IT’S the question on everyone’s lips: do bands featuring famous actors attract actual, bona fide fans of the music, or do people simply flock to their shows to see a star up close?
Ghost of the Robot
Liquid Room, Edinburgh
The likes of Russell Crowe and Billy Bob Thornton take their musical side projects terribly seriously, often to a laughably defensive degree. “In this context,” they say, “I’m just a member of the band, all of whom are equal partners in a sincere musical enterprise.” Any suggestion that audiences endure their middling bar-room rock because they enjoyed the frontman’s work in Gladiator or Bad Santa is met with frosty indignation.
On Thursday I believe I found evidence to put these vanity projects in their place. Ghost of the Robot are usually fronted by actor James Marsters, alias Spike from cult fantasy series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Unfortunately, he was busy with his day job in the US, so his teenage son was forced to take his place before an audience of fewer than 40 people (ticket sales apparently plummeted as soon as Spike’s no-show was confirmed).
I felt sorry for them as they ploughed through their repertoire of generic pop-punk and half-decent Merseybeat pastiches. At one point Spike Jr announced a birthday dedication to a fan who hadn’t even turned up. It was embarrassing.
These hairy young guys must’ve realised that, without the presence of a 51-year-old pretend vampire, people simply aren’t interested. My advice? Start afresh without him.