This past Friday I had the opportunity to see the Dave Matthews tribute band, Big Eyed Phish, live in Hornell. With a dismal bank statement and a summer spent abroad, I jumped at the inexpensive chance to see superfans performing some of my favorite jams. Big Eyed Phish isn’t Dave Matthews Band, but they were close enough for me.
Big Eyed Phish isn’t the only tribute band I’ve gone out of my way to see perform. I’ve been to a Bad Fish show, the Sublime tribute band, and Solar Garlic, the Phish tribute band. I know friends that have traveled over a hundred miles to see Dark Star Orchestra, the premier Grateful Dead tribute band. Members of these cover bands go all out to recreate authentic performances mirroring the real deal. From facial expressions to banter between songs, these superfans want you to believe you are listening to the originals. But you’re not. So why bother?
There is something really special about Western New Yorkers and live music. If it’s an excuse to go out with friends, listen to some of your favorite songs and get a buzz on, we’re game. Plus with only six good months out of the year to go to live shows, we aren’t too picky. Tribute bands are a cheap alternative to seeing some of our favorite artists. They usually play at small venues as well, like the Hickey Tavern. We won’t ask for their autographs, but we’ll buy the guitarist a beer for making us dance. Hell, you can even book a cover band for your wedding or private party. Good luck trying to get Journey to perform at Spring Weekend, but you might snag Voyage. Next time you have five dollars burning a hole in your pocket, get a ticket to see a tribute band. You’ll have fun.