Thursday, January 21, 2010

Metal Mike: Headbangers play Jacko

Note: Dangerous has canceled. The rest of the acts are still on the bill. All tickets will be honored. Refunds are available.

By Meredith Deliso

Get ready to get your rocks off.

A motley crew of tribute bands is descending upon Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg this month, all with a twist.

There’s the all-metal tribute to Michael Jackson, for one. “The day Michael Jackson died, oh I smelled opportunity,” said Jake Szufnarowski, the man behind the event and the keytar player in the band Dangerous, facetiously. “If you’re ripping off of an ‘80s artist like Michael Jackson you have to have a keytar.”

Then there are the all-girl tributes to Judas Priest and Cheap Trick (Judas Priestess and Cheap Trick or Treat, respectively), on the lineup, which are also recently formed acts (Judas Priestess, for all you tribute band geeks, is comprised of some members from the disbanded all-girls Motley Crüe tribute band, Girls Girls Girls).

Szufnarowski started organizing tribute band nights in the New York area five years ago, inspired after seeing tribute shows in New Jersey.

“It was usually one metal tribute band and bad local bands,” says Szufnarowski. “I thought, why not put four awesome tribute bands together and make it a big huge concert?”

He did just that, with tribute bands for Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Motley Motley Crüe and Guns N’ Roses on a bill at B.B. Kings. It was such a success he kept putting on more shows, and even started his own band – Tragedy, a metal tribute to the Bee Gees. Now Dangerous makes two for someone who wasn’t much of a fan of tribute bands before he got into this.

“I was never really a big fan of them. I’ve definitely developed an appreciation for tribute bands,” says Szufnarowski, who produces his “Tribute Wars” series and other events in New York City through his promotion company, Rocks Off.

Things really rocketed off for Tragedy too. The band has traveled all over the world, including playing the Bee Gees’ homeland, England, four times. And with the Michael Jackson act, the band, comprised of members form Tragedy and rap rock band 2 Skinnee J’s, has already traveled up and down the East Coast, including some hedgefund parties out in the Hamptons.

For Brooklyn Bowl, they look to whip out everything from the Jackson 5 right up to “Dangerous,” naturally. “The ‘Dangerous’ album is the last one that we bothered learning anything from,” says Szufnarowski. “And, of course, ‘We Are the World.’”

We’re out sure how much you can rock off to that, but it’s good to be game.

Judas Priestess and Cheap Trick or Treat play Brooklyn Bowl (51 Wythe Ave.) January 29 at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5. For more information, call 718-963-3369.


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