Thanks to TV mega hits like The Voice and American Idol (not to mention Glee), the cover song has become a career catapult. After all, Usher never would’ve discovered the Biebs without the R&B covers posted on YouTube by the tween’s mom and Kelly Clarkson would not be a favorite man hater without her cover of “Respect.”
Chicago bands are no strangers to the fine craft of the cover song. The Smashing Pumpkins found success with an acoustic version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” while Fall Out Boy recorded a popular cover of “Beat It” months before Michael Jackson’s death. And for the past 16 years, the Double Door throws its annual Halloween Bash where local acts perform in costume (and character) of their favorite acts.
This week, Double Door’s big sister Metro will host a cover show for the ages. An impressive group of Chicago musicians and one well-known Scottish dame will take on the music of David Bowie (who’s already this week’s buzz thanks to his upcoming album The Next Day, out March 12). The one-night ensemble (dubbed Sons of the Silent Age) includes: Chris Connelly, former member of Ministry and Revolting Cocks; Shirley Manson, lead singer of Garbage who met Connelly while living in Scotland; and Matt Walker, Chicago’s drum whiz who’s sat behind the kit for Filter, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Garbage. The Waco Brothers start the night off covering T. Rex, with a set list similar to their City Winery performance last August.
Proceeds from the night are helping Rock For Kids and The Pablove Foundation for pediatric cancer research. Manson personally knew Pablo Thrailkill Castelaz, the inspiration behind the charity and son of Dangerbird Records co-founder Jeff Castelaz. At Pablo’s memorial service, Manson sang his favorite song, Bowie’s “Life on Mars.”
Sons of the Silent Age plays Metro on January 11 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $19.
Selena Fragassi is a contributing music critic for Chicago.
Photograph: Courtesy of Metro