The Great Cover-Up

Club Congress, Nov. 10 and Nov. 12-13

With 31 local bands performing the music of 30 national bands in 16 hours--spread over the course of three days--the question is, where to begin?

Some bands during the event (which I helped organize as a charity event) opted to interpret acts that sound nothing like their own styles: The Latin funk of War translated awfully well to Lovemound's rockin' southern boogie; The Fashionistas began their set of songs by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts playing their patented sultry jazz, then morphed into a full-on anthemic rock band as their slot progressed; and the only semblance to be found of Bombs for the Bored's usual indie-rock in their set of Creedence tunes was Noah Gabbard's Conor Oberst-inspired vocals--with the aid of guest guitarist Ken Andre, they unleashed a full-on swampy dual guitar jam session.

Most bands went with eerily accurate performances of bands they love: Fistsized went so far as to replicate the self-abuse of the Jesus Lizard's David Yow; the seemingly impossible task of rendering a set by the Cocteau Twins was accomplished handily by the Passionflies and their operatic guest vocalist; the George Squier Orchestra, a band originally formed to play the songs of Ween at last year's Cover-Up (they were shut out because the organizers had never heard of them) turned in a set so beloved that they became the first band in the history of the event to warrant an encore. Other notables in this category were scratchingthesurface as Operation Ivy (this year's only mosh pit-inducing set), Manifold as Queens of the Stone Age and Galactic Federation of Love's ebullient take on Donovan.

There were the humorous: Matrix II: The Legend of Curly's Gold's oddly prescient homage to Ol' Dirty Bastard, who would be dead three days later; the plushie-costumed Lagoon performing the Flaming Lips; Fukuisan Go!'s smile-inducing Brady Bunch set; and the a cappella barbershop trio renditions of local commercial jingles courtesy of the Pillwilliams. (Thanks for the Lucky Wishbone gizzards, boys.)

Personal favorites included Chango Malo's smooth set of Temptations tunes (which just may have topped their Stevie Wonder set from a few years back); a glammed-out Tom Walbank and Friends channeling T. Rex; La Cerca nailing Wire (same goes for Sun Zoom Spark's version of the 13th Floor Elevators); Seven to Blue's show-stealing, note-perfect take on Wings; and--how the hell else are you gonna end such an event?--Spacefish's jaw-dropping medley of Skynyrd nuggets that began and ended with "Freebird," natch.

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