The 16th Annual Great Cover Up is not this week (it’s next weekend), but let’s talk about it anyway. For those who have never attended the event, here’s what you’re missing. Each year, the best and brightest of local bands are invited to participate in the event, which is always a benefit for a local charity. Bands then select an artist to cover, and come up with a five-or-so-song set to perform. During the show they dress and act like the band they are covering, performing only songs by that band. Artists being covered are generally kept secret until the band actually hits the stage. Past years have seen bands take on some very diverse cover sets, like Temple of Low Men performing as Radiohead, Peter Gabriel, Rage Against the Machine and Stone Temple Pilots. Last year was one of the most popular years, with bands like Poster Children (doing the Rolling Stones), Terminus Victor (Fugazi), elsinore (David Bowie), Beat Kitchen (Queens of the Stone Age), Lorenzo Goetz/Goldfronts/Brandon T. Washington (Public Enemy) and many more.
Bands are encouraged not to repeat any bands that have been covered in the last 15 years, so getting creative becomes a factor. Some big names will be missing this year, including Headlights, who (while still called Orphans) did Bjork a few years ago in one of my all-time favorite performances. Also, the event will only be over three nights this year, not the four that were planned, as last-minute cancellations are as much of a tradition as the actual shows. Next weekend (Jan. 25-27), the Cover Up will take place at two venues. Thursday and Friday will utilize the Highdive’s big stage and space, while Saturday will be at Cowboy Monkey. Check out cowboy-monkey.com, thehighdive.com and openingbands.com for more info and lineups (which will probably change three more times before next week). To keep your ears occupied until next weekend, here’s what you’ll find happening in CU this week:
Tonight (Thursday) marks the return of Indiana’s Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band to the Canopy Club in Urbana. The Big Damn Band (actually only consisting of three people) puts on one of the most energetic and electrifying shows you’re likely to see, with drums, guitar, vocals and an honest-to-God washboard. The Rev has become quite popular all over the Midwest, and he has brought his show to CU on several occasions, often creating quite a buzz. The man also has quite the beard. Go marvel at it, it’s epic. See what all the fuss is about for only $5, with a set from the Rev and also from openers the Flatland String Band. Start time is 9 p.m.
Not looking for big beards tonight? Well, Larry Gates does not have one. Hell, he’s not even big in general, just in case you don’t like that. He’ll be playing a three-set acoustic night at Bar Louie (in the old Panera on campus) for free (10 p.m. to 1 a.m.). Mad Mardigan drummer Joe Funderburk has a beard, but it’s pretty under control. It’s also red, and who couldn’t like a red beard? His band (also featuring singer/guitarist Jack Marck and bassist Rory Grennan) will be playing at Cowboy Monkey with Drakkar Sauna for $5 with a 10 p.m. start time. Check out myspace.com/madmardiganmusic.
Friday night there’s an excellent show at the Iron Post in downtown Urbana. Local alt-country/country/indie/rock/folk/hillbilly band the Tractor Kings will share the stage with the Chemicals and Scurvine. Says Tractor Kings lead singer Jake Fleischli: “Yeah, I think we have a show that night.” Dynamite stuff, Jake! He and bassist Aaron McCallister (don’t ask to borrow his bass, ladies!) will attempt to make it through an entire set without smoking. Expect breaks every three songs. The Chemicals will add plenty of indie rock goodness, while Scurvine will simply dominate all. Cover is either $5 or $7, but really, either is worth it. Showtime is 10 p.m.
Not a fan of the 17 genres listed above? No problem! At Mike ‘N Molly’s you can catch a hard rock/metal/experimental show with Roberta Sparrow, fireflies and Unique Chique for $5. At Cowboy Monkey, you can catch Santa with Hotter Than June and Dorian Minor for $7.
Saturday’s best bet is the Fotamana/Krukid show at Cowboy Monkey. Fotamana, a local band of eclectic style will play a set from 9:30 p.m. to midnight, which will be followed by a set from one of CU’s finest hip-hoppers, Krukid. This will be an excellent night to hear several kinds of music from many excellent musicians. And the cover is only $5. Get there early and stay there late to see all of the goodness. Ask about the “Country Craft” song.
Sunday will bring another 7-9 Sunday performance from Triple Whip drummer Jane Boxall. This week’s show will feature Ghost In Light, Sanya N’Kanta and Angie Heaton. The show will run from 7-9, and carry only a $3.50 cover charge. You’ll see three very different acts in two hours, and still get you home in time for bed (or in time to watch your Tivo’d Desperate Housewives episode before bed – you know who you are).
For the rest of the week, you’ve got Rehersal Space at the Canopy with 56 Hope Road on Tuesday (for free, even), and then DJ LEGTWO (Lorenzo Goetz’s Larry Gates) on Wednesday at Cowboy Monkey (again for free – get there early to tango!). Also on Wednesday, one of my favorite bands, Summer Hymns, returns to CU. They play at the Canopy Club with Lucky Mulholland, Angie Heaton and Folklore (9:30 p.m. start, $7). I had the privilege of sharing the stage with Summer Hymns a few years back, and they are absolutely fantastic live. Check out myspace.com/summerhymns.
Mike Ingram loves El •ino and long walks. You can reach him at email@example.com.