DARK STAR ORCHESTRA, THE DEPOT, Thursday, Oct. 17, 9 p.m., $28
It's easy to be skeptical of any so-called "tribute" band, given the fact that pretty much every city has a group dedicated to the catalog of, say, Neil Diamond, The Ramones or AC/DC. But having seen Dark Star Orchestra a few times, I would never label the band known for recreating entire Grateful Dead shows as just another tribute act. DSO matches the Dead live experience as much as possible, replicating Jerry and Co.'s equipment on stage, varying the lineup to match different Dead eras and embracing the original's love of improvisation. For serious Deadheads, the show makes for a fun game of guessing which long-ago gig DSO is replicating on a given night. And for those of us far more casual about our Dead fandom, they provide just a damn fun night at the club, a chance to dance with a slew of happy hippies. Sometimes that's just what the doctor ordered. This time through SLC, the band brings new bassist Skip Vangelas along for the ride.