Dark Star Orchestra

 

Music Mill

Wednesday, Jan. 31, 8 p.m., $20/$22 day of show

In cities like Chicago, Ill., you can throw a rock and hit a tribute band. Name any great or marginal rock act from the last 40 years, and there exists some form of tribute band.

Dark Star Orchestra has a unique place in music when it comes to performing the music of the Grateful Dead. This year marks DSO’s 10th anniversary. The band is still on the road two-thirds of the year.

Guitarist Rob Eaton wants to clear up the difference between DSO and other tribute bands, saying the “T” word is not necessarily a bad one. Just don’t use it to describe DSO.

“I don’t think we’re ‘tributing,’” he says. “We’re not putting on a spectacle. I like to think of us as a spirit band. It’s going to be different music every night. We take the music seriously. We don’t ‘recreate’ Grateful Dead shows. We only copy the set list … and maybe the arrangements. We’re not going to do a note-for-note reproduction of Jan. 13, 1976. Some people really think when I make a mistake, it’s because the band did the same thing.”

While the Dead encouraged fans to record their shows, the DSO also streams live shows on a pay-per-listen basis via their Web site (www.darkstarorchestra.net). “It’s a way for the people to reach us no matter where they are,” Eaton says.

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