Monday, August 12, 2013

Fake Bands

"Tribute Bands" are a funny thing.

At least your Uncle PC thinks so.

Bands who make their living pretending to be much bigger, more successful bands.

The Blog has enjoyed several tribute shows over the years.

The best reason that The Blog can think of to see a tribute band is if that band is talented enough to render a plausible recreation of a concert by a group that no longer exists and has little hope of ever re-forming.

Mostly, if the original band is no longer not just performing, but also, if some or all of the original members are no longer breathing.

I'll come back to that in a minute.

There is another reason to see a tribute show.

For example, The Blog has seen the actual "Rolling Stones" perform several times in his life. In gigantic venues. In nose bleed seats. At ticket prices that rival the down payment on a new car.

But a few years ago, at the insistence of Mrs. Blog, we saw a Stones band that scored on every count that matters if you are going to sell the tribute. Every member bore an uncanny resemblance to their original counterparts, albeit (and this is actually a plus) to how the originals looked 40 years ago. They also nailed the sound. (An absolute must.) And, we had front row seats in a medium size venue (a local performing arts center.)

So even though the whole thing was an illusion, it was still pretty cool.

And the whole thing cost less than dinner for two at The Olive Garden.

On the other hand...

That show was framed as a "battle of the bands" between the Stones band and a Beatles band.

That particular Beatles band, (I won't name them, to protect the guilty,) was as mind numbingly awful as an "American Idol" audition reject.

Oh, they sounded okay, (even though a MacBook™ sat, prominently, on a stand in the middle of the stage and was, clearly, being used to reproduce the instrumentation that they weren't equipped for themselves.) Their cheap wigs and cheaper costumes made them look like they had gotten a deal on budget Beatles Halloween costumes from Party City.

And, their George Harrison, during their "Sgt. Pepper" era set, bore an uncanny resemblance (sorry to use that phrase twice in one post, but I have to here,) to my 60-year-old, Armenian auto mechanic. And that is hard to look passed.

And, a note to their "Paul..." If you are going to make a living pretending to be Paul McCartney, you might want to commit to learning to play left-handed.

Anyway... let's get back to the point of this post.

The Blog has seen a number of Beatles tribute bands. I might even be a bit of a connoisseur.

The band "The Fab Four" is, hands down, the best of the bunch. Broadway's  "Rain" (part tribute, part play) was excellent. There have been a few others that have ranged in quality from good to not good.

As I posted last night, Mrs. Blog and I went to Manhattan Beach's Pollywog Park to see yet another Beatles band...

                                                                "A Hard Day's Night."

As did everyone, evidently, in the Los Angeles South Bay.

I mean, look at this crowd! (And this is just the number that I could fit into one shot from my iPhone™ crap-cam.)

I'm not sure that an actual Beatles reunion, featuring a resurrected John and George, could draw a bigger crowd.

And, they were good.

Very good.

My only quibble, and it's a small one, the performance as a whole felt like a beat-for beat rip-off of "The Fab Four's" show. (Maybe they are more of a "Fab Four" tribute band like the old SNL bit about "Beatlemaniamania! An incredible simulation of an incredible simulation!") But, they did it well.

They had the sound. They had the look. The Blog got a little teary during "John's" performance of "Imagine."

So, thumbs up!

*One random thought...*

You will always win if you bet someone that the Beatles tribute band will come back from intermission dressed in Sgt. Pepper costume.

*End random thought.*

*End central point.*

*Back to the broader subject of tribute bands.*

Over the last couple of decades, tribute bands have become a music industry sub-genre all their own.

It's the damnedest thing.

Name a band that has ever existed with some degree of popular success, and you will find bands making a living (or, at least, beer money) performing their "tributes."

Love ABBA? There are tribute bands. The Doors? Yep. Pink Floyd? Of course!

Hell, there is even a Partridge Family tribute band called Sound Magazine who caught The Blog's eye and ear a few years ago when they contributed "Partrified" covers of KISS' "Shout it Out Loud" and "Radioactive" to a couple of charity benefit albums. I don't know if you can still find these on line. The charity web site, no longer seems to exist. But, if you are of a certain age, that age where you grew up with the Partridges and graduated to the harder stuff thanks to KISS, you need to have these cover recordings on your iPod™!

And then, there are the sub-sub-genres in the tribute world.

The Blog is particularly enamored with distaff cover bands. Female dopplegangers of male bands.

                                                                     PRISS, anyone?

How about AC/Dshe, Judas Priestess, or Misstallica?

We've got 'em!

And then there are the novelty acts. Like..

                                                                            Mini Kiss

Or, the incredibly bizarre and hilarious "mash-up" (and we are still in the realm of KISS, here...)

Elvis Simmons and the Memphis Strutters.

(KISS may be the most 'tributed" band ever. KISS was the first band, that The PC knows of, who not only didn't object to the idea of tribute bands, they actively encourage them. At the rate that KISS is going, in a few more years, the official band may be made up entirely of new members. And Gene Simmons will keep going to the bank.)

In two weeks, Pollywog Park will host the popular Neil Diamond tribute band "Fabulous Diamond." They have played at Pollywog every year for several summers now. Mrs. Blog and I will be there. And, experience has taught us this...

"If you have to get to the park by 10:00 AM to claim your space for a Beatles tribute, for "Fabulous Diamond," we'll see you when the park opens at 6:00 AM."

"Fabulous Diamond" is that popular, even though their "Neil" breaks the first cardinal rule of tribute performers. He looks nothing like Neil Diamond. A pale, freckled, redhead who jokes about the fact that he doesn't have the look. He looks like one of "Harry Potter's" Weasley brothers in a silver lamé shirt.

But, holy shit! He has the sound. In spades.


But, next Saturday night, Mrs. Blog and I, along with my youngest Blog Sister and Blog bro-in-law, will be attending a show by the never imitated, but (based on a quick YouTube™ search,) often covered, official lefty, funny, folk singer of The PC Blog, Roy Zimmerman.

In anticipation of that, allow me to share another favorite RZ number...

"The End of the Ship."

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