Are Tribute Bands killing Variety Cover Bands in your city?

Here in Denver, it seems like everyone I used to play with who's still out gigging is exclusively in a tribute band or two, or primarily focused on a tribute band. I talked to one guy who was doing a 90s (mostly) variety cover band and he said the Tribute bands he's in are great because you can share a bill and focus on 1-ish hours of your best stuff. It's not unlike an originals lineup and commitment. That was the other thing this guy I know really liked. Getting in and out and not having to start set up around 7p and go home at 1a. I wonder how the pay works out? If they both pay about the same, I'd certainly appreciate playing less and focusing on quality over quantity. My interest is to play music that my audience and I enjoy...more than they pay.

Seems like a number of you still have variety cover bands and places to play. Maybe it's a Denver thing. I'm pondering if I can get back into playing out after I just had a fun backyard party...my first gig in front of people in over 2 years. I just can't get my mind wrapped around the "costume" aspects of tribute bands.
 
I would say tributes account for about 80% of the local DFW bands. Party bands make the most money. A friend is in Yacht Rock band and they do well. Of course, there are franchises, too. Le Freak, Emerald City, etc. which have their own dynamics with regards to pay.
 
No. Tribute bands rule the venues but there is enough business in functions, parties, etc for the variety bands. I’m in the latter

Different markets
 
No. Tribute bands rule the venues but there is enough business in functions, parties, etc for the variety bands. I’m in the latter

Different markets

Good point. For the pro market, I'd assume people still want variety for those gigs you mentioned. Forgot about that whole segment.
 
One of our main concert venues in town seems to book about 60-70% b-level tribute acts vs original artists. I find it depressing, honestly.

The number of Van Halen tribute acts alone that have appeared since EVH died is staggering.

I’ve found the whole thing gross and pandering far more than a “tribute” to anyone.
 
Played in a Black Crowes Themed band for a few years on Long Island, we were really good. I hesitated calling us a tribute as we did not try to look like them, but our singer could handle the vocals pretty good.

We played all the "big rooms" on Long Island, usually on shared bills with other acts with a theme or tribute. Sets wouldn't be long (40 to 60 mins). I was also in a few run of the mill cover bands that would never be able to get into the "big rooms".

So, in a way, I liked the Black Crowes band because gigs would always be in really nice places, as the other bands I was in would never play those places. But the other bands played much longer gigs, in much smaller places..
 
One of our main concert venues in town seems to book about 60-70% b-level tribute acts vs original artists. I find it depressing, honestly.

The number of Van Halen tribute acts alone that have appeared since EVH died is staggering.

I’ve found the whole thing gross and pandering far more than a “tribute” to anyone.

I feel this way too. It seems like the b-level cover bands moved to b-level tributes that are taking away from more original acts by crowding up the same venues.
 
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I have an opinion, that may be controversial...
(and it may be, sour grapes, formed from perhaps the reality that maybe I'm not good enough to be in ( any ) tribute band!)
...but I have been playing all kinds of 'cover music' for 48 years now. It was never called that when it was younger- I just loved music, and wanted to learn it, perform it. Now, I was in Classic Rock bands, blues bands, Classic Country bands, bluegrass too. But those genres were the 'identifiers' of the music.

I now play ( as I am indeed a aging Baby-boomer, that did play all these kinds of music) in two bands that play ALL these styles of music together ( I'm the main singer), to celebrate/keep alive some great music, and most folks love it!

But I never have called it a 'cover band'- it seems to have a bad connotation- lesser than doing original music.
And it belittles a ton of (fun!) work and time I, and many others put in, to playing music I love. I don't think folks are aware of this.
I also, happen to think of Tribute bands ( I know folks are indeed musicians in these bands) as being something else, Performance Art? Aren't you literally doing a play, of a band playing its music? THAT seems weird, to me! Then again the players and audience really love it...
Ex. I LOVE, The Grateful Dead, The Stones, Beatles- play a lot of that music in our sets. But I would never wanna be in a band playing only that music, I gotta mix it up!

Thanks, just me rambling, but I do love the music!
 
Here in Denver, it seems like everyone I used to play with who's still out gigging is exclusively in a tribute band or two, or primarily focused on a tribute band. I talked to one guy who was doing a 90s (mostly) variety cover band and he said the Tribute bands he's in are great because you can share a bill and focus on 1-ish hours of your best stuff. It's not unlike an originals lineup and commitment. That was the other thing this guy I know really liked. Getting in and out and not having to start set up around 7p and go home at 1a. I wonder how the pay works out? If they both pay about the same, I'd certainly appreciate playing less and focusing on quality over quantity. My interest is to play music that my audience and I enjoy...more than they pay.

Seems like a number of you still have variety cover bands and places to play. Maybe it's a Denver thing. I'm pondering if I can get back into playing out after I just had a fun backyard party...my first gig in front of people in over 2 years. I just can't get my mind wrapped around the "costume" aspects of tribute bands.


I have several friends in Denver in tribute bands. A lot of 90's stuff. They seem to gig a lot.
 
I have several friends in Denver in tribute bands. A lot of 90's stuff. They seem to gig a lot.

Yeah I've noticed a lot of 90s bands advertised in venues around Denver. Guy I played in an originals act with, briefly, is in a Pearl Jam tribute that is active. Another guy I never played with but know did a 90s variety band up until right before COVID. He's now is doing AC/DC and Def Leppard tributes. He ended his 90s band.
 
I have an opinion, that may be controversial...
(and it may be, sour grapes, formed from perhaps the reality that maybe I'm not good enough to be in ( any ) tribute band!)
...but I have been playing all kinds of 'cover music' for 48 years now. It was never called that when it was younger- I just loved music, and wanted to learn it, perform it. Now, I was in Classic Rock bands, blues bands, Classic Country bands, bluegrass too. But those genres were the 'identifiers' of the music.

I now play ( as I am indeed a aging Baby-boomer, that did play all these kinds of music) in two bands that play ALL these styles of music together ( I'm the main singer), to celebrate/keep alive some great music, and most folks love it!

But I never have called it a 'cover band'- it seems to have a bad connotation- lesser than doing original music.
And it belittles a ton of (fun!) work and time I, and many others put in, to playing music I love. I don't think folks are aware of this.
I also, happen to think of Tribute bands ( I know folks are indeed musicians in these bands) as being something else, Performance Art? Aren't you literally doing a play, of a band playing its music? THAT seems weird, to me! Then again the players and audience really love it...
Ex. I LOVE, The Grateful Dead, The Stones, Beatles- play a lot of that music in our sets. But I would never wanna be in a band playing only that music, I gotta mix it up!

Thanks, just me rambling, but I do love the music!

I get your point. I love playing music too. I guess you could call a cover band a variety band. I've done those mostly and some original work. I prefer playing a variety too and was hoping I could find a way to do it again where there'd be an audience. Right now I'm working on writing some originals with a friend and that's been refreshing.
 
I don't think so. Around here Tribute bands play bars/venues and Cover bands play weddings and festivals.
 
I get your point. I love playing music too. I guess you could call a cover band a variety band. I've done those mostly and some original work. I prefer playing a variety too and was hoping I could find a way to do it again where there'd be an audience. Right now I'm working on writing some originals with a friend and that's been refreshing.
In VA there are a ton of brewpubs and Wineries ( and baby boomers!) so the acoustic duos and trios I'm in ( with the music mix and lower band volume ).are a good fit.

We also like to jam, stretch out a bit, which puts a cool twist on these 'cover songs'
 
That made me change my click baity title ;) Might still be a "no" for you anyway

This area (Knoxville, TN) is of course not a huge city. There are literally 100's of cover bands around here, and we all play the same "circuit." Tribute bands have just never been a big thing around here, for whatever reasons I can't tell you. You'll see some ads every once in a while from someone wanting to start a (insert name of famous band here______________), but it's rare to hear of one booked to play.
 




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