The Most Sincere Form of Flattery

00:00 May 04, 2012
By: Emily Hingle
[Where Y'At Staff/Provided Photo]

New Orleans' Most Original Cover Bands

We are a city of live music. While most bands perform their original works, others prefer to play covers of the songs that they enjoy. Most of those cover bands play the hits of the 60s to 90s, and are a huge hit with festival audiences, and others have found a niche of music that you don't often hear live or set themselves apart with stage shows.

You may hear the songs on classic rock radio constantly, but when seeing them performed live by these quirky bands, it's almost like hearing them for the very first time. the Chee-Weez, named after the cheesy chip snack so beloved by new orleans culture, have been pleasing audiences for over a decade. they always perform in costume, but constantly change the theme. they aren't just the local cut-ups either; they have performed all over southern Louisiana, parts of Mississippi, and have made appearances as far away as Las vegas. the Chee-Weez have the distinction of being the first local band to sell out the House of Blues. the Molly ringwalds may tell you that they're from sheffield, england, but they are firmly set here. Much like the actress they take their moniker from, the Molly ringwalds are stuck in the 1980s, playing only songs from the decade like those made popular by Def Leppard, inXs, and Billy idol and costuming themselves in spandex and glam metal gear.

some tribute bands find their material in earlier generations than most... even the earliest days of rock and roll. this city has been in love with elvis Presley since the making of his 1958 film King Creole. Clockwork elvis has capitalized on the King's fans and plays only songs that he performed. the band began when the rock and roll nostalgia haven the Kingpin Bar opened for business; owner steve Watson offered to pay tom stern, John Mahoney, rob savoy and D. C. Harbold to play elvis songs at the bar.

the name of the band came later when, as frontman D.C. states, "i started thinking about the fictional life of alex DeLarge [a character from the book and film A Clockwork Orange] and the fictionalized life of elvis Presley and how they oddly coincided. in the early years, alex and elvis were dangerous and sexual, then a middle period where elvis went into the army and alex went to jail, where they strip you of your identity. the more i thought about the juxtaposition, the more i thought i was on to something." their shows often include reverend spooky Lestrange and her Billion Dollar Baby Dolls, who wear a fringe bras, elvis jumpsuits and derby hats, and they all get the house rocking. "We just play them the way a band would play songs. there's no irony going on; it's just a bunch of great musicians that play the songs faithfully and get people to dance."

it might be a little harder to dance to, but hard rock and metal is appreciated enough here to have bands covering the music of Black sabbath, anthrax, and slayer. Disciples of thrash are fairly new, but have already gotten headlining spots opening for metal band Hate eternal. they specialize in old-school '80s metal bands like Metallica, Megadeth, sepultura and more. Mrz. Crowley [a feminized name of a Black sabbath song] is a Black sabbath and solo ozzy osbourne tribute band. this band is different because, as the name implies, they have a woman singer: rachel shields. their songs range from sabbath's earliest days to the best-known songs of ozzy's career in the 1980s, and are, honestly, incredible to hear coming from a woman.

if you can't decide on what band to go see, consider going to see a cover band and experience many bands in one night; familiar tunes sound so much better live.

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