If you have been following me for a while, then you know I am a HUGE fan of the Portland Tribute Band scene. As somebody who has seen ALL these groups in their “real” form, I can safely put just about all of these bands up against their namesakes and feel like the Tribute Band is actually giving a better show.
This is something I actually had a friend ask me one day after I’d posted a review of a concert event that I attended. Why would I pay money to see people pretending to be somebody else performing music? That was tagged with the added comment, “You know that there are plenty of really good original acts out there, right?” Of course I know that. I have an old friend who is in a band playing all original stuff. I go see him, too. However, there is something very alluring about the Tribute Band scene.
To a casual observer, the above picture is just a man with a guitar. To an AC/DC fan, that looks an awful lot like Angus Young. Shoot to Thrill is an AC/DC Tribute Band that puts out the hits and songs you expect from the actual band. Musically, they are very tight and well polished. For less than it costs to park at one of the big arenas or stadiums, I get the whole experience.
As a fan of the original band KISS, I see the current incarnation as perhaps the most expensive Tribute Band to take the stage. $100+ for tickets to see half the original band? Okay, but I saw them in 1978 for $9.50 and it was the ACTUAL band. If I am going to see some guys acting the parts, why not pop into Hollywood Hot Rod Bar and Grill in Portland, Oregon and see the band Dr. Love for free! Oh, and toss in an amazing burger and fries to boot!
Another cool thing about the Tribute Bands is that they are almost always VERY accessible. It is not uncommon for the band to come out and mingle with the audience after the show. And, if they are not the final act, you will often find yourself shoulder-to-shoulder with the members of some of the early acts as THEY come out to catch the other artists. Also, they can often wade out into the crowd DURING the show. The bottom line is that these acts usually do a great deal to make you feel like they care that you came.
And while some of them might not look exactly like the act they are portraying, some of them actually make you rub your eyes even up close. Mark Thomas of Steelhorse? Or Jon Bon Jovi?
Don Evans of Unchained? Or David Lee Roth (in his glory days)? The bottom line is that these performers feel they need to be on point every single show. They don’t tour the world and do 200 shows a year. Many of them do just a handful. They know that they can lose the fans if they come out and do a half-assed job. It isn’t a case of, “Oh well, they will still love us, buy our records, and we always have tomorrow.” These people go out and put it all out for the audience. So, maybe you are still skeptical. All I can say is that you need to go see for yourself. Unlike the actual artists, you will be out about the price of a movie ticket, not a car or mortgage payment. However, I think you will be hooked. If you are in the Portland, Oregon area, I can’t stress enough checking out Harefest 6 in Canby. And if that seems like too much of a commitment, then just pop over to the J-Fell page and find an upcoming show.
OR…on the 26th of April you can Check out Dr. Love (KISS) and Poison’us (Uh…Poison). They will be playing a gig in Portland. And if you have not seen the new Poison’us, lineup, I can;t stress enough that this is a band you will be hearing more about in the coming months. This is a revitalized and pure-energy foursome that are hitting on all cylinders. (Harefest 7 worthy? I sure hope so.)