This last weekend at Delmar Hall fifteen different local acts took to the stage to go under cover as their favorite throwback hits. An Under Cover Weekend is a three night concert series that perfectly curates a trip through the decades, with a night for the 80s, 90s, and 00s. This was the first year that the event was hosted at Delmar Hall, previously at The Firebird. While it is no secret that St. Louis has a cover band obsession, AUCW is a special chance to see artists who usually play original content to let loose with songs that everyone knows and loves. As a local musician, it’s a constant effort to write, perform, and release your own original content. With a music scene as saturated as ours, it can sometimes be hard to break out and find those hidden gems. But AUCW puts those gems all in one place, letting you leave each night with a new local favorite.
For the months leading up to AUCW, the lineup is kept under wraps, with the artist patiently waiting for the leaks to announce who they will be performing as. This year’s lineup was stacked with great combinations such as Paige Alyssa as Janet Jackson, Blank Generation as Outkast, and even The School of Rock as Amy Winehouse. We were especially excited for Sound of STL favorite The Fade, who played some early Justin Timberlake. Each artist got their own special announcement, including a photos from a shoot around the Delmar Loop. The selection process is more than just a matter of signing up, with each night perfectly curated to give the best experience possible. The artists must then decide between playing true to the originals, or giving it their own personal twist. It’s all the vision of Tomko Bomb Co’s Michael Tomko, who founded the festival back in 2007.
This year’s production was the 11th year for An Under Cover Weekend, meaning over a decade of celebrating our local culture. The STL love went far beyond the music, with sponsorships from 4 Hands, Red Hot Riplets, Mission Taco and more. Tortuga, who performed on 80s night as Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, even tossed out bags of Red Hot Riplets to the crowd during their set. But it didn’t stop at the chips, additionally the sound equipment on stage was all provided by local artisans including Longbeard Amps, Mills Custom Amps, and Tritone Guitars. To top it all off the mid-set jams were brought to you by beloved local acts Middle Class Fashion, and STLLegend of Far Fatched.
The great thing about AUCW is that not only do St. Louisans get a chance to check out some acts they may not have been exposed to, but they get to hear some of their favorite songs in one place. This also gave many artist a chance to perform the songs that have inspired them as musicians. Nothing beat the glow on performers faces when the crowd as full of life, singing along to every word of the songs we know and love. One of the great moments was during the Erykah Badu tribute by Aide Ade, when they sang closer Tyrone. Not only did the crowd get fully involved, but each vocal performer got to have their moment in the spotlight.
While it would be easy to write An Under Cover Weekend off as just a cover show, anyone who attends knows it is so much more. “The bands on the show this year connected in ways that I have never seen on a local event – pumping eachother up, sharing stories, and breaking bread together backstage – You could see that energy translate to their performances. And you could clearly see how well this was received by the large, attentive crowds all three nights,” says Tomko.
The amount of energy and practice that these bands put into their tribute sets was unreal, with fully coordinated outfits and even accurate dance routines. The organizers deserve a pat on the back as well, due to the fact that each performer matched perfectly with the artist they were assigned. The vocal performances were spot on, often making it hard to remember you weren’t at the real thing. Across the board AUCW 11 was a great accomplishment for the Saint Louis music scene, and we are very excited to see what surprises next year holds.
You can check out our full gallery of photos on our Facebook page: AUCW 11 Photo Gallery