I do love a good tribute band. First of all I love their clever, often amusing, names, such as Red Not Chili Peppers, Noasis, Oasish, U3, Faux Fighters, Bon Giovi, etc. But often you come across a tribute band who are not only a really good band but really do sound like the original. And when it’s a big arena band that normally cost a packet to see, it can be great to see a facsimile of the band in a small, intimate venue. I remember seeing a U2 tribute band in a pub in Sydney and dare I say it, they sounded ‘even better than the real thing’. They were amazing. And I was standing out 10 feet away from them. What an experience. So I’ve always had a soft spot for tribute acts, when some other people may think they’re cheesy or false.

Last year in 2018 I managed to go to three tribute act nights in my local town of Southend-on-Sea, and one of those nights had three bands. First up we saw The Post Floyd Dream, a Pink Floyd tribute band from Essex. We saw them in a tiny little venue and it felt like most of the audience apart from us all knew the band personally! A great vibe and they were amazing. Really tight and they covered a wide spread of Floyd songs. I can’t wait to go back and see them again.

Next up, about a month later, was, would you believe it, another Pink Floyd tribute act! This time it was the turn of Mimik Floyd. Another great band, in a slightly larger venue, and they did a massively long set. Really great to see two excellent, but yet still very different, Pink Floyd acts in a short space of time. I would definitely see both of them again.

The third tribute night of 2018 was at the same venue as the second Pink Floyd act, and they had a triple header for Halloween, consisting of Alice in London Land (Alice Cooper), SNOG (KISS) and Guns 2 Roses. I had been waiting to see Guns 2 Roses for a couple of years and it was just a bonus that we got these two great support acts as well. We actually worked out later on that the Alice Cooper band were the same band as the Guns 2 Roses band, but just with different lead singers.

Alice in London Land were first up. I don’t really know too many Alice Cooper songs except for Poison and School’s Out but I recognised a few more once they got going. A tight band and a great warmup for the rest of the night.

Then SNOG hit the stage and these guys really went to town on their outfits and make-up. Once again fantastic to see an arena band like this but in a small venue, complete with all their regalia. They played full on with 100% energy even though a lot of the crowd (mostly Guns n’ Roses fans) were still slowly piling in. But they did an amazing job of warming the crowd up with renditions of classics such as God Gave Rock ’N’ Roll To You II, I Was Made For Loving You and Crazy Crazy Nights, but it was Rock And Roll Nite that really got the crowd going! Awesome. What I also loved about this SNOG band was that after their gig they came out to get drinks at the bar, and stood with the crowd, still in full regalia, to watch Guns 2 Roses! I thought that was very cool, although the people behind them did have to move because the KISS guys were in MASSIVE platform boots!

Next up was the band I was most excited to see out of all of these tribute acts. Guns 2 Roses. My favourite band of all time has always been Guns n’ Roses (closely followed by The Rolling Stones and then LIVE and The Eagles). I had been lucky enough to see the real Guns n’ Roses during their reunion tour in 2017. That was fantastic (although I got a bit too drunk and can’t really remember the second half of that gig) but I was up in the tiered section of the London Olympic Stadium. Not very intimate. If I had a time machine I would go back to one of G’n’R’s early gigs in the Troubadour in L.A. That would be amazing. But that’s what I love about tribute acts. We saw Guns 2 Roses this night in a really small venue and it really was just like seeing G’n’R back in the 80s. It’s the next best thing anyway.

Guns 2 Roses exceeded my expectations. Firstly they looked the part. Axl actually looked very like Axl. Slash had a hat and wig (I assume it was a gig). Cool. And Duff had blonde hair. Sorted! The only one comment I would say to improve the look would be to change Axl’s outfit a bit during the gig. He kept the new, modern Axl hat on the whole time I think. He didn’t really go for any of the other iconic Axl outfits. I’ve heard he does sometimes at other gigs, so perhaps we were just unlucky. But any Guns n’ Roses tribute act basically succeeds or fails based on firstly the Axl voice and secondly the Slash solos. I would say Axl’s voice is the hardest to imitate, but this guy nailed it! Very impressed. And Slash was awesome too. You couldn’t expect any better guitar playing than this guy offered. I’ll be seeing Guns 2 Roses again any chance I get.

It was a fantastic night, and I’m now scouring the listings to see all these bands again in 2019, and try to find some others. Rock on.