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Tribute bands essentially pretend to be the original artists. Look back through the article and highlight all the words that are used to suggest the idea of copying.


Tuning In


1. Discuss/answer these questions.

1 Would you ever go to see a concert by a tribute band - where a group of musicians impersonates a famous group? Why?/Why not?

2 Why do you think tribute bands are popular?

3 Who do you think goes to see them?

4 How do you think they are regarded a) in the music business b) by the original band members?

2. Read the article quickly to see if you were right. In which section was each of your questions answered?

You are going to read an article about live music. For questions 1-15, choose from the sections of the article (A-E). The sections may be chosen more than once.

In which section is each of the following mentioned?

The preparation that one tribute band had to do 1.  
A tribute band that now has imitators itself 2.
How one tribute band dealt with a potential shortage of material 3.
The good value for money offered by some tribute bands 4.
The origins of the idea of tribute bands 5.
The negative attitude of some people in the music business towards tribute bands 6.
The difficulties that unknown bands have in finding work at live venues 7.
The widespread popularity of concerts by tribute bands in Britain 8.
The reaction to a tribute band by a member of the original band 9.
The enthusiastic response of members of the audience 10. 11.
The similarity of the tribute band's music to the original 12. 13.
How concerts by tribute bands are unlike those by the original bands 14. 15.




It's a hot evening in a small town in the English Midlands. And as the live band plays the first bars of the song I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor at a local club, things are getting very warm indeed. Out on the dance floor, in the middle of a steaming crowd, a couple of dozen young men are hurling themselves around in time to the music, sending glasses and Coke bottles flying. As the song finishes, the club owner takes to the stage and appeals for calm. 'It's a great set by a great band, lads, but let's chill out a bit, eh?' It is, in short, what you might expect from a live performance featuring the music of one of Britain's most explosive rock outfits. Except the musicians on stage are not the Arctic Monkeys, the Internet phenomenon. They are a tribute band called the Antarctic Monkeys, four young men giving a musical impression of the real thing. 'We have a band of our own called Ryde,' says the Antarctic's Ian Fletcher. 'But we couldn't get gigs. And when we did, they always said: "Do you do covers?" We were sitting around thinking about how we could get out there and play, and someone said: "Why don't we do a Monkeys tribute?". We all love their music, so we did.'


After two weeks' close study of the Arctic Monkeys' debut album - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not - Fletcher and his friends had perfected the sound to the point where only the most highly trained ears could spot the difference. 'Venues like us to play for an hour,' he says. 'But the original album only lasts 43 minutes, so we play a couple of songs twice.' And it goes down a storm. Arctic's fans, some so young they are accompanied by their parents, sing along to every word. 'That's the thing about tributes,' says club-owner Julian Harkins, whose stage echoes to soundalikes every night of the week. 'In the audience, there's no holding back waiting to see what happens. These are diehard fans. From the first bar to the last, they're really into it.'

The spread of the pop faker is by no means restricted to the English Midlands. Check out the live music listings of any UK local paper and you'll find them stuffed with groups like Alike Cooper, and Cheap Purple. All offer not just splendid names, but pitch-perfect facsimiles of the genuine article. Such is the growth of the musical copycat business, there's even an annual festival. Here you can watch an ersatz Freddie Mercury, Marc Bolan and Jimi Hendrix twang away for not much more than the cost of a couple of coffees. Not a bad deal, given that you'll never have a chance to see the originals.


In a documentary, Send in the Clones, to be broadcast later this month, the journalist Andrew Collins traces tribute bands to a failed Beatles musical in the late 1970s. Out of the ashes emerged the Bootleg Beatles, who have now made a 25-year career out of impersonating the most famous band of the 1960s. 'It's like time travel. It's a snapshot of the band as they were at their peak. You can walk into a small unpretentious live music venue and see someone pretending to be the Rolling Stones as they were in the 1960s. Go along to the genuine Rolling Stones gig and you'll see the real thing in their sixties. It's a big difference.'


In a sense, even the Antarctic Monkeys are hailing back to a lost time, the days when the Arctic Monkeys themselves emerged in a small venue in Sheffield in the north of England, rather than playing domes in America. It may have been only a few years ago, but it's still a time that will never come again. Collins continues: 'There's an old rock journalists' idea of authenticity which can veer towards snobbery,' he says. 'The thing about tribute bands is they take the snobbery out of it. These are cabaret acts.' Indeed, such is the surreal spin of the genre, the world's most successful tribute band is no longer a singular item. Bjorn Again, the Australian impersonators of the 1970s Swedish group Abba, have five or six versions of themselves touring the globe at any one time. They have become a franchise. So what do the originals think about it all? The Bootleg Beatles played at the 50th birthday party of Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, and among the guests was George Harrison. The real Beatle was introduced to his imitators after the show and was very complimentary.

Tribute bands essentially pretend to be the original artists. Look back through the article and highlight all the words that are used to suggest the idea of copying.


5. Look these words up in a monolingual learnerís dictionary. In what context would you normally expect to find them?

hurling (A)

stuffed (C)

twang (C)

covers (A)

holding back (B)

diehard (B)

chill out (A)

venues (B)

1 Decide what part of speech they are.

2 Look at the rest of the sentence, and write down possible meanings for each word.

3 Compare your ideas with other students.

Date: 2015-12-17; view: 2918

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