Tribute Shows

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The concept is simple: Enlist an eclectic bunch of local bands and give them each about 15 minutes to play cover songs from a particular act. According to informal oral history, these soirees started in earnest about a decade ago with a KISS tribute at the Masquerade. Over the years, music-scene movers-and-shakers like Martin Rice, Marcus McCord, Dave Hundley and Tony Rifugiato produced these homegrown extravaganzas. There have been lots of memorable moments, like the time a Planet writer decided to spit fire at a KISS tribute and ended up scorching his face. The concept went to the next level when WMNF got into the act. Music director Flee has spearheaded a number of tributes, most recently a three-day July blowout of Rolling Stones covers that went from the State Theater in St. Pete to Skipper's in Tampa to Margarita Maggie's in Sarasota. All were fun, entertaining and well attended — just like their predecessors. MNF started a couple of years ago with Elvis Costello. The station's also done Motown/Stax, Elvis Presley and a holiday edition. The best was an entire day devoted to the Beatles. The great thing about this durable series is it gets regular folk out to see local bands (and raises money in the process). The not-so-great thing about it is the bands have to play other acts' music. Wouldn't it be nice if WMNF could draw big crowds by simply putting on an all-day bill of local acts playing their own music? Various people have tried this, with inconsistent results. Although they're bittersweet in a way, keep these tribute bashes coming.

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