A Weekend of Covers, Tributes and Family Values

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Last Friday, my brother convinced me to go outside of the oven that is our house. He wanted to go watch a Guns N' Roses tribute band at a nearby club called Paladino's. He was the one that got me hooked on the band at the young age of eight so of course I went with him.

On the way there, he asks if I'm doing anything Sunday night. It was a long weekend, which meant I'd be trying to catch up on sleep. Half knowing the answer, he hands me a pair of tickets for the 2007 Family Values Tour. It was for the last stop at the Verizon Amphitheater in Irvine. Life IS peachy. I haven't followed Korn since I was teenager but I sure as hell wasn't going to turn down a chance to see them live.

When we arrived at Paladino's, I found out the place specialized at hosting tribute bands. They also showcase local talent and at times get surprise visits from bands like the Foo Fighters. The first group we saw onstage had a forgettable performance set except for their gimmick of two girls doing a pole dance routine. One of the girls in particular grabbed my attention. It had less to do with her stripping and shaking than the fact that she looked exactly like one of old co-workers from the Daily Nexus. I probably enjoyed it more than I should have.

Next up was Chinese Democracy, the GnR tribute band. I haven't seen many tribute bands live and a glimpse at the burly lead singer made me question how good their performance would be. My doubts went away the moment I heard the opening of "Welcome to the Jungle." What tribute bands lack in originality, they more than make up for with passion and commitment to the source material. Each band member easily matched the songs note for note. I loved how most of the set was from "Appetite for Destruction." It brought a lot of memories back. We didn't stay to watch the Kiss tribute band, but from their costumes I imagine they were pretty faithful to the songs as well.

So flash forward to Sunday night. We arrived at the Verizon Amphitheater at around sunset. We didn't get a chance to see Atreyu or Flyleaf but we were just in time for Evanescence. Aside from their singles, I'm not too into Evanescence. But watching Amy Lee head bang onstage made me realize that she's one of the few high profile female personalities left in the rock world. I can't even remember the last time bands like No Doubt, Garbage, Hole or the Distillers were still on the scene. Anyways, Amy did a rendition of "People are Strange" with piano, continuing the streak of cover performances I experienced that weekend.

Next up, was Korn. We were up in the lawn section of the amphitheater but that didn't diminish the enthusiasm of crowd. Bonfires erupted at four different locations on the lawn. Security initially kept trying to put them out but they would go up again the moment they left. The staff either ran out of fire retardant foam or realized no one was in any real danger and gave up on the fires. One fire got particularly large that Jonathan Davis noticed and asked, "who's roasting marshmallows over there?"

The band looked great. Jonathan seemed a bit slimmer in his kilt, Fieldy had his braids going and Munky looked like Jack Sparrow with his dreadlocks and eye makeup. David was still on hiatus and Head obviously wasn't there. Jonathan told the crowd that the night's set would be dedicated to all the OG Korn fans. Most of the songs were from their first three albums. Like all the other bands I saw that weekend, Korn did a cover as well. Their's was "Another Brick in the Wall." They closed with "Blind" and it worked out nicely since the song ended as the Moon was rising over the mountain range behind the stage. Great finish to a consistently high energy set. The only complaint I had, along with many in the crowd, was that they didn't perform "Got the Life." It wasn't a big deal since it's one of their overplayed songs. I could always watch it on Youtube. Just being out to see live bands made it an awesome long weekend. Now if I can only get tickets to KROQ's L.A. Invasion.