A music festival for tribute bands? TribFest 2013

It’s a music festival?

But the bands performing are not the bands who had the hits?

How does that work?

It works very simply, my friend.

Hello, and welcome to Tribfest.







Tribfest is a music festival for Tribute bands.

My cynical muso-self very unkindly thought that TribFest would be a lot of people pretending to enjoy themselves in front of musicians pretending to be other bands.

But I now realise that the truth is that TribFest is much more complex – and much more enjoyable – than that cynical thought.

This weekend around 4,000 people sat, in a slightly damp corner of Yorkshire, very close to the musical action and watched – and listened to – some excellent musical artists sing and play some excellent music.

We saw The Doors (who were as rubbish, as yawn-inducing, and as over-inflated as The real Doors are).

We saw a very credible Pet Shop Boys.

We saw a good Lady Gaga.

We saw a very mediocre and self-indulgent wankfest clone of The Who (who were every bit as mediocre and self-indulgent wankfesting as the real The Who).

We saw an attitude-laden and scarily authentic (and therefore totally awesome) Oasis.

We saw a good Ramones (though there is something incredibly ‘pop eating itself inside out’ at the thought of a Ramones tribute band).

We saw an awful awful karaoke Katy Perry.

We saw a Kings of Leon who were so much better than the real Kings Of Leon.

We saw a Pink Floyd who had me continually referring back to all the times I’ve seen the real Pink Floyd, and comparing them very favourably.

We saw a truly awful and dirge-ridden Joy Division which, to be fair, might have been a very good representation of how the real Joy Division actually performed live.

We saw the most amazing The Smiths who were so awesome they even arranged to make it pour down with rain the minute they took the stage, and as they wound up their set and walked off to rapturous but damp applause, the sun came out. Very Manchester, very Morrisey.

We saw a distinctly average live performance from the Arctic Monkeys.

I’m told that The Levellers we saw were very good, but to my ears every song sounded the same as the previous one.

We had a double win whammy with The Beautiful South/The Housemartins who had everyone on their feet singing and dancing.

We had a very strong, heart-and-soul performance from Simple Minds which was even better when one considers these performers are actually Dutch.

And we had another helping of self-indulgent wankering guitar solos and a large dollop of almost four complete albums from an epicly excellent (Dutch version of) Muse (and these guys were so much better than the real Muse, when I saw them perform their shockingly awful show at Reading Festival a couple of years ago).

So what if there wasn’t one original song in all of the sets, what does that matter?

We don’t go to music festivals to hear material we are not familiar with.

We go to music festivals to stare at the wierdos and to dance and to drink and to sing ourselves hoarse to songs that we know the beats, the patterns, the solos and the lyrics to.

And we go to festivals to get up close and personal to the music action.

That, my friends, is what TribFest served up to me this weekend.

Close to the stage. Unobscured vision of the bands because the wankers with their too-fucking-large flags and “here I am” banners weren’t in the way.

Make no mistake, this was no ‘Stars In Their Eyes’ beauty competition.

Every single band/artist made huge effort to look like, to act like, and to sound like the people they were paying musical homage to.

And I feel that, by being there, and by singing and dancing and clapping and loving the tribute bands….

Yes, I actually feel that we were paying our own tribute to the original artists, as well as saying ‘thank you’ to the tribute bands.

And massive thanks to Michelle for allowing me to be her guest.

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