Paying Tribute: Tainted Love & Petty Theft at Bimbo’s

Tainted-LoveBy Tom Dellinger

Tainted Love & Petty Theft //
Bimbo’s 365 Club – San Francisco
February 14th & 15th, 2014 //

Tribute bands. There are many to choose from here in the Bay Area who enjoy the support of a loyal fan base, and this past Friday and Saturday night, two of them, Tainted Love (an 80’s tribute band) and Petty Theft (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) delivered two sold out nights where they demonstrated why this format can be so popular. A sampling of some of past performances on YouTube will give a hint at how well they resonate with the music seeking public. Tainted Love, for instance, performed at The Regency where they had what appears to be a sold out house having a seriously rocking good time. Petty Theft too, has multiple fine examples from the Mystic Theater in Petaluma and beyond.

It has to be a bit tricky being a tribute band, and Petty Theft is a prime example of how to do it. How does a band figure out how much they want to sound like the original and will their own personalities add or detract from the experience? Petty Theft, while remaining true to the original songs in form, offers enough talent in the band that they deliver what remains very much their own sound. They perform these songs with style, punch and play play them like they own them. And just as TP & the Heartbreakers are known for a very keen sense of dynamics, the same is true for this band, where each and every song is tasty musical journey. Excellent lead vocals from Dan Durkin with supporting harmonies in the band, along with three guitars ensure that traditional rich Heartbreaker sound.


The eighties. Not necessarily considered a “high water” mark for rock and roll, and yet in the right hands, it can be as good as any you’ll ever hear. And, in the hands of the band, Tainted Love, that is exactly what you get. Who knew it could be that good? On Saturday night, the band came out swinging right from the start and kept it up for the duration of their set. Not a slow song on the list. With three singers sharing lead vocals, it was a non stop romp through a wide sampling from many artists of that decade. It was high energy punctuated by excellent musicianship all around and a spectacular light show for enhancement.

The fans too, must be acknowledged. Much as the Seattle Seahawks have a strong relationship with their fans the same can be said of Tainted Love shows. Many fans were there in their best 80’s attire and ready to party down and dance with the band. There was an energy in the room that elevated it to a plane beyond what a band would likely achieve on their own.