It took me approximately an eighth of a heartbeat to jump on the purchase of tickets to Bowie Cover Night at Neumos, and it’s a good thing I did, seeing as how it sold out about a half-heartbeat later.
All the artists on the docket, for totally understandable reasons, have kept mum about the tracks they’re covering. But I thought it’d be fun to put out a wish list as to which songs each act will recast in their own image(s). This is NOT a prediction, so no chortling derisively at my expense once the Full Monty is revealed, bands and fellow concertgoers.
The below wish list is a combination of conjecture and wish fulfillment (natch) on my part, and I’m gonna assume that there’ll be no overlap of material given the depth of Bowie’s catalog (I’m fully cognizant of the fact that this prediction will likely get blown out of the water at least once).
Each choice is preceded by each artist’s stylistic MO, in case you’re not familiar with their work. Pro tip: you should rectify that situation bloody quick, as there’s not a weak act in the bunch.
Play Bowie for Me: Prom Queen. (photo by Tony Kay)
Incidentally, Neumos’ downstairs kid sister Barboza hosts another Bowie Cover Night tomorrow night, featuring an equally choice lineup. I’m not going to that one. Make up their own damn Barboza Bowie Cover Wish List.
Now it’s time to throw some darts in lovers’ eyes—and some wild guesses at/wishes for who’ll cover what.
MO: Raggedly-played and ineffably right roots-rock. Emphasis, live, on the rock.
My Bowie Cover Wish List for ‘em: I’ll cast a vote for “Suffragette City” as The Maldives’ cover hit of choice. But the lesser-known “Black Country Rock,” from 1971’s The Man Who Sold the World, would be a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of band and cover song—two great tastes that taste great together. With its mutant country twang, it’s just screaming for a Maldives-style dust-up, as is another Man cut, the Neil Young-esque “Running Gun Blues.”
MO: Cinemascope-expansive, yet often leanly soulful, electronic dance music. Frequently employs guest stints from some of Seattle’s finest female vocalists.
My Bowie Cover Wish List for ‘em: Vox Mod’s a DJ, so it’s tempting to peg an instrumental track from Low or Heroes as a cover prospect (I’d love to hear him do Low’s “Speed of Life”). If he’s joined by a guest vocalist, I’ll hold out hope for cover of “Golden Years” and/or “Fame,” two great potential vehicles for Vox Mod’s dance-mix chops. A soulful singer like Adra Boo or Alisha Roney (both of whom have sung on Vox Mod records, BTW) could go to town with either. Really long shot: “Right,” from Young Americans, a great deep cut and one of Bowie’s most sinewy soul numbers.
MO: Retro-pop chanteuse with ace backing band, balances wry wit with the faintest hint of David-Lynchian darkness.
My Bowie Cover Wish List for ‘em: I’ll make one legit prediction here. Prom Queen will, most likely, cover the handsome title track to the 1986 musical Absolute Beginners (she posted a great cover of it on her Soundcloud page not long ago). As for other possibilities, I could really get behind a hushed, noir-ish PQ spin on “The Man Who Sold the World,” “Let’s Dance,” or “As the World Falls Down” from the Labyrinth soundtrack.
MO: Gorgeously-sung gothic shoegazer enchantment, with tinges of electronica.
My Bowie Cover Wish List for ‘em: “Stronger Still,” the first cut on The Spider Ferns’ strong new EP Safety, opens with keyboard thrumming and percussion that sorta bring to mind the Cat People theme, so why not? The Ferns’d do a wicked take on “Changes,” too. Way long shot: “Sunday,” the eerie, glacial opening track from 2002’s Heathen.
MO: Luminous, driving psychedelic rock. Think Tame Impala, The Raveonettes, and George Harrison sharing bong hits and collaborating in an indie rock band.
My Bowie Cover Wish List for ‘em: I’d dig a psychedelicized cover of that eternal rock chestnut, “Rebel Rebel,” and the Whales’d be an impeccable fit for one of Ziggy Stardust’s most spacey tracks, “Starman.” A highly unlikely wish-list pick, tailor-made for the band’s approach: The melancholy, haunted “After All,” from The Man Who Sold the World.
MO: Show-stopping, world-class pipes, equally at home with big rock numbers and pensive acoustic heartbreaker ballads.
My Bowie Cover Wish List for ‘em: Star Anna shines on gradually-building epic songs, so I’d give my eyeteeth to hear her take on that grandest of Bowie ballads, “Life on Mars.” Long shot: Ziggy Stardust’s album closer, “Rock and Roll Suicide.” Way long shot: The exquisitely theatrical “Lady Grinning Soul,” from 1973’s Aladdin Sane.
MO: sensual, toothy, funky post-punk with molten boy/girl vocal chemistry and a chaser of rock-star swagger.
My Bowie Cover Wish List for ‘em: TGT’s style’s covered with fingerprints from Bowie’s 1980 masterwork Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps). I vote for a glam-wave cover of “Fashion” and/or “Scary Monsters.” Lead singer Astra Elaine’s fondness for early-period Bowie makes the ubiquitous “Space Oddity” a strong (and welcome) possibility. Way long shot: the Euro-decadent “DJ,” from 1979’s Lodger.
I’m figuring I’ve accurately forecast next to none of these. It’ll be fun seeing how I’m proven wrong. Open call to Neumo’s and show organizers: If you decide to make this an annual event, call me for cover song counsel next time. I work cheap.