The Problem with An Under Cover Weekend
The Riverfront Times has a long, long, long history of promoting the An Under Cover Weekend shows. On the surface it's a cool event that seems to support our huge pool of local talent. It's nice to see local bands in any showcase together, especially one where everyone is working together to try to make something bigger happen. Still, I have some issues with AUCW.
psyberartist Just let the pup run free!
First, though, I still have my compliments for the event. The first few years of AUCW brought us some amazing sets that set the standard for future performances: Robb Steele as the Beastie Boys (perfect), Ghost in Light as the Cure (fantastic), the Bureau as Duran Duran (dreamy), the Blind Eyes as Elvis Costello (inspired) and 7 Shot Screamers as No Doubt (legendary).
And I will cry forever because I missed Union Tree Review as Marvin Gaye. In fact, in the six years that AUCW has been a thing, the majority of the bands have produced great sets, and it is a testament to all of the people involved that only a few fell flat. For example, the same night that False Moves totally pulled off Interpol, Troubadour Dali should have probably covered Black Rebel Motorcycle Club instead of Sonic Youth. And the Orbz as the Stooges is pretty much unmentionable, so I won't mention it.
But it's fun to see bands that you love (or your friends who play in bands that you tolerate) go all out in tribute to those they are emulating with costumes, attitudes and mimicked stage behaviors. Still, other people in town are putting on (arguably) better cover show events with much less fanfare and far fewer demands of the bands. All of these kinds of shows should just be good Halloween-style fun and not such a serious occasion. Everything doesn't have to be such a B.F.D. all of the time.
The AUCW shows are being promoted online ad nauseum. It's smart business to advertise your show in any way possible, but the AUCW crew has gone into over-saturation mode, and it's enough to make me want to skip the show in protest. The mystique of the event is damaged by multiple updates containing links to self-congratulatory videos explaining both the process and the characters. And the videos look good, but I'm not sure what they add to the experience. We just want to go to the show and have a good time.