Concert Review: Bowie Tribute

Artifice, Feb. 22


If you came for a David Bowie tribute, as one dude in full Ziggy Stardust regalia did, you had to wait until well after midnight for a break-even payoff. Opening act Trevor and the Joneses set the tone by spending more time setting up than they did playing. Dale Gilbert—in a velvet bodysuit and black briefs with the word “STAR” written across his snugged sack—sang passable renditions of “Starman” and “All the Young Dudes.” Ryan Pardy of Halloween Town guest voxed “China Girl” to good effect. Then they unstrapped and wandered off.

It took another half-hour to get Grace and Friend onstage, where they stuttered through a limp and barely coherent “John, I’m Only Dancing.” Then they shambled away as well.

By a quarter after the witching hour, a show that started at 10 p.m. had produced a total of four songs and a whole bunch of milling around. The most entertaining act at that point was a springy twenty-something whose solo ecstatic gyrations were animated by Rex Dart’s spinning. Thank the gods for drunks and good DJs.

Finally, Alethia and Friends and Lucas Johnson plugged in the defibrillator paddles. “Golden Years,” “Rebel, Rebel” and a bumping rendition of “Suffragette City” pulled the bar crowd. “Let’s Dance” showcased Alex Leon Jr.’s mad timbale skills on the jam-packed bridge, and Savannah Smith unleashed her voice on “Moonage Daydream” to blow away the recently revived masses.

Michael Spadoni followed promptly and took the tribute seriously by synching his performance with scenes from Labyrinth splayed across the wall while a small bubble machine spit on the appreciative crowd. His piano and voice work on “Life on Mars?” and “As the World Falls Down” provided a redemptive finale to what initially resembled a poorly executed high school talent show. It just took four hours to get there. ★☆☆☆☆