Tonawanda News

Columns

June 21, 2013

ADAMCZYK: The bus pulls up and the band limps out

Tonawanda News — Back when compact disc recordings nudged vinyl LPs out of the racks at the record store (ask your grandmother what a record store was), a common complaint among relatively new bands was their competition in the stores with older ensembles. There was not enough room for plastic ware when the store was full of CD reissues of old material by Pink Floyd, the Electric Light Orchestra and the like.

So what does the earnest young rocker make of the schedules of local outdoor music series in Western New York? For a nominal charge, so nominal it is often free, we can see and hear bands colossally past their prime, with personnel lineups full of strangers, all over the area. Adam Ant, anyone? (Erie Canal harbor, July 22.) The Fixx? (Same place, July 25.) A certain percentage of Blue Oyster Cult? (Artpark, Aug. 6.)

Perhaps you prefer the aforementioned Pink Floyd, or maybe you have some fevered dream involving a reconstituted Beatles. They’re not coming, but at least one tribute band of each is. (“Tribute band” implies an ensemble performing the material, and exercising the stage nuance, of the group it is “covering,” or emulating, which reminds me of the Las Vegas billboard once seen on “The Simpsons” — “Tonight: Moody Blues cover band. Warm-up act, the Moody Blues.”) See “Highway to Hell,” an AC/DC tribute band, July 27 on North Tonawanda’s Webster Street.

Appreciation of one’s taste in rock music runs deep, especially when the music in question coincides with the era in life you consider the best you ever were. That thing you had for the band Kansas, for example, came when your hair was great, so was your car, and kids, divorce and sundry dead ends were only specks on the horizon. Ergo, when the band Kansas comes to town (July 12 in Lockport), it’s suddenly your idea of 1977. Carry on, my wayward son.

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