Admittedly, The Great Cover Up–where Champaign-Urbana bands take turns performing the songs of more successful bands–isn’t always a thrill a minute. Between sets 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 is not one such moment.
This is music I would never voluntarily listen to. Only worse. It’s so bad it’s not even so bad it’s good. I can see tablature flashing behind the guitarist’s half-lidded eyes as he picks his way through a page torn from a back issue of Guitar Hair magazine. These guys make me long for the sweet release deafness will bring, or for the coolly and relatively refreshing beauty of a real Scorpions record mastered by producers with equipment to cover up wrong notes. To think that thirteen years ago I bussed tables with that guitarist–and look how far we’ve fallen. He’s playing that shit and I’m in the audience, listening to it. This building is constructed of bricks that have more talent, brains, and style than this God-awful sewage we paid seven bones to have inflicted on us. I just threw up in my mouth. I just threw up in the singer’s mouth. Except he’s not the singer because he’s not singing. He’s a one-note wonder. I wish someone in the front row would reach up and yank his sack so he could hit those high notes and truly rock us like a hurricane instead of like a leaky urinal. I just went deaf. Two of the five members have half-assed attempts at costumes: a wig and a fake mustache. Nothing in this production rises to the level of three-quarter-ass. They aren’t even funny. It’s thanks to video games like Guitar Hero that a generation of aspiring musicians think that all they have to do to produce accurate renditions of rock classics is to manipulate their joysticks. These are five guys with amplifiers who sound like five guys with amplifiers and a garbage truck with a shot muffler. Rage Against the Music Teacher. Nobody will get closer than fifteen feet to the stage and nobody’s smiling: it’s like the stunned, horrified crowd is watching a rabid dog give birth to an alien. I’m not saying the band is bad, I’m just saying I’d rather have a migraine in August at noon in an unventilated greenhouse filled with skunk carcasses than be here. Nothing needs to be that loud except the Space Shuttle taking off. I frankly don’t know how these guys passed the audition. Perhaps the fact that the lead vocalist is the organizer of the concert has something to do with it. But let’s be fair: the Great Cover Up isn’t really about the audience. It’s about raising money for charity to help the hearing-impaired and drug-addled, and, I hope, buy these kids a xylophone so they can learn some notes. Plus it gives local bands a chance to rehearse in front of a paying audience, and will help cure me of my love for music.
I’m just kidding, it was AWESOME!