Smile Politely

The Great Cover Up 18 in Review


by Cristy Scoggins and William Gillespie

Silver Moon as Fleetwood Mac/Stevie Nicks

CS: I recognized the band before I could discern a note of the music. Long, flowing gown, amazing jewelry, gorgeous blonde hair — who else in rock looks as fabulous as Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks? Silver Moon covered the band’s “Go Your Own Way” and “Rhiannon” pitch-perfect. Silver Moon weren’t just Fleetwood Mac, either; they were solo Stevie Nicks, too (“Edge of Seventeen” is actually from her album Bella Donna). God, I’m a geek.

Golden Quality as Scorpions

CS: So, Golden Quality’s lead singer (guest Ward Gollings) couldn’t exactly hit Klaus Meine’s high notes, but I’ll give them props for the obnoxious black wig, fake mustache, and reaching into the vault for “Blackout” (which didn’t get nearly the airplay that sweaty anthems like “No One Like You” did).

Scurvine as Soundgarden (?)

WG: Admittedly, the Great Cover Up isn’t always a thrill a minute: there is more time standing around waiting for something to happen than playing left field in Little League softball. But it is so worth it for those magic moments when a local band manages to sound almost as good as the record they are copying. This might have been one such moment. But we aren’t sure, because none of us knew what band Scurvine were covering. The only guess came from a woman in front who swore it was early Soundgarden.

Hot Cops as Rainer Maria

CS: Okay, so even with the skirts, Hot Cops didn’t exactly look like Caithlin and Kyle, the tumultuous former lovebirds from Rainer Maria. But they did transport me back to 1999, when I followed Rainer Maria around because, well, my boy crush loved the band. As soon as they launched into a note-for-note rendition of “Tinfoil,” my heart crumbled into a million pieces. God damn it, indeed.


Chemicals as The Stooges

CS: Here’s the Great Cover-Up Conundrum (for me, at least): When reviewing, should I be a stickler for a perfect imitation, or should I just expect to see some cool local bands doing some cool — and at times, unlikely — covers? Chemicals solved that problem. They were a near-perfect imitation of The Stooges and they did cool covers (especially “TV Eye”!). This may have been my favorite. And it floored me to see Chemicals’ lead guitarist play that choppy, Detroit sludge so calmly. The late, great Ron Asheton would be proud, dude.

Roberta Sparrow as Alkaline Trio

WG: Nicely played, gentlemen.

Terminus Victor as PJ Harvey

CS: The finale, and rightly so. The woman — okay, it was a man in drag — clutched a three-string bass, lipstick smeared on her cheeks. William and I looked at each other quizzically: Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders? Lydia Lunch? When I swallowed my rock-geek pride and asked someone who it was, the incredulous girl replied, “PJ Harvey.” (I’m surprised she didn’t add “duh.”) I’m not a PJ Harvey fan, and I’m not familiar with many of her songs, but this performance was weirdly, wonderfully fascinating. I couldn’t take my eyes off the stage. That’s exactly the experience I was hoping for.

Thursday photos by gillian gabriel.



by Joel Gillespie and Doug Hoepker

Post Historic & Robots Counterfeiting Money as Andrew W.K.

Party music to kick off a party — not a bad idea.

Duke of Uke as T. Rex

Much fun was had by all near the stage, especially the yokels who responded to the Duke’s request to join him on stage during “Bang A Gong” and ended up knocking over the string player’s cello. Bonus points for the giant Marc Bolan head that made an appearance at the end of the set, as well as for the tuba player who huffed and puffed out the bass parts. Minus points for the lack of a conga player.


Common Loon as Madonna (above)

This was pretty off the wall, but they really nailed it. “Material Girl” was the highlight for the crowd, but the other selections from Madonna’s earlier catalog — especially the mid-tempo, melodramatic hit “Live to Tell” — were interesting, too. Started with a sparsely accompanied “True Blue” that was tough to recognize as Madonna. Hearing the male harmonies, it was as if the group took a Madonna 45 and slowed it down to 33 RPM. No cone-shaped bustiers, unfortunately. Surprisingly, not the most effeminate all-dude effort of the evening.

Tractor Kings as Steve Earle

“Guitar Town” and “Transcendental Blues” were great, and Jake really evoked Earle’s weird intonation. A thoroughly enjoyable effort.

New Ruins as Guided by Voices

Good work to battle through technical problems with the lead microphone early in the set. Mostly Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes-era songs, including “Tractor Rape Chain” and “The Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory.” Sadly, no leg kicking, mic twirling or beer swillin’ from frontman Elzie Sexton.

Agent Mos & Friends as A Tribe Called Quest (above)

Tight, energetic show; they really made the source material their own, and the crowd ate it up.

Santa as The Cure

Creepy. Santa pulled out all the stops with all-black attire, eyeshadow and lots of hairspray. They even had a couple female fashionistas join them on stage mid-set to re-apply bright red lipstick to frontman Stan McConnell, who was a decidedly skinny Robert Smith. He really got into the Robert Smith act by treating the audience to long, affected, nonsensical between-song banter in a “British” accent. The set consisted mostly of the band’s early singles, including “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Love Cats.”

Tuesday photos by gillian gabriel.



Beat Kitchen Champaign

Beat Kitchen as Sly and the Family Stone (above)

Mike Ingram Band as Temple of Low Men

Pulp Fiction Curb Service Champaign

Curb Service as Pulp Fiction Soundtrack (above)

Brother Embassy as Limp Bizkit

Kilborn Alley as Peter Tosh

PopGun5 as Lynryd Skynryd

Pulp Fiction and Sly and the Family Stone photos from Lindsey Markel.

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