By Niki D’Andrea
Better than: Watching Vern Troyer piss himself on The Surreal Life.
When I heard there was a KISS tribute band comprised of “little people,” I knew I couldn’t miss this show. I’d never seen anything like it before, and I’ll admit I was curious. Whenever a band has a gimmick that’s as awesome as being “Minikiss,” I immediately question their musical validity. I wanted to see if these little dudes could actually play their parts, as opposed to just looking like them.
Click to see a few more images from Minikiss at Dos Gringos
Dos Gringos was packed when I arrived at the venue, and a throng of hundreds already had a collective buzz on while local band The Chris Parker Project rocked the stage in luchador masks and sombreros. The highlight of their set was most definitely a cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back,” complete with a horn section. It was a great primer for Minikiss.
Minikiss was supposed to take the stage at 11 p.m., but didn’t actually do so until midnight. When they came out, the crowd went nuts. All four of them had their costumes and makeup down pat, and mini Ace was even rocking the silver platform boots. The wigs they were wearing (with the exception of wig-less mini Peter Criss) were all really ratty, which added to the charm for me. When mini Gene Simmons started spewing blood out of his mouth, the combination of fake gore and his matted, natty wig reminded me of one of the demon-creatures from the Evil Dead movies.
The set list was interesting. They opened with “Rock and Roll All Nite,” which is one of a few KISS songs even non-KISS fans know. They also played “Detroit Rock City,” “Beth,” “Cold Gin,” and even disco-era KISS (“I Was Made for Loving You”). But their set list also included some more obscure KISS tracks that only the hardcore fans in KISS shirts down front seemed to know, as well as some covers that weren’t even KISS songs (Guns ‘N Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid,” Ozzy’s “Crazy Train”).
The big question on everyone’s mind seemed to be, “Does Minikiss play its own instruments?”
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The answer is yes and no. All of them appeared to be plugged into their amps. Mini Peter was definitely hitting his mini drum kit (though I could hear a backing track behind his beats), and Mini Paul clearly played a couple of guitar solos (Mini Ace only did one solo, sans backing band or track, and to be honest – it was bad, like a little kid playing around in an instrument shop). Mini Gene didn’t play live at all, and didn’t even try to mimic playing the actual chords on his bass; he just strummed the same string over and over. With the exception of mini Peter coming out fom behind his kit to sing “Beth” (badly) into a microphone, it was hard to tell when any of them were even really singing. They weren’t lip-synching to KISS tracks, but they clearly had backing tracks of KISS covers behind them all night.
So musically, I wasn’t blown away by Minikiss, but I sure had fun watching them. And really, how often does the chance to see a KISS tribute band full of vertically-challenged people come along?
Random detail: Upon seeing the band take the stage, someone in the crowd commented, “They don’t look mini.”
Personal bias: I am 5-foot-two and shrinking.