Tonight kicks off the 16th Annual Great Cover Up at the Highdive. The Cover Up is a big tradition in the local scene, and it always packs plenty of surprises. Some bands have already let the cat out of the bag a little, but most have been good this year and have kept a tight lid on things. I talked about it plenty in my last column, and the section feature is devoted to it this week, so I’ll try to keep it short while naming the sets I’m most looking forward to. Tonight’s lineup is a hell of a way to kick the event off. The Living Blue have long been Cover Up favorites, having covered Jimi Hendrix, Black Flag and Tom Petty in previous years (as the Blackouts). Newcomers Pulsar47 are sure to have something special whipped up as well. I’ll be pulling double duty with my own band and playing lead guitar for elsinore, so you’ll see me worrying all night about messing up. Terminus Victor on Friday is sure to be excellent. I’m generally a fan of anything they do, and Cover Up sets for them are usually really well done (Fugazi, Slint). Beat Kitchen kicked major ass last year, with Queens of the Stone Age, and they have something equally as awesome ready this year. This will be Beat Kitchen’s second appearance, though lead singer Brandon T. Washington fronted an amazing run from 2000-2004 with Temple of Low Men (Peter Gabriel, Wings, Radiohead, Stone Temple Pilots and Rage Against the Machine). Those last three especially rank as some of my favorite sets of all-time. A newcomer this year is metal band Tritone, also playing Friday, and they might melt your face. Saturday night will see a set from Shipwreck, who had an amazing set last year as Billy Idol. Really, every night is packed with great bands. Do your best to make it out every night, because talk of shows that you missed will haunt you all year long.

There’s an excellent show happening on Saturday at the Canopy Club, and I’m very sad to be missing it. The Appleseed Cast makes a return to town, having played several well-attended shows in CU in the last couple of years. Along for the ride this time is Asobi Seksu, a band that oftentimes reminds me of local indie kings Headlights (especially in the guitar department). Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door, which is actually very cheap considering the bands. Doors will open at 8-ish and the show will start at 9:30 p.m. Both the Appleseed Cast and Asobi Seksu made my top 10 albums of 2006 list (Peregrine, #5 and Citrus, #8, respectively). Maybe I’ll just slip in for a little bit …

Tuesday night you can catch one of the finest jazz bands in the land at the Iron Post. Jazz Sandwich quite simply has some of the best musicians in the region. They are a marvel to witness in a live setting, where they mix genres and styles with insane chops and make it look easy. I haven’t seen them at the Post yet, but I imagine that the intimate setting works very well. Showtime is 8 p.m., and there will be a small cover at the door.

Head to the Canopy Club on Wednesday night for a set from Pulsar47, who will headline a great night that also features Casados, the Dolphin and HypnoMusicCorp. The show starts at 9:30 p.m., and has a cover charge of $6. Pulsar47 alone are worth the price of admission. They’ve quickly made quite an impression on the scene, taking an instrumental assault on the senses approach, much like the Octopur Project or a more-rocking Sigur R¢s. Casados have added new members – including upright bass and pedal steel – and tightened up their sound, becoming quite the indie-folk unit.

Also on Wednesday night, Larry Gates continues his residency as DJ LEGTWO at Cowboy Monkey. He starts at 10:30 p.m., but show up earlier to see him tango. Down in Charleston, Ryan Groff (of elsinore) and Rob Szabo (from Ontario, Canada) kick off a three-day acoustic tour with a show at Jackson Ave. Coffeehouse. The night after (Thursday, 2/1) you can catch the two of them, along with Sally Shuffield, at Aroma CafÇ as part of a rare super-sized acoustic evening. As usual, there is no cover at Aroma CafÇ, but tossing

a little money in the artist tip jar is always helpful. The run will end on Friday at Uncommon Ground in Chicago.

In venue news, Radmaker’s in Tolono is now under new ownership and will now be more rocking than ever. They will have a grand re-opening bash tonight with the Brat Pack and will continue the celebration all weekend long. Friday they’re running a family happy hour from 5-7 p.m., with a free buffet, an arcade, pool tables and Guitar Hero on the big screen. Karaoke/dancing will start at 9 p.m. On Saturday, the club will host X-Krush.

I’ve received several great email responses to the column I ran about local record stores. I appreciate the kind words, and hope that it caused at least a few people to wander into one or more of the stores for a look.

Mike Ingram can be reached at

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