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23 December, 2003

Cover bands - not here, thanks.

We've been asked to help promote a Jethro Tull tribute band, by mentioning it at the Ministry.  Whilst I intend no criticism of a band I haven't heard, that's an important point - I don't think it's reasonable to ask us to recommend a band without having heard them first.
A more significant reason is that I just don't like the very idea of tribute bands.

Thankfully, their popularity seems to be waning, at least in mainstream venues. Last year, I saw dozens advertised, but only a couple in 2003. I'm sure many are extremely competent, accurately reconstructing the music, appearence and even stage act of their chosen original band, but I have a real problem with the lack of originality. If someone is a musician, I'd always encourage him/her to be creative, ideally to compose his/her own music. Covering other artists' material is absolutely fine with me so long as it's reinterpretation, not meticulous duplication of the original; I don't really see a virtue in direct copying.

In November 2002, I saw the Australian Pink Floyd (APF) in Morecambe. Their light show was pretty good, though budget and space limitations meant it wasn't exactly of Pink Floyd-type splendour! The music was note-perfect; absolutely impossible to fault, and the vocals matched Gilmour's and Waters' voices well enough to convince. It was like listening to the CDs, loudly, in public. And that, I'm afraid, just doesn't inspire me. To hear that wonderful and familiar music, then glance up to see it's not Waters or Gilmour on stage momentarily confuses and ultimately disappoints. I really enjoyed the concert, but there was something... missing. The APF were back in Morecambe a couple of months ago. I considered going, but though I think they're excellent in their chosen genre, it's not one I particularly wish to see again.

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