Sonic Costuming: Local Musicians Form Makeshift Mars Volta, Nirvana, The Who, Morphine and Other Tribute Bands for Halloween Shows

Other artists getting the tribute band treatment this weekend include Cake, Harry Nilsson, Bruce Springsteen, Grand Funk Railroad and Sisters of Mercy

click to enlarge "This Morphine cover band is pretty dope, eh Frank?" - Photo: NeONBRAND
"This Morphine cover band is pretty dope, eh Frank?"

It’s become a fun Cincinnati music tradition — every Halloween, local musicians get together to form makeshift tribute bands honoring particular groups or artists. And for the musicians who have been doing so the past six years in Northside, the honorees are usually far from the usual suspects.

Case in point is this year’s event Friday at Northside Tavern, where music will be performed on both of the venue's stages. The free event (organized by local musician Adam Stone) won’t have any Beatles or Led Zeppelin cover bands, for example, but it is the only place on the planet where you will be able to hear tribute acts dedicated to Neo-Prog band The Mars Volta, AltPop group Cake and Goth Rock pioneers Sisters of Mercy all on the same night.

Here is the full lineup for Friday’s “D C L X V I: An Early Halloweenshow, as well as a rundown of the local original bands for which the one-off cover-band musicians are best known.

My Incineration, a tribute to The Who’s early years

Featuring members of The Guitars, WHY?, The Tigerlilies, Static Falls, A Delicate Motor and Toon Town

The Marx Vignolta, a tribute to The Mars Volta

Featuring members of Soften, The Lovers, The Phasmids, Dynamite Thunderpunch and Butt

Leonard Nimoy Afterworld, a tribute to Nirvana circa In Utero

Featuring members of Comprador, Disaster Class and MADQUEEN

The Cake Is A Lie, a tribute to Cake

Featuring members of Calumet, Newport Secret Six, The Kno Nothings and Lost Coast

Cure For Pain, a tribute to Morphine

Featuring members of Common Center and Jazzcoasters

No Mercy, a tribute to Sisters of Mercy

Featuring members of Vacation, Mardou, Sarn Helen, Sorry Eric and Crime of Passing

Showtime is 8:30 p.m., there is no cover charge and costumes are encouraged.

• If you are out Halloweening Saturday night and want more local tribute band action, head to Northside Yacht Club at 10 p.m., where another Who tribute act headlines the night.

The NSYC Saturday lineup includes The Harlequins paying tribute to Harry Nilsson; Springsteen tribute act Loose Bedspring (with members of Lipstick Fiction, Lashes, Hissing Tiles, Fluffer and Black Signal); Bong Rattlers (featuring members of Ernie Johnson From Detroit) honoring the music of Grand Funk Railroad; and Whomageddon, which includes members of Man Halen, Static Falls, Cookin’ Hearts, The Seedy Seeds and Siren Suit.

• Want even more cool tribute band-type action, but on actual Halloween? On Wednesday (aka “actual Halloween”), the Asheville, N.C. Funk/Soul/Rock/Dance band The Fritz is presenting a “Michael Jackson vs. Prince” tribute when they perform at Covington, Ky. club Octave. Click here for deets.

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