The Deck is now at Golden Nugget, but the property’s owners recognized that the popularity of Fakefest, formerly at Trump Marina and featuring eight tribute bands, was worth preserving.
ATLANTIC CITY — One never knows what will remain or be jettisoned when new ownership takes over an establishment, but based on Fakefest’s spontaneous success 11 years ago, and the popularity it’s gained over that span, Golden Nugget was wise to keep the weekend-long music fest intact when it took over the former Trump Marina in May.
Fakefest is happening Friday through Sunday, July 8-10, at The Deck at Golden Nugget (at A.C.’s Farley State Marina). As has been the trend from year to year, all the bands playing Fakefest — and paying tribute to the classic rockers of yesteryear — are top-shelf. To keep things fresh, the eight-band lineup changes from summer to summer, and many will be making their Fakefest debuts this weekend. One of them is Kashmir, the Led Zeppelin tribute group that performs two 50-minute sets Friday along with the Aerosmith tribute Draw The Line.
“Our whole goal is for people to feel like they just saw Led Zeppelin 20 years ago,” says Kashmir lead singer Jean Violet, who wears well the look of a young Robert Plant, as do his band-mates their parts. “The feedback we get almost all the time is that if people saw Zeppelin back in the day, they feel like they sort of went back in time. We hear people say this is the closest they’re going to get to seeing a live Led Zeppelin performance.
“We take the whole energy of the ’60s and ’70s, when the whole place goes electric, and we try to recreate that atmosphere of getting caught up in the moment and almost forgetting where you are. You’re in the zone, as we call it. We try to emulate the intensity of the music just as Led Zeppelin did it when they played live.”
“There’s just a natural energy down in A.C. during the summer, making this one of our favorite gigs,” says Neill Byrnes, the lead singer (or “Steven Tyler”) of Draw The Line. “Our fans love coming out for this show. They come from all over the tri-state area to see us. Outside and on the water — what could be better? It’s a chance for the fans to meet other Aerosmith and DTL fans and bond.”
Sean Gilday of the northern N.J.-based Blue Raven Management represents three of the eight bands performing this year, including Kashmir, the Heart tribute band Queens of Heart (performing two sets Saturday), and the Fleetwood Mac tribute band Tusk (two sets Sunday).
“The business of tribute bands is so big right now,” says Gilday, “and as the economy has its problems it seems to get bigger because people are looking to affordable alternatives for entertainment. People get a lot of bang for their buck with tribute bands, particularly when you have bands that are at the top of their game like those that play Fakefest.
“I remember being younger and seeing some tribute bands that were pretty good, but I don’t ever remember seeing anything to the extent of what many of these bands do now. Many have really refined the whole concept of the tribute band. You’ll be shocked at the quality that Tusk brings with their Fleetwood Mac music — they have three different singers in the band, and at some point in the show they all have to be the lead singer, just like Fleetwood Mac had.”
Mike Ledesma and his Foreigner tribute band Head Games (playing Saturday) are veterans of venues of all sizes, and count Fakefest among their favorite places to play. Head Games is the only returning tribute band from Fakefest’s 2010 lineup.
“We really look forward to any and all events, and put everything we have into everything we do,” says Ledesma. “The big festivals are great fun, but it’s the smaller, more intimate venues I personally enjoy. In a smaller venue you can shake fans’ hands, high five them, interact with them on a personal level — that’s amazing.
“What we love about Fakefest is that it has the best of both worlds. It’s big and yet intimate at the same time. The people there really get into the music, and you feed off that energy. I can’t describe the feeling of being on stage when your band is on, you’re on, and the crowd rocks with everything you say and do.
“It’s unbelievable,” adds Ledesma. “It’s a drug I can’t get enough of. I remember the first time I got that feeling was, in fact, at Fakefest three years ago. We were on a high for weeks after that show — giddy, restless and itching to do it again.”
Because so much of the classic rock music the bands pay tribute to crosses multiple generations, it is often reflected in the crowds the bands see show up.
“The thing about Zeppelin and a lot of the classic rock is, we’ve got people from about 65 years old all the way down to 13 years old at our shows,” says Violet. “It’s a multi-generational kind of thing where you might see grandparents, parents and kids in the same venue. It’s something they all can share. I’ve seen it over and over again, especially at the festivals and larger events. Everyone’s having a good time.”
Fakefest at The Deck at Golden Nugget
Friday, July 8
Kashmir (Led Zeppelin), 7-7:50pm; Draw The Line (Aerosmith), 8:05-8:55pm; Kashmir, 9:10-10pm; Draw The Line, 10:15-11:05pm
Saturday, July 9
Glimmer Twins (Rolling Stones), 3:20-4:10pm; Head Games (Foreigner), 4:40- 5:30pm; Queens of Heart (Heart) 6-6:50pm; Glimmer Twins 8-8:50pm; Head Games, 9:20-10:10pm; Queens of Heart 10:40-11:30pm
Joe Perry: “I would have been fine doing the project [without Tyler]. It would have been quite exciting, but we never got that far and we’re still Aerosmith, which is where I would rather be.”
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Probably in the same way a casino revue show casting legends of the past can still fill showroom seats nearly 30 years after it debuted, and retro nightclubs with ’70s and ’80s themes have been outdrawing many of their contemporary counterparts, FakeFest remains a super-popular, three-day summertime musical event 12 years after it started.
“The Heartbreakers have had so many hits we could play five hours and everybody would know all the songs.”
Some of the qualities that allowed Tilman Fertitta to reach the apex of the business world, and transform Landry’s Restaurants Inc. into a conglomerate worth nearly $4 billion, he seems to carry around like a set of car keys.
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