The difference between a cover band and a tribute band is the difference between a slut and a prostitute one just plays with all sorts of people's stuff because it's fun and they like it. The other plays with particular people's stuff only because it's a profession with a paradigm. But tribute bands can be pimps as much as prostitutes because they're peddling the music and mirror-image of certain famous bands.
The Atomic Punks are certainly the best-known Van Halen cover band in its home state of California (and possibly the nation), Atomic Punks are the Heidi Fleiss of tribute bands. They're glam-trash pretty (how could they not be, doing only Roth-era Van Halen?), and they've got a list of exclusive "clientele" that includes Roth himself, who's taken two Atomic Punks ax men on solo tours with him. They've gotten accolades from VH bassist Michael Anthony, too, who performed with the Punks at Anaheim's House of Blues in 2003. Best of all, they're not afraid to show us their hits, flashing big ditties like "Runnin' With the Devil," "Hot for Teacher," and "Panama."
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Sat., June 6, 7 p.m., 2009