The top cover bands in Toronto aren't the ones you hear through the wall at practice spaces fumbling clumsily through classic rock baselines, and though you may find some of them at weddings, you'll also find them filling clubs on their own merit.
It's that time of year when you pretend to be somebody else for one glorious night (/week), but these bands channel their favourite performers year round, paying tribute to great bands and great music. That said, you can celebrate Halloween with some of the city's best. Plus at Death to TO tonight, local, non-cover bands will form to pay tribute class acts like Depeche Mode, U2, and even Eminem. (There's also a Jeff Buckley tribute November 13-14 at Supermarket that's not to be missed.)
From heavy metal to '90s pop, here are 10 of the best cover bands Toronto has to offer.
Feminist art-rock band Vag Halen is serious about rock and roll. Armed with a repertoire of classic rock their show's are not just about the music. This band is not afraid to play up their sex appeal on stage. And in November they've teamed up with Lez Zeppelin the 'she-incarnation' of Led Zeppelin from south of the boarder for a show at The Phoenix on November 14.
Canadian clue is in the title. No, it's not a tribute to Wayne, rather a tribute to last century's great classics: the band's inspiration and covers come from a variety of bands including The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, because, why choose sides when you don't really have to. Dwayne will be hosting a Halloween show October 31 at Tattoo on Queen West.
It's everything Weezer was missing. A feminine touch. This all-girl Weezer cover band brings you a kick-ass tribute to the all-boy band. In fact, there is not much difference between Sheezer and the real deal - except that minor detail of no Buddy Holly look-a-likes on stage. They will complete their Halloween tour with a show at Lee's Palace on October 30.
The Neil Young'uns
I've been searching for a heart of gold and a kick-ass Neil Young tribute. Haven't found the first but The Neil Young'uns sure deliver on the second point. This band of five friends begun their Young journey with a residency at Toronto's Cadillac Lounge and have since moved on to perform across Ontario.
Did somebody say swing? If so, do yourself a favour and check out Oldies 99 and you will get the fix you need. Performing high-energy songs from the '50s and '60s, these guys put the rock in Rockabilly. Check them out live at the Decades of Dance party at The Gladstone on Halloween.
Hardcore punk band Cancer Bats probably never get tired of their head-banging fans, as they also perform together as Bat Sabbath, a tribute to, you guessed it, Black Sabbath. If you don't live in Toronto you may be able to catch these Ozzy-channeling rockers on a tour or at a festival appearance: there's some suspicion that the band are torn on which Bats incarnation they prefer. Or are we being paranoid?
The Kings of Vegas
What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas. These three guys have all the class in the world they need to follow in the footsteps of The Rat Pack, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Donned in the classic 60s' garb their performance includes the classics like 'Luck be a Lady" and the trio mixes the show with solos and duos and depending on what the crowd wants they can show up with a big band to back up all that class.
Did you know Toronto has a Spice Girls tribute band? They also happen to be some of Toronto's most fun entertainers, and beyond the music they put a huge effort into looking like the Spice Girls who once stared back at you from of packs of gum, lolly pops, and sticker packs (oh, and MuchMusic). Next time you hear about a show, just say you'll be there.
Pretzel Logic (Steely Dan)
You a Dan fan? Whether you are or not you will be sure to be impressed with this 10-piece band dedicated to bring you the best rendition of the Steely Band song book. Not to be confused with the LA cover band with the same name, these guys are ours and will be playing in Toronto soon enough, on October 30 at The Orbit Room on College.
Stars of Pop
And then there are those who want to pop. These stars imitate the best of our current pop-stars including Taylor Swift and Katy Perry. And did somebody say Canadian pride? They even have their very own Bieber.
The Big Sound
Because we just can't get enough: paying tribute to the Motown classics comes The Big Sound. A 25+ that pays tribute to the 'golden era of soul.' They promise a show that will knock your socks off. And to receive updates on up-and-coming ones, become part of their Facebook group
Vag Halen photo via the AGO
by Naomi Grosman via blogTO