It’s October 31st, the official date of HalloFREAKINGween. You and your crew are all decked out as your favorite sitcom cast, and you’re looking to do it big. One problem: All your friends had their kickass Halloween ragers over the weekend.
Whats a slutty nurse to do?
Flashback Forward and the Wonder Shop Showdown have got you covered. Come out to the Darkhorse Tavern at 8PM and jam out to some Penn State original tunes, coupled with your favorite cover songs that you didn’t even know you knew the words to.
Being that these guys comprise 2 of my favorite Penn State music ensembles, I thought I’d shoot both groups a few questions about what its like to be original music outfits that are forced to play cover songs to maintain their presence in the PSU bar scene (and a couple bar/booze related questions.)
SITR: If you could, would you stick to original music sets at bars? Or do you think they add something extra?
(Kyle of) WSSD: I think we’d definitely make them more focused on originals. But we’d still keep some covers for sure. As much as we are an original band, we still love playing covers. It’s fun for us to play some of the songs that got us into music, and having the crowd singing along and dancing is always a plus, we want them to have a good time, too.
(Aida of) FBF: If we had the option of playing solely original material, that would definitely be something we would do. And the opportunity does arise every now and then, a few weeks ago we got to play our EP out when we opened for Crocodiles at Chronic Town, and that was a fucking blast. But ultimately, it really does depend on who we’re playing to, and a great deal of the time, our audience – excluding our loyal cult following – tend to connect better with songs that they are already familiar with.
SITR: How do you pick the covers you play?
WSSD: As I mention, we want to have fun, and make sure the audience does to. We look at songs we like, and from those pick some that we think people know/enjoy. We occasionally do the ironic Top 40 cover, but other times we do a song we love that might not be as big with other people. Say Anything’s “Alive With The Glory of Love” is definitely in the latter category, and that end up being a huge hit for us anyway. People seem to love what we’ve done with the song.
SITR: The State College bar scene is renown for its signature drinks (tontos demise, monkey boys, fishbowls, original sin etc.) whats your favorite one to get toasted on while listening to live tunes?
FBF: I think I tried a Monkey Boy once, or it might have been a Fishbowl… I don’t know what to say really. The funny colors and the gigantic sizes of these drinks… it’s all very intimidating. Really a daunting task just holding them up let alone get halfway through. A pint of stella or woodchuck does me just fine… maybe a few whiskey sours when I feel like being a badass!
SITR: Favorite cover song to perform?
WSSD: A tie between Say Anything’s “Alive With The Glory of Alive” and Streetlight Manifesto’s “We Will Fall Together.” The first because it’s just a fun song, and the way we orchestrated the horns into really adds a lot. Definitely one people dance and sing along to. The second one because it’s one of our favorite ska songs, it’s a very high-energy song. It’s also huge challenge for us. We were always afraid to touch it, because of its difficulty, and now it’s one of our tightest covers. A common request from our close friends and diehard ska fans.
SITR: Favorite bar to hear cover songs at when it comes to cover tunes, singalongs or dance tunes?
WSSD: We’re partial to The Darkhorse, they’ve been good to us since we started playing bars, and the other bands there are always a good time. Cafe 210 is great for covers too, definitely an awesome venue.
FBF: I think the darkhorse is usually as spot on as it gets for me with coverbands… one of my best moments has been walking into the darkhorse and hearing The Insomniacs kick into “Ziggy Stardust.”
SITR: Whats your favorite cover song to hear at a bar when you’re 6 beers/ 2 monkeyboys/ 3 Tonto’s demise deep?
WSSD: “My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit. Great singalong. Love performing it, love hearing other bands perform it too. Any 90’s alternative is good too, really.
FBF: Lots of people hate on “Wonderwall,” but I guarantee you those same people are the ones singing their hearts out after that 6th beer.
SITR: Any spectacular Halloween surprises?
FBF/WSSD: Coordinated costumes and classy Halloween covers.. ’nuff said.