When I was a younger man, I had a well-considered aversion to the phenomenon of ‘tribute’ acts. As the rage grew for copycat behaviour, I was left cold by the prospect. I wanted the new, the exciting and the unique. I didn’t want my treasured ‘memories’ when first hearing a piece of music to be somehow diminished or sullied by John Lennon or Freddie Mercury wannabes.
I tried to get over myself and went to the very first Glastonbudget, a festival in these parts that’s largely dedicated to the tribute. I couldn’t get on with it despite a grudging acknowledgement that T-Rextasy were great (and I’d never get to see Marc Bolan do his thing for real). I chuckled when Coolplay played Coldplay’s new single three days after it was released. It was the first time I’d heard it – and that felt all sorts of topsy-turvy.
It’s fair to say that my aversion has calmed (a bit) with age. A couple of years back, I went to see a Queen tribute (endorsed for quality by Roger Taylor). And I found myself carried along with the crowd’s enthusiasm. Similarly at this year’s Bestival (my eFestivals review here), I was most charitable about The Smiths Ltd. Their Morrissey and Marr combo was accurate and suitably miserable.
It was with some trepidation that I headed along to Leicester’s Music Cafe on Friday night to see Gladness, the ultimate Madness tribute act. A great friend of mine over a number of years, Jon O’Neill, sings with the band and I know a few of the other members as well. It could have been awkward if I’d had to make my excuses and leave early with a nasty dose of tributitis.
(Click on page 2 to see my Gladness review)