Courtesy of Saigon’s best, live, original music-writing bands, a night of cover music mayhem is making its way to Cargo just in time for Halloween. Here’s what’s in store. Words by Ed Weinberg. Photos by Francis Xavier


It started at Cargo last year. Poorly promoted and last minute, it was a fun thing to do with friends.


“[Matt] Bender told me about how him and the bands in Athens, Georgia used to do it, and he set it up last year,” says Gareth Katz, Matt’s former Joy Oi bandmate and organiser of this year’s Halloween Cover Show edition. “Frankly it was one of the best gigs I've played. David [Haimovich] was supposed to be on guitar for the Misfits, but he was too busy for it because of Space//Panther, and recommended Seamus do it. That’s where [Gareth’s band] James and the Van Der Beeks started, believe it or not.


“I had so much fun doing it last year, I thought it had to be done this year so I took the reins.”


The Halloween show has gotten bigger this year, with acts that run across eras and genres. And that can only be a good thing for Saigon’s burgeoning indie scene.



Matt says, “The Halloween cover show is a big deal in Athens, Georgia, where the whole city is walking around in costume, bar-hopping from the Beatles to the Dead Milkmen to Throbbing Gristle, depending on what you’re in the mood for. And playing a good cover show on Halloween has a noticeably positive effect on the amount of fans you'll get out to see your actual band play in the year to follow.”


“This year, we'll have more bands,” Gareth says, “and I'm f’ing pumped.”



At A Glance


WHERE: Cargo Bar (7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, HCMC)


WHEN: Oct. 31





The Misfits

American, 1977-1983, Horror Punk



Riding the 1970s tide of American punk and the apocalyptic feel of New Jersey suburbia, The Misfits merged their dual loves of horror films and punk to create a new genre: horror punk. Their two early albums, before Danzig left the band, are considered touchstones of early hardcore music.


This would have been enough, but they also invented a Halloween-ready hairstyle — the devilock. In a devilock, the hair is kept short except for a long, greasy spike descending in the front. Asian alternative cultures seized on the look in the 1990s, helping to pull it into the mainstream.


Played by: Joy Oi (sort of)


Why the Misfits?


I think doing a Misfits set has been a cream dream for a long time just because their songs are so fun to play and their stage persona was unlike anything aside from Gwar and maybe KISS that existed at that time in my life when I first heard them. [Before starting to practise,] I think Seamus already knew how to play most of the songs.



Arctic Monkeys

British, 2002-Present, Indie/Psychedelic


Arctic Monkeys are pitch-shifting chameleons. They’ve run the gamut from garage rock to hip-hop, ballads to post-punk revival. John Lennon, The Smiths, Aaliyah, Outkast and Black Sabbath are all influences. About their most recent album — 2013’s AM — lead vocalist Alex Turner said, it’s “like a Dr. Dre beat, but we've given it an Ike Turner bowl-cut and sent it galloping across the desert on a Stratocaster”.


Played by: James and the Van Der Beeks


Will it get scandalous?


When our frontman Lewis looks you in the eyes, you’ll orgasm immediately.



Joan Baez

American, 1958-Present, Folk



Madonna wasn’t the first Madonna. When Joan Baez burst onto the scene at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival, her clear voice, long hair, natural beauty and general Earth Mother vibes earned her the nickname ‘barefoot Madonna’. She’s been twanging ever since.


Played by: Saigon Kiss


What's the highlight of your set?


The highlight of my set will be when I perform with my long-lost unrequited love, Bob Dylan.



Bob Dylan

American, 1961-Present, Folk/Rock



How the times have a-changed since Dylan first claimed the mantle of the protest song messiah, decided he didn’t want it and left the barn door swinging when he departed the folk music revival for more electric pastures. He’s since tried about everything one can try while playing a guitar and harmonica, on the way to selling 100 million records and being a perennial contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature.


Played by: Alec Schachner


What's the highlight of your set?


Desolation Row, all 10 verses.




American, 1968-Present, Psychedelic Soul



Parliament-Funkadelic is a funk-soul-rock collective founded by the immortal George Clinton in the 1960s, comprising 16 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted musicians. But it isn’t the medium, it’s the message: funk.


As The Mighty Boosh episode The Legend of Old Gregg describes, “It’s a funky ball of tits from outer space. Found by Bootsy Collins when he was just a simple farmer, it made him crazy and he milked the funk and made a funk shake. He then became the funkiest man alive.”


Played by: Dat Phonk


Are you doing interpretations or staying true?


P-Funk would put on some of the most ridiculously funky live shows ever, with up to 20 people on stage at a time, insane lighting and dropping a spaceship down from the rafters. Matching that is impossible, so anything we do can only be considered an interpretation.



Florence and the Machine

British, 2007-Present,

Art Rock/Baroque Pop



Florence and the Machine’s sound has been described as a combination of styles, sometimes angular, sometimes soulful. They’re “dark, robust and romantic”, “classic soul and midnight-on-the-moors English art rock”. Lead singer Florence Welch has said that her lyrics relate to Renaissance artists: “We’re dealing with all of the same things they did — love and death, time and pain, heaven and hell.”


Played by: The Magic Pinions


Why Florence?


She has red hair, need I say more?



New Order

British, 1980-1993/1998-2007/2011-Present,

New Wave/Post-Punk



Born from the ashes of Joy Division, New Order took up their synths in the heady new wave days of the 1980s, soon working some New York club scene-influenced EDM into their post-punk sound. They were featured on Q Magazine’s 2002 list of 50 Bands to See Before You Die — although as part of the sub-list of 5 Bands That Could Go Either Way.


Played by: Growsound


How are the costumes coming?


I don’t think white collar shirts are in short supply here, although I’m not sure I can roll the sleeves as many times with as much precision as Bernie.



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