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Barking Spiders

Bands whose ensemble playing impress you most

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6 hours ago, Barking Spiders said:

AC/DC are probably one of the bands it's easiest to copy.

Actually, I have to disagree. 

Not the most technically difficult music to play ever, but there are a few nuances in AC/DC stuff that many pub bands just don't get. More difficult to get right than you might think. 

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I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Zappa yet!

I've tried getting into his stuff many, many times and I just don't enjoy it. If I want to listen to music with comedy lyrics I'll stick on a Grumbleweeds LP or something. But from all the Zappa records and live performances I've heard and seen footage of, there's no doubting he generally had top flight players playing pretty intricate stuff at a very high level. I just can't sit through a whole album of it.

Captain Beefheart on the other hand, all day long, but that's a different skill set I guess.

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For me it has to be Fotheringay.  I saw them at Newcastle City Hall in the very early 70s and was totally blown away by their tight, but natural playing.  Sandy Denny on lead vocal was in front of a superb group of musicians.  Trevor Lucas on Guitar, along with Jerry Donahue with some great bass work from Pat Donaldson and spirited drumming by Gerry Conway.  The night lives long in my memory.

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27 minutes ago, LeftyP said:

For me it has to be Fotheringay.  I saw them at Newcastle City Hall in the very early 70s and was totally blown away by their tight, but natural playing.  Sandy Denny on lead vocal was in front of a superb group of musicians.  Trevor Lucas on Guitar, along with Jerry Donahue with some great bass work from Pat Donaldson and spirited drumming by Gerry Conway.  The night lives long in my memory.

Jerry Donahue I met many times, as he used to stay at a friend’s place whenever he came to the UK. Such a fantastic musician but so humble and easy going. I’d stand there open mouthed watching him play seemingly impossible licks. 
 

Gerry Conway I also met a couple of times and possibly freaked him out a bit by being a total fanboy, pumping him for stories of recording with Cat Stevens, Sandy Denny etc. He seemed totally bemused that anyone would rate his playing.

I would have loved to have seen Fotheringay 👍 Quite jealous!

Edited by meterman

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10 hours ago, peteb said:

Actually, I have to disagree. 

Not the most technically difficult music to play ever, but there are a few nuances in AC/DC stuff that many pub bands just don't get. More difficult to get right than you might think. 

Yes but the gist of the OP is not about difficulty of covers bands trying to do accurate covers but which ones can play complex music where there's limited repetition at an extremely high technical level with apparent ease.  AC/DC's music doesn't demand great technical skill and the music is pretty rudimentary with no tricky tempos and frequent changes unlike this..

Myung is one monster bass player.

Edited by Barking Spiders
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I won't mention the Grateful Dead in case people think I'm a little obsessed, but if I was to mention them, I'd find it difficult to single out any individual examples  - but the extended jams and transitions from one song to another (it is often possible to hear one of them suggest the next one some time in advance with a little hint) are a perfect example of a band thinking and moving as one entity. I'l especially avoid mentioning the years 1973 and 1977 and songs such as Playing in the Band which often enclosed several other songs between its start and finish.

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19 hours ago, Chezz55 said:

Tower Of Power

'nuff said.

 

Certainly on of my favourite bands (along with Steely Dan and Toto.

TOP, back in their hey day had arranging chops, playing chops and vocal chops of the very highest standard.

 

 

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Undoubtedly Nomeansno. Underneath the aggressive facade is Utterly sublime playing, incredible tightness and vocal and lyrical genius - with one of the greatest bass tones of all time for good measure driving the whole thing. 

You can probably feel the incredible love I have had for this band since the mid 80s...

Just check out the whole of Wrong for proof. 

Or this live for starters, especially from about 3 minutes in if you are after the virtuoso playing/vocals 

 

 

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20 hours ago, Barking Spiders said:

Hmm, I like The Meters but the gist of my OP was more about bands whose players who technically very advanced, their music complex and sophisticated and whose interplay seems effortless. AC/DC are really at the other end of the spectrum from the likes of Dream Theater, Animals as Leaders, Aristocrats and Meshuggah. The music these bands make isn't my bag but I'd say outside of classical and jazz they don't come any more technically advanced than this. AC/DC are probably one of the bands it's easiest to copy.

Got to disagree and agree with @peteb. Lots of bands do bad AC/DC covers because they miss the subtleties. Simple things like inversions, chord voicings, and octaves. Similar thing with Status Quo covers too.

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The Doobie Brothers!

They cover a huge breadth of musical styles with ease (from folk to blue eyed soul to heavy rock to dixieland..... and everything in between)  while engaging the audience, grooving tightly together at all times AND looking like they're having a GREAT time!

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14 hours ago, Bassfinger said:

Jethro Tull, mid to late 70's - Anderson, Barre, Barlow, Glascock and John Evan.  As tight live as they were in the studio.  Following the sad death of Glascock the band endured a bit of personnel instability, but came close to those levels of team proficiency with the addition of Dave Pegg and Doane Perry.

 

Good call.

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6 hours ago, cetera said:

The Doobie Brothers!

They cover a huge breadth of musical styles with ease (from folk to blue eyed soul to heavy rock to dixieland..... and everything in between)  while engaging the audience, grooving tightly together at all times AND looking like they're having a GREAT time!

Doobie Brothers!  2017 they played at the O2 'supporting' Steely Dan - in as much as they went on first.  Anyone else catch them?  Probably the best gig I have ever seen, from the first bar of the DB to the last bar of SD.

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For me, it was the guys that used to play with Lee Ritenour in the 80's. He used to put together bands of sensational players where the objective was not so much solo chops as it were group interplay. The performances they did were just sensational and Lee's written material was at an all time high point for quality. He even had Jimmy Johnson on bass at one point, which was just insane. His drummer, the late and great Carlos Vega, is surely on the tightest pocket players the world has ever seen.

 

 

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13 minutes ago, Paul S said:

Doobie Brothers!  2017 they played at the O2 'supporting' Steely Dan - in as much as they went on first.  Anyone else catch them?  Probably the best gig I have ever seen, from the first bar of the DB to the last bar of SD.

I didn't myself, but I'm pretty sure a guy I play with was there. He said both bands were stunning!

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Not strictly a fixed band but I've been impressed by some of the groupings put together to cover songs on Postmodern Jukebox (and Robyn Adele Andersons personal channel) on Youtube.

Also some of the older Arctic Monkeys stuff is pretty tight imho.

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The Rolling Stones. There's a 'looseness' about them which shouldn't work, but does.

Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band. There's a tightness about them which works, but sounds like it doesn't.

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17 hours ago, Chris2112 said:

For me, it was the guys that used to play with Lee Ritenour in the 80's. He used to put together bands of sensational players where the objective was not so much solo chops as it were group interplay. The performances they did were just sensational and Lee's written material was at an all time high point for quality. He even had Jimmy Johnson on bass at one point, which was just insane. His drummer, the late and great Carlos Vega, is surely on the tightest pocket players the world has ever seen.

Yeah, he was terrific.

I have that track on an old VHS tape. Dave Grusin is stunning on that concert (well, they all are really).

RItenour and Grusin are still working together, or were before Covid. Dave Grusin is 86..!! and still playing great.

 

 

 

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