Entertainment is a form of art, and art is part of most developed cultures. Performers of all kinds can be found throughout the Star Wars universe. We’ve seen dancers, opera singers, and musicians in the films. Many bands undoubtedly play in cantinas and seedy establishments throughout the galaxy, but two groups come to mind immediately: Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes (raise your hand if you already have “Cantina Band” playing in your head) and The Max Rebo Band.
We saw both groups in action on Tatooine in the original trilogy. They played their tunes in rough and tumble locales on the dusty Outer Rim planet — either the pay must have been stellar or they were desperate for gigs. Max Rebo reportedly worked for free food, and Jabba the Hutt’s promise of endless edibles was enough for the leader to sign a lifelong contract with the gangster. I don’t really blame him. Though the bands did compete for contracts from time to time, this breakdown isn’t about which band rocks more. It would be impossible to choose. This is an overview of members, instruments, and more from canon and Legends.
Band members (Legends and canon where noted)
The Modal Nodes: Figrin D’an, Nalan Cheel, Tedn Dahai, Doikk Na’ts, Ickabel G’ont, Tech Mo’r, Lirin Car’n
Note: All members of The Modal Nodes were Bith
The Max Rebo Band: Canon: Max Rebo, Sy Snootles, Droopy McCool, Ak-rev, Joh Yowza, Greeata Jendowanian, Doda Bodonawieedo, Lyn Me, Barquin D’an, Rappertunie, Rystáll Sant, Umpass-stay
Legends: Evar Orbus and Tik Tali Tolish
The Modal Nodes: Figrin D’an
The Max Rebo Band: Max Rebo, sometimes Sy Snootles
The Modal Nodes: Ommni box, fanfar, kloo horn, bandfill, gasan string drum, Dorenian Beshniquel (a.k.a. Fizzz)
The Max Rebo Band: Chidinkalu, Red Ball Jett keyboard (a.k.a. nalargon), slitherhorn, kloo horn, Growdi Harmonique, drums
Venues (Legends and canon where noted)
The Modal Nodes: Mos Eisley Cantina (canon), Jabba’s Palace, various locations with Jasod Revoc and his Galactic Revue, Lady Valarian’s wedding reception
The Max Rebo Band: Jabba’s Palace (canon), Doodnik’s Café
Popular songs (canon)
The Modal Nodes: “Cantina Band”
The Max Rebo Band: “Lapti Nek” and “Jedi Rocks”
The Modal Nodes: A New Hope
The Max Rebo Band: Return of the Jedi, posters for “Max Reebo” appeared in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, band member Sy Snootles appeared in The Clone Wars
Now I really want to see an in-universe version of VH-1’s Behind The Music.
If you could see The Modal Nodes or The Max Rebo Band in concert, which group would you choose?
Sources: The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Characters, Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary, Star Wars Insider 67