Who Are the Best 80s Cover Bands?
Exactly how long do you think you can headbang to Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit for? Of COURSE the best cover bands play music from the 1980s.
Pop, Rock, New Wave & Everything Else.
Since it's probably not too profitable to drive 3000 miles to a gig, we're going to assume that most of the cover bands on this list play out in a region. It's true, some of them do a bit of touring, and, some play on cruise ships. Actually, that's kind of cool.
But let's get on with it and check out the list.
East Coast 80s Cover Bands
Fast Times (Boston, MA)
Fast Times is the premier New England cover band for 80s pop and rock. Are we biased? Sure, but that's because we got the chance to get up on stage with them at 80's Day back in 2018. That doesn't make them any less kick ass.
They have it all: the look, the sound, the charisma, the "it" factor at shows. They play at private events, Ski Mountains, and nightclubs all over New England.
Flock of Assholes (Worcester, MA)
FoA has the best name in the game. Despite the nod to Flock of Seagulls, it really feels more like a Spaceballs reference, "How many assholes we go on this ship!?"
The Flock goes deep with tracks from Murray Head, Nik Kershaw, and The Fixx. And, The Flock goes deep in Worcester, which is perhaps the most 80s town in New England. How 80s? It was the home of WAAF for years.
Check them out if you're ever passing through the Bay State.
Rubix Cube (New York, NY)
Rubik's Cube bills itself as, "The Galaxy's Most Original 80s Tribute Band". They are professionals through and through. Not even kidding, Steve Brown of Trixter fame is IN the band. Rubik's Cube has an actual hair metal icon in the band.
They cover all the staples, including Madonna, Michael Jackson, Bon Jovi, Guns N' Roses ... you name it. Like Steel Panther, they are typically joined on-stage by any high profile music biz celebs who just happen to be in the area.
If we weren't keen on Fast Times (and biased), we'd pretty much attribute the title of best to Rubik's Cube. Also, if you can pull off Bette Davis Eyes and Cherry Pie in the same show, you've got what it takes to make it.
Slam Trans-Am (Boston, MA)
Slam Trans-Am is the rookie band on this list of the best cover bands in the United States. Their biggest selling point is that they, unlike every other 80s band, can actually pull-off the Hip Hop songs. That's why they are on the list, because they can rap.
The Reagan Years (Mt. Airy, Maryland)
What a name. And as Mick Mars of Motley Crue pointed out in The Dirt, a band's name is everything. The Reagan Years is a 7-piece outfit that has been working the Maryland/D.C./Virginia circuit for nearly 30 years, having been established in 1996.
They're a bit lighter on the heavy metal and a bit more focused on the pop, sprinkling in some Yacht Rock when they can. Like Slam Trans-Am, they do have a sax player, which is key for filling out the true sound of the decades.
Midwest/Mountains 80s Cover Bands
That Eighties Band (Denver, CO)
1,800 concerts is no joke. Really. A professional, corporate-level cover band that has high profile clients like Google and Disney, That Eighties Band continues to perform regularly all over the United States. What's more, they have their home city on lock, as CBS named them the top cover band in Denver.
Southern 80s Cover Bands
Gotta hand it to the South, as they take tribute shows to a new level. The great state of Florida hosted it's own 80s tribute show by collecting tribute bands and calling it a festival, The Space Coast Tribute Fest. Good on them.
Electric Avenue (Atlanta, GA)
"What started out as a one-off gig in 2012, has turned into: 100 shows a year across the US; cruising international waters ..."
That's taken straight from Electric Avenue's website. Those keyboards on Kyrie are ridiculous.
Hairdaze was one such band who played at the Space Coast Tribute Fest. They definitely look the part of the Hair Metal bands of yesteryear.
West Coast 80s Cover Bands
Flashback Heart Attack (Los Angeles, CA)
Flashback Heart Attack has the goods. With coordinated red leather suits, white ties and black undershirts, the band has their look coordinated for sure. They look like dudes decided to go after the Robert Palmer Addicted To Love video, only in reverse.
And, they're big on charitable events. Which in turn, it seems, has gotten them some attention and they've been joined on stage by the guys in Green Day, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, and a whole host of others.
How do you name an 80s cover band?
80s cover band names are generally a direct reference to a song title, band, genre (Hairdaze) or a nod to the times, as is the case for The Reagan Years. They also tend to double up on letters, like now defunct Irish 80s cover band, Lixx.
And then there's Steel Panther, the band that went directly after all of the Modifier + Animal bands of the decade. Think, White Lion, Whitesnake, and Ratt.