A brief history: The idea for the event was stolen wholesale from our friends in Champaign-Urbana, Ill., where it was the most anticipated musical event of the year. I had attended a few of those while living in Illinois in the early '90s and thought it was just about the coolest thing ever. When I moved back to Tucson in 1995 and told my friend and Shoebomb singer/guitarist Melissa Manas about it, she decided to take action and organize it. The first Tucson incarnation was held at Club Congress in 1998, where it has remained every autumn since. When Melissa became pregnant after a couple years (as she is again--congrats, and sorry I haven't called), I decided to make sure the Cover-Up stayed alive; with the help of numerous folks over the years--most notably Curtis McCrary, who has co-organized for the past several--I've had a hand in the event for the last five years.
A brief explanation, then, of what the hell The Great Cover-Up is: Local bands--a total of 35 this year, each of which usually performs original material--perform a 20-minute set of cover songs by an artist of their choosing. Some live out their rock-star fantasies and choose a band that's inspired them; some prefer the comical route and stage a piss-take; others fall somewhere in between those two. Part of the fun is that you never know who's performing what beforehand, or how they've chosen to approach it.
And perhaps the best part of all: Every penny raised by the event goes directly to The Brewster Center, a local service organization that provides shelter, crisis intervention and advocacy for victims of domestic violence. To date, The Great Cover-Up has raised somewhere between $18,000 and $30,000 for the organization based on our fuzzy math and lapsed spreadsheets. (Someone's gotta be keeping accurate records of this stuff, right?)
This year's schedule is slightly different from the past several years'. The event begins Wednesday, Nov. 10, takes a break Thursday, Nov. 11 to accommodate a performance by ... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead (more on that in a minute), then resumes Friday, Nov. 12 and Saturday, Nov. 13. Also of note, in addition to our longtime sponsors at Rainbow Guitars and Sticks N' Strings, this year, the Tucson Weekly comes on board as well. (Thanks, all!) And, as usual, KLPX DJ Chita will be on hand to emcee (as well as KXCI's Don Jennings, assuming he's amenable considering his recurring bout of shyness--his initials are D.J.!).
Tickets to the event are $7 for a single night, $10 for two nights or $12 for the whole shebang. Again, your cover charge goes directly to a tremendously worthwhile cause. You're also urged to arrive early, as you never know what you're gonna miss, and each band has put in much time to prepare, whether they're performing first or last. Here, then, without further ado, is the schedule for Night One of The Great Cover-Up 2004: 8 p.m., Fistsized; 8:30 p.m., Wasted Aces; 9 p.m., Matrix II: The Legend of Curly's Gold; 9:30 p.m., Secret Eggo Project; 10 p.m., Tony Bruce and the Socialites; 10:30 p.m., Sugarbush; 11 p.m., Love Mound; 11:30 p.m., Musica Obscura; midnight, Manifold; 12:30 a.m., George Squier Orchestra; 1 a.m., Chango Malo.
Artists being covered, in no particular order: Radiohead, the Temptations, Queens of the Stone Age, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Ween, the Jesus Lizard, U2, Sammy Hagar, Blue Oyster Cult, Elton John and Interpol.
Club Congress is located at 311 E. Congress St. Call 622-8848 for further info, and see the ad in this issue for the schedules of Nights Two and Three, or check back in this space next week. Until then, we'll see you there.
It makes one wonder just what they'll do to follow it up; luckily, we should get at least a sampling of the new material when ... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead perform Thursday, Nov. 11, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. The all-ages show kicks off at 8 p.m. with opening sets from Forget Cassettes and Bombs for the Bored. Advance tickets are available for $10 at the venue or online at www.hotcong.com; they'll be $12 on the day of the show. A special all-ages version of the Optimist Club dance party will resume its usual slot afterward, so put on yer boogie shoes. More information is available at 622-8848.
Usually, bands featuring the offspring of legendary musical figures don't have much to offer beyond the members' recognizable last names and shameless nepotism. Not so with North Mississippi Allstars, whose ranks include brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson (sons of Memphis producer/session musician Jim Dickinson, who has worked with the likes of Big Star, The Replacements and The Rolling Stones), DuWayne Burnside (dad is bluesman R.L. Burnside) and Chris Chew. The group's members have clearly soaked up a tremendous knowledge of traditional Delta blues, which forms the backbone of their sound but also imbues it with elements ranging from Southern rock bands like the Allman Brothers, the punked-up blues of the Blues Explosion and jam bands such as Phish and the Grateful Dead. While the fact that each of their four releases has been released on a different label suggests that the music industry isn't quite sure what to do with them, fans of wholly accessible, groovy blues-rock luckily do--they've amassed a fairly rabid fan base.
For nearly 30 years, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band has performed everything from soulful, funky R&B to indie-rock (they guested on Modest Mouse's latest album) using the instrumentation of a traditional New Orleans brass band, stepping on the toes of all sorts of musical boundaries in the process. Earlier this year, they released Funeral for a Friend (Rope a Dope), a collection of mostly traditional gospel songs that is dedicated to the memory of founding member Anthony "Tuba Fats" Lacen, who died shortly after the album was completed.
While their revered leader, Othar Turner, died in 2003, The Rising Star Fife and Drum Band carries the torch of his legacy, performing the primitive-sounding but absolutely riveting traditional music that helped birth the blues.
All three perform at City Limits, 3850 E. Tanque Verde Road, Sunday, Nov. 7. Doors open at 8 p.m. Advance tickets are available for $15.50 at the venue, all Ticketmaster locations, www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 321-1000. They'll be $17 on the day of the show. For more information, call 733-6262.
Louisville's truly remarkable VHS or Beta manage the feat of performing funky, disco-fied house music on actual instruments instead of laptops. They'll be at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., Saturday, Nov. 6. The show starts at 9:45 p.m. with openers The Fever and George Squier Orchestra. Admission is $8. Call 798-1298 for further details.
Pals with their impressive Canadian brethren in The Unicorns and The Arcade Fire (Canada is the new Omaha!), Wolf Parade also comes with the endorsement of Modest Mouse's Issac Brock, the man who brought The Shins to the masses. Catch 'em before they graduate to the big theatres Tuesday, Nov. 9, at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave. Mission Statement and Matrix II: The Legend of Curly's Gold open at 9 p.m. Cover to this all-ages show is $6. Questions? Call Mr. Eye at 884-0874.
Comic book nerds/prog-metalists Coheed and Cambria bring their special brand of bombast to Coconuts, 296 N. Stone Ave., Tuesday, Nov. 9. Underoath opens at 7 p.m. Advance tix are $16.50, and they'll be $2 more on the day of the show. Call 884-0600 for more info.
On a rare tour of the U.S., Australia's Bluebottle Kiss backs singer/multi-instrumentalist Jamie Hutchings' emotionally delivered story-songs with lush, dreamy soundscapes. They'll be at Flash Gallery, 316 E. Congress St., Friday, Nov. 5, with La Cerca, Bark! Bark! Bark! and the Sweat Band. The show starts at 9 p.m., and cover for the all-ages show is $5. 628-2944 is the number for more info. (If you're reading this Thursday, Nov. 4, Bluebottle Kiss will also perform tonight at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., with Nowhere Man and Lagoon. That show starts at 9:45 p.m., with a $3 cover. 798-1298.)
Be sure to check out our club listings for more tasty stuff we simply couldn't fit in here.