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The Great Cover-Up

Club Congress, Thursday, Dec. 6, through Saturday, Dec. 8

My least-favorite question to receive from a relative stranger at a club (other than, "You know you've been buying my girlfriend drinks all night, right?") is the unanswerable, "What's your favorite band of all time?" Thirty local musical acts got the opportunity to answer just that--each with a short set of cover songs--at the 10th annual Great Cover-Up earlier this month at Club Congress.

With a clean slate of available artists to choose from, predicting who would cover whom during the wildly popular three-day charity event (benefiting TAMHA, the Tucson Artists and Musicians Health Alliance) was much easier this year--kinda like a kid eyeing that football-shaped gift under the Christmas tree.

For some, it was as easy as opening their senior yearbook: The seasoned punks in The Distortionists killed with a Dead Kennedys set; Love Mound joined Cathy Rivers for a throaty Judas Priest; a Woodstock '94 flashback (sans mud fights) saw Rock Sauce covering the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the Deludes nailing each unforgettable bass line of (most of) Green Day's Dookie; the newly-dubbed Nowhere Pago and the Center Men picked four-hit-wonders Men at Work (OK, that came from their middle school yearbook); and Andrew Collberg (who defies age-based stereotypes) strutted out a few unlikely T. Rex gems.

Others honored legends in their respective genres: Indie-poppers The Swim took on indie-rock gods Guided by Voices; the incestuous bond of Seven to Blue and The Jons came together in a sea of brown eyes, black vests and shiny horns to become Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass; and Marianne Dissard channeled the iconic Parisian chanteuse Edith Piaf.

As always, the ironic couplings (Sabatino Killers goofing on Brit pop queen Lily Allen; cow-punker Al Perry hopping on Aerosmith's saddle) were balanced out by the overachievers who wowed with musicianship and authenticity: ... music video? brought sexy back with a Justin Timberlake routine (Does this kid do weddings? Bachelorette parties?); the ever-theatric Mr. Free and the Satellite Freakout would have made Queen's flamboyant Freddy Mercury proud; and Feed delivered realistic '70s glam by way of the New York Dolls.

Spacefish and Found Dead on the Phone's rousing event-closing sets, covering two of the biggest groups ever--The Who and The Clash, respectively--raised the bar for show-goers next year, as visions of Cover-Up possibilities dance in our heads for the next 11 1/2 months.

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