Everything you need to know as live entertainment returns to the UK.
There are a lot of bands out there. So many you’d think it wouldn’t be necessary to keep inventing more, especially just to exist for a couple of hours in a film. But every now and then, some bright spark comes up a fictional band that’s even better than the real thing. Here are 20 unreal acts – and a couple that actually became real – that we’d be queuing up to see.
Weird Sisters (from Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire)
The biggest band in the wizarding world was really a supergroup containing members of two huge bands from the muggle one (Pulp and Radiohead). Their name is never actually mentioned in the films, due to a legal dispute with a similarly named Canadian band.
Spinal Tap (from This Is Spinal Tap)
You can’t discuss fictional bands and not include Tap. The fact that so many rock docs are referred to as being like “a real-life Spinal Tap” is a testament to how well Christopher Guest and co. nailed the barmy excesses of the metal world. It’s easy to think of at least a couple of bands who would definitely have tried that cocoon stunt.
The Soronprfbs (from Frank)
A delightfully eccentric quintet led by the mysterious, giant-headed, even more delightfully eccentric Frank (Michael Fassbender). Too weird and wonderful to be real.
Dewey Cox (from Walk Hard)
Cox’s music careens from country-flecked rock ‘n’ roll to Pet Sounds-esque studio madness (including goats and indigenous tribesmen), but nothing tops the Dylanesque stream-of-conscience madness of Royal Jelly.
The One-ders/Wonders (from That Thing You Do)
Possibly the catchiest song on this list (written by Fountains Of Wayne’s Adam Schleisinger). One-hit wonders, but what a hit!
Sex Bob-omb (from Scott Pilgrim Vs The World)
Michael Cera’s band (with Alison Pill on drums and Mark Webber on guitar and vocals) sits somewhere between Beck and The Eels, which is a damn fine place to sit.
Ally (from A Star Is Born)
Lady Gaga delivers a stunning performance as Ally in the third big-screen version of this haunting tale of fame and excess. As well as the Academy Award winning Shallow, it’s the tear-inducing I’ll Never Love Again that further cements both as superstars.
Mitch & Mickey (from A Mighty Wind)
Here’s a challenge: watch all of A Mighty Wind and try to get through the final rendition of A Kiss At The End Of The Rainbow without ending up as a human-sized blob of emotion.
Wyld Stallyns (from Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure/Bogus Journey)
Their music literally saved the entire world. Excellent!
Stillwater (from Almost Famous)
They’re golden gods of rock ‘n’ roll. Well, at least, guitarist Russell Hammond is. The rest are just the out of focus guys behind him.
Randy Watson & Sexual Chocolate (from Coming To America)
Smooth, like a velvet jacket in a blender.
The Lone Rangers (from Airheads)
This power trio made up of Brendan Fraser, Adam Sandler and Steve Buscemi is potentially the stupidest band in movie history, but their song Degenerated (originally by Reagan Youth) rocks. And that’s actually Brendan Fraser singing.
Citizen Dick (from Singles)
Cliff (Matt Dillon) is a bit of a useless no-hoper, but he does have Pearl Jam as his backing band. Their murky grunge “hit”, Touch Me I’m Dick, is a paraphrased cover of Mudhoney’s breakthrough single Touch Me I’m Sick (which is currently very bad advice).
Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes (from Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope)
The house band of the roughest cantina in Mos Eisley. Sing it now: Dum de dum de dum dum dum, dum dum dum de dum dum dum.
The Commitments (from The Commitments)
Alan Parker’s superb film about a working-class soul band in Dublin featured a wealth of musical talent, including Once star and The Frames’ frontman Glen Hansard as guitarist Outspan. It’s Andrew Strong’s pipes that steal the show however, especially on the roof-shaking Mustang Sally.
The Blues Brothers (from The Blues Brothers)
An all-star blues and soul revue led by lifelong rule breakers Jake (John Belushi) and Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd). The backing band is to die for, with bona fide musical geniuses like Donald “Duck” Dunn on bass and Steve Cropper and Matt “Guitar” Murphy on, yep, guitar.
Iron Fist (from We Are The Best!)
Like a lot of teenage punk bands, this young Swedish trio makes up for their lack of talent with a surfeit of attitude, pouring it all into their raucous anti-P.E. anthem Hate The Sport.
Bad Blake (from Crazy Heart)
Before Bradley Cooper there was Jeff Bridges, drinking, swearing and croaking his way through the gritty Crazy Heart. The heart of the film is the moving ballad The Weary Kind, written by Americana singer/songwriter Ryan Bingham.
Barry Jive & The Uptown Five (from High Fidelity)
Their cover of Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On is surprisingly great, but they make this list primarily for the band’s alternative names: Sonic Death Monkey and Kathleen Turner Overdrive.
Llewyn Davis (from Inside Llewyn Davis)
Davis’s story borrows liberally from that of Dave van Ronk, a folk singer who rubbed shoulders with the greats but idled in obscurity himself. Davis’s repertoire is as mercurial and brooding as the man himself, epitomised by a stunning version of the old English ballad, The Death Of Queen Jane.
The Soggy Bottom Boys (from O Brother, Where Art Thou?)
The Coens have a knack for creating fictional bands that feel utterly lived in, no doubt down to their partnership with producer extraordinaire and former Dylan sideman, T-Bone Burnett. The Soggy Bottom Boys are no exception, dusty charm seeping out of every harmony.
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