Blogging: UnderCover Presents

This blog post recounted the spectacle of eleven Bay Area bands covering Nick Drake’s seminal album Pink Moon in its entirety at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco. The UnderCover Presents event, supported by Faultline Studios and Porto Franco Records, was an overwhelming success, and this post was part of Porto Franco Records’ strategy to celebrate and broadcast it.

RESULTS: The blog post went out to over three hundred email list subscribers and reached hundreds more through social media.  

It was a dark and stormy night – obliterated by rain and the 49ers’ missed Superbowl chances – but for fans of local music, last Sunday was one to write home about. The Rickshaw Stop was packed to capacity from beginning to end for the latest offering from UnderCover Presents, a quarterly project that unites Bay Area bands in reinterpreting influential albums.

Nick Drake’s Pink Moon was UnderCover Presents’ most thrilling ride yet. Guest Musical Director and Porto Franco Records recording artist Darren Johnston invited eleven bands from all over the Bay Area’s musical map to cover the album in its original song order. Brass Menažeri kicked things off, injecting “Pink Moon” with high-octane brassy Balkan flair, and Jazz Mafia wrapped up the show with another larger-than-life shot of brass on “From the Morning.” Between the two, the night skipped playfully from breathtaking a cappella to Billie Holiday tenderness, buoyant prog pop and haunting, effects-driven solo sax. Hell of a ride.


When local multi-instrumentalists Ramon and Jessica swaggered out on stage with no instruments, I’m betting the audience thought we were in for a technical delay of some sort. I knew better, but then again, I work for those guys. Violinist Dina Maccabee put her whiskey down, met eyes with her musical counterpart, and launched into their completely a cappella cover of “Free Ride;” one of the musical high points of my year so far. David Boyce’s solo cover of “Horn” went in the complete opposite direction, taking the audience on a mystical journey of saxophone processed live through a jungle of effect pedals. Darren Johnston’s newest group, Broken Shadow Family Band, shook things back up after Boyce’s contemplation and really impressed with their instrumental delivery. What the band lacked in polish (this being their first live performance), they made up for in spades with contagious, exuberant joy. The individual flavor of each musician on stage contributed to a greater whole, making them perhaps the most representative of the UnderCover spirit.



Here’s a video I shot and edited of one of the performances: