Slaves – ‘Shutdown’ (by Skepta)
There are many genres of music which have taken root in the UK. Our recent political climate has caused a resurgence in punk and the birth of grime to the mainstream. These two genres, although with the same goal of political rebellion, are rarely fused together. However, back in 2015, Slaves did just that. The punk duo performed the track originally in the BBC Live Lounge, and it was later added to the extended cut on their 2015 album Are Your Satisfied. The rebellious grungy punk rock vibes that make Slaves brilliant worked perfectly with the catchy cover which was taking the world by storm at the time of recording. While this song and cover may be years old now, it still sticks with me as it was a turning point on what was possible with a cover. The transition between genres and the incredible vision of artists in one field to the works of another is unfiltered talent and something that makes this cover so special.
Taylor Swift – ‘Angels’ (by Robbie Williams)
On 23 June 2018 the greatest live moment in history occurred during Taylor Swift’s Reputation Stadium tour. Swift began softly playing the piano to a song we all know and love, Angels by Robbie Williams. Whilst she was singing the first line, Robbie Williams appears from the ground onto the stage belting out the song alongside a starstruck Taylor Swift. This was a cover and duet we never knew we needed, Taylor’s voice went perfectly with this song alongside Robbie, and in true Taylor Swift style she put a country twist on the track. It was beautifully done and had the whole stadium singing along to a song that is a fundamental aspect of British culture (in my opinion, anyway). It was a once in a lifetime cover which hasn’t been released digitally making it one of my favourite live covers of all time.
Pendulum – ‘I’m Not Alone’ (by Calvin Harris)
It’s hard to dislike Pendulum. The band inter-breed genres so their sound fluctuates from DnB to dancefloor fillers to metal. The fusion of genres amassed a very respectable following for the band and this saw Pendulum play a huge set at Glastonbury 2009. Pendulum took to the stage to a packed-out audience and threw down many of their renowned tracks before they halted and sang the iconic opening “Can you stay up for the weekend” from Calvin Harris’ ‘I’m Not Alone’. Maybe I’m biased but I don’t think there’s a cover/remix better than this. The song was executed perfectly (especially as it was only agreed a day before their set that they’d play it) and the song went down an absolute treat with the Glasto ravers. The song was note-for-note identical to the original until the build up to the chorus. What dropped was biblical. The drum and bass heavyweights threw down such a raucous remix that it was near on impossible not to dance. The song created a frenzy with the crowd moshing and also screaming the lyrics and the synths straight back at the band. The epic lightshow and exhilarating energy from every member of the band created a sight to behold. In terms of live covers, I really don’t think they get much better than this.
Don Broco – ‘Trap Queen’ (by Fetty Wap)
At Reading Festival 2015 on the Radio 1 stage, Bedford rockers Don Broco treated the crowd to an unexpected cover of Fetty Wap’s song ‘Trap Queen’.
The cover happened in the middle of the band’s set where the band made the smooth transition from playing one of the heaviest songs in their catalogue and a huge fan favourite, ‘Thug Workout’, to putting their own spin on the popular rap song. Frontman Rob Damiani’s swagger and confidence in delivering Fetty Wap’s verse had the crowd shouting along, and when the rest of the band kicked in with the heavier instrumentation during the chorus, the whole crowd moshed like crazy.
This crossover of genres really worked and was brilliant for the festival atmosphere. The band really made the song their own.
Green Day – ‘Shout’ (by The Isley Brothers)
Everyone knows that American rock band Green Day know how to put on a damn good show. As much can be seen from their iconic 2005 live album, Bullet in a Bible, recorded right here in merry old England at the Milton Keynes Bowl. A highlight from the record (although the whole thing is pretty spectacular) is their cover of ‘Shout’, which follows their pumped up performance of ‘King for a Day’. Super-charged with energy, it’s one of live covers that you can’t help but jump around and scream to, with lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong’s enigmatic stage presence translating across perfectly; you’ll find yourself responding to every one of his screams and hollers to shout louder. The whole crowd is riveted, their voices screaming in complete unison, and the bands actual performance is amazing, with trumpets, heavy drums, and plenty of improvisation from Armstrong. It’s irresistible and massively fun, and one of my favourite live covers ever.
Paramore – ‘Passionfruit’ (by Drake)
On 19th June 2017, a month after their 5th album release, Paramore graced us with their unforgettable cover of Drake’s ‘Passionfruit’. Though this was already a catchy tune, Paramore added an After Laughter spin to it, making this chart-topper an even greater hit. Performing on BBC Live Lounge, this cover shows the bands trio vibe to Hayley Williams’ vocals, which fans often argue are better live. Known for her frequent ad-libbing and alterations to songs when performing live, Williams made Paramore’s cover of ‘Passionfruit’ no exception to this rule. Rather than end the song with another repeat of its chorus, the band instead merged another Drake song into their cover, instead ending the song with lyrics “I got my eyes on you” from Drake’s ‘Hold On We’re Going Home’. Paramore’s cover of ‘Passionfruit’ is an undeniable tune, its only downfall being that it’s not on Spotify to blast on repeat!