Guest Blogger Alert:
My very special guest Blogger Is T. Shawn Taylor , president of Treetop Consulting. She writes about local tribute band Tributosaurus.
Tributosaurus goes under deep cover to become Prince
If I have one claim to coolness, it is being a die-hard Prince fan. On New Year’s Day, Chicagoland’s most ambitious cover band Tributosaurus reaffirmed why that distinction matters at a show dedicated to his Purple badness in all his nasty glory at Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn. Tributosaurus performed cuts so deep – tunes, in fact, even Prince won’t do anymore – that they lost the fans who came to hear hits off the “1999” and “Purple Rain” albums – which was most of them. The band played its share of prom night favorites, opening with “Let’s Go Crazy” and ending with the obligatory “Purple Rain.” But if you didn’t know Prince before “Purple Rain” and got off the fan mobile somewhere between “Paisley Park” and “Graffiti Bridge,” you were confused. Tributosaurus downshifted immediately into B sides and obscure tracks only Prince’s most devoted fans would recognize. Tunes such as “Sometimes It Snows in April” from the “Under the Cherry Moon” soundtrack; “Head” off the “Dirty Mind” LP; “7” from the symbol album; “Electric Chair” from the “Batman” soundtrack; and “Starfish and Coffee” from “Sign o’ The Times.” Tributosaurus didn’t just go deep; they ventured into the mines. My date mused, “If they play ‘Irresistible Bitch,’ I’ll really be impressed.” Ah, but the odds were good. After “Alphabet Street,” “Sexy MF” and “P Control” off “The Gold Experience,” there was no telling where Tributosaurus would go next.
I commend the band for incorporating sound and voice effects and hiring strings to play the somber, synthetic ending to “Purple Rain.” Five singers switched off lead vocals – including a female vocalist who displayed her chops on “Nothing Compares to U.” There were horns, too. I haven’t seen that many people on stage since the Average White Band. Tributosaurus covers a different band every month. That’s a tall order for some very talented musicians who obviously like to stretch themselves. Cover bands rarely attempt to do Prince cuts more challenging than “Kiss.” Prince isn’t easy to play, or sing. Tributosaurus showed no fear, and put on a show that covered a spectrum of the artist’s works and moods. “When Doves Cry” and “Sign o’ The Times,” distinguished by their tangled beats and awkward timing, also made the set list.
I was cognizant of the fact that it could be years – maybe even never – before I would hear some of those songs played live again. I was having so much fun I felt sorry for the bewildered Top 40 Prince fans around me. I had dreams of “Ronnie Talk to Russia” and “Pop Life” dancing in my head, and all they could think about was “Little Red Corvette.” They played it, then Tributosaurus went underground again to do “Lady Cab Driver,” then got all new on us with the more recent ballad “Call My Name.” After that, they had to play “Purple Rain,” or else those middle-aged suburban moms and dads were going to tear that place apart. Tributosaurus’ set list might have disappointed some fans. But in my opinion, they got away with playing just enough hits and deep covers to do Prince some justice. Stay tuned: Tributosaurus becomes Stevie Wonder on February 1 for two shows at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. at Martyrs’, 3855 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. 773-404-9494.
For future shows, visit www.tributosaurus.com.
T. Shawn Taylor
T. Shawn Taylor is a professional writer and journalist,is president of Treetop Consulting, a communications, media and research firm she founded in 2006 following a career in print and broadcast media. Treetop specializes in topics related to business and industry; education; policy and government; civil rights; labor/management and careers; food; and entertainment. Taylor’s articles and commentaries have appeared in the Chicago Tribune; in Essence, Edutopia, Business 2.0 and Consumer Reports magazines; on the Root.com; and on the Chicago Urban League’s “nextTV: Change You Can See” on FOX Chicago.