Being in a tribute band is like being a porn star: Once you get famous for doing it, that's it; sure, you can try to cross over and make original music, but no one will take you seriously and you'll always be remembered as "that dude who was John Bonham in Led Zepagain" or whatever. Now, while there's little wiggle room in porn either you fuck on camera or you don't there's loads of leeway for the tribute-band-inclined who want to be in an actual "real band." You can blatantly rip off the same sounds, moods, melodies, lyrical ideas, production style all of it from the band you love. All you have to do is write some new words, change the order of the chords ever so slightly, slap some different song titles on your tunes, and voilà! you're an original band! Which brings us, finally, to San Diego's Crocodiles. The band, its fans, its members' families, friends, and significant others, and its record label can protest all they like, but Crocodiles sound exactly like the Jesus and Mary Chain. Same psych-reverb noise-pop, same barbed guitars, same quasi-malevolent vocals, same mechanized beats, same goddamn everything. By all rights, they should be billed as "Psychocandy: The Jesus and Mary Chain Tribute Band," but they're not. They're Crocodiles. So, yes, no tribute-band/porn-star stigma for them. Shrewd move. But we know what you're really about, Crocodiles. With Pens, Graffiti Island.
Sat., Aug. 22, 9 p.m., 2009