It has already been a year and I find myself back again at the Firebird for An Under Cover Weekend. It’s the 9th edition and my 3rd time attending. The show that spans three nights with over 15 bands brings people from all around. Some family and friends that come to support the bands travel hours to see them play. The first nights lineup is stacked. With 5 local bands playing whole sets as the band they have chosen. Various hands cover The Who, Karate Bikini as David Bowie, Search Parties as Wilco, The Lonely Mountain String Band covering Led Zeppelin, and the Langaleers doing Creedence Clearwater.
However I am really only here for one band. Search Parties. This band has been through many stages and names, but they are a group of some of the most talented musicians. And they are covering WILCO! Freakin Wilco man! The Firebird is packed already as I arrive, sensibly late. The second band had finished playing as me and my two friends were walking in. We cheers to some drinks at the bar and find a nice listening spot. This show has been anticipated for months, its common to run into a few friends. I find my guitar player friend who I had played with in a band a few years prior and we begin to chat away. We are talking in a small group exchanging stories of the bands we once played in, wondering in the backs of our minds when we will play in them once again. As the drinks disappear and the chatter dies down the band gets ready to take the stage.
Guitars, drums, and pianos crowd the small Firebird stage as the band maneuvers over cords and equipment to find their spot and start the sound check. There are many reasons to love the Firebird, and the small intimate setting is something you will surely be thankful for when your favorite band comes to play and you are close enough to collect his sweat in a water bottle. The lead singer has a few shows under his belt. His face carries a countenance of a man who wishes just once that a sound check wasn’t so awkward and boring. But behind that face is an excitement of the music he is about to release upon the crowd.
As the music kicks in it sends chills down my spine. The sound is perfect. It’s one of the main reasons I love to hear Search Parties live. The sound is always on point. They start out the show with Misunderstood (intro). If you were blind at the show you might have thought it really was WILCO. They play to an amazing crowd. The Firebird has really packed the place for the first of three nights. Next they play A shot in the Arm, Dawned on Me, Jesus, etc. Heavy Metal Drummer, Casino Queen, Impossible Germany, and the Misunderstood (outro).
It was a perfect set, flawless on every account. When they finish playing I expect to hear “encore”, but there is none. I feel like the crowd has just been hypnotized, and are awaiting the band to shake them out of it. The band walks off the stage, sweaty and ready for a drink. I thank the guys for a great show and move on. I really want to stay for the David Bowie cover, but my adult responsibilities soon take the reigns. Plus I have to edit all the photos!
I look forward to next years Under Cover Weekend. I hope to really get the experience and attend the whole weekend. It’s a really great show and they put it on for a good cause too. You can find out more about AUCW here AUCW