Live Review: R.E.M.odeled, Fear of Ghosts…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , — @ 12:35 pm July 23, 2012
Fear of Ghosts at The Waiting Room, July 20, 2012.

Fear of Ghosts at The Waiting Room, July 20, 2012.

by Tim McMahan,

Among the discussion topics outside of The Waiting Room Friday night where R.E.M.odeled and Fear of Ghosts performed: What’s the difference between a tribute band and a cover band?

According to our old friend Wikipedia, “The main way in which a tribute band differs from a cover band that simply plays songs by other artists, is that it strives to capture every nuance of the imitated artist’s actions and appearance for a perfect imitation.” That sums it up for me as well. To me, a tribute band tries to personify the band whose music they’re playing. A cover band merely plays the bands’ songs.

The two bands that played Friday night meet in the gray area between those definitions. There was no attempt to “impersonate” the bands as much as simply relish in their respective catalogs.  So when R.E.M.odeled’s Jeff Bell, playing the role of Michael Stipe, came out with an acoustic guitar, the initial reaction was “Hmm. I don’t remember Michael Stipe playing a guitar.” That’s because he didn’t. Does it matter? I guess it would to the hardcore fan that expected “tribute” treatment, but to the rest of us, not really.

What did matter was that Bell sung like Stipe, which he did very well. As a whole, the band did a good job playing tunes off R.E.M.’s Murmur and Chronic Town albums. It was fun. As was Fear of Ghosts, who were playing songs by The Cure. Braden Rapp did a respectable Robert Smith impersonation, right down to his black fright wig. And the crowd of between 100 and 200 loved it. And that’s all that matters. I could quibble at great lengths about both performances, but what would be the point? In the end, it was a fun night of covers by two bands with great respect for the bands that they were honoring.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


  • Our Fear of Ghosts Tribute to The Cure band is all about having fun. It’s a great way to spend a weekend night playing some Cure songs for people to enjoy!
    Thanks for the write up Mr. Tim!!!! 🙂
    Next time we’ll all be wearing wigs!!!

    Comment by Tom B. — July 23, 2012 @ 12:44 pm

  • I’ve never thought that the band had to look/act like the band they were paying tribute too…in fact, I think that’s kind of cheesy. I’d rather have them sound and “feel” like the band they’re paying tribute to.

    The difference of a tribute and cover band, at least I think, is that a tribute band focuses on one artist while a cover band has a range…50’s, oldies, pop, rock radio, etc. That’s not always a bad thing, but a lot of musicians can play the notes to songs…I’d rather watch a band that loves and respects the songs.

    PLUG: Tonight at the Waiting Room, Omaha Comedy Week starts. While I know this is a music focused website, my group, OK Party Comedy, has really taken to the COG Factory, DIY, formula to promote ourselves and the comedians we love. Show starts at 9 with Mayor Suttle reading a proclomation that this is Omaha Comedy Week, then continues with sketch, stand up and music. It will be a lot of fun. For more info, check out or

    I’d suggest Wednesday’s show at the Slowdown. Its $8 and is headlined by Howard Kremer…he was a writer on Beavis and Butthead and Pretend Time with Nick Swardson. He’s had his own Comedy Central Presents and has multiple music albums out as rapper Dragon Boy Suede. (see Tim, music related). His latest album is called “Have a Summah” and is available on iTunes. for music and videos.

    Comment by mike — July 23, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

  • Awwwww, quibble away!

    Comment by m bowen — July 23, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

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