If you’ve ever attended a music festival, you need to know Consequence of Sound. If you ever plan on attending a music festival, you need to know Consequence of Sound. If you have no interest in music festivals whatsoever, you need to wise up…and then you need to know Consequence of Sound. In addition to the site’s regular music news and features, their Festival Outlook has established itself as the premiere source for festival info. From lineup info (which they always seem to know before anyone else) to reviews, their coverage spans ‘em all, from the big boys (Bonnaroo, Coachella) to the underdogs (Ghoulsfest?).

Suffice to say: These guys know their festivals. So as fest season winds down, we checked in with some CoS writers (of whom – full disclosure – I am one) to hear the best festival covers they’ve ever witnessed. Here’s what they offered. Each has a review and a video so you can vicariously experience the insanity.

After you finish here, hop over to CoS’ Friday Mixtape! The covers were chosen by yours truly.


The Raconteurs – Crazy (Gnarls Barkley cover)

Lollapalooza 2006 – Chicago, IL

Jack White led the sloppiest yet most raucous set of the weekend. It was hot, too. Very hot. But riding on the hype of the Gnarls Barkley train, White dove head first into the group’s popular single, and while desperately trying to hold onto his guitar (the strap had snapped, or something), he angrily spit out the main hook, “I think you’re crazy!” What’s funny is that he wasn’t the only one covering the tune that weekend, but hey, four years later… which one am I writing about? – Michael Roffman, President & Editor-in-Chief


Jay-Z – “No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn” (Beastie Boys cover)

All Points West 2009, Liberty State Park, NJ

Like many, I wasn’t expecting to see Jay-Z on the first night of All Points West. I wasn’t really a huge fan of his music and had never seen him live. But starting off his set with an awesome, high-powered cover of “No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn” definitely got me excited for the rest of his show. It was also a really nice tribute to MCA. – Joe Marvilli


Bruce Springsteen – London Calling (The Clash cover)

Hard Rock Live 2009, London UK

An amazing way to kick off the final act of last of Hard Rock by The Boss paying tribute to his old pal, Joe Strummer. In London. In Hyde Park. Not expected and so amazing. Nuff said. – Daniel Kohn


Of Montreal and Janelle Monáe – Moonage Daydream
(David Bowie cover)

Lollapalooza 2009, Chicago, IL

Of Montreal covering David Bowie almost makes too much sense – especially covering a song from Ziggy Stardust. Georgie Fruit, alter-ego of Of Montreal frontman Kevin Barnes, is essentially a modern day Ziggy. Throw in soul/funk freak Janelle Monáe in the mix, and it’s just perfect. This cover made Of Montreal’s 2009 Lollapalooza stage-closing performance one to remember. – Carson O’Shoney


Regina Spektor – Real Love (John Lennon cover)

Lollapalooza 2007, Chicago, IL

As the name sake of Consequence of Sound, it’s only appropriate that Ms. Regina Spektor is included on this list. Back in 2007, at Lollapalooza, the acclaimed singer/songwriter dished out a rendition of John Lennon’s “Real Love,” and there’s a number of reasons why one should classify it as “stunning.” For one, it’s not “Imagine”, a song which has been covered so many times it hurts. So, she gets immediate props for that. Plus, in terms of her actual talents, “Real Love” provides yet another reminder of Spektor’s stunning vocals, which reign supreme amidst even the largest of crowd. Most importantly, however, Spektor manages not only to tackle the cover with absolute easy, but ultimately make it something of her own, all while remaining true to the original spirit originally conceived by Lennon. – Alex Young, CEO & Publisher


The Flaming Lips ft. Stardeath and White Dwarfs – Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd cover)

Bonnaroo 2010, Manchester, TN

One of the most anticipated moments of Bonnaroo 2010, no one had any idea what to expect when Wayne Coyne took the stage. Coyne, with his band, and joined by Stardeath and White Dwarfs ignited the stage with their punk rock psychedelic version of the Pink Floyd classic. A constant bombardment of light, laser, and smoke provided the visual experience to the wildest moment of the weekend. It was epic in a way only The Lips could do, and by “Eclipse”, the last notes were left ringing, the lasers turning, the band walking out in silence before you had a chance to grasp what just happened. – E.N. May


Yoav – Idioteque (Radiohead cover)

Coachella 2008, Indio, CA

Everyone talks about Prince’s unexpected and awesome but a little awkward “Creep” cover at Coachella 2008, but that wasn’t even the best Radiohead cover that year. That distinction goes to Yoav, who performed a shockingly great version of Kid A’s “Idioteque” with nothing more than an acoustic guitar and a loop machine. – Harry Painter


The New Pornographers – Don’t Bring Me Down (E.L.O. cover)

All Points West 2008, Liberty State Park, NJ

If there ever was a better cover band for E.L.O., The Pornographers are them. They’ve all ready got the ability to kill power pop hooks, and on a sunny perfect Friday they let it fly. Neko Case might not have been there, but that didn’t matter; that chorus was spot on E.L.O. – E.N. May


Wolfmother – Riders on the Storm (The Doors cover)

Outside Lands 2010, San Francisco, CA

When Wolfmother was announced to the Outside Lands bill, I for one, was ecstatic. But I can guarantee there were many baffled by their addition. OSL isn’t exactly geared toward the “Wolfmother crowd”. But no one left disappointed, partly due to the huge singles from Wolfmother’s debut album, partly due to an unexpected and unbelievable cover of The Doors’ “Riders on the Storm” right in the middle of “The White Unicorn.” “Unicorn”‘s epic chords led smoothly and easily into a spot-on keyboard rendition of “Riders” which then proceeded to turn into an all-out Andrew Stockdale-turned-Jim Morrison session. Sometimes the greatest things happen spur of the moment. It turned Wolfmother’s performance from good to unreal. – Winston Robbins


Furthur – And We Bid You Goodnight (Traditional cover)

Nateva 2010, Oxford, ME

Festivals build community. Particularly camping festivals. Particularly camping festivals in the middle of nowhere. By Sunday of this summer’s inaugural Nateva, the New England hippies (a special blend of tree-hugger and Red Sox fan) in Oxford, ME had formed a sweaty, sunburnt family. Furthur, the latest incarnation of the Grateful Dead ending their festival-closing Fourth of July set with this throwback to the Dead’s early days. The a cappella traditional made fine use of both the two backup singers on stage and the 15,000 backup singers in the field. Nothing like some syncopated clapping to bring folks together. – Ray Padgett

Now head over to Consequence of Sound’s Friday Mixtape CXVII to check out my cover selections and more.

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One Response to “Consequence of Sound Presents…Best Fest Covers”

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  1. [...] P.S. As an added bonus, several members of the CoS Staff selected their favorite festival covers for a special feature on Cover Me. Check it out here. [...]

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