Indiana Daily Student

Grateful Dead cover band to jam

Jerry Garcia might have died in 1995, but one couldn't discern that from watching a Dark Star Orchestra show.\nThe look-and-sound-alike Grateful Dead tribute band will play at 9 p.m. Wednesday at Axis Nightclub, 419 N. Walnut St. Tickets at the door cost $12.\nThe Dark Star Orchestra isn't an orchestra, nor is it a commonplace cover band.\nConceived of in Chicago in 1997, Dark Star Orchestra has built up a national following with its dead-on covers. \n"There's a legion of us out here who have searched for vehicle to carry the spirit onward since Jerry's passing," said Steve Flores, one of Dark Star Orchestra's estimated 6,000 followers and a former Deadhead. "When given the opportunity, I'm letting everyone know that the vehicle we've been searching for is the Dark Star Orchestra."\nWith a sprawling catalog of set list, reviews and bootlegs, Dark Star Orchestra has sought to reproduce individual Dead concerts -- note for note.\nPerfectionistic, they even strive to recreate onstage banter.\nIt's not an easy task, given the Grateful Dead's notorious free-styling, improvisational style. Sets would often be punctuated with guitar or drum solos, which often stretched on for half an hour. Some critics have even gone so far as to remark that the Dead played one extended song of its three decades of "truckin'."\nBut the Dark Star Orchestra draws from the Dead's repertoire of more than 1,000 concerts without perceptibly slipping up. Minute detail is emphasized, with a particular concert's lineup matched by musicians in character. Wardrobes and instruments always perfectly dovetail the period.\nThe Dark Star Orchestra never announces ahead of time what concert it intends to recreate, but instead throws the audience subtle hints. An extra drumset or the positioning of a keyboard is supposed to give it away. Occasionally, it puts on thematic shows, lining a cover up with a particular date, for instance.\nSuch accuracy has a good many former Deadheads hooked.\n"The most telling indication of Dark Star Orchestra's hitting the aesthetic bull's-eye may be that upon exiting the show, the concertgoer is occupied with memories of his own Dead experiences," said Patrick Foster in a Washington Post review. "And that is a far more fitting tribute than any number of endless and mediocre 'jam band' compositions that have ever been mustered." \nDave Kubiak, owner of Axis, booked them to play last spring and was so impressed he asked them to return.\n"It's just phenomenal how they recreate the Grateful Dead," he said. "It's the only tribute band that I'd ever bring into a nightclub like Axis"

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