A few weeks ago, we published a list of “The Ten Finest Tribute Bands in Colorado,” and this is a sequel of sorts. Every city needs its cover bands, those groups that play out-of-the-way bars on a Thursday night, or weddings and corporate events, giving the audience exactly what they want with tunes that it knows and loves. The tribute bands might throw themselves into the characters of the specific bands they’re aping, but the cover bands often have to learn a ton of material by all manner of acts to stand a chance. Here are some of our favorites, in alphabetical order.
10. The Beverly Belles
These ladies are spectacular, and relatively unique in the cover-band game. Performing 1940s-style, Andrews Sisters-inspired vintage songs, they look perfect and the harmonies are tight. There are different shows, including the “Stars and Stripes Patriotic” and “Jingle Bells,” and nobody sings “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” or “Chattanooga Choo Choo” like these gals. There are actually a bunch of Beverly Belles, too, spread out over Denver and Los Angeles, so you don't necessarily know which of the performers you'll get.
9. Deja Blu Dance Band
These cats play it all. They refer to themselves as a “variety dance band,” and they’re not kidding. We’re talking about a band that can go from Elvis Presley to Daft Punk in the blink of an eye. They say, “With fiery lead guitar solos, a solid rhythm section and searing sax solos — the musicians are some of the best in the state. Add to this recipe five vocalists with harmonies that are especially tight and powerful – you get one of the best dance bands in Colorado.”
8. The Goonies
An '80s cover band (they seem very popular right now), this Boulder-based band is led by the inimitable Axxxly, or Ashley, described on the website as, “like a honey badger. Dangerous by day, but even more dangerous by night. This spastic cherry bomb is either robbing banks overseas or jumping her dirtbike over rows of flaming school buses.” This is definitely the first time we’ve ever heard the phrase “spastic cherry bomb" — and that may have made a better band name. These guys can rock out the hair metal (Guns N' Roses, Skid Row) or cool it with synthy '80s pop (Depeche Mode, Simple Minds).
7. The Hippie Buckaroos
Led by Barbara Jo, this Lafayette band specializes in classic covers of country, bluegrass, Cajun, swing and folk favorites. It’s the singer’s sweet voice that propels this band above others doing similar things, as well as its faithful renditions of “Man of Constant Sorrow,” “I’m So Lonesome,” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken."
6. Junior Varsity Three
These Denver boys say that they’ve been “playing the '90s really well since 2007,” and that they “create an impressive, unique and fresh sound.” The song list certainly looks appropriate, with Pearl Jam, Oasis and the Red Hot Chili Peppers in there. Nirvana, the band that pretty much defined 1990s rock, isn’t listed, but we have to assume the JV3 would be receptive to a shout-out for a request.
Read on for five more of Denver's best cover bands.
5. Mr. Majestyk’s 8-Track Revival
As the name suggests, MM8TR plays covers of 1970s classics, from that time when people had eight-track players and tapes by the likes of 10CC and Alice Cooper. So expect tunes by those guys, plus Bad Company, Bowie, ELO, Queen, and the Steve Miller Band. They look the part, too; a show by these guys is like a scene from Almost Famous, minus the groupies.
4. The Raygunomics
As the amusing name suggests, the Raygunomics formed with the aim of performing music from the 1980s. Since then, they’ve expanded the set to include '90s and 2000s music, so the name means less, and that sort of makes us laugh even more. The set does stick with a kind of alt/new-wave theme, so expect A-Ha’s “Take on Me,” The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven,” and The Knack’s “My Sharona,” but you could just as easily face Deee-Lite’s “Groove Is in the Heart” or Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.”
3. So What Brothers
Sometimes you’re putting on an event, be it a wedding, birthday party or whatever, and you just want a human jukebox. A band that will play just about anything you want, and do it well. The So What Brothers have won awards for their set, because it's polished and tight. Want Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”? They've got it. Follow that with Johnny Cash’s “Folson Prison Blues"? Why the hell not?
2. Mr. Steak
A glorious tribute to all things hair metal, complete with wigs and spandex, Mr. Steak can often be found at the Buffalo Rose in Golden, opening for whichever Los Angeles hair band is passing through. From Quiet Riot to Poison, Twisted Sister to Motley Crue, these guys, who all play in other “real” bands, have the chops to do those songs justice.
With a focus on country and classic rock, Swerve describes its set as “dance country, dance rock, dance dance, urban redneck yuppie biker party music!!!" Urban rednecks means whiskey and denim and one hell of a party.