R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Tool, Led Zeppelin and Faith No More aren't coming to town any time soon.
But REModeled, Ten Club, Zoso and Midlife Crisis — all tribute acts for the respective artists mentioned above — will grace local stages very soon.
If you go...
Who: Ten Club (Pearl Jam tribute band) with The Gracious Melodies, SAP
When: 9 p.m. Saturday
Where: The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St.
Tickets: $7 at the door
Information: www.onepercentproductions.com or 402-884-5353
• April 5: REModeled perform R.E.M.'s “Fables of the Reconstruction” @ The Waiting Room
• April 27: Saturn Ascends (Tool tribute) with Forever Endeavor, The Zero Sum, Coincide @ The Waiting Room
• April 27: Shoot to Thrill (AC/DC tribute) @ Chrome Lounge
• May 9: Zoso (Led Zeppelin tribute) @ Slowdown
• May 10: Midlife Crisis (Faith No More tribute) with Through the Stone, Black on High, Knife Fight Justice @ The Waiting Room
Sure, they're not the real thing. But you probably won't be able to tell until you give a close look to the band members.
Sometimes tribute groups form because those bands are long defunct. Other times, a group of musicians who love a particular group immensely will pay tribute to them by playing the band's material.
For Omaha band Ten Club, a Pearl Jam tribute, it was as simple as wanting to play some Pearl Jam songs.
“I grew up in Washington state in the '90s, and (Pearl Jam) has always been my favorite music,” said singer and Eddie Vedder surrogate Damon Marvin. “I love to do their music and it's something I never get tired of. Their stuff doesn't wear out for me.”
Marvin has seen the Seattle rock band at least 20 times, but songs such as “Even Flow” and “Given to Fly” are always fresh, whether he's watching the band or performing the songs himself.
Ten Club, which performs at the Waiting Room on Saturday with Stone Temple Pilots and Alice in Chain tribute bands, has been around for several years, and it's among many tribute bands in the area.
Marvin said Ten Club knows almost every Pearl Jam song from the radio hits to “things that only the megafans would recognize.”
Some acts are so good that they have become internationally known. Bands such as Australian Pink Floyd and the Fab Four, the self-styled “ultimate Beatles tribute band,” tour around the world and are highly regarded by fans and critics. The Beatles group even recruits people who look like the original members of the band.
“It's gotten to the point where if there isn't a clone band out there of you, you really aren't successful,” Gary Bongiovanni, editor of Pollstar, told USA Today. ”Some of these tribute bands do a very good job of re-creating what that original band used to be. If you're going out to a bar, often it's simply more fun to see a tribute group than some band you've never heard of.”
Cable channel AXS is even broadcasting a new show: “The World's Greatest Tribute Bands.” The weekly series, which premiered this month, features bands impersonating Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, Van Halen, the Beatles, Queen, the Doors, the Rolling Stones, U2 and others.
While Australian Pink Floyd — and other groups, too — is extremely successful (they've even performed for members of the original Floyd), most tribute acts perform simply for the love of it.
Omahan Ryan McLaughlin plays bass in Fear of Ghosts, a tribute to the Cure. He loves the British rock band, which is know for songs such as “Friday I'm in Love” and “Just Like Heaven.”
Consisting of friends and former bandmates, the band formed a year ago around a passion for the Cure. McLaughlin described them all as “diehards.”
“I was a little hesitant to do it at first because when you're doing a tribute it's more of trying to mimic what you hear recorded,” he said. “But after the first show... several people I know that are big fans came up and said, 'You guys really nailed it.'”
A tribute band isn't nearly as artistically gratifying as playing original music, but it's a fun outlet, he said. It's especially entertaining when the band plays a deep cut by the Cure that gets hardcore fans excited.
Marvin, who has also played in several original bands, says that one of the best parts is working with already-established material.
“All the hard work is done for us. It's already popular and people already love it,” Marvin said. “It's got a built-in demographic.”
At the same time, that can be a challenge for a tribute band.
“(The Cure's) fans are so rabid — including all of us — that if we screwed something up, people are gonna notice and they're gonna call you out on it,” McLaughlin said. “It's definitely nerve-wracking.”
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