I had thought that as someone who had enjoyed the technical perfection of Blue Oyster Cult and Deep Purple, the manic energy of Axl (Rose), and, er, standing in mud listening to Metallica while watching James Hetfield’s blown-up face, going to see these little sweet local bands which enliven Haligonian weekend evenings could have little charm.
Gentle Reader, I was wrong- they have charm by the spades.
Cover bands, tribute bands, what a world, hey? Shall I start with the apparently nameless group who blasted through “For Whom The Bell Tolls”, “Nothing Else Matters”, and – something else- I am growing old and I can’t remember- anyway, absolutely incredibly? I swear to you, Gentle Reader, that if you couldn’t see them and didn’t know, you would have absolutely sworn it was James and Kirk up there, on the stage of a seedy bar in a seedy part of town. As the youth who played the role of James walked by me, I stopped him and asked for Astronomy. He beamed proudly and said they were learning it. Oh poor youth. Stop thanking the audience and your mates so much- really. It’s not a school presentation, you’re singing Metallica.
A girl danced by herself to “Nothing Else Matters”. Her boyfriend said she was loopy, then looked at me and asked me why I don’t dance with her. I giggled and cast my eyes down, like a good Iranian girl, and said I don’t dance to Metallica. Later the girl told me she had been with the boy for five years, with no ring to show for me. She spread out her pretty hands, showing her ringless fingers. She said if she doesn’t get a ring this year, she’s gonna throw him out. She wants diamonds. This over the infernal din of the “Rage Against the Machine” tribute band. They had hung the flag of Canada upside down on the stage, a sight which enchanted me, almost as much as watching the headbanging and jumping. Amazing, watching a people normally so cold and restrained give way to such orgiastic delight and shrieking ecstasy- even in the shows mentioned above, it seemed the presence of their gods inhibited the true abandon which was overflowing in that dingy little bar.
The next tribute band has a name so excruciatingly embarrassing that I can’t bring myself to type it (or even say it, when I was asking the bartender when they would play “When does Red Hot Chili, emm, ur, you know, play?” I mean, don’t they know what pecker is slang for? Or they do and they think it’s hilarious? But again, the acting was perfect. I defy Anthony Keidis to move his arms with such robot-like precision as his student did, last night, in Halifax.