Smile Politely

The Great Cover Up 2016 in review, part two


Thursday night’s lineup was completely stacked with great local bands like Tara Terra and We the Animals. Going into it, I was feeling that this might be the best night yet. Local alt-country group Penny Horses got the night underway by covering Blind Melon followed by Motes as Cat Power and Isaac Arms as folk legend Nick Drake.

Motes as Cat Power. Photo by Tom Chandler.

Isaac Arms as Nick Drake. Photo by Tom Chandler.

Tara Terra as The Killers. Photo by Tom Chandler.

Next up was Tara Terra who opened their set as The Killers with “Somebody Told Me” and “Mr. Brightside”, which instantly got the crowd going. They were able to sustain the energy by performing classics like “Somebody Told Me” and “All These Things That I’ve Done”. Overall, it was a very impressive performance from Tara Terra, I wouldn’t have expected them to have chosen The Killers but it worked out really well. 

We the Animals as Katy Perry. Photo by Tom Chandler.

We the Animals were the next band to take the stage and I really had no idea what to expect and the fact that they were setting up some pretty big props only added to the mystery, but when the lights dropped and Kayla Brown of We the Animals slowly emerged from the center of the crowd dressed as Katy Perry I knew we were in for an incredible set. Choosing to cover Katy Perry might seem like a risky move but We the Animals absolutely nailed it — they went completely all-out and the crowd loved every minute of it. The costumes were fantastic, the dancers were beautiful, and the band did a fantastic job behind the lead vocals of Kayla Brown as Katy Perry herself. They performed a lot of Katy Perry’s hits like “Firework” and “Teenage Dream” but the best moment came when they released a bunch of beach balls and inflatable palm trees into the crowd. For me, this is what The Great Cover Up is all about — extremely talented local musicians putting forth a lot of energy into creating a show without necessarily taking themselves to seriously. 

We the Animals as Katy Perry. Photo by Tom Chandler.

Grandkids as The White Stripes. Photo by Tom Chandler.

The final band of the night was Grandkids as The White Stripes and they had the challenge of following up We the Animals. I consider myself fairly familiar with The White Stripes but I honestly wasn’t positive that’s who they were covering until the third song in when they played “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself”. That being said, they were able to get the crowd really going with songs like “Blue Orchid” and “Seven Nation Army”. — Joe Krehbiel


The finale of The Great Cover Up brought a jam-packed line-up of oldies and modern bands. Starting out the night was Dalipop bringing a powerful feminine spin on Maroon 5. The sweet sounds of Adam Levine mixed in with the Dalipop twist of a saxophone brought people flocking to the front of the stage. A tight and clean set started the bar off high for the night.

Photo by Sam Logan.

Photo by Sam Logan.

Photo by Sam Logan.

Photo by Sam Logan.

Following came Seventeen Sisters bringing The Accord a night at The Grand Ole Opry. Their multiple musician line-up brought the crowd renditions from Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, June Carr, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, and Roger Miller plus his Miller Lites. If their musical country charm wasn’t enough to steal the crowd’s hearts, their on-point outfits made good ol’ Champaign feel like Nashville, Tennessee. 

Bringing the heat and another genre change-up, T.R.U.T.H came knocking on everyone’s door with the musical styling of Kendrick Lamar. If there’s anyone that could give him a run for his money on bringing the hype to the room, it is T.R.U.T.H. Arguably one of the most powerful moments of the night was when her set closed with Kendrick’s 2015 hit, “Alright,” which had the entire room bouncing. 

Keeping up with the power, 90’s Daughter entered as Aretha Franklin, their lead singer’s voice doing immaculate justice to the queen herself. Armed with saxophones aplenty (a common theme in many of these bands) and a booming chorus of back-up singers, The Accord was grooving like it was the 60’s again. From old pop to new, Church Booty kept the energy up with a flawless set of hit Britney Spears songs. The banger after banger packed into a neat little medley, the crowd was eating it up, singing along to every line. “Britney” owned the stage, dominating the room with her prowess and talent. 

Taking us over the pond, Beat Kitchen tore up The Accord as punk outfit The Clash. With ripping chords and howling vocals, it was a wonder why there wasn’t a circle pit unleashed among the attendees. With a forehead of sweat and guitar full of heart, the punk masqueraders bellowed and strummed with a ferocity that clamored off the walls. And finally, what better way to end the night than with some funk? Abnormous molted into funk band Zapp and Roger and definitely funked us all up. If a wacky keyboard and groovy gals in sparkles aren’t how you think an event like The Great Cover Up should end, then I don’t know what would satiate you. All in all, The Great Cover Up 25 provide Champaign-Urbana with an eclectic blend of music spanning across many different eras and genres, leaving us in great anticipation of next year’s event. — Nishat Ahmed

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