Halloween is near. Again, we anxiously pretend to be something or someone other than ourselves just a night (or maybe a few). We attempt to escape our mundane lives and have a good old time doing it. It’s the one time of year we can be covered in blood and/or doubling the cleavage we show without judgement. Along with this, we give bands a pass on covering other band’s music. Cover bands are fine and all, but original material is typically what I crave.
On October 26, while festivities raged through the rain, Rumba Café had six bands booked. All were imitating other acts and running with their sound on varying levels. First was Orcs of Love preforming as Alanis More or Less. I immediately noticed a happy crowd singing along to hits like “Ironic” and cheering much more than any typical cover act. After this was Primus Sucks (three guesses who they covered), who absolutely nailed the sound, appearance, and sense of humor that you see from Les Claypool. Primus typically is a niche sound or an acquired taste, to say the least. However, the crowd was down for it despite the trademark unique sound.
The next band on the bill was Cannibal Elective covering Animal Collective (I hadn’t heard of em before). The performance that ensued was quite bizarre, abstract, and well… strange. A creepy monkey mask stared out over a synthesizer while the percussionist was constantly hunched over his drums as if in a trance. Once again, the audience didn’t mind at all and joined the performance full-spirited. At one point the crowd were all screeching like monkeys to one of the songs. That means they liked it, right?
Eventually, Electro Cult Circus took the stage dressed in cheesy gold chains bearing resemblance to the American treasure that was The Beastie Boys. They played all the classics like “Make Some Noise” and “Sabotage”. By this point, I realized the crowd was in such good spirits they really were down for anything and went wild. Toward the end they went to play “Fight for Your Right” and Vivienne Vega simply says, “By the way I don’t have pants on! I must have lost them.” Which had people (including the girl next to me) all jumpy with excitement.
I thought to my self, “Man, the next band is gonna have to try hard to keep this momentum up.” Well, Miller and The Hunks delivered. They were recreating The Rolling Stones. Front man Colin Miller wore young Mick Jagger-style clothes and slid his persona on like a jacket. He had to have watched performance footage, because his dance moves were on point with the original. He said before starting a song, in a comically horrible British accent, “Now ladies, now ladies… Mick Jagger needs a kiss before he can sing the next song!” When he bent toward the crowd, girls were frantically coming to kiss him as if he were the real deal.
By this point the vibe of the night could be captured easily. Everyone there was just down for it. What was it? Well, anything really. People were just having a good time and indulging in the kind of fantasy we see this time of year. The bands killed it and the crowd killed it, as well.
Credit all images: Samantha Toale / MIMC