Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Cover Up with Brendan Boogie

I had been meaning to go see The Cover Up ever since I first heard of it. It's a live music series that gathers some great Boston musicians to play together for one night and pay homage to their favorite artists.

These are not "cover" or "tribute" bands, they are fans like you and me, only they actually can play the songs and do them justice. Above all, they can have fun doing it and so does the audience. And that's the point...

The series, organized by Brendan Boogie and Andrea Kremer, occurs about once every other month with various bands and guests. It's similar to the tradition of Halloween shows, which can be lots of fun, only you don't have to wait a year for the next one.

This month's installment was The Last Waltz, which played to a sold-out crowd at Lizard Lounge on Sat, Nov 21. In case you're not familiar, "The Last Waltz" is the name of the Martin Scorcese film that captured the last concert by The Band on Thanksgiving Day in 1976. It is considered by most to be the best concert film ever, both for the music and for the cinematography. If you are interested in the back story, I highly recommend the "making of" featurette that's included on the remastered DVD.

The evening started with The Beau Roland Band, who did more of the traditional, roots music for which The Band was originally known. Their set included special guests to do the Neil Diamond and Joni Mitchell songs. In the real concert, these were not my favorite songs, but they were great on this night, especially the Joni song by a blonde-wigged John Powhida.

Next up was Brooklyn indie rockers Teenage Prayers, who I had wanted to see for a while. They tackled the more bluesy-rock tunes, from Bo Diddley to Clapton. For me, the highlight was a rockin' version of "Mannish Boy" (Muddy Waters). They should keep that in their set list. I could hear it again (and again).

Both of the next two bands, The Phil Aiken Army and The Rationales channeled The Band's more rocking side and played their biggest hits from the original show. As described in the Globe article "They Have it Covered", both bands had a connection to the original band and obviously felt a reverence to the songs.

Bob Dylan (Brendan Boogie) ended the set with The Band, wearing a white fedora and doing several songs including "Forever Young". Everyone came back on stage for the grand finales of "I Shall Be Released" and "Don't Do It" (the last song in the concert, but first song in the film).

The next installment will be in Feb. I'll post the date/time/place when I get confirmation. But I'll just say two words: Neil Young. Make that two more: Advance tickets.

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