If there is one thing you learn after going to two nights of WPGU Presents: The Great Cover Up, it’s that you need to get there early. The place fills up, and it fills up fast. Trust me, it’s an experience you aren’t going to want to miss. WPGU Presents: The Great Cover Up continues Tuesday, January 17th and Thursday, January 19th at The Highdive in Downtown Champaign.
Vanattica as Jimmy Eat World: As the first band of the night, Vanattica had certain needs to fulfill, such as greeting the crowd and setting the tone for the evening ahead; needless to say they did just that. Vanattica put on a strong and energetic show as Jimmy Eat World, playing a set list that included “The Middle” and “The Sweetness.” Guitar licks throughout the set were spot on from lead guitarist, Brendan Summers, as was the singing from psyched up Travis Leonard. As the set went on, Leonard pulled out an acoustic guitar, as Vanattica likes to do from time to time during their live shows, and went right into “Hear You Me.” It was a solid performance to start off the night.
Missing the Point as Third Eye Blind: Though Missing the Point may not have a following as big as Third Eye Blind, their fans certainly showed up in force at The Great Cover Up. As members of the band took to the stage, the crowd began to swarm. Missing the Point opened strong with “Graduate,” and made it a point to include hits such as “Jumper” and “Semi-Charmed Life” into their stage show. It was fun watching this band perform, not only did they cover Third Eye Blind, but they made sure not to sound exactly like them. Throughout the set you were still able to hear Steve Meadows little quirks and flourishes, letting you know Missing the Point was still in the building.
The Palace Flophouse as Bruce Springsteen: The only hint the crowd had as to whom The Palace Flophouse was going to be covering was a single scarf tied to a guitar, that was until the lead singer, Bradley Bergstrand, reached for a red bandanna. The Palace Flophouse started off the set with Springsteen’s “Atlantic City.” As with all great things, there was a minor hiccup during the set as one of guitarist Christopher Edison’s strings broke, but the show went on (though a replacement guitar made its way to the stage a short while later). The Palace Flophouse also played “Born to Run” and ended with “Born in the U.S.A.,” which had the crowd singing along.
Scathe as Faith No More: Costumes were in limited supply this evening, but Scathe dug deep into the closet for their cover of Faith No More. Lead singer, Bryce Johnson, was decked out in a jumpsuit looking getup that was red on one side and white with black circles on the other. Even a red whiffle ball bat made an appearance during the performance, with which Johnson was slung it around. The entire band got into character for the show. Even the keyboardist was wearing a white shirt with white master printed along the front and a white cowboy hat, making lude gestures while tapping the keys; perfect for that Faith No More feel. There set list included, “We Care A Lot” and “Last Cup of Sorrow.” Perhaps the best part of this performance though was when the band called up “girls” from the audience to join them on stage during a rendition of “Easy.” Did I mention these girls were grown men dressed as scantily clad women? There were bikini tops, skirts, boas, long flowing wigs, tight skinny leather pants and plenty of laughs. To finish, off the performance, Johnson took to the stage and flopped around like a fish out of water, an ode to “Epic.”
Mike Ingram as Tears For Fears: Mike Ingram came on to the stage in a wool overcoat, threw on a long curly wig, and took us back to the 80s as he covered Tears For Fears. Ingram led into the set with “Head Over Heels,” then had the crowd singing along with every song that came after including “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” and “Shout.” The crowd, swaying from side to side, was eating out of Ingram’s hands. A great performance that entranced the audience.
Temple of Low Men as Alice In Chains: Temple of Low Men, an act that reunited just for The Great Cover Up, brought the house down. Lead singer Brandon T. Washington, dressed in a black leather coat, black beanie, and sunglasses, took command of the crowd with his voice and laid back style on stage. Washington wasn’t jumping around on stage, or writhing on the floor, he was simple standing with one foot on the speaker and the other behind him with both hands on the microphone singing his heart out as the original lead singer from Alice In Chains, Layne Staley. Highlights include “Rooster” which had the audience going insane, wanting more and Temple of Low Men delivered, wrapping up their performance with “Would.” Then, in true rock star fashion, they stormed off the stage.
Kayla Brown & Amiel as Salt-n-Pepa: If you’re mind wasn’t blown after Temple of Low Men performed then it should have been after Kayla Brown and Amiel hit the stage dressed as the 90s group Salt-n-Pepa. Not only did Kayla Brown and Amiel have their music down, but they also learned a lot of choreography and put on quite a show. Dressed in black apart from their red and white letterman sweaters, Kayla Brown and Amiel and got down singing “Shoop,” “None of Your Business,” and “Let’s Talk About Sex.” It was obvious the girls and their posse were having a great time on stage, and the crowd was having just as much fun. Salt-n-Pepa, I mean, Kayla Brown and Amiel, finished off the evening with “Push It.” Towards the end of the performance, the duo began pulling people from the crowd onto the stage, and everyone in attendance went mad. Honestly, I’m kind of surprised it’s still standing after last night.