The Great Cover Up: Local musicians play the hits

by Ayn-Monique Klahre  |  photography by Gus Samarco

If you’ve ever wished you could see some of the biggest musicians of our time play all in one night, you may have your chance. Kings is expanding its The Great Cover Up performance series to two weekends this year. This fun-filled event invites area musicians to fully impersonate big-name bands—from vocals and instrumentation right down to the costumes—for 15-to 20-minute sets.

“It’s just a fun party,” says Kings co-owner and musician Paul Siler (you’ll recognize him hosting in his signature jacket, a find from Father and Son). “Everyone wants a reason to change their personas for a bit.”

The tradition started as a single night show in 1999—the same year the venue opened—and has added nights every year since. This year, The Great Cover Up will happen over six nights on two weekends, with a lineup of more than 50 bands. Genres range from indie to punk to pop, and past groups have included Weezer, David Bowie, Buddy Holly, Joy Division, Smash Mouth and more—but Siler says that every year they add new acts they haven’t done.

The fun part is that you never know who you’re going to see. “You may know the performers in real life, but the audience doesn’t know who they’re going to be,” says Siler. The participating musicians change every year, too, but some repeats—not as themselves, of course—include Reese McHenry, Kate Rudy, Charles Latham and Mark Connor. Proceeds from the event go to various charities; these change, too, but usually include InterAct, KidzNotes, The Beehive Collective and others. Tickets are sold only at the door, and you can expect a line. “It’s always crowded from the get-go, and I’m amazed every year, because everyone takes it really seriously and looks great,” says Siler. “They kill it. It’s a big old good time.”

January 9-11 and 16-18, 8 p.m.; For more information, visit