Fagen It

The subculture of tribute bands is a dark and mysterious one. It seems that lurking beneath the surface of every local music scene is an undercover army of musicians who, for whatever reason, spend their time honing their craft, toiling away for hours upon end to become living extensions of their favorite bands from the past. The tribute band phenomenon is thriving, feeding off of memories of stoned eighth-grade keggers and tailgate parties. Often this can be a seemingly futile exercise. Why would anyone want to see a Barenaked Ladies or Coldplay tribute band (and believe us, they are out there) when the originals are still churning away at their dubious craft every few months in your local arena?

An exception to this rule is a tribute to a band that is either no longer together or rarely plays live. Die-hard fans often don't feel that they are getting the full experience of their favorite group unless they can immerse themselves in the total package of seeing their favorite bands play live. A band that definitely falls into this latter category is Steely Dan. A music nerd's wet dream, Steely Dan epitomized the jazz-infused, cocaine-fueled lite-rock sound of the 1970s. With genre-defying albums such as Aja and Katy Lied, the Dan provided a soundtrack for a hedonistic decade with production so smooth you could spread it on your English muffin. As far as performing live, however, they made about as many public appearances as Thomas Pynchon.

But fear not. If you are a Steely Dan fan who feels cheated out of live renditions of classics such as "Kid Charlemagne" and "Black Cow," your wait is over. The local Dallas Steely Dan tribute band Naked Lunch is here to save you. They were voted best Steely Dan tribute band in a recent national poll (and believe us, they're out there), and it's easy to see why. This collective of serious Steely Dan freaks has managed to translate the seemingly untranslatable studio magic of those classic albums into an amazing live show. Everything from backup singers to a smokin' horn section to an uncanny Donald Fagen sound-alike in lead vocalist Michael Crane is included in the package. For the casual fan who may only be familiar with a couple of classic rock staples such as "Reelin' in the Years" or "Rikki, Don't Lose That Number," they, of course, have you covered. But Naked Lunch is really for the hard-core Dan-Heads out there. Their song list is a veritable goldmine of album cuts that would make even the notoriously sourpussed Fagen and Becker proud. And if you close your eyes, you may even think you are back in your Upstate dorm room with a Thai stick in one hand and a bottle of Cuervo Gold in the other. This will definitely not be a "Black Friday."

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John Freeman

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