In the past week, I’ve seen SIX tribute acts on the Viper stage. Watching the waves of spectators flow in and out of the legendary room, like the tides – Leatherboy gear to Sabbath T’s – Sixes to facepaint… the Tribute experience is an incredibly unique one.
I generally hate categorizing art into pigeonholes, but I’ve certainly noticed some recurring characteristics in some cover or tribute acts…
The Whole Megillah:
This band is the one that eats, sleeps, breathes and, whenever possible, uses quotations from their assigned characters in everyday life. Okay, maybe they don’t go that far, but they’ve taken the characters of the band members as their own, learned the lore and could play them in a Ken Burns special, if asked. This is the sort of thing I’d expect in Vegas – like The Fab Four – I used to see them at the former Scruffy O’Shea’s in Venice and They. Were. The Beatles.
FanHead and Friends:
In this group, we have a frontperson who has created their own vision of the artist they portray, and has some supportive and talented friends to back them. Simple as that, no airs, just homage.
The Slumber Party:
They just had this idea last weekend, over a hungover brunch. Somebody knew somebody/works with/sleeps with/wants to sleep with/needs to borrow something from someone who could get them a time slot somewhere. They practiced all week, after happy hour, at karaoke – wait, who’s singing this one? Let’s just all do it!
…and everything in between.
The tributes I’ve just seen, however, these are what I like to see.
The level of talent among the players in these bands – it’s like an ad for LA’s best and brightest. What do I love about Judas Priest? Well, besides Rob Halford’s irreverently powerful drag, voice and splendour??
The song, Touch of Evil. I LOVE that song. I’ve never seen Priest live, and watching Diamonds & Rust rock that one out was such a treat!! Speaking to the guys after their set, it sounds like they’ll be playing out a lot, so catch them if you can!
Mr. Crowley happens to be one of my personal fave Ozzy songs… I would’ve loved to have heard that one from the band who bears the title, with that spot-on soundalike on vocals and a fanblown Zakk Wylde-alike on lead guitar.
Honestly, I could’ve closed my eyes and then wondered why, because my ears were telling me the Blizzard was present!!
I’m gonna keep these guys on my radar!
I don’t know why it took me so long to get into Maiden. They’re a stellar band and musically, their composition has a classical feel that really connects me to my theatrical/musical roots. Somewhere Thru Time has a way of highlighting all of those elements that give Iron Maiden the virtuosity I truly dig!
First, the orchestral gravitas given to each arrangement, building layers of story and narration that builds in intensity, allowing for the gargantuan vocal expression and rhythmic force necessary to communicate the urgency of the message… it’s opera you can thrash to!!
When Marylin Manson hit the scene, my musical tastes were seemingly defined. I wasn’t ready to accept anything I could hear on the radio, thanks to my newfound locavore focus. #AdolescentArrogance The only exposure I’ve really had to this artist’s work has been through tribute acts. WHY did I wait so long??!
Mechanical Manson made me give Marilyn the chance I shoulda offered years ago!! Another boon for tribute bands; the second time around may hit you at the right time… in just the right spot. With every member clad in an MM-style drag, with frontmanntics that would put Madonna’s evil twin to shame – a new fixation is born…
Last night, back at The Viper Room, another four-course Metal Assault (#11!) feast brought a great crowd, filling the room on a Sunday night!
Opening the evening was The Conduit, who gave us some hypnotic, progressive metal, topped with vocals ranging from a Bloody Murder scream to a dreamlike croon. After some technical/equipment difficulties, they fell into a groove featuring some wildly transcendent guitar.
I have a feeling they’re just getting started. It’ll be interesting to see how they evolve.
Next, Evol Walks strutted in with confident focus, juicy riffs and deliciously defiant vocals. From start to finish, their (too short) set brought the goods.
A hard rockin’ five-piece from Oz, with a mad-talented fiery frontwoman – hello inspiration!! Another one to add to the #mustfollow list!
Last night’s main event, the YEGHIKIAN Album Release Show, came next. This was hot. They’ve got this deep, growling, bluesy grind – highlighted with mind-bending guitar, tympanic trickery and the assertive, haunting embrace of tenor vocals. So. Damn. Good.
Remember, this was an album release event, so I had to take one home… along with a great new T-shirt 🙂 I loaded the cd into my car stereo on the way home and brought it inside with me… I’m still listening to it. The album feels like autumn to me, even on this hot, sticky day. It’s moody and sexy, dark and confident, fresh and heavy – BUY IT!! I can’t get enough!! I wanna pair it with a bonfire… yeah, it’s like that.
Closing the night was Mirrors, a band I’d recently become aware of, and was curious to see. Behind the roaring-angry-soul-screams of the vocals, bass and guitar wove sonic structures together with architectural precision while answering to the equally melodic drum score.
This is another group that I’ll be keeping on my radar.
We’ll see what this week brings! In the mean time, keep rockin’!!