Last Saturday, I strolled down to Spaceland to catch a show by everyone’s favorite Smiths tribute band, Sweet and Tender Hooligans, who rolled Morrissey’s “Your Arsenal” like they had written it themselves. The show was so good, in fact, that it made me think about other tribute bands and how our fair city, perhaps not so strangely, leads the field in faux.
A handful of L.A.-based tribute bands have attracted loyal followings that rival those of the bands to whom they pay tribute…if not in quantity, certainly in devotion. It is these few, these happy few, that I salute today.
Sweet and Tender Hooligans As mentioned previously, this group of lads transcends the lookalike genre of cover bands to achieve an eerily accurate sound. In short, they rock. Talented musicians all, if this Smiths gig dries up for them (not likely in L.A.), they’ll be sure to find gainful musical employment elsewhere. The group’s frontman, Jose Maldonado, looks nothing like Moz…until he starts flailing around the stage, exposing his nipples, whipping the microphone cord and waving his tongue about. Just suspend your disbelief, blur your vision slightly and toss those gladioli with wild abandon.
The Curse Not so coincidentally, this Cure tribute ensemble opened for the Hooligans last Saturday. Moping all the way from El Monte, these guys lacked some polish (and a tuned lead guitar), but I’ll be a cagey tiger if the lead singer didn’t sound just like Fat Bob.
Sticky Fingers The Sticky Fingers’ Web site boasts “10 years of solid gigs,” which probably makes them the godfathers of (currently performing) Los Angeles tribute bands. Ten down, 30-odd to go, if they want to keep up with their idols, The Rolling Stones.
The Fab Four The self-proclaimed “Ultimate Tribute to the Beatles” sure packs ’em in in Vegas, Arrowhead Pond, Disneyland, the Hollywood Bowl and, come late August, the Cavern in Liverpool. Who’s buying my plane ticket?
Grand Illusion I don’t know what to say besides “Styx tribute band.” Oh, wait, yes I do: They’re playing at Normandy Casino in Gardena. There’s a casino in Gardena?
The Iron Maidens Shown above, this all-female Iron Maiden tribute band has a lot in common with AC/DShe, but the latter is in San Francisco, so they don’t qualify for a bold header in this list. Anyway, I’m sure the Maidens kick ass, plus they sell shiny underpants, which makes them OK in my book.
This random sampling was random and samply. Please add more L.A.-based tribute goodness to the comments.