The Love Cats had The Cure

Since the mid 1960s, the supergroup has held a cherished place in music, living on with a certain air of class and distinction.

The Faces, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, the Traveling Wilburys, and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes have all left their marks on popular music. It is not very often, however, that one of these supergroups is also a tribute band.

Last Tuesday night, Rathskeller patrons got a taste of The Love Cats, the ltimate Cure tribute band. Comprised of members of Pitch Black Blonde, Let It Burn, My Chemical Romance, Thursday and the Bouncing Souls, the New Jersey punkers played the Cure gamut, from “Seventeen Seconds” to “Wish.”

Opening the night was Gimme Drugs, a modest rock group akin to acts of the late ’70s English invasion, expressing a slight feeling of melancholy and violence in ordinary sidewalk brutality. On “It’s Not Funny,” the group seemed to be channeling Elvis Costello and the Attractions, but was often too concerned about belting it out.

The Love Cats then had their chance to hop on stage, a smoke machine billowing at their feet.

They started the night off by playing “Fascination Street,” taking that long intro to the song and carrying it a little longer, feeling out the audience to gauge the evening to be.

The group then moved onto a cover of “Why Can’t I Be You,” followed by “Friday I’m In Love.” It’s refreshing to see the song still has some pop left in it, considering as how it’s been played to death in advertisements for the new, cutesy Drew Barrymore flick. Blissfully upbeat and bouncy, the song was played with so much vitality that it could easily shake the inner contents of your sweatshirt.

“Everyone come up here and dance,” said lead singer, DJ Values as he moved onto “In Between Days.” Known for his days in Let It Burn, he stands out as the focal point of this venture, respecting and acknowledging Robert Smith’s role, yet never trying to photocopy it.

It could have been easy for Values to putty on some red lipstick or take a Cuisinart to his hair. Instead, the entire band maneuvered an aesthetic of the Cure without ever impersonating them.

“The Caterpillar” was the next song up on the roster for the band. While the original is an obscure and bizarre track in its own right, the Love Cats took into the territory of utter wackiness.

As the band continued to play, more and more people started to congregate at the front of the stage, dancing and singing along with the invited performers.

The happy madness continued as the band covered Cure classics such as “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Just like Heaven” and “Pictures of You,” all of which were gobbled up with extreme fervor. Of these, “Pictures of You” was executed most eloquently, capturing the gentle ramblings of the song as well as its abrupt disintegration at the end.

Every time an album like “The Head On the Door” is slapped with the “gloom-and-doom” label, it is unfair to the fans. The label never accounts for a fan’s emotional reaction. And while some fans might listen to “Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me,” while pouting in the dark, there will always be fans ready to sing along and do the synchronized clap from “Close to Me.”