[This was my weekly column for Global News. – AC]
Normally, the goal of the tribute band is to provide audiences with a reasonable facsimile of the real thing when the original isn’t available.
Take, for example, Over the Garden Wall, which strives to reproduce early-’70s Genesis— a.k.a. the Peter Gabriel era — with absolute precision. Ontario’s Practically Hip has provided a more-than-serviceable presentation of The Tragically Hip since 1997. The whole purpose of the Beatlemania and Rain productions were to re-imagine The Beatles as if they had continued to play live after 1966. And let’s not even start with Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson imitators.
The array of tribute acts is nothing short of a staggering, panoply of music with something for everyone. Morrissey doppelgängers (both in tribute acts The Smythsand the all-Spanish Mexrrissey), ABBA clones (including the seriously great-named Björn Again), Daft Punk doubles, (EDM tributes are very big right now; witness Livemau5 and Calvin Harrison), a Japanese Radiohead (On a Saturday) — the list goes on. Some of them are so good that it’s hard to tell them from the real thing, which is exactly what audiences want.
But then there are the acts that want to add a twist to their tributes.