Tribute bands – bands that emulate famous groups or individual performers – are gaining popularity. Over the past decade, tribute acts have become a subculture all their own. So, what’s driving this trend? While nostalgia is a huge part, there are a few other factors at play.
No one can deny the power of nostalgia. Classic songs bring back happy memories, transporting people back to a simpler time. For many, it’s like going back to their teenage years and revisiting their youth. And, it’s not just about the music – it’s about bringing back the whole experience.
Joseph Cumia, who portrays The Edge in 2U, explains the phenomenon to Music Radar. “To be in a tribute band, you have to be part musician, part thespian. You’re not only re-creating the music of that band, you’re giving people the experience of being at that band’s show. It’s a whole different ball game,” he says.
Most tribute acts don’t play someone else’s music unless they are really connected to it. They’re paying respect to something that’s special to them and sharing it with other people.
For tribute bands, it’s a labor of love. They want to do the music justice, and they bring that passion center-stage.
Tribute act audiences want to immerse themselves in their favorite music. Often the original band might not be playing anymore, and in some cases, the original legends have passed on. For audiences, tribute acts are the next best thing.
Seeing tribute bands perform can be like seeing legendary bands perform live – in their prime. The acts are in iconic costumes, they bust out the legendary dance moves, and they really embody the entire experience.
“The elements which I’d like to see in a show are escapist - I want to be transported to Rockland with the long hair, leathers, stage set and the pyro going off,” says Lizzy Wayne Ellis, a tribute artist who emulates Phil Lynott.
Tribute artists like to make like-minded music fans happy. And, concert-goers like to surround themselves with others who appreciate the same music that they do. When the entire venue is enjoying the same blast from the past, the energy is palpable.
People already know the beat of each song that is played, making it easier to sing and dance to. And some tribute bands are re-envisioning re-exploring a lot of these songs in new ways. The result is a unique experience. People can enjoy the music they know while still enjoying an element of surprise.
“As a tribute band, it’s important to try and emulate the band as much as possible, however whilst authenticity is everything it’s also important that a band injects some individuality into the music too,” explains Last Minute Musicians.
Then, there are the obvious financial reasons why tribute bands are popular. They’re less expensive than seeing the original acts.
“Concert ticket prices are out of control. People have families, homes, and kids going to college, therefore every dollar counts,” says Jim Chinnici, who plays bassist Nikki Sixx in the Mötley Crüe tribute band Theatre of Pain. “Once you get through the night you wind up spending $400 to $500. A lot of people don’t have that kind of money lying around,” he says.
Tribute bands typically have early start times and play at local venues that are accessible by car. Traveling into a big city for a show can be daunting – and expensive. With tribute bands, audiences get to see legendary music performed live, in their backyards.
Forget standing in line at packed stadiums or sitting in the nosebleed section. Tribute acts play at smaller venues like local theatres and music halls. Fans can get up close and personal with the performers, in ways that just aren’t possible otherwise.
At the end of the day, people see tribute bands to have a good time. The tribute artists aren’t trying to rip off the originals. They just want to have a good time and hope the crowd has a good time too.
If you haven’t seen a tribute band yet, don’t knock it 'till you try it. Check out our upcoming shows to see if there’s a tribute band touring near you.
2468 North Jerusalem Road Suite # 15,
Bellmore, NY 11710
Music Tribute Shows
+1 (631) 333 0073
Mon - Fri, 8:00am-5:00pm