Hey Gray, here's one for you!
Does Anyone Out There Want To Rock? Does Anyone Out There Want To Boogie? Then Youre Wasting Your Time With This Lot.
The Wharf, Tavistock, Devon, 09/12/06
£12.00 advance, £13.00 on the night.
Well well well, who wouldve thought it, a tribute band to a tribute band. What the hell am I on about? Status Clone, thats what. A tribute band to Status Quo who, it must be said, are themselves one of the worlds best Chuck Berry covers bands.
What can I say about Quo that hasnt been said already? Nothing, except to remind you that during their heyday in the seventies and early eighties Quo live was a spectacle not to be missed. An experience like no other. Out grunging the grungers before they became grunge, Quo were the original, and genuine, working mans rock band long before punk hit the streets with its inverted pseudo working class pretentiousness and snobbery. Prowling stages like hungry cats around the world, Quo were a phenomenon both live and in the studio. Their first handful of albums for Vertigo being chart-bothering classics.
Unfortunately, Quo these days are a bit of a parody of themselves. However, they are still packing them in whenever they tour, selling out everywhere they go. Some of us, however, still remember the glory days. Oh yes we do!
So it is that we come to Status Clone. I must say, despite my negative attitude towards tribute bands, the chance to hear old classic Quo done live again had left me quite excited. Quos classic line up will never play together again, too much tetch, so tonight offers a rare chance to catch a few old memories that is just too powerful to resist.
But, did they warrant such anticipation?
In a word: no! They didnt even come close.
If this motley crew are the premier Status Quo tribute band that they claim to be, then the job is seriously fucked (as they say in Rotherham). People are just too easily satisfied in their graspingly desperate scramble for nostalgia these days. From what I saw of Status Clone, its obvious that covering Quos music with any kind of accuracy is not as easy as the piss-takers would have you believe. Even so, their failure went way beyond the call of duty. Breathtakingly incompetent. Miserably inept.
Oh, they look the part, or at least two of them do; the rhythm and lead guitarists. Apparently, the drummer was not the usual drummer, and the guy at the stool for tonight had stepped in a very short notice. Not even getting a chance to rehearse. He, at least, managed to do a reasonable job. Tick vg to him.
To me, there is a quite definite and well marked divide between a covers band and a full-on tribute act. Cover bands are just that. They do cover versions of other peoples songs that sound reasonably like the original. Cover bands are what you and your mates created when still at school after youd just bought your first guitar. Covers bands do the clubs and pubs playing songs that keep the grannies happy whilst they guzzle their DD and prepare for the bingo. They are paid a couple of hundred for an hour-long set and you never, ever, pay to see them. Ok, maybe a quid cover charge, but that's it. Standard club stuff really.
A tribute band on the other hand should at least be getting their sound as near as possible to the real thing. Tribute bands should be able to capture the essence of the band they are paying tribute to. Tribute bands are there because fans want to hear the stuff of their favourite outfits played live again because the real thing is unlikely to do the stuff themselves. The quality of a tribute act should be such that even die-hard fans can close their eyes and think they are listening to the real thing. Hence the admission by ticket only. If you want quality, youve got to pay for it.
As a tribute act, Status Clone failed heroically. Apart, that is, from taking our money. Now theres a surprise. As a club band, yeah, ok, not bad, Ill give them that.
Status Clone proved woefully inadequate for the job at hand (I shouldve known what would happen after getting myself all excited). Although the tunes were recognisable, the sound and execution was crap. Break The Rules, Hold You Back, Roll Over Lay Down and Softer Ride should chug along in the true heavy-handed tradition of classic Quo. Not a smooth, lazy blur. Down Down is a simple enough tune, a timeless classic that doesnt need any embellishment. You Dont Think It Matters is a lot heavier than the Clones think.
Really, Paper Plane, the set opener, sounded the warning bells; it started too slow. Whats all that about then? Moreover, the lead singer, the Rossi man, seems to be undecided as to whether he wants to be an anally retentive stand up comedian with a penis fixation or a front man to a rock n roll band. Yes, some of us do know what the songs are about. Where the original Rossi comes across as cheekily good humoured, this boy is just smutty; a sleaze ball. Why did he keep changing the lyrics too?
Quo play Fender Telecasters, and occasionally Gibsons. Not cheap imitations. And wheres the Marshalls? Clones stagecraft was wooden and amateurish. Awkward. They came across as just a bunch of old geezers turning over a quick penny by doing Quo ditties. They looked ill prepared and disinterested. They were obviously just doing it for the money, going through the motions almost, to make an easy pound or two, not out of any affection for Quo and their music. There was no passion, no effort. Christ, they didnt even break sweat.
They can play. Dont get me wrong here, their musicianship was good. In fact too good. Quo are notorious for bum notes. Parfitt in particular is excellent at getting it wrong. Thats part of the beauty of the band. They were always a belts n braces, warts 'n' all deal. Nothing fancy. Clone missed all that too. Status Clone had a banner hung across the back of the stage proclaiming them to be The Essence Of Quo; no they werent.
In short, Status Clone were utter bollocks: shite.
In a recent magazine article they claimed that they concentrate on the earlier, Vertigo stuff. And I suppose that for the most part, they do. But then again they get their messages all mixed up. Their look is wrong. To clean and out of context. For instance, the guy doing Rossi, has his hair tied back. There were no patched denim. No leads lying everywhere.
And finally, THEY WERENT LOUD ENOUGH! Quo practically invented the wall of noise. They were rightly famous for it. These days they may be a little pedestrian, but when they were kings, they were bloody loud. Tonight, listening to Status Clone was like expecting a hurricane and getting a fart in a bottle instead.
In the end, my eldest boy summed it all up. His reaction was to comment that tribute bands should really be making you want to go out and buy the music of the real thing. Status Clone actually managed to put him off Quo. Well done chaps! He reckoned that although he didnt think it was possible, Status Clone put on a worse show than Walter Trout. Thats bad, dude. Thats seriously out of shape. I agree with him. It explains the audience of seemingly less than 100 people too.
It is times like these that makes me wish I could play a guitar so that I could show them how its done. They pissed me off that much.
For all this you get the privilege of paying £13 a ticket when, by rights, Status Clone shouldve been paid a couple of hundred quid by the Wharfs owners and the punters given free entry, just like any other insignificant two-bit covers band. (Heres a thought, the first time I caught the original Quo live, it cost me £1.50). Im afraid Status Clone have made a massive error of judgement by forgetting that some of the people coming to see them were there the first time round. Thirteen quid? Hhmmm. I dont know who is stupider. Me for paying it, or the Wharf for letting them charge it.
Status Clone are just a rip off. Plain and simple. Dont bother. And if you profess to totally hate the the Quo, then you, my friend, are lucky because you'll not ever have to suffer this bunch of w*****s.