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The Great Cover-Up

Club Congress, Thursday, Dec. 7-Saturday, Dec. 9

What a bummer.

Not this year's edition of The Great Cover-Up, the three-day extravaganza for which local bands pick a famous act to cover, which once again lived up to the "great" in its name. The bummer was the fact that I, one of the organizers of this annual charity event, had to miss a decent amount of the performances due to one of those nasty bugs that's going around. I missed the late portion of Friday's sets, and the first few on Saturday before rallying later that night (thank you, vitamins and ibuprofen!). I can honestly say, though, that every single performance I saw this year was at least good, and most were even better.

A few random mental notes and highlights ...

The Provocative Whites and Bombs for the Bored chose indie-rock bands known as much for their distinctive guitar sound as anything--Modest Mouse and Pavement, respectively--and both managed to accurately channel the sound of each. Additionally impressive: Pavement's dual guitar interplay was handled entirely by Bombs singer-guitarist Noah Gabbard.

Though most of the audience didn't seem to recognize the bulk of the Tower of Power songs they performed, Latino Solido's version of the band's horn-propelled funk was undeniable: You simply had to dance. A re-formed version of The Therapists wore fake fur, loads of makeup and platform shoes for their glamtastically superb take on each of Sweet's four American hits, as silly as it was awesome. And playing FM staples by Bad Company, the ad hoc Sound Guys proved that audio engineers can not only push faders; they can rock, too.

When Music Video's Paul Jenkins stepped onstage with a swan costume draped over his T-shirt, the crowd thought they'd be getting a piss-take on Bjork songs--but then he started performing. The backing tracks were provided by his iPod--though he'd constructed them from scratch, and they were nearly identical to the originals--and as he ran back and forth across the stage (noting at one point, "I'm sweating on my swan"), his voice scaled every dramatic, pixieish height that the Icelandic One's does--and he's a dude!

For their horn-throwing extended salute to AC/DC, Spacefish enlisted Hellride's Tony Pickup on vocals, not to mention two bagpipers trotted out for the set closing, "It's a Long Way to the Top."

Suffice it to say that the Cover-Up is truly one of those you had to be there events.

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