They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and music is no exception. Sometimes when you're on the prowl for live music, you just want to have a good time — maybe even hear your favorite band's songs, even if they're not the ones playing them. Enter the cover band, those blessed minstrels whose purpose above all else is to throw a party. Dallas is chock full of top-notch cover acts, and these 10 are guaranteed to deliver every time.
10. Petty Theft
Mike Rhyner of The Ticket played in bands almost nonstop till he hit 29, and decided to change gigs. You don't leave the music game easily, so these days Rhyner gets his musical rocks off by performing in one of the most popular cover acts in the area, an expert take on Tom Petty's prodigious catalog. The immutable Petty Theft is a staple of the Dallas and suburban bar scene, bringing out loyal fans to various locals on what feels like a weekly basis. Jaime-Paul Falcon
9. The Clinton Years
This '90s cover band looks may have to change their name in January, or start planning on learning whatever hits Taylor Swift is going to unleash on the world in 2017. Not that they seem to mind; they've taken to this election with gusto, recently adding campaign buttons to their merch table and doubling down on their Spin Doctors covers. JPF
8. Raised Right Men
They proudly proclaim themselves to be “a Honky Tonk Band from Denton, Texas” and, considering the amount of change occurring in the northern college town, it's nice to see that some things stay the same. These “Men” worship at the alter of country's Mount Rushmore, constantly covering Waylon and Willie and the boys. Never are they better than when they decide to tackle one artist for a tribute night, as many can attest to their much talked about Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard performances. Just thinking of this band makes you reach for a Lone Star. JPF
7. A Hard Night's Day
OK, every single major city has a Beatles cover band; it's how you know you have a music scene. But A Hard Day's Night became a DFW staple by going above and beyond what most groups are willing to do. This is a Beatles cover group that does everything they can to be period appropriate. They're staples at just about every single suburban arts festival in the area, which shouldn't come as much as a surprise; doesn't everybody still love the Beatles? JPF
6. Different Strokes
It's hard to believe that Is This It came out 15 years ago, even though it may be hard to remember much of what the Strokes did after that. Thankfully, Different Strokes — the newest comer on this list, having only started playing earlier this year — remembers it all for you, and sprinkles in the deeper cuts with the "Someday's" and "Last Night's." Like many of their peers, it's a group of musicians who hold down other gigs, for example, Party Static's Brett Michael handles Julian Casablancas duty. The result is the perfect band to posture along to. Jeff Gage
5. Straight Tequila Night
Catch a Straight Tequila Night set — ideally at Adair's Saloon, if you know what's good for you — for a quintessential North Texas music experience. These guys are pure '80s and '90s country, busting out a rollicking, two-step-inducing set of the hits from that time period. You want to get down and go to town on some boot-scootin' boogie? Well, find out where these dudes are playing next, and get to it. It's your duty as a Texan to dance down nostalgia road, and these are the dudes who can make that happen. JPF
Who would have thought that a Smiths tribute group featuring the long-time host of The Edge's Adventure Club and members of Chomsky and Baboon would be a rousing success? Everyone, actually. People love the Smiths, they love the '80s and when it's presented by functional musicians it makes for genuine fun. Josh Venable and crew go all-out to give you an experience as close to seeing the Moz (Venable even breaks out a wig), Marr and friends themselves, just minus the self-loathing and irreconcilable differences. JPF
3. The Gorehounds
This Cramps cover act declares "WE'RE HERE TO ROCK" whenever they take the stage. They're loud as hell, and you're gonna take it, because every performance is a shot to the stomach and an uppercut to your soul. Embrace your inner, misunderstood, teenage punk and let loose. Under the 40-year-old paunch, the teetering 401k and the worries about the kids, you're still a teen bad ass who wants to dress weird and dance like hell. It's a good thing the Gorehounds are here to make you do just so. They've been on hiatus recently due to health issues, but here's hoping they make a speedy recovery. JPF
2. Le Cure
Mark Hernandez, the dude who fronts this Cure cover group, looks and sounds so much like the Cure front man Robert Smith that there have been actual debates about whether Smith is on the stage. The voice is too close, the hair is too perfect. Is it really so out of the realm of possibility that during a stop on The Curiosa Fest that Robert Smith fell in love with Mambo Taxis and made the decision to relocate from England to Lakewood, and now fronts a cover group of his own band? I think not. JPF
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
1. The Rich Girls
You can't be a Hall & Oates cover band without bringing the party, and the Rich Girls do just that. They do a lot of other things too, like dress up in costumes; Cheyenne Schweitzer has a thing for sailor hats, Kevin Howard for, uh, taking his clothes off. This is one band that knows how to have fun with "Maneater," even if they taking playing deadly serious. They have serious music chops, too; look no further than the ease with which they switch to their alter ego band, Prince tribute the Beautiful Ones, to see that. JG