On Saturday That Damn Show is back for 2013 at the Mesa Amphitheatre, featuring national acts like Bad Religion and local favorites like the Veragrooves. Check out the full schedule here and read on for a preview of Canada's own Bend Sinister. (Full disclosure: We're co-promoting this show with KUKQ.)
Bend Sinister are out to prove our friendly neighbors in the Great WhiteNorth can do classic rock with the best of them, and their most recent release, 2012's Small Fame, is their latest exhibit. The secret to the hell-of-a-party it creates? The way the band successfully emulates the musical stylings of seemingly every major rock star since the '70s.
They sound too much like too many bands for anyone to think their music is anything like a revolution, but considering how fun they are to listen to, you won't care about that minor detail.
The chunky guitar riffs on "Don't You Know" will get you air-guitaring while lead singer/keyboardist Daniel Moxon channels Jet's Nic Cester's raspy vocals and wails. On "Man of Faith and Virtue," Moxon then starts singing with some of the tone and pace of classic Billy Joel.
"Got You on My Mind" ends up sounding like a fuller, more raucous version of "Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher," and there are times on the anthemic "We Know Better" where Moxon and the band are clearly channeling "Bohemian Rhapsody"-era Queen.
But just when you think you have heard it all, "Black Magic Woman" turns out not to be a cover of the Fleetwood Mac or Santana version -- it's a completely different, original number by the same name.
These guys are all about showmanship and they clearly know how to put on a good show, performing songs that have all the verve and excitement of Elton John during his heyday, with nods to everyone from ELO to Phoenix in the mix.
Will you think, at a few points during their set, that you're listening to a tribute band? Probably. But the way Bend Sinister does it, paying tribute to dozens of great rock acts -- to rock itself -- who cares?