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Daft Punk'd: A Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger Kind of Tribute

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Everyone likes Daft Punk (or at least claims to). At this point it's considered socially unacceptable not to at least "respect" the duo's music as being "influential" (this response was originally created by people who don't like the Beatles but don't want to argue about it for the next hour).

In fact, the least likable thing about Daft Punk is the fact that the boys have never played Phoenix, or most U.S. cities for that matter. Frustrating as it may be, Daft Punk's scarcity and relative human anonymity also creates an image of perceived perfection, enhancing fans' passion and admiration from its flashing LED-enhanced pedestal.

The intense desire to see Daft Punk live and dance along to every laser-coated beat leaves the field wide open for tribute acts to swoop in and collect some serious cash (especially with the hype over its latest tracks for the Tron: Legacy score), but as obsessive and elitist as this fan base tends to be (think Trekkies, Star Wars fans and 4chan users sharing the same air), the act better be damn good.

Fortunately, Phoenix's own Daft Punk'd is.

We caught up with Daft Punk'd (aka Ron Diep and Nathan Black) upon their return from Comic-Con, where theDJs played an after party at San Diego's notorious 4th & B in the Gaslamp district. Now the two are shining their helmets for a performance at Martini Ranch this Thursday.

NT: What makes you better than...er, differentiates you guys from fellow DP tribute acts?

NB: I'd say the difference from us and anyone else (other than Daft Punk) is that our look is pretty authentic. Ron really pays close attention to detail when it comes to fabricating the replica helmets. He's done his homework on this. Also, our set is unique. Ron and I come from different musical backgrounds, so our approach to the set is definitely interesting.

RD: Our look HAS to be as authentic as the music. Otherwise it's just not believable. Simple as that.

NT: How long does it take you to make a helmet?

RD: It really depends on which helmet. The casts can dry anywhere from a few days up to a week. Chroming the helmets is the variable that determines length of completion, as we chrome the helmets at the same shop that Daft Punk has in the past. One of the workers at the chrome shop even thought my helmets were just left over helmets from this film that Daft Punk did, Electroma. Guess I'm doing something right!

Indeed they are, as there have already been a few Cali shows where rumors and speculation mounted as to whether or not Daft Punk'd was the real deal. while the boys are as transparent as possible about their tribute status (Hell, it'd be illegal not to be), sometimes hearsay travels faster than event fliers.

Catch Daft Punk'd live, with DJs Kevin MOB and BC/AD, Thursday, August 5 at Martini Ranch, 7295 E. Stetson Dr. in Scottsdale. Doors open at 9pm, $5, 21+. Call (480) 970-0500 or visit martiniranchaz.net for more info.

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