Gary Cherone tackles the Who with Slipkid
As Beatle Juice was to the Beatles, so Slipkid are to the Who. Just as the former were a strong, locally based tribute band led by an arena-tested singer — the late Brad Delp of Boston fame — the latter feature Extreme front man Gary Cherone, with his brother Markus on lead guitar. The Cherones had kicked the Slipkid idea around for a decade, but the band only came to fruition in mid-2006: their Hard Rock Café gig on December 23 at a fundraiser for the children’s charity Golden Angels was only the quintet’s 12th show. “After this,” Gary said post-set, “Extreme will be easy.”
He was referring to the complexity of the Who’s material as well as the reunion of Extreme, who have nearly finished a CD and are planning a spring release and subsequent national tour. “To call this slumming would be blasphemy,” he added. “I do this because I love to do it. And who’s going to hear this music in a club?”
Slipkid aren’t the kind of tribute band who try to look the part: they simply play the shit out of the cream of the Who’s catalog. Their 90-minute set began chronologically — “Can’t Explain,” “Substitute,” “My Generation” (with Gary getting in a “fuck off” where Roger Daltrey sang “fade away”) — and peaked with epic tunes from Tommy and Quadrophenia. “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” “The Real Me,” “Dr. Jimmy,” and, particularly, “Love Reign O’er Me” were perfectly suited to Gary’s versatile, dramatic hard-rock voice. Remember, he was a member of Boston Rock Opera and sang both Jesus’ and Judas’ parts in Jesus Christ Superstar.
Near the set’s end, Slipkid hit nirvana-times-two with back-to-back CSI themes — i.e., “Who Are You” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” Those songs, like the rest of the set, had the life force of a real rock band, not the cold precision of copyists. It’s a fine line, but Slipkid walk it — and rock it — with aplomb.
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