All words: Jenn Bress — All photos: Alex Lee
I’m one of those, hooked on Run For Cover to max. I look forward to it every year, and last year, I was really devastated to be at the beach (yeah, right?) when I missed Robot Rock, the still talked about Daft Punk cover band. I am all about seeing local musicians dream up cheesy hybrid bands, wear goofy outfits and rock the fuck out on stage covering bands they admire or just feel like making fun of. This year was absolutely no let down, as eight solid cover performances powered through 3-4 song sets that had me (as usual) pounding through drinks because I was having such a blast.
The night started with a stroke of genius as GirlsRock! DC camper band Silver Rush opened the evening. With only a week to learn their instruments, these four ladies formed a band, wrote a song and performed live to a huge audience on the Black Cat main stage to show that the night’s benefit was going to an exceptional cause.
Falling Spikes started off the night featuring John Masters (ex-Metropolitan) in a striped shirt as Lou Reed, launching into a nearly flawless “What Goes On” Velvet Underground cover. Just when I’m wondering where Nico is, a spazzed out looking AndyWarhol appears. He’s pretty much ODing the entire performance, violently flailing around the stage, humping the keyboard, and whipping a crop throughout the set. The guys have it nailed though, with projections behind Lou Reed’s head, and “Run, Run, Run” has me questioning why they are on first. If this is the bar, it’s been set pretty high tonight.
We’re all trying to guess what the next band is going to be based on their costumes. I’ve found I like to guess what each band rather than see the set-list beforehand. Hey, I like surprises. So, a drummer in a 70’s era white suite, a guy in a white jump suit and a guy in a black skeleton costume had me questioning until the main singer appears in fringed coat (amazing) no shirt and jeans. “ Talking about my Generation” gives me that DUH moment when I realized its The Who. I am ashamed to say that I don’t know who exactly the musicians were in this performance but the lead singer had all the swagger and grit of Roger Daltrey and is a total rock star. The set culminated in a totally “The Kids Are Alright” rockumentary style performance of “Baba O’Reilly” (after they did the song The Kids are Alright) in which a tambourine banging Pete Townshend actually broke his instruments. A Townsend jump kicks and splayed out leather fringe stance also included in this mind-blowing performance.
So stoked to see ladies take the stage as members of Del Cielo hopped on as The Hot Rock, aka Sleater Kinney. “We’ve often been told we reminded people of them”. They launch into “Darkest Eyes”. Andrea Lisi’s vocals are spot on, but aren’t they always? Obligatory Portlandia joke was made, in case you’re wondering.
The See BS Orchestra had a newscaster presenting Warren Zevon . Uhhhhh, I’m not a huge fan and I didn’t entirely get what they were trying to do here. Well, I guess they love Warren and want the world to know. “Werewolves in London” came on with a dude in a wherewolf mask that stage dove into the audience. I might have been into it if Wolfpussy hadn’t wasted two of out drinks in the process.
Hurricane Kicks rocked me like hurricane, with Andrea Lisi back on stage with backing vocals and I’m pretty sure the keyboardist from Rattler on keys. They played all the jams, “Winds of Change”, “Still Loving you” “No One Like You” and of course “Rock you like a Hurricane”. This shit was just mad fun, vocals were tight and at this point, we were all appropriately wasted so it wouldn’t have mattered if it sounded like shit, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Now the power bands start to follow, as Run for Cover always builds it’s set appropriately leading up to the ultimate crowd pleasing blow-up acts. You know it’s going to be good when Run for Cover originator Joe Halladay steps on stage. He’s joined by Aquarium’s Jason Hutto on keys. Yup, and Rishi (Chakrabarty) in a dashiki, launches the start of “Roadhouse Blues”. This Doors band is playing rock heavy deep cuts rather than accessible crowd pleasers. Jim Morrisson’s stage banter is verbatim live show quotes.
Death by Sexy’s Jason Griffenhagen is in an epic gold suit. Appropriately he’s fronting Any Money along with members of Exit Clov and Mantis to tackle a Robert Palmer & Eddie Money mashup. I’m going crazy for “Take Me Home Tonight” although the lady vocals could be a bit stronger (see Andrea Lisi for ever).
Next up, Midnight Leather aka Judas Priest with a clone machine that spit out different singers. I would have preferred a single Rob Halford fronted JP performance with strong vocals but points for creativity. A female Priest, typical Rob Halford style (minus chaps) and big old dude style priest took the stage.
Last but certainly not least was Solsbury Phil. Every year for the past six years, Aaron Estes (Bellman Barker/Black Hills) has rounded up crew of indie musicians to bring some of the best performances Run to Cover has seen. He brought that Daft Punk cover band last year and this year, a face off between Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins (Genesis era). We got “In your Eyes”, “In the Air” “ Land of Confusion” “Solsbury Hill” and “Sledgehammer” all flawlessly performed. Estes/Gabriel was in a gold and black robe, Collins in a grey suit and me pretty much screaming every word (lost my voice the next day). I love that during “Sledgehammer” they tossed out balloon Sledgehammers ( they totally looked like dick n balls).
Rumor has it that this might have been the last Run for Cover, but I heard that last year so hopefully they are full of shit. I might cry if that’s true.