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Local Bands Wearing Musical Disguises for Halloween

One night a year, we can dress ourselves up in a disguise and be somebody entirely different in the name of tricks and treats.

In music, bands do the same thing by playing shows on Halloween and dressing themselves up (mostly musically, but sometimes literally) as another band and play their music.

One of the most famous examples of this musical tradition is Phish, who've assembled to play recordss from start to finish like The Beatles’s White Album, Talking Heads’s Remain in Light, and The Velvet Underground’s Loaded.

Louisville will be no exception to the musical Halloween tradition this year, as many bands will be celebrating the ghostly holiday with cover shows.

The Deloreans (playing David Bowie) and The Pass (playing their favorites from the '80s) are sharing the bill at Haymarket Whiskey Bar. The Deloreans guitarist Loren Pilcher said they chose Bowie because he's "weird (in the greatest, holiest sense of the word) and his music never overstayed its welcome in the same sonic territory. That means we had a plethora of genre bending songs to choose from to keep the set interesting.”

The Pass bassist Will Roberts said his band's selection comes from their love of synthesizers - especially vintage analog synths. “A lot of '80s stuff is corny as hell no doubt," he admitted. "But some of it is amazing and we've spent a lot of time listening to it; maybe due in part to our interest in the instruments making most of the popular music from this time."

Another fabulous show taking place in Louisville on Halloween night is from a band that makes their living off cover songs: Tony and the Tanlines. They've chosen to cover Michael Jackson’s Thriller from start to finish for their show at Headliners Music Hall. The night begins with the band’s usual mix of yacht rock. Then they'll play through Thriller, followed by an encore of Jackson’s greatest hits.

Chaz Waterman, rhythm specialist in Tony and the Tanlines, is excited to cover an artist that could be such a task. “Thriller is not an easy album to cover but we knew we were up for the challenge," Waterman said. "The album is killer from start to finish and we are going to perform it as close to the record as humanly possible from front to back.  It will be sexy, it will sweaty, it will be sinful.”

Small Time Napoleon will be putting on their best Tom Waits disguise as they play a set of Waits classics at Tim Faulkner Gallery in a show with Billy Goat Strut Revue and D’Arkestra. The gallery will be completing the night with theatrics and treats in a night they call Bella Muerte—A Halloween Masquerade Ball. You can actually get a cheaper ticket to this show if you wear a costume.

On choosing Waits, Small Time Napoleon guitarist Jeff Thomas said, “Our band name is from a Tom Waits lyric in the song “Diamonds and Gold.” So it's about time we had a reason to play that tune.”

Finally, members of Vice Tricks and The Revenants will be teaming up to play most of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds’s 1996 album Murder Ballads at Copper & Kings. Jeremy King, vocalist/guitarist for Vice Tricks says along with the record, they'll play some other Nick Cave tunes - alongside some surprises.

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