Volume: Xerofest 2010, Lee Harvey’s, Dallas, TX 06/12/2010

Originally posted on Facebook 06/17/2010

Several years back, I found myself in Indianapolis, IN with a band called Godplow. We had only been in Indy for a few hours, but we had completely exhausted our entertainment resources, walked around as much as we could, found the nearby local record shop (where I found 2 of the elusive Melvins “Single of The Month Club” 7″s), eaten, and loaded the equipment in. And it was only 8 o’clock. While sitting at the bar, the bartender tipped us off that the owner of the venue also owned and booked a small theatre a few blocks away. This was great news, since he said he could call down and have us all put on the list for the show, just to be back by set-time at 10:00. Without hesitation, the five of us all piled into the van to make the trip when we asked who was playing. Battery and Cowboys From Hell, the Metallica and Pantera tribute bands, respectively. I’d seen that the tribute band concept was heating up, but this was my first taste of it. We only saw a little bit of Cowboys From Hell, thanks for technical difficulties. But what we saw of them, they had the look, attitude, and style down.

For the actual artists, tribute acts have come in handy at times. Jason “Ripper” Owens, the “Rob Halford” for a prominent Judas Priest tribute act was tapped to take Halford’s position when he left the band. This prompted the basic story for the movie “Rock Star”, starring Mark Wahlberg. David Lee Roth snagged California’s leading Van Halen tribute act as his backing band on the ill fated Hagar/Roth tour in 2002. Or Roth/Hagar, depending on who you spoke with.

The Golden Triangle (D/FW/D) has played host to several tribute acts as well . Over the years, we’ve seen Weener (Weezer), Warsaw (Joy Division), Me and My Monkey and Hard Day’s Night (The Beatles), Bricks In The Wall (Pink Floyd) and Back In Black (AC/DC). The national scene is hot too, with Hell’s Belles, an all female AC/DC troupe, Super Diamond (Neil Diamond), and even Mini-Kiss, the vertically challenged Kiss tribute, and we’re just scratching the surface.

This past Saturday, Lee Harvey’s in Dallas played host to the first of what could be annual event, Xerofest. And just to prove how far the tribute band concept has gotten, the lineup was full of local tribute bands. Represented was Elvis Costello (Oliver’s Army), The Police (Regatta de Faux), David Bowie (Thin White Dukes), Tom Petty (Petty Theft), The Cure (Le Cure), Beastie Boys (Rhymin’ N’ Stealin’), and Queen (Queen For A Day). I only got to see three of them, but it was fun for sure.

Upon arrival, Petty Theft were getting set up. You really don’t realize how many Tom Petty hits there are until they are played back to back. Featuring The Ticket’s Mike Ryner on vocals, Petty Theft do Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers enough justice they could fill in whenever Petty felt like taking a night off, even if they look nothing like them. Rolling through the hits and a couple of deeper cuts, (the absence of “Don’t Come Around Here No More” was disappointing, but you get what you get) Petty Theft was a great way to start out the day.

Following Petty Theft was Le Cure. The Cure is one of those bands that a concept such as this could be an amazing failure. There are so many facets to the original, the gloomy early material, the more accessible mid period, or even just the hits. Going with the hits is usually the best bet, and that’s what they do. Although, if they were to play the entire Faith album I’m sure a few of us would be happy. Channeling Robert Smith, the frontman gets Smiths distinct vocal styling as close to the original as one could hope. He had to be burning up in his all black long-sleeve/pants/wig attire, as it was still very hot at when they went on. This was also a fun way to celebrate the remastered reissue of The Cure’s 1989 masterpiece, Disintegration, wrapping up an intensive Cure week.

The last act I saw at Xerofest was possibly the most fun: Rymin’ N’ Stealin’. Honestly, I was NOT a Beastie Boys fan when Licensed To Ill came out. But over the years I have developed an appreciation for them. Staying true to character and to the songs, Rhymin’ N’ Stealin’ did just that, stole the show. With a repertoire spanning the Beastie Boys entire career, Rhymin’ N Stealin’ fills the void for the currently absent Beastie’s. I will go see them again.

Unfortunately I missed some of the acts I wanted to see. Most notably Oliver’s Army and Thin White Dukes. If rumors are true that this could be an annual event, I’m in. It’s not every day you get to see Tom Petty, The Cure and Beastie Boys on the same bill.

As much as I loathe Weezer, it kinda makes me miss Weener.

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~ by thesynaptic on August 4, 2010.

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