I'm done with cover bands / by Rollie Agado

Attended not one… but two shows headlined by cover bands last night.   I did so for completely different reasons.

The Spazmatics
So, the best and only way to describe the Spazmatics is to call them an 80’s experience.  A radio/family friendly showcase of songs everyone in attendance can sing along to.

A few weeks ago, a co-worker stopped by and asked if I was interested in free tickets…  I discovered that some co-workers were planning to go as a group, so I agreed to meet up with everyone for pre-drinks and the show.

All in all, I can happily say that I had a really good time with my co-workers.  It’s a shame that we don’t get a chance to hangout more often for drinks and ha-ha’s.  

I split from the White Water Amphitheater (which was incredibly nice and spacious by the way) and made my way into the city to catch The Clampdown.

The Clampdown
The Clampdown can be summed up as a Clash tribute band.  Shortly after Joe Strummer passed away in 2002, I attended a Joe Strummer/Clash tribute show at the Lager House in Corktown, Detroit.

I didn’t know what to expect…  but I felt compelled to show up and spend an evening with fellow Clash fans who were also morning the loss of Joe Strummer.

The show was freakishly therapeutic.  Everyone threw their arms around one another and belted out lyrics to every song.  I easily had three or four beers poured on me that night and I didn’t give a shit.  My favorite memory of that show, was seeing a guy in attendance ask for a song to be played. The bassist/singer admitted not know it… and the guy hopped on stage - took off his shirt to display a red star with revolvers tattoo that read - Guns of Brixton.

A year ago, I discovered that a tribute band by the name of the Clampdown also plays shows in the San Antonio area.  They only play a handful of dates and it’s usually around August of every year.

I dug it verily and made it a point catch them again this year… 

Much to my surprise, they added a new guy on keys.  An extra drummer… they have a guy who plays a number of percussion instruments and a girl for backing vocals.

I couldn’t think of any Clash songs that had female backing vocals, but figured she would take on the duties of singing the Mick Jones parts.

In addition to wearing an Off! tank top, she was incredibly easy on the eyes… so the night seemed promising.

The show started… and something felt off.  I don’t know if it was too many things going on at once… but there were a number of miscues.  Lyrically and musically - things were disjointed.  The mix wasn’t particularly forgiving for the new female singer.  She drowned out everyone and I wouldn’t describe her singing as pleasant.

Again… it takes a lot of courage to go up there and do this kind of thing.  

I had my fill, when they began to cover Spanish Bombs and she didn’t know the lyrics to the song.  She was reading them off a sheet of paper by the drum kit and they missed an entire verse.

I opted to leave before growing more impatient and chalked this experience up to it being one of their off nights.

In the future… I hope the tribute continues.  There’s a lot of stuff going on with the “channeling” Joe Strummer throughout the night.  I think they could do with a lot less of that and just focus on not fucking up the songs.

We’re there for the music after all…