great girl guitar player. We don’t want to get caught up into thinking we need to act a certain way just because it’s a male-dominated industry.”

The Red Light Riot plays The Salt Lounge tomorrow night with Proposterous and Tracenine. The show starts at 9 p.m. - The Gazette, London

"RLR Live @ The Annex - Sept 2007"

Please accept my apology for describing this latest blog entry as a "review" when, in actual fact, it's nothing more than a thinly-veiled cry for help. You see, fellow citizens of Toronto, I am deeply, utterly concerned that I may be suffering from increasingly intense hallucinations. For what other conclusion is an innocent rocker to draw from the fact that nobody else in this fair city of ours seems to be talking, writing, and/or jizzing over the inexplicable August gale that tore the Annex WreckRoom a new arsehole on Saturday night? Believe me, I've spent the last four days combing through the city's most trusted news sources, but not so much as a typo has been printed about this cataclysmic event. So what gives?

Hurricane Ivan scored a book deal, Ernesto did a week on Hollywood Squares, and over two years have passed since Katrina splashed down and people are still whispering about that bitch. So will somebody please explain to me why a raincoated Anderson Cooper chose not to fly his ass up to Toronto to cover this latest, greatest, and holy-fuckiest tropical storm of 'em all? I'm referring, of course, to the staggering force of nature known as THE RED LIGHT RIOT.

Exhibit one, ladies and gentlemen: I give you vocalist Francine Scala. She is both a tempest and a celestial being; an explosive windmill sweep of cosmic energy that rotates, spins, and soars across the stage in ways that are equal parts hypnotically angelic and chaotically destructive. In layman's terms, Scala doesn't just "feel the music", she fucks it to death with a strap-on so ginormous it could split a gay, cocoa-buttered Teletubbie in half.

Exhibit two: On guitar, there's the unconquerable Donna Grantis. Just how good is she, you ask? Well, let's just say you'll want to stock up on drinks before she takes the stage, because you sure as shit aren't getting served once she's up there. The WreckRoom's staff "tending" the bar were as mesmerized by Grantis' impassioned performance as the rest of us. All that was missing from the massive room was a cautionary "Mind The Drool" sign tacked above the entrance door.

The fact of the matter is there's something so incredibly surreal to be standing mere inches away from artists who are exuding so much raw, uninhibited, self-expression. God knows, we've all experienced our share of musicians who convincingly create the illusion of reckless abandon - tossing their guitars, knocking over drum kits, and balancing themselves on top of amplifiers like a fat kid exiting his first Cirque du Soleil show. And more often than not, we tend to accept that kind of faux-spontaneity on a purely visceral level. Then along comes a band like The Red Light Riot who captivate you with their authenticity. No theatrics, no props, no pyrotechnics, no pretentions. And yes, it really is as refreshing as it sounds.

Simply put, The Red Light Riot are already stars. For the love of David Miller's teeth, catch up, Toronto. - Ian McD

"Giving More Than You Can Take - Oct 2006"

Delivering a kick to your stomach with a pointed boot, The Red Light Riot is a new school rock monarchy that delivers sexiness to the listener's soul. Hard-hitting and fast-moving, these sirens scream for attention with a heavy guitar and a stage presence that would bring Jimmy Page to his knees.

Donna and Francine are in the process of liberating their debut album "War & Ribbons of Euphoria", recorded at Shed Studios. Comprised of tracks with full levels of creativity and innovation it should prove to be one of the best independent albums of 2006. "Black Heart Women" pierces brilliance with a shrewd vocal melody and brings with it (ironically) tons of Donnas-esque overtones, while "Like I Do" showcases the band's raw energy and isolates their pure talent and ability to build an astounding rock and roll album.

The Red Light Riot is a group to be reckoned with, and one way or another they're making sure that dues to this band will be paid, either voluntarily, or beaten out along with your lunch money.

The Red Light Riot is:

Donna - Guitar
Francine - Vocals
Dave - Bass
Kevin - Drums

Check them out for yourself at for your full frontal rock needs.
- BlindFive

"RLR @ The Revival - July 2006"

"Donna is the new guitar queen. Francine is an awesome site to behold with blasting vocals and stage presence" - Lidia Vila -


War and Ribbons of Euphoria - Released January 2007
Currently recording material for upcoming 2009 release



The Red Light Riot is a Canadian band that truly epitomizes what it means to rock! Backed by an explosive new rhythm section featuring Keith Heppler (drums) and Mark Walsh (bass), Francine Scala (vocals) and Donna Grantis (guitar) are ready to unleash a powerful set of original new songs that will no doubt capture the world’s attention. Their seductive allure and raw intensity combines elements of Stone Temple Pilots, Led Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses and Pearl Jam. They hit like an atom bomb with Francine’s vocal cascading through the stratosphere riding on the foundation of Donna’s virtuosity. If you breathe to ROCK…welcome to The Riot!