After the Giambiriffic Yankee game ended last night, a few of us headed over to the Lion’s Den on Sullivan St. for an evening with popular rock band Phish cover band Phix. Now, unlike the Dark Star Orchestra, a band I’ve praised on here and elsewhere to no end, these guys don’t play a Phish show from start to finish. They actually don’t have a marketable gimmick at all, other than they’re a talented bunch of musicians playing Phish songs.

Headier-than-thou pricks like to bash these guys and say “They’re not Phish.” And you know what? They’re not. They even admit that on their website — “Phix is not Phish. Obviously, it would be impossible for a tribute band to capture the unique, quirky personality of this band that has been so important to so many people, including ourselves.

This band, plain and simple, is a good group of musicians playing unbelievable music in a bar for the price of a couple beers. This band provides a locus for like-minded people to get together and bob their heads uncontrollably and shuffle their feet incessantly and listen to some fresh takes on their favorite live music of all time. Oh, and this band also provides a place to go with a 20-1 dude-to-chick ratio. If you’re a girl looking for a 16-25-year-old guy with good taste in music, check out Phix the next time they hit your town.

I’d like to see them incorporate some sort of gimmick into their act, though. To me and many others, it’s not nearly enough to just get up there and play Phish tunes. And just minutes after I said that to my buddy, and how I thought they needed to play with the setlists more, with weird segues Phish would never perform, they busted out a rockin’ and clever Tube > Punch You in the Eye > Tube.

They followed that up shortly thereafter with a Harry Hood set closer, and they nailed that jam. Usually they do a great job with the composed sections and butcher the jams, but on Hood, the opposite held true. The most authentic part of the show, I think, was the part when Crafty Lefty FakeTrey botched the lyrics to Lizards. That was dead-on-balls accurate (see Keswick ’92, among others).

I left at setbreak, which came at midnight, because I need to be awake and alert at 6 am. But I’m sure they played until the wee hours, putting on a solid three-hour show filled with all your favorites. I just don’t get the hate for these guys. Sure, they may be a little too talented to be just playing someone else’s songs for a living, and that’s frustrating to watch. And they’re not nearly as good as Phish, but then again, nobody is as good as the greatest rock ‘n roll foursome in history.

People need to lower their expectations and head to the bar for some great tunes at a reasonable price. If not, you’re really just cheating yourselves out of a good time.