The Upstate Beat: Tribute artists to recreate look, sound of classic rockers

Tommy Love is shown in concert. (Stephanie Bartik)
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Tommy Love is shown in concert. (Stephanie Bartik)

UPSTATE BEAT – Local singer Tommy Love, a Colonie native, long ago perfected the art of recreating the look and sound of classic rock singers. He can swagger across the stage like an Exile on Main Street-era Mick Jagger or lend his powerful pipes to a perfect Robert Plant wail.

“It’s like being a chameleon — I can change,” Love says. “The more you listen to and watch something, the more you can be like it. I’m just lucky that I’ve grown up with this music, and it’s in my soul.”

Known for playing around the area for decades in cover bands, Love joined Classic Rock Productions 12 years ago. The tribute show promoter recreates the purple-hazed days of the seventies in theaters around the country.

On Thursday, Classic Rock Productions celebrates the 79th birthday of Jim Morrison at Cohoes Music Hall (58 Remsen St., Cohoes) with sets by tribute artists who recreate the look and music of Jim Morrison (performed by show promoter Gary Weinlein), Jefferson Airplane and Mick Jagger (played by Love).

The production returns to Cohoes Music Hall on Friday for tributes to Tom Petty, Ann Wilson of Heart, Carlos Santana and Eric Burden of the Animals, with Love performing as Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin.

Love got his start as a teenage singer lighting up a battle of the bands contest at Colonie High, and he eventually became one of the region’s top cover artists. It was playground rejection that first drove him into the arms of rock and roll.

“When I was a little kid, I didn’t have any friends,” he says. “I was the lonely kid that stood behind the backstop when the other kids got chosen for sports teams. I would walk home alone and go down to the cellar and put the record player on. I would listen to the music and try to stretch my voice out to sound like these characters I was listening to.”

Love embodies the persona of the artists he creates — from their stage moves to their clothes to their hair. In addition to Plant and Jagger, Love also performs as Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and once did Johnny Cash.

“I’ve been a mimic since I was a kid,” he says. “I’m like an imitator doing impressions of people. If I like something and listen to it long enough, I can do it. I have a versatile voice and can stretch it into registers that other guys can’t. But practice is everything. I practice nonstop.”

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At Cohoes Music Hall, expect a “wayback machine” with period clothes, sounds and gear, Love says. He already has the act down cold. For him, the hardest part of the show is putting aside his favorite foods for weeks before the show.

“The singing and the moves — that’s the easy part. The hardest thing about doing this for me is keeping my weight down to look like these super skinny guys. Especially for someone like me, who likes to eat,” he laughs.

Lost Radio Rounders Holiday Show Cancelled

In a season not only of festivity, but also of rampant illness, Lost Radio Rounders regretfully cancelled its holiday show slated for tonight at Caffè Lena, as both frontman Tom Lindsay and banjo player Paul Jossman are feeling ill. That’s a bummer, as we’ll miss out on the eclectic grab-bag of holiday treats that they planned to offer, but look out for more public shows from the Americana trio and musical archeologists in 2023.

BANE Film Explores the Challenges of Balancing Art and Life

In 2016, Dan Elswick documented the final US tour of hardcore group BANE, his favorite band.

After two decades on the music scene, BANE had succumbed to the pressures of home life and decided to end the band with a final album and tour.

On Saturday, Dec. 10, The Linda WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio (339 Central Ave., Albany) presents Elswick’s film, “Holding These Moments,” which explores the artist’s perpetual struggle of questioning relevance and living a life of meaning and creativity.
BANE guitarist Aaron Dalbec will hold a Q&A after the film. 7 p.m.

Reach Kirsten Ferguson at [email protected]

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Categories: Entertainment, Life and Arts, Life and Arts

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