UMSL students in local band Bluefish play annual event at Firebird Sept. 26-27, 2014.PHOTO: Cover art for Bluefish’s release Shake the Dust. Courtesy of Bluefish ©
By Christian L. DeVerger, Staff Writer for The Current
Next weekend, one of Saint Louis’ biggest local shows is taking place at the Firebird. Undercover Weekend, a semi-secret annual cover show is primed to feature some of the best local artists in the city, covering bands from Rage Against the Machine to The Flaming Lips, and a wide spectrum in between. Bluefish, one of the bands playing this year has multiple members who attend UMSL, and this week I had a chance to ask them some questions about the upcoming show.
The Current: So, I’ve known about you guys for awhile, but give the unfamiliar readers a bit of background info. How long exactly have you been playing together as Bluefish?
Bluefish: Since November of 2010.
TC: How long did it take you to start playing shows around the city?
BF: We started playing out about five months later, so…April of 2011. It was actually a battle of the bands.
TC: So you’ve been playing shows for about four years, and you played in Undercover Weekend last year, covering the Rat Pack. How does the process work, signing up to play the show and all?
BF: So, last year we did play the Rat Pack, but basically you get invited to play in the show by the person that puts the whole thing on, and you provide two optional bands to cover. Last year, Bob Dylan and the Rat Pack, then the Undercover Weekend crew pick from those two.
TC: So, any restrictions of musical selection?
BF: Not particularly, although a band can’t be covered more then once every five years. On top of that, groups playing in the show aren’t allowed to release any details about the line-up until it’s officially announced.
TC: Very cool. So, this year, the two options you chose were Rihanna and Radiohead. So tell me, how did Rihanna come up?
BF: So, we were talking awhile back, and somehow Rihanna came up, and we sort of came to the conclusion that she makes pretty cool melodies. On top of that, we thought it’d be a unique artist to cover. We didn’t realize, however, how difficult it would actually be.
TC: How so?
BF: Well, covering a band that sounds like you is bit less challenging. When you have the traditional four-part rock band, it’s easier to translate each part over. But with an artist like Rihanna, it’s totally different from the kind of music we play. Most of the backing sound is electronic, and so it was quite a bit more difficult to translate that into something that we could put our own spin on. Still, that was why we picked her in the first place. We tried to choose something that sounded totally different then we usually do.
TC: Sure, I mean setting the ceiling high allows you guys to really get out there and shine when you perform. I’m sure it’s more fun to step outside the box from time to time as well.
BF: Absolutely. Last year it was a blast to cover the Rat Pack, because it was so different from what we’re used to. It’s funny though, because literally every person we’ve told about covering Rhianna has given us that head look, or the “that’s…neat” line. Not a single person has been like, “Oh cool!” but that was sort of how it was last year too.
TC: Well, I was at the show last year, and you guys put on a great performance, so I imagine that this year will be just as good if not better. Are there any other artists you’d recommend checking out this year?
BF: Yeah, we’ve played with a few of them before, and Search Parties always put on a great show. Last year they covered Arcade Fire, and did a great job. Also, Volcanoes is playing Rage Against the Machine, which should be a pretty awesome set.
TC: Well, I’m really looking forward to being there again this year. I’m sure that you guys will put on another great show. Thanks a bunch for sitting down with me.
Needless to say, Bluefish was really easy to talk to, and gave me some pretty interesting insight on the show. Undercover Weekend is going to run Friday and Saturday, the 26th and 27th of September. The show starts at 8:30 both nights, and should be a great way to spend the weekend.
If you’re interested in Bluefish and their music, their EP “Shake the Dust” is available on Spotify and iTunes. All lineup information for An Undercover Weekend is on available online at Undercoverweekend.com.
© The Current 2014