Best Cover Band: Shakedown
When it comes to cover bands and tribute bands, there's probably no group more frequently covered than the Grateful Dead. Which is why it's all the more impressive that Shakedown, a Dead tribute act, stands out from the pack. "We try to write unique set lists so every show we play is different," says guitarist Dave Frankel, the band's "Jerry." "We have hundreds of songs to choose from, and everyone in the band participates. It varies from show to show — whoever is most inspired that night. Sometimes we just wing it." Since 1995, Shakedown has made Toad's Place their home base, and they play there monthly. Fans can print out free passes from their Facebook page for a cheap night out on the town. Other highlights for the band include the Strange Creek Festival in May and the Wormtown Music Festival in September. The Dead had many classic eras during which the band hit a sweet spot, but Frankel sites the 1970s in general as his favorite. "Jerry Garcia was in his prime," he says. "They were still exploring uncharted musical territory, tickets were cheap and plentiful, there was no parking lot scene… people were there for the music and the community, not to make money selling drugs or grilled cheese sandwiches."