Less schmaltzy than a wedding DJ and a lot less expensive than the real thing, cover bands play everyone’s favorite jams. In a music mecca like Los Angeles, where the genuine article might be playing just down the street, cover bands have to be fierce. When you want the next best thing in L.A., these are guys are the hitmakers.
If you love to bump and hustle, the ’80s cover band Boogie Knights gets the party started. What started out as a Halloween gag for a group of friends became a regular gig with appearances on MTV, television shows and films. The band is on tour with George Lopez now. The lead singer has the flowing mane of Farrah Fawcett and the cool vibe of Robert Plant circa 1979. His band of tight poly-shirted bell-bottomed boys feature fros for days backed up by scantily clad dancers that could have just gyrated over from the Solid Gold countdown. Its repertoire includes groove tunes and funkadelic favorites such as “Super Freak,” “Car Wash,” “Shake Your Booty,” “I Will Survive” and “Macho Man.”
The four foxy gender-blending babes of Cheap Chick are slaves to Cheap Trick’s ’70s catalog of powerpop hits. The band is made up of indie girl rockers who play up their sex appeal and throw in plenty of camp. This act may be a tribute, but critics have praised these ladies for their evident, genuine love of Cheap Trick as well as their talented musicianship. Their roadshow from racetracks and casinos to conferences has earned them devoted fans and followers across L.A. and beyond. They may be chicks, but their show ain’t just a cheap imitation.
Surf Kitty Surf
If you love the Beach Boys and classic sappy surf songs, Surf Kitty Surf is probably not the cover band for you. If you love your surf music with a little punk and metal, however, then this band will rock your world. Surf Kitty Surf has ridden the wave of popular beach music and upped it to 11. The all-girl group is made up of members from a number of renowned local bands including the legendary locals, the Neptunas. It plays its surf punk across SoCal’s surf stomping grounds from Hermosa Beach to San Pedro.
Dazed and Confused
If your idea of “party rock” is space cowboys, honky-tonk women and fat-bottomed girls, then Dazed and Confused has got you covered. This classic rock band recreates the ’70s hits from Led Zepplin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bad Company, Aerosmith and all of the rock standards of the era with tongue-in-cheek dance moves, platform shoes and big hair. Despite its namesake and devil-may-care rock-star personas, the boys in the band have a rep as total professionals and party pleasers. Dazed and Confused rocks all night long playing bar gigs and private parties across L.A.
What the Tom Cruise box-office bomb “Rock of Ages” did wrong, Platinum Rockstars does right. This ’80s tribute band gets all of the nuances of the hard-rockin’ era’s excess in its dance moves and costumes and sounds pitch perfect doing it. These guys have crossed over to legit appearances with the real deal, sharing the stage with the likes of Pat Benatar, Barenaked Ladies and Foreigner. On occasion, the band is graced by guest drops-ins including Quiet Riot’s bassist Chuck Wright. Versatility is its second name, as Platinum Rockstars can jam the hits of Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and Whitesnake as well. Catch this band playing bar gigs, outdoor festivals and private parties across L.A. and the O.C.
K. Pearson Brown is a freelance writer covering all things LA. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.