HE most memorable statement I've ever read about live performance came from Thom Yorke, singer of Radiohead. His opinion was that when his band play live, they're not Radiohead. They're a Radiohead covers band.
That's a brilliant attitude. Why should a band be shackled to performing a song a certain way, every time they play it, just because of the way they recorded it? Why not keep things more interesting by breaking songs down to their constituent elements before reconstructing them again a little differently? Be your own covers band. Reinvent. Like Thom says.
It's a sentiment that's even more salient for actual cover bands. If you're going to play covers of someone else's songs, try and make them your own. Change them. Do something differently. There's nothing worse than some ailing pub band affecting a poor rendition of a classic, slavishly deferential to each bar, beat and melody of the original. Come on. If you've got the talent to play the song, you have the talent to leave your own mark on it. Besides, no matter who they are, most artists are generally inimitable. (Morrissey is an exception. Just swallow a bugle).
So it's not without shedding a small tear that soundCHECK announces that Maybe Naked are splitting up. Yes, the local gadabouts were a covers band. But at least they tried to innovate during their ten year tenure. Their last gig is at The Palladium in Bideford tomorrow night. It's testament to their decade of hard work that the gig sold out almost immediately.
"The band members still get on well together," explained Maybe Naked's Richard Fay, offering up his last Rolo to his bandmates. "There are no hard feelings, it's just time for [us] all to move on to new things." New things? More cover bands. Mo Slade has joined a new mod and new wave covers band called The Rivals, while the remaining members play in funk covers band iFunk. Good luck to them. Just can't help thinking that a preference to shy away from their own material might be something of a waste. Maybe we'll never know.
In other news, earthy rockers Captal (captal.co.uk) have just returned from a whistle-stop tour of London, where they played a number of gigs in support of Lark and Kill The Dandies.
"The stages were brilliant," fist-pumps Phil Saunders, Captal's frontman. "Excellent on-stage sound and lighting made it a pleasure to play. But nothing could quite top playing at the Bull And Gate, on the same stage that most of our favourite bands have played."
And it would seem Captal are smitten with the big smoke. "We have been offered more gigs already. We're going to get some recording done before going on the road again."
You can catch Captal's last gig of the year on Saturday (December 22) at The Old Bus Station in Barnstaple. The Verbals (facebook.com/theverbals) and The Silk Offenders are on the bill too – two of the most exciting bands to come out of North Devon in 2012. Entry is free, with a small charity donation gratefully received.
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