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The Most Sincere Form of Flattery

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Andrew Malott remembers the first time he heard Weezer’s iconic Pinkerton album.

“This friend of mine was like, ‘Wait. You should be listening to Pinkerton,’ and she burned me Pinkerton on a CD-R in like, 2001,” he recalls. “I listened to it every day for like, six months straight. It just completely changed my life.”

This Halloween weekend, many local musicians, including Malott, will perform tribute sets throughout the city, honoring their rock ‘n’ roll heroes both living and dead. From ’60s psych pop to ’90s grunge rock (and a little of everything in between), the cover songs will be plentiful as bands pay homage to the enduring greatness of their favorite artists.

Allen Bannister, Andrew Malott and Bryan Unruh play another Weezer tribute set.  - WHITNEY WALKER
  • Whitney Walker
  • Allen Bannister, Andrew Malott and Bryan Unruh play another Weezer tribute set.

For Malott, who plays in Indianapolis’ Bonesetters and Scanlines, covering impactful music from the past is nothing to look down upon, despite the bad rap it often gets today. “Music, for centuries, has been like, ‘somebody wrote this and somebody performed it.’ The act of performing music is still a beautiful thing,” Malott explains. “I feel like people like to hike their pants up and scoff at it. It’s just like, ‘Alright c’mon. It’s great music, and we learned it, and we want to perform it because it’s amazing music.’”

He and three other active local musicians will come together on Halloween night to play Weezer’s Pinkerton album in its entirety at The White Rabbit Cabaret, taking full advantage of the spirited occasion to celebrate this music that they love.

But if ’90s power pop isn’t for you, there’s no need to fret. We’ve compiled a list of the weekend’s other cover show experiences, highlighting why each is more than just your average night of sing-alongs.

Black Rider will cover The Velvet Underground.  - KRISTEN HAMILTON SCOTT
  • Kristen Hamilton Scott
  • Black Rider will cover The Velvet Underground.

Oct. 31 -- Annual Melody Inn Halloween Show, featuring local versions of Velvet Underground, Steely Dan and more, 21 and over

Just days before performing their set of Tom Waits covers last year at the Mel’s Halloween Show, Ty Price and the members of Black Rider learned that Lou Reed had died.

“I really wanted to break out of the whole Tom Waits thing and do a Velvet Underground song,” Price recalls. “But after the show had ended, I said to Dave Brown [Melody Inn co-owner], ‘I’d be happy to do Velvet Underground next year,’ and he was like, ‘Okay.’”

Considering this, the band’s upcoming Velvet Underground set has been a year in the making. But for Price, who sings and plays guitar in the group, it’s been decades, considering his years of devotion to the music of VU.

“Really, it’s true,” he says. “The Velvet Underground has been one of my favorite bands since I was a teenager.”

Price explains that the group has worked hard to nail down the legendary band’s sound for this show, saying, “We’re going to keep the songs as true to the albums as we can. We try to get in there pretty far.” In taking this approach, he hopes Black Rider can provide listeners with an authentic Velvet Underground experience.

Brother O' Brother artists Chris Banta and Warner Swope will perform while wearing lucha libre (Mexican wrestler) costumes.  - COURTNEY SHORT
  • Courtney Short
  • Brother O' Brother artists Chris Banta and Warner Swope will perform while wearing lucha libre (Mexican wrestler) costumes.

Oct. 31 -- Pirad Halloween @ Hoosier Dome, featuring Nirvana (Brother O Brother), The Misfits (Horror Business) and more, All ages

Chris Banta and Warner Swopes really were looking for a place where their two-piece garage/blues band, Brother O’ Brother, could play this Halloween, especially considering they had already made their costume arrangements.

“Chris and I are real into old ’80s wrestling and just the idea of the crazy characters and stuff that they have from that,” Swopes explains. “The idea that we came up with is we wanted to do two ridiculously masked luchadores, so we purchased some spandex and some luchador masks and stuff.”

Luckily, the Hoosier Dome was able to provide them with a place to play a Nirvana cover set to -- a band the duo has looked up to for years, according to Swopes.

“Growing up in middle school and high school especially, we both were into their music and just how they did their own thing,” he says. “That’s what we’re going for [as Brother O’ Brother] is just doing our own kind of thing and playing music that is the music that we want to hear, and that’s how they were when they started out as well.”

Nov. 1 -- Punk Rock Night’s Annual Halloween Tribute Show at the Melody Inn, featuring local versions of Rancid, Guns N’ Roses and more, 21 and over

GnFnR are ready to welcome you to the jungle the day after Halloween at the Mel. Decking out in leather pants, ripped T-shirts, leather jackets and all, the group, comprised of several local musicians, will re-create Guns N’ Roses’ 1988 Live at the Ritz set.

In addition to dressing the part, the group has also been working to nail down mannerisms of the legendary hard-rock band. For drummer Andy Fark (also a member of FIVE YEAR MISSION), this has been the greatest challenge.

“With Steven Adler, what I’ve noticed about him is that he moves his shoulders a lot and he smiles like a big goon throughout the entire set,” Fark says. “So I’ve been having to teach myself to actually smile throughout the whole set and kind of do these little movements and stuff.”

No matter how silly the maneuvers may be, though, there’s no question that GNR’s music has had a tremendous impact on Fark.

“I personally have been a huge Guns N’ Roses fan since the age of 10, when Appetite for Destruction first came out,” he says. “So to finally be able to play these is kind of like being invited up on stage and being like, ‘Hey! You’re filling in on drums for us tonight.’ I’m really looking forward to that.”

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