Video preview: An Under Cover Weekend 6, September 7 and 8 at the Firebird
Once again, we find ourselves at the time of year that everyone loves: An Under Cover Weekend, that magical pair of nights when some fine local artists in St. Louis put aside their own works to pay tribute to their idols.
Here is a small sample featuring some of the legends that will be covered at AUCW 6 (either the legend doing a cover, or another artist paying tribute to the legend), and a teaser for what we can expect to find at the Firebird on September 7 and 8. Check out the full lineup.
Depeche Mode covering “So Cruel” by U2
U2 started out as a rock band and embraced electronic music as time went on. The opposite holds true for Depeche Mode. The universal truth that good music remains good music when played by good musicians is proven in this track, where Depeche Mode takes “So Cruel” and transforms it from a soulful, up-tempo ballad into a synth-driven, droning meditation on love without losing any of the original feeling.
U2 covering Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me”
Speaking of U2, they’ve been known to throw an occasional nod to the artists that came before them as well. Here is a clip of Bono and the crew covering the Ben E. King classic “Stand By Me.” Please note that this video is from 1987, way before Bono traded in his ridiculous hairdo for the ridiculous glasses.
The Killers covering “Romeo and Juliet” by Dire Straits
To be honest, I have not heard much of the Killers’ discography. My first and only encounter with their music was when “Human” was released and I was diagnosed with PTSD triggered by hearing it. That being said, I may have to find a therapist that specializes in irrational hatred in order to test the waters after hearing this cover of one of my favorite Dire Straits tracks. Brandon Flowers does a fine job of evoking Mark Knopfler’s mournful mumble in this excellent recreation of “Romeo and Juliet.”
Beck covering “I Only Have Eyes for You” by the Flamingos
Beck straddles the line between the bizarre and the unknown with his musical output and hasn’t released a single track that hasn’t been given a heaping helping of tender-loving care. When he decides to cover a classic, he pays the same attention to detail. Check out this cover of “I Only Have Eyes for You” by the Flamingos. I think Beck spent about a week finding the perfect combination of echo and reverb to recreate the overall tone of the original.
PJ Harvey and Björk covering “Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones
Polly Jean has always been known for her harder edge, much like the Rolling Stones before her. Here is some video footage of Ms. Harvey covering “Satisfaction” with Björk at her side. In case you aren’t able to recognize her unless she’s dressed up like a kindergarten art project, swan or something that Walt Disney threw up on, Björk is the one playing the keys.
Oasis covering Slade’s “Cum on Feel the Noize”
There is no doubt that some of you will recognize this track as mid-’80s MTV staple “Cum On Feel the Noize,” as performed by Quiet Riot. That track itself was a cover of a song originally performed by Slade, a British band that was part of a new wave of British heavy metal that swept the world in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Here the Gallagher brothers show off their love of British metal, whether they’re singing it or beating each other over the head with folding chairs made of it.
Aerosmith covering the Beatles’ “I’m Down”
Aerosmith is well known for its cover of the Beatles’ hit “Come Together,” but rather than take the easy way out I decided to plumb the depths of YouTube to find something else. After several minutes of mouse clicks, I managed to find something worth posting. Here is Steven Tyler doing a damn impressive imitation of Paul McCartney in “I’m Down,” one of the Beatles’ earlier tracks.
Michael Jackson covering Bobby Day’s “Rockin’ Robin”
Michael Jackson is one of those artists that other people cover, but he doesn’t do much covering of his own. I did manage to find MJ and his siblings covering the Bobby Day oldie “Rockin’ Robin,” which is always a fun tune. In case you were expecting older Michael, here he is doing a cover of the late, great James Brown.
ABBA covering “Pick a Bale of Cotton,” “On Top of Old Smokey”, and “Midnight Special”
ABBA seems to be another one of those groups with a prolific discography that gets covered by bands from every genre but never has covered anyone else. That is not a correct assumption, however, as they recorded a single track for a German charity album in 1975. If you couldn’t consider your life complete without hearing Anni-Frid and Agnetha singing traditional American folk songs, you can now die happy after hearing them belt out this bizarre medley.
Neil Young covering Don Gibson’s “Oh Lonesome Me”
Neil Young chooses his covers carefully, and this pick was not a difficult one for me. Taking up residence on the first track of the second side of “After the Gold Rush” is Young’s take on the Don Gibson classic “Oh Lonesome Me.” Young’s voice is full of the sorrow that can only be produced by a lonely heart in this one.
Simon and Garfunkel covering Jackson C. Frank’s “Blues Run the Game”
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel had a wealth of original songs and usually stuck to their own material. On “Wednesday, 3 A.M.” they did cover “Blues Run the Game” which was written by Jackson C. Frank. I was either going to choose this track or their version of the Cyrkle hit “Red Rubber Ball,” but I wasn’t sure if a songwriter singing a song he co-wrote but never recorded really counted as a cover.