“This is the end, beautiful friend. This is the end, my only friend the end. Of our elaborate plans, the end. No safety or surprise, the end. I’ll never look into your eyes….again”. Yes I know that using The Doors seminal tune is a little bit on the dramatic side but let’s face it, the ending of a band is something that no one should take lightly especially when you realize that we are talking about Tragedy, the All-Metal Tribute to the Bee Gees. It was sad news but indeed true and the band would be calling it a career down at The Bowery Ballroom and be joined by The Blondest, Les Sans Culottes and The Upper Crust. It was bound to be an exciting and very interesting night of music and since the rain had started to come down upon the city, I could think of no better way to avoid the storm outside than by braving the musical hurricane that would be happening at the venue.
Venue: Bowery Ballroom (New York, NY)
Opener: The Upper Crust, Les Sans Culottes, The Blondest
Label: Independent Artist
The weather was proving to be dismal today and it was a total reflection of the foul mood that I had been put into by W.A.S.P.’s Blackie Lawless who canceled last night’s performance of the band based on a disagreement with the venue over 50 VIP tickets that he was not aware of or gave permission about. Having looked forward to that particular show in my March Metal Madness roster of events I was rightfully pissed off since it was a sold out show and cancelled instead of being worked out so this evening was going to really need to pull out all the stops in order to get me back into the proper frame of Metal mind. I knew just the way to do it and that was to make sure I attended the final performance of Tragedy, the All Metal Tribute to The Bee Gees and yes, I did say “final performance” as the band had decided to part ways and this show at the Bowery Ballroom tonight would be the very last gig. It seemed to be an interesting evening from beginning to end and it would all start with a tribute to Blondie, give us a little French cuisine and then rock us with a little bit of pomp and circumstance before the Tragedy guys and their massive company of players took to the stage. Knowing this was a loaded event I made sure to arrive in time to see everyone and here is how the night took place.
The Blondest – A Tribute To Blondie: Up first would be this tribute to the one and only Blondie and believe it or not this was their very first performance. I had to say that they were a pretty solid act and appeared to be rather tight in the musical sense and yes, the lead singer Debarry was a blonde, but this was likely a prerequisite of her adopting the role. I enjoyed their set quite a bit and that makes sense since I have really always enjoyed the catchiness of the Blondie stuff. I was also impressed at how the singer was sporting a shirt for Them Crooked Vultures (the new super group with Josh Homme, John Paul Jones and Dave Grohl) this evening. They played most of my favorites and seemed to touch upon the most important numbers that would be heard in a Blondie set. They opened up with “Hanging On The Telephone”, did “Call Me”, and of course “Heart Of Glass” which found Debarry holding up a Disco ball and even tossed some glitter into the crowd. She switched over to a garbage bag top for I think “Atomic” and delivered on target renditions of “Dreaming” and “One Way Or Another”. I would see them again for sure and wish them luck in bringing the music of Blondie to a hopefully new audience of fans. Next up would be a little French cuisine du Rock as served up by Les Sans Culottes.
Les Sans Culottes: It was great to find this fun French Pop Rock band coming up next and while the general English that they spoke appeared to be terrible and in very broken French accent, they did a good job of keeping everyone entertained from the moment they kicked into gear. Their music was very energetic and had the audience bopping even if the larger portion of them could not understand what was being said by lead singer Clermont Ferrand. The full lineup features conventional drums, bass and guitar but we also get keyboards and a dual female lead vocal presence care of Kit Kat le Noir and Edith Pissoff. Before each song Ferrand would say the title in French and then mumble its English translation and from their decent twelve song set I had to admit to enjoying more than half of them. Some favorites performed were “Allo, Allo”, “Chassures d’Ascenseur” or “Elevator Shoes” and “Telephone Douche”. I cannot say that I paid much attention to the French Pop scene before tonight but if more bands like Les Sans Culottes are out there then perhaps it is time to start doing that a little more. They would close up with “Ma Sharona”, a French version of The Knack’s seminal tune “My Sharona”. I had to say that I felt this was a great and classy move singe the original Knack singer Doug Fieger had only passed away about a month ago and that song will never ever be forgotten. The LSC set did move by quickly but was not boring at all. Once finished it was time to raise the bar as The Upper Crust were in the house.
1. Les Monstres du Ca (monsters from the id), 2. Allo Allo (Hello Hello), 3. Chaussures d’Ascenseur (Elevator Shoes), 4. Gangsteur d’Amour (gangster of love), 5. Ou Est Ou Est (Where Is Where Is), 6. Jour du Velo (Bicycle Day), 7. Le Biz (the biz), 8. les sauvages (the savages), 9. Les Enfants Terribles (The Terrible Children), 10. S.O.S. Elephants (S.O.S Elephants) , 11. telephone Douche (Telephone Shower), 12. Ma Sharona (My Sharona)
The Upper Crust: I asked one of the audience members if he had seen The Upper Crust prior to tonight and he seemed to have some familiarity with them as he said just think of Parliament. Fantastic I thought to myself and said aloud to the young lad, wow a Funk band like Parliament Funkadelic and he replied “no”, “think of 18th Century Parliament”…….oddly enough I was now even more curious about what would take place and the band arrived like four regal magistrates with period garb and powdered wigs. They spoke with proper English accents and were very saddened by the news about this evening being such a “tragedy” as they used the headlining bands name in the true sense regarding their demise as a touring outfit. Musically, these English fops had a lot of commonality to their Australian brothers in AC/DC from the Bon Scott era to be most specific and while their songs were about aristocratic life and times, they really were impressing the audience who responded to each and every track. They appeared to be well respected and such would be the case with a band that has been together since 1730 after all. They show no signs of aging and slowing down for that matter and through the musical charge that was led by Lord Bendover tonight, the blistering guitar licks from Duc Distortion only made the rhythms of Count Bassie and Jackie Kickassis all the more potent. The drummer was often caught up with himself during the set and would use his hand held fan to breathe in the essence of rock that surrounded he and his mates. I would enjoy hearing more of these guys because they literally rocked the socks and were the best I have ever heard from the other bands from that century. Some of the songs I enjoyed the most were “Little Lord Fauntleroy”, “Tell Mother I’m Home” and “We’re Finished With Finishing School”. They have a number of albums available with the most recent being “Cream Of The Crust”. If Merry Olde England and Hard Rock music together makes your knees weak then I suggest you dilly dally no longer and do some more research about The Upper Crust. When they finished the anticipation and excitement in the air was almost palpable along with the sadness for it was soon to be realized that the mighty Tragedy would never perform again.
Tragedy: Alas it is true but indeed all good things do come to an end, and such would be the case with Tragedy, the number 1 Heavy Metal tribute to the Bee Gees in the Tri-state area for this evening would mark the final show and allow its members to pursue their other interests. The news of this stuck the Metal realm like a fierce blow as diehard fan and curious passerby made the event a complete sell out and I could think of no better way to send the boys and girls off into that good night than with a packed to capacity Bowery Ballroom. Suddenly the stage went black and all one could see were several focused flashlights being worn and held by the lovely ladies of the Women’s Gibb and they entered the stage to dramatically setup the arrival of the rest of the band as they jumped into “New York Mining Disaster 1941”. I don’t believe I have heard them do this one before so it was rather an exciting opener for me, and this led us right into “Jive Talkin’” which found the spandex and glitter in every angle that you could focus your eyes on. I had only been privileged with seeing Tragedy perform on two occasions before this one and even though we were just two songs into a sure to be long set for their close, I was going to miss the “event” nature of their shows. You are not just seeing a band do Bee Gees covers in a Heavy Metal way, but instead you are watching one of the most controlled musical explosions around. It’s impossible to see the group and not have an absolute blast.
As before, Mo’ Royce and Barry did the larger part of the vocals and the twin lead guitar attack while Robin played the madman, and periodically stuck his head into the crowd to be the kissing bandit with whatever lucky lady was right in front of him. As they blasted into one of my favorites with “Nights On Broadway” I definitely felt that this was the heaviest I had heard the band but this extra bit of push to the sound surely didn’t affect the continued belittlement of the bands lackey Lance, who was on point again and again and taking every push and insult in stride. They played “Grease” from the movie of the same name and while this was sung by Frankie Valli, it was written by the Brothers Gibb so it applied to this evening’s shenanigans. I never heard them perform “Disco Inferno” before and I loved this one as they kept it to a full throttle Metal tune with drummer Lord Gibbeth coming across as one of Death Metal’s main thunderers. Barry spoke to the crowd and said that they know with their going away that they will likely give rise to other Bee Gees Metal tributes and that all of these future bands should remember that they will always be number one while they are number two. I think I detected a wry play on words in that statement but I could be wrong. They also spoke about how they wrote “Islands In The Stream” for both Bon Scott and Dolly Parton, but since Scott choked on his own vomit and died they needed to call in Kenny Rogers for the recording. Some emphasis was paid again to those budding tributes and they said how they would at least need to learn some Bee Gees and then they delivered “You Should Be Dancin’” which even found poor Robbin pummeled by Lance and the Women’s Gibb for no apparent reason. He was ok by the next song since he is made of sterner stuff and held together by some really vintage seventies era spandex.
Lead singer Barry Glibb would give the audience a chance to participate and help the band decide on the next song by way of a poll. He inquired about which song they wanted the most from the list and would it be from the Bee Gees 1968 release “Horizontal” in “The Earnest Of Being George” or would we prefer something from 1972’s “To Whom It May Concern” and have them play “Paper Mache, Cabbages and Kings” and oddly enough neither of these were selected. I think the other choice was 1993’s “Omega Man” but I could be wrong and in the end the band decided to play that seldom heard number from Saturday Night Fever “Stayin’ Alive”. Needless to say the venue erupted with this one and from here the band left the stage to their seeming end. Of course they returned to the stage and at least we all thought it was them, but we were informed that it was a new group of players that looked and sounded exactly like Tragedy and together they would perform “Hot Stuff” and “If I Can’t Have You” before the original Tragedy members morphed back into their own bodies for the rousing closer of “Tragedy”. As the song played, Barry pointed out how living in NYC you never know what can happen, such as things like Moby coming out to play a guitar solo and there was musician Moby doing said solo. During the finale Robbin stripped down to a leather thong kind of thing and many members of the front row were pulled up onto the stage to dance around while more confetti and glitter were tossed out but soon all of this would come to and end and that, very simply, was that.
So what happens now you might ask and I admit that a lot of the same questions have been bouncing around in my Metal mind since the show. With the band disbanded will we see an endless stream of solo tours for the various members of the Brothers Glibb /Gibbens? Will Olivia Newton-Chong finally embark on her long awaited solo tour doing the entire “Xanadu” soundtrack? Will Angel Of Mercy, Linda Glibb and Candy Gibb become the new Charlie’s Angels of the Hard Rock scene and will Lance every get the respect he deserves? All of these are entirely possible, well, except the last one of course but only time will tell if all of this is a mere creative break and something that will lead us into the glorious power of “THE REUNION TOUR”!!!. Fans might want to know that we observed the entire show being filmed so who knows if the band will release this at some point and based on how much fun this show was I really hope that they do. Whatever the case may be going forward, I enjoyed Tragedy while it was here to entertain us and PiercingMetal.com wishes every single member the very best of luck going forward in their next adventures. You truly rocked sweet ballz and did no wrong, but you knew that already didn’t you?
Tragedy was: Barry Glibb – lead vocals and lead guitar; Robin Gibbens – lead vocals, guitar, cowbell; Mo Royce – lead vocals lead guitar; Gibbous Waning – bass, vocals; The Lord Gibbeth – drums; Lance – Lead idiot; Women’s Gibb: Linda Glibb, Angel of Mercy, Olivia Newton Chong, Candy Gibb.
The Upper Crust Set List:
1. Chateau Neuf du Pop
2. Tell Mother I’m Home
3. I Stand Corrected
4. Let Them Eat Rock
5. Little Lord Fauntleroy
6. Rabble Rouser
7. High Falutin’
8. Come Hither Fair Youth
9. Class Up The Ass
10. Eureka I Found Love
11. Ne’er Do Well
12. Rock n’Roll Butler
13. Bleed Me
14. We’re Finished With Finishing School
15. Cream Of The Crust
Tragedy Set List:
1. N.Y. Mining Disaster 1941
2. Jive Talkin’
3. Nights On Broadway
5. Night Fever
6. Woman In Love
7. Disco Inferno
8. Islands In The Stream
9. You Should Be Dancin’
10. How Deep Is Your Love
11. Stayin’ Alive
12. Hot Stuff – encore
13. If I Can’t Have You – encore
14. Tragedy – finale
A cool posted of the band was hanging downstairs and we offer up this image for your enjoyment.
Positioned to my immediate left was the bands final merchandise for the show, and while it pained us to deliver the photograph below based on its being the sign of immanent end, we wanted you to be able to see what you were unable to buy had you chosen to bypass this final gig.
This was definitely a show that was pulling out all the stops as the first band up was a Blondie tribute band called “The Blondest”. Pictured below is lead singer Debarry.
Turn your world musical geography over to France for a little while and enjoy what Les Sans Culottes were doing in terms of their catchy and kitschy French Pop Rock. The soup du jour was clearly a fun filled one this evening. They were the second act of the four performing tonight.
The third band required a little bit more foppish elegance to be the requirement of the audience as the regal beings known as The Upper Crust took to the stage and showed the crowd that no one rocks quite as hard as Parliment does.
The time had come for Tragedy to take to the stage for one final and momentous performance but wait…..what is this? Mysterious lights in the sky?
The stage went black and suddenly all around were small focused lights and out came the Women’s Gibb in all their lovely splendor. This was a perfect setup for the bands opening tune “New York Mining Disaster 1941”.
Here’s a couple of shots of Tragedy to get you in the musical mood just a little bit more.
Barry Glibb shredding up a storm for his Disco-Metal acolytes.
It’s almost time to let you get back to the main action of the full review, so we shall send you off with a shot of the lovely Olivia Newton-Chong who as you see is calling upon the powers of Dio for the show.
The band released a very fun album with a number of their own renditions of these Bee Gees classics and its a listening experience that you will not soon forget. Since the band is going away, there is no time like the present to order yourself a copy of this one. Check it out, we recommend that you do before they run out of whatever is left.
Good luck Tragedy, we shall miss your antics very, very much