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Familiar sounds: Launchpad hosts online ‘Night of the Living Cover Bands’

Dust City Opera performs as Aerosmith as part of “Night of the Living Cover Bands” virtual show on Oct. 30. (Courtesy of Barney Lopez)

Albuquerque’s popular showcase of local bands covering their favorite musicians returns virtually on Oct. 30.

The “Night of the Living Cover Bands” will be a smaller showcase that can be enjoyed in the comfort and safety of your home.

“This year, it’s a virtual experience,” said Barney Lopez, Launchpad promoter. “What we’re doing this month is we’re having different local bands come in and film a cover set in the Launchpad for ‘Night of the Living Cover Bands.’ What we do is we film everything ahead of time with the bands. Everyone is wearing masks. When we set up we keep our distance. It’s just a skeleton crew. We just have a three-person crew filming audio and the band members.”

The event will feature 10 local bands performing 20 minute sets of music from a band from the past.

“We’re filming everything with multiple cameras, so we have all kinds of different angles,” Lopez said. “It really makes for a really fun live experience. Everything was filmed in advance and put together for the show. But we have all the audio. It’s professionally mixed and mastered, so that way the concert sounds like an actual concert but from the comfort of your house.”

Local band Shrewd will cover System of the Down as part of the “Night of the Living Cover Bands” virtual show on Oct. 30. (Courtesy of Barney Lopez)

World music-Latin band Baracutanga is going to be covering No Doubt. Coma Recovery is covering Nirvana. The young punk rock band Right on Kid is covering Weezer. Shrewd will perform music by System of a Down. Also returning this year is Dust City Opera, which will be covering Aerosmith. Shadow Creeps will perform as The Clash. The band is made up of several Albuquerque music scene veterans who have played in many bands throughout the years.

“We just filmed a band, Burque Sol, and they covered Amy Winehouse, and it was awesome,” Lopez said. “It was really good. The singer for the band had it spot on for the vocals for Amy Winehouse. It’s cool. There’s a band called Undying Evil, which is a thrash metal band in town, and they’re going to be covering Thin Lizzy, which should be pretty fun.”

“Night of the Living Cover Bands” is an annual showcase that has grown significantly over the years.

“It’s, like, our biggest show that we have every year,” Lopez said. “It’s so big it’s grown into its own music festival because we do, like, six nights. Last year, we did six nights of this. It’s nuts. It was three weekends, so it was quite a lot, and we’ve done it at different venues before where we’ve had different venues having it but last year we did it all at Launchpad, and all of the bands played there. It’s really fun. It’s like every single show sells out.”

This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic and large gatherings not allowed under the state’s health order, the event is virtual.

“It’s different doing it this year when there’s absolutely no one in the audience, but at least we get to do this, and at least we get to go make music and put it out there and showcase Albuquerque artists,” Lopez said.

“Night of the Living Cover Bands” is part of the Launchpad Streaming Concert Series. Donations help keep the concerts going and help support the production staff that handles sound, mixing and mastering of audio, editing video and putting it all together. Donations to support the concerts can be made on Launchpad’s Patreon page at Information on the streaming concerts can be found at

“With all of these (‘Night of the Living Cover Bands’) concerts, we’re recording an original set by them too that we’ll release later on in the year,” Lopez said. “So we’re kind of getting two concert films at once, because we are trying to do every single week through Launchpad’s YouTube and Facebook pages. We’re presenting a different local band while COVID is going on.”

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