Band with nine lives to live

Band with nine lives to live
Australian tribute band Ice Cold Chili Peppers members (from left) Rocky Evangelisti, Pete DeVita, Dave Swan and Tom Jennis. Scott Vance is also part of the group who take on various incarnations as they pay tribute to nine famous rock bands, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Oasis, Nirvana and the Beatles.

They go by many names, including the Ice Cold Chili Peppers and nOasis, but this Australian band really should call themselves Cat Power since they have nine lives to live.

The quintet of Scott Vance, Tom Jennis, Rocky Evangelisti, Pete DeVita and Dave Swan take on various incarnations as they pay tribute to nine famous rock bands, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Oasis, Nirvana and the Beatles.

When the bandmates, aged 35 to 45, are here for Beerfest Asia from June 12 to 15, they will be performing as the Australian Beatles, Ice Cold Chili Peppers, Nevermind Nirvana, nOasis and The Australian Blues Brothers.

Performing as so many bands does come with its challenges.

Swan says: "Right now, the grunge and rock show we're bringing to Beerfest is very popular. The difficulty could come in two months, when someone tells us to do the Rolling Stones tribute, which we may not have done for a whole month. We'd be like, 'Ah okay, we've got to go back to this one now.' We've got to remember it."

While performing, the band do try to imitate the original band's style as closely as they can.

Swan says: "I think we leave our individuality at the stage door. As soon as we're on stage, we assume the roles of the people we're playing."

Practising their various accents, learning to play the bass left-handed and using instruments identical to those of the original bands are examples of how far they go to creating performances as authentic as possible.

"When we're doing the Beatles, we'll be playing Rickenbacker guitar, Gretsch guitar and the Hofner bass. When we do gigs in which we can bring our own drum kit, I'd bring the Ludwig drum kit along," says Swan, referring to the instruments favoured by the original Fab Four of John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

Though Swan and his bandmates are dedicated to replicating the performance of the original band, they draw the line at performing topless like the Red Hot Chili Peppers often do.

He quips: "Sometimes I get a bit hot, and I have been known to take off my top, but, really, when you see the Chili Peppers do that now, at the age they are at, they do get a lot of comments on their Facebook page saying: 'Don't do it guys! Don't do it anymore!' I think it was fine to do it when they were in their 20s and when we were in our 20s. It's best avoided these days."

Beerfest Asia is a four-day festival organised by Beerfest Asia, co-owned by Timbre Group and Sphere Exhibits. Held this year at the Marina Promenade, it will feature more than 40 beer exhibitors and four whisky vendors, who are bringing in more than 400 beers and 50 whiskys.

Having performed at Beerfest twice before, in 2011 and 2012, Swan says: "Singapore audiences really do get into the shows we do - it might be something to do with beer. For a band being onstage watching the audience, it's definitely fantastic."

His band even have a favourite food haunt which they must visit every time they come to Singapore, although they cannot recall the name or where it is located.

Swan says: "We always go back to the same shop when we're in Singapore. Normally, when we get there, it's two or three in the morning, a guy is asleep on the table and we wake him up and he's quite happy. He's like, 'Hey, you're back!' and he cooks some fantastic noodles."

This article was first published on May 29, 2014.
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