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In musical role-playing 

People always seem to look down on cover bands. "If your band starts out playing other people's songs, then you're most likely going to always play other people's songs," the keyboardist for a formerly famous band whose name rhymes with Surmounting Foes once opined to me. But you won't find me distributing grief: Cover bands, cover songs, tribute records, soundtracks with unlikely versions of Steely Dan songs--I'm a sucker for 'em all. Thus, the annual Great Cover Up at Kings is an event that feels tailor-made for people like me, as playing covers isn't just encouraged, it's mandatory. Across three nights, a slew of local bands take turns assuming the identity of one of their favorite acts and then performing a short set in character. The roster of performing bands tends to stay semi-hush-hush, and the identity of the acts covered borders on top secret, but it can be revealed that past honorees have ranged from Pink Floyd and Thin Lizzy to Devo and Danzig. It's hard to determine whether the participants are true method actors (for example, I don't know if the singer who did Tom Petty tunes a couple years back pretended to be lanky for several weeks leading up to the show), just as it's hard to tell who's having more fun: the folks on stage or those in the crowd. The Great Cover Up at Kings runs Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 2-4. Doors open at 9 all three nights, and proceeds benefit InterAct and the Wake County Literacy Council.

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