The thought of a tribute band makes many people cringe. Are they ever really any good? Why can’t they play their own music?
At one time I suffered from this same thought process. And most are probably not that great. But last night at The Knockout, two bands demonstrated proficient skills at mimicry of great bands.
It was my first time at The Knockout, a strange but charming venue in Bernal Heights. It’s a bit awkward in its set up, brings a very eclectic crowd, and has mega cheap drinks.
First was Victim of Collision, a Devo tribute band fully decked out in the yellow jumpsuits and red plastic hats. I’m not super familiar with Devo beyond Whip It, which I luv, but judging from the crowd they did a bang up job.
Next was Astral, the only non tribute band of the night. It’s unfortunate, because they might have been more exciting if they were. I had listened to them on Myspace and thought they had potential, but that only began to come across towards the end of the set. They suffered from poor setlist construction, starting too slow and ramping up to their faster paced material as they went on. The early stuff was too spacey to grab me, and the musicians looked bored, so I was bored. The last few songs were better. A few more laps around the local venues and they will be worth checking out again.
And then came The Ghosts of Curtis. I love Joy Division, and went into this knowing that it could go either way- love it or hate it. I had a really great time. $4 vodka crans probably helped, but I thought they did the music justice. It didn’t feel like karaoke. And the singer has really got channeling Ian Curtis down, even to the dance, which is slightly overdone, but hilarious to watch. The crowd really enjoyed it, you could see a collective sentiment of people dancing around to music they love, wishing they had been able to see them for real.
The Ghost of Curtis performance: 8/10
Astral performance: 5/10
Victim of Collision performance: 7/10
venue (The Knockout): 7.5/10
value ($6/ticket): 9/10
HRC vid- She’s Lost Control
Other vids from youtube