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Night of the Living Cover Bands 2019

By August & Maggie

Launchpad’s 2019 Night of the Living Cover Bands demolished any lukewarm expectations that might have existed. Spanning over three weekends this year, Albuquerque bands got to manifest a different musical act. This brought a massive crowd out from the woodwork of this town in order to appreciate beloved artists and songs we might all know. The events exhibited the power of live music delivered by local musicians.

“I get to watch bands transform,” sound engineer Nik Vasko said of his experience facilitating one of the nights. “It’s extremely rewarding to get a band set up and dialed in to a familiar or nostalgic sound, and even hear one of my favorite songs by that artist. It might be one of the most important shows in the scene and I’m grateful to have been a part of the event this year.”

Paul Hunton of Dust City Opera is an exciting example of alternate artist embodiment. With colored contacts, makeup, and an other-worldly getup, he evinced the ethereal David Bowie. The rest of Dust City Opera supported Bowie’s magnetic appeal, and the end result was a celebration a terrific life. JJ Lawlins as the Velvet Underground also submitted entirely to the spirit of NotLCB - the finale of their performance included an on-stage fight between Lou Reed and Andy Warhol.

Albuquerque bands challenged themselves. The Ground Beneath as AC/DC had to recreate familiar and iconic vocals. Buddhafunk & Friends as the Doors dared themselves to captivate the crowd with the sexiness; they had to have swagger. NotLCB is a lighthearted and rollicking event for casual show-goers, but the performers face unspoken trials.

Enclosed in the sacred shroud of the Launchpad walls, all gather solely to experience live music. Attending shows - that’s giving oneself to sheer moments of intangible excellent - is an exercise in becoming a community and having a good fucking time. The collective Night of the Living Cover Bands is an easy - albeit yearly - gateway into the Albuquerque music scene.

Dust City Opera celebrating David Bowie. Photo by Sydney Counce

Night of the Living Cover Bands, Saturday, October 19th - Maggie

To anyone that says the music scene is not what it used to be, the duration of Launchpad’s annual event proves that it’s bigger than I’ve ever seen it. I was only fortunate enough to catch one of the six nights of live cover music. Other nights, I only witnessed the clever costumes that would make their way down Central, and the after-hours chaos once I was out of work.

2019’s collective of cover bands spanned three weekends of October. Had you been there on any night, you would have seen many bands capture popular acts, such as Smashing Pumpkins, The Doors, Bikini Kill, No Doubt, Black Sabbath, T-Rex, and Pixies. This particular night I attended, there was a spectacular performance by Eugene, covering one of my favorite artists of all Time, Dr. John, The Night Tripper. I was delighted to hear a cover of “Such A Night.” Red Mesa also decided to melt my soul with a cover of Joe Walsh’s classic, “Turn To Stone.” I hope they’re able to integrate it into future Red Mesa sets. After a few drinks and some long talks on the patio with the numerous Launchpad regulars, I saw Silver String Band as Modest Mouse. Their cover of “Bukowski” had me feeling a certain way. They captured the raw emotion of that song and it brought me back to my youth, when I had discovered “Good News for People who Love Bad News” for the first time.

Last year, I attended all four nights. I was able to watch every band and survey numerous performers. Is there a way to know that you’re experiencing the good ol’ days while they’re happening? I’ll always cherish those weekends of freedom. I’ll also eventually bust out the time capsule and share the survey questions with you…Someday….

Photo by Sydney Counce.

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