A brief history of the great cover up

For the third straight year, The Great Cover Up — in its 17th installment — will take place in the cold middle of January, changing from its usual slot in the fall music calendar. Never heard of The Great Cover Up? Well let me ask you this: do you like CHARITY? How about BANDS (LOCAL BANDS!)? If an event dealing with both sounds like something out of a dream that you would make yourself have (if you could make yourself have certain dreams), then this is the event for you. The idea first took form in the old Blind Pig (now the location of Cowboy Monkey, RIP), where bands like the Poster Children, Honcho Overload and Hot Glue Gun came together to raise money for a local charity. But, there was a catch: instead of performing an original set, the bands were to instead pick a band to cover. That first year saw the Ward All Stars perform as Blondie, while the Poster Children covered Didjits (just before Didjits themselves took the stage as Ted Nugent). Money was raised, people had a good time, and a tradition was born.
Over the years, The Great Cover Up has landed in different venues (the Blind Pig, Mabel’s, the Highdive, and Cowboy Monkey), but it has always been organized by local booking agent Ward Gollings. His devotion to the event has kept him doing it for years, all while dealing with up to 20 bands’ schedules, late-in-the-game cancellations, and having to keep tight schedules on track. He has presented bills with Hum (who performed as Led Zeppelin), Love Cup, Braid, Menthol, Sarge, Adam Schmitt, the Moon Seven Times, Absinthe Blind, and just about every other CU band with any level of notoriety. This year, Gollings has again assembled the troops in the name of charity. The shows will run at the Highdive on Sunday (1/20), Tuesday (1/22), and Thursday (1/24), all starting at 9:30 p.m. The usual $7 cover will get you in the door, though this year will be the first to offer wrist bands for $15.
While trying not to throw down some predictable line about the Cover Up being something you don’t want to miss, I will say that the few nights that I’ve missed in the last several years I’m now extremely pissed about. (I also wish I would’ve found a way in before I was old enough to get in.) Here’s a rundown of the acts you can expect to see each night, along with some extra info about past performances (bands are listed in order from headliner to opener as set at press time):
Sunday (1/20):
Beat Kitchen — Last year, Brandon T. Washington and Co. took the stage as the Red Hot Chili Peppers. They have the versatility to pull of just about any genre, so look for something crazy.
Mike Ingram Band — Last year we did Bush and the year before it was Live. Will the trend of kinda crappy 90s alt-rock bands continue?
Curb Service — First appearance for the act, but Larry Gates performed as Sublime, Oasis, and Cypress Hill with his band Lorenzo Goetz.
Krukid — The rapper’s first appearance.
Brother Embassy — The funk-rock band’s first dance.
Kilborn Alley — We’ve seen them as Van Morrison.
Tuesday (1/22):
Shipwreck — In the last two years, they’ve appeared as INXS and Billy Idol, in two of my all-time favorite sets.
The Beauty Shop — previously the Misfits, Leonard Cohen, the Misfits and Tom Waits.
Tractor Kings — Dylan, Cash, Son Volt, Wilco…
Terminus Victor — They’ve really embraced the challenge in the past, actually pulling out Def Leppard, along with Joy Division, Love Cup and Fugazi.
The Chemicals — First-timers, but an appearance at last year’s Beatles night proved that they can put great spins on covers.
New Ruins — Another first-time set.
Monster Honkey — Another new band to round out the bill.
Thursday (1/24) (the night of bands with intentional lower-case beginnings):
elsinore — Last year they took on Queen, and the year before Ryan Groff stuffed a cucumber down his pants and aped Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie.
Darling Disarm — Kayla Brown and Co.’s first crack.
jigGsaw — Another new edition in the form of smart power-punks.
Roberta Sparrow — In one of last year’s oddest moments, the band stopped in the middle of a Skid Row set and changed gears to be Jawbreaker.
mad mardigan — Blues-rockers get their first call up.
reds — John Isberg’s down-tempo electronic outfit will also make a first appearance.

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