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Tribute bands battle it out at Rainbow Harbor

Fan Halen, a tribute band for Van Halen, wins the Battle of the Bands.

Fan Halen, a tribute band for Van Halen, wins the Battle of the Bands.

Alex Hernandez / Daily 49er

Alex Hernandez / Daily 49er

Fan Halen, a tribute band for Van Halen, wins the Battle of the Bands.

Janine Zuniga, Assistant Diversions Editor

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Depeche Mode and Van Halen tribute bands battled head-to-head as the remaining competitors in the Battle of Tribute Bands, marking the third event of the 2010 Summer and Music (SAM) festival.

The Battle of the Tribute Bands was an exciting outdoor concert held in the Rainbow Harbor Amphitheater in downtown Long Beach. Southern California’s top five rock ‘n’ roll tribute bands included Blasphemous Rumors (a tribute to Depeche Mode), Fan Halen (a tribute to Van Halen), Blonde Day (a tribute to Blondie), Pyromania (a tribute to Def Leppard) and INXS-IVE (a tribute to INXS). The stage demonstrated some of the most highly dedicated musicians to follow in the footsteps of an admired band.

The tribute bands competed in a three-round elimination competition. Hundreds of fans, music lovers and spectators crowded the stage. More than 50 attendees began to dance to the music when Blasphemous Rumor, who performed three songs in the final round. Lead singer, Andy Singer, danced alongside the fans while he sang.
The final elimination round between Blasphemous Rumors and Fan Halen had a very close decibel reading from the crowd’s applause that determined the winner.

“We are huge fans of Van Halen; they’re absolutely amazing,” said Chris Watson, a Long Beach local, “[The tribute band to] INXS was pretty good but not nearly as great as Fan Halen.”

When asked his prediction of the winner after Fan Halen’s final song, Richard Rogers of Long Beach said, “[Blasphemous Rumors] are pretty good, but Fan Halen has guitars and that electric vibe that I think is going to win the crowd over.”

“I like both [finalists]; They sound really good,” said Eva Granados of Hacienda Heights, awaiting the start of the final elimination round. “Both [music] styles are obviously different and Fan Halen put up a good show in the last round. But, yes, I am secretly rooting for the Depeche Mode [tribute] band.” Granados laughed as other Depeche Mode fans nodded in agreement.

The judges scored the two bands from the cheers that rose from the crowd. Blasphemous Rumors gained a 95.2 rating but Fan Halen was the crowd favorite with a 96.7 on the decibel reading.
A handful of the audience left after the announcement as Fan Halen played one more song.

Fans like Riverside resident Pam Eliasand John Timmerman, of Running Springs said they couldn’t be happier with the turn out.
“This tribute band is really great. How could they not win? They are the best.” Timmerman said.

“We’ve seen them three times before. We are big fans of this tribute band and, of course, Van Halen,” Elias said. “We’re happy they won. [I] expected them to.”

SAM is a series of musical entertainment, including local musicians and a variety of creative curricula, spanning over the summer months free for the public to enjoy.

Elias and Timmerman, among others, follow the tribute bands and the SAM events on FaceBook and through e-mail alerts. Elias also mentioned that while she did receive an e-mail alert a while ago about this event, she’s been looking forward to it the entire time and was not disappointed.

Battle of the Tribute Bands was a successful event as hundreds of fans surrounded the Rainbow Harbor area with blankets and lawn chairs and blew bubbles from the shaded areas. The first place winner of the competition won $2,000, while second place won $1,000.

SAM will next host the Church of Rock & Roll event on July 17, an inspired celebration of the music that defined the Southern California sound of the ’70s at the East Village Arts District. Information: summerandmusic.com.

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