Counterfeit Concert Boston Manor Park, London
Friday 05 September 1997
Last Saturday, the cream of the chicken-in-a-basket circuit were assembled in a park underneath the M4 elevated section to entertain the crowd. Spice it Up! is one of many Spice Girls tribute bands. They performed valiantly, getting children dancing along to "Wannabe" and "Mama" and, if you squinted, it could have been the real Spices on stage - except that they sounded nothing like them.
Luckily, no one knew what Crowded House looked like and so were unable to criticise Clouded House's dress sense. But here was a tribute band that sounded exactly like their heroes, singing hits such as "Weather With You", "Locked Out" and "Don't Dream It's Over".
Teen Spirit was a band with guitars so loud they made small children cry. The lead singer believed that if he wore a Dennis the Menace jumper and didn't wash his hair, he could summon the presence of Kurt Cobain to the stage. Their version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" died an absolute death, nor was "Rape Me" really suitable for a family-orientated gathering. And correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think Nirvana ever did a cover version of "Minnie the Moocher".
Blonde Ambition, the Madonna tribute, showed that whoever invented karaoke should have been shot at birth. It was up to Abba Gold to bring back the party feeling with a string of eminently danceable hits such as "Mama Mia", "Super Trouper" and "Waterloo". Their fantastic costumes put a sparkle into the proceedings, as did the audience's dance routines.
The Counterfeit Stones should have headlined - apart from the distressing sight of seeing your dad in a velvet jumpsuit, they were brilliant: lively, energetic, engaging and with a passing resemblance to the group they were imitating. "Brown Sugar" and "Honky Tonk Woman" went down a storm - this is what everyone wanted, something to sing along and dance about to. It was then such a let-down that the next act, the Cavern Beatles, were so terrible.
On stage, Nowaysis tried to adopt the Gallaghers' cool poise but could not hide their excitement at performing in front of such a huge crowd. The would-be Liam sneered to perfection and would-be Noel pouted in between little smirks. No one was looking at the rest of the band, which was just as well - they looked nothing like Guigsy, Alan White or Bonehead. Nowaysis's emphasis was more on the songs than the image and it worked. The crowd loved "Champagne Supernova", "Cigarettes and Alcohol" and "Supersonic", loudly accompanying "Don't Look Back in Anger" and "Wonderwall". They also played songs from the latest album Be Here Now, cheekily learnt from snatches they had heard on the radio prior to its release.
No Way Sis were better than Oasis in the sense that they looked interested in the crowd and enjoyed being there. There was no real distinction between audience and band, and the majority of these people wouldn't go and see Oasis live. Being in a tribute band is the easy way to having 15 minutes of fame. You don't have to write the songs nor endure the paparazzi: it simply allows you to be a kid again, singing in front of the mirror with your hairbrushn
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