Scary As Ever, the Cover Bands Come Out on Halloween

Don't know about you, but I already know what I'm going as for Halloween this year.

I'm going as a hypocrite.

See, chances are, I'm going to go see something I normally avoid 364 days a year. I'm going to see a cover band. Or, better yet, a tribute band.

I know, I know.

Like most true music fans, a good part of me hates acts like these. Much of it is based on principle: If I'm going to pay good money to see a band, I want to see something original. And if I want to hear a personal favorite song of mine, well, that's why I own an iPod—so I can hear the original version, as it was meant to be heard.

Don't get me wrong; cover bands have their place. Like at weddings. And at bar mitzvahs. And at clubs located farther north on Interstate 35, Central Expressway and the Tollway than I usually care to travel.

I generally try to avoid those things. This week, though, I only have so many options.

On Friday night—which, you may recall, is Halloween—three of the region's most respected hubs for local, live, original music—Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios and Dan's Silverleaf in Denton and Club Dada in Dallas—are all hosting these types of acts on their stages.

At Rubber Gloves, area musicians are taking the stage as Murder City Devils, Misfits and Ramones tribute acts for the club's London Dungeon party. At Dan's, area acts Nouns Group, Drink to Victory, Make Believers and Sean Kirkpatrick are performing as Joy Division, Nirvana, Makin' Groovies and Polvo, respectively. And at Club Dada, Sunward will be emulating The Flaming Lips and They Were Stars will be doing their best The Cure.

Will these sets be accurate tributes? Hell if I know. But that's not really the point.

See, when an Uptown hottie gets all Halloweened up for the night and parades about town in a slutty Catwoman outfit, she's not worried about accuracy (I don't think). She's just trying to escape reality for a minute and hoping to have some fun while she's at it.

So, OK, area musicians masquerading as tribute acts this weekend, I'll get behind what you're doing.

But, promise me, no Catwoman outfits.

In other, perhaps more relevant news, this weekend is your last chance to check out the Granada Theater and Downtown Dallas' collaborative Main Street Live concert series. Launched back on September 20 at the portable stage at Main and Akard Streets' Pegasus Plaza, the festival has hosted the likes of Louis XIV, Fair to Midland, Reverend Horton Heat and The Riverboat Gamblers on its every-other-Saturday schedule.

And, as someone who attended one of these affairs, I can confidently say that they're actually a pretty good time—if only because they give you an excuse to drink outside when it's still light out and not feel like a complete degenerate.

This weekend's show, which features Angels-and-Airwaves-meets-your-average-The-Door-headliners Mae, looks pretty good, despite its top billing. For one, you'll be able to catch the best band ever named after a character in the feature film October Sky when Abilene's Homer Hiccolm & The Rocket Boys take the stage, but you'll also be able to check out area favorites Black Tie Dynasty, likely playing a number of tunes off its soon-to-be officially released disc, Down Like Anyone.

The most intriguing band on the bill, though, is The New Frontiers. The area band made waves earlier this year when it had a song featured on the season finale of MTV's The Real World and its debut LP, Mending, received praise from national music magazines Spin and Paste for its pedal steel take on affecting, emotional pop rock songs.

Two weeks ago, though, the band announced that it would be breaking up, as each of its members seems to have his heart in other career endeavors. This won't be the band's last show—rather, it will be The New Frontiers' second-to-last (the band's last show will be on January 3, 2009, at Club Dada)—but seeing how this lineup is, at the very least, a palatable one, this could make for a good time to check out one of the area's most promising acts as it slowly rides off into the sunset.

Lastly this week, if you're still without a costume for Halloween, I may have a suggestion. Go as Ricky Bobby from Will Ferrell's 2006 film Talladega Nights.

Last week, thanks to heavy rotation on area radio stations, local hip-hop artist B-Hamp (real name: Brandon Hampton) reached No. 78 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for his song "Do the Ricky Bobby."

No, seriously. Stop laughing.

The song itself is a little ridiculous, but it's no doubt an earworm, as B-Hamp orders listeners to "Do the Rick stop, pose for the frame."

Dunno how many people will get the joke within the joke if you do, indeed, go as Ricky Bobby for Halloween this year, but if I run into you at one of the cover/tribute shows going on around the area on Friday night, hell, I'll buy you a shot for the effort.

At the very least, I'll congratulate you on dressing up as something more instantly recognizable and culturally relevant than a hypocrite.

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Pete Freedman
Contact: Pete Freedman