For those who missed out on some, or all, of the festivities at this year’s Great Cover Up, here’s a recap of who did what: Pulsar47 (Led Zeppelin), Watery Domestic (Headlights), Mike Ingram w/ Tritone (Bush), Tractor Kings (Dire Straits), The Beauty Shop (Tom Waits), The Living Blue w/ Dave King (Captain Beefheart), elsinore (Queen), Delta Kings (The Pretenders), Kilborn Alley (Van Morrison), Beat Kitchen (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Tritone (Judas Priest), Archives of the Future (Dead Kennedys), Probably Vampires (Kid Rock), Terminus Victor (Gang of Four), Roberta Sparrow (Skid Row/Jawbreaker), Scurvine (Tegan & Sara), Triple Whip w/ Adam Wolfe & Wilson Hensleigh (Interpol), Shipwreck (INXS), Nadafinga (Foo Fighters) and Mad Science Fair (Elvis Costello).
It was a great year with many great performances. Pulsar47 kicked the event off marvelously with an instrumental take on Zeppelin. When they erupted into “Kashmir,” the place went nuts. Watery Domestic continued a smaller tradition of picking a local band to cover, doing a set of Headlights songs. I had a blast playing Bush, in an attempt to take everyone back to the mid-’90s. I have also never been more petrified in all my life as a musician than when I was playing Brian May of Queen with elsinore, but it was a lot of fun. Friday night offered an excellent take on the Chili Peppers from Brandon T. Washington and Beat Kitchen. Seriously, though, weren’t we all expecting Josh Walden to wear nothing but a sock on his dick? Tritone wore an insane amount of leather and one skull codpiece during an extremely rocking set as Judas Priest. Archives of the Future threw down a kickass set as Dead Kennedys, with Marco Nieto filling in on guitar for Mark Baldwin (broken hand). The bass during Terminus Victor’s set nearly liquefied my insides. Saturday’s show at Cowboy Monkey featured an unexpected turn for Adam Wolfe, fronting Triple Whip as Interpol, a band he’d never heard of before signing on for the set. Shipwreck continued with the theme of excellence they started last year (with Billy Idol) by doing four excellent INXS songs. Overall, this was one of the most successful Cover Ups, and it was a treat to watch all of the performances.
Tonight there are several great shows worth checking out. Early at Aroma CafÇ you can catch elsinore’s Ryan Groff in a solo performance alongside Sally Shuffield (Colorado) and Rob Szabo (Ontario, Canada). The show is free and is super-sized to allow for three great artists. It will start at the usual 8 p.m., but will run late. As always, tip jars will be out for the artists, and this time two of them are on tour and a long way from home, so help them out.
At Zorba’s, their weekly jazz night will feature the Greg Spero Trio from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. The band is more than just jazz, as the members fuse several genres into an excellent sound. A block away at Bar Louie, Larry Gates continues his bi-weekly residency, doing three acoustic sets starting at 10 p.m., with no cover. Downtown Champaign will be rocked by Live Karaoke Band at Cowboy Monkey. The cover is $5, and for that you can watch several people either rock or make absolute fools of themselves. Make the extra effort to walk up to the stage and sign up and you too can make an absolute fool of yourself. This karaoke experience is unlike any other in town, as you actually get to go onstage with a live band (featuring members of the Brat Pack and X-Krush)! Live Karaoke Band will be celebrating its third anniversary with a show at Cowboy Monkey in March, so keep an eye out for information on that special show.
On Friday, New Ruins will offer a brand new CD with a release show at the Highdive. The CD, The Sound They Make (Hidden Agenda Records), will likely take the band to the next level of success, as I imagine that anyone who hears it is going to want to see the band live. Your chance to see them live this week will also come with performances by Headlights, The Living Blue, Shipwreck and Dress Code. For $8, this is an excellent deal. The show starts at 9 p.m.
Also on Friday, there will be a reunion show for Alma Afro-Beat Ensemble, a band that hasn’t played since last fall due to the relocation of some members. Last year, the band was packing the house at every show, so if you want to see them this time around, get there early. The show starts at 10 p.m. at Cowboy Monkey and carries a $5 cover.
On Saturday, there will be a special kind of benefit show held at the Iron Post in downtown Urbana. Triple Whip drummer (and UK import) Jane Boxall and her new husband are going through post-wedding immigration paperwork that costs a ridiculous amount. They’re holding a benefit show full of excellent artists to help cover some of those costs. The show starts at 7:30 p.m., and the cover is only $5 (though, believe me, no one will argue if you want to donate more). Acts slated to perform include Brother Embassy, Larry Gates, Kayla Brown, Bellcaster, Monster Honkey, Water Between Continents and Triple Whip. Since coming to town a couple of years ago, Jane has become a strong presence in the scene, drumming for Triple Whip and also playing concerts as a solo marimba player. She has also taken an active role in booking shows, including the 7 to 9 Sundays series at the Iron Post. On top of all of that, she’s a genuinely awesome person that we need to keep around here, so get out there and help pay for that residency.
A word of caution to buzz readers: if you ever encounter Coulter in his natural environment at a bathroom urinal, do not engage him in conversation. He is not comfortable with this, and will certainly tell you so once he finally gets out of the bathroom. Sorry, Coulter, I didn’t know.
Mike Ingram can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Seriously, send him something.