ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An annual Albuquerque tradition is kicking off its 16th year Friday – Launchpad’s “Night of the Living Cover Bands” (NOTLCB). Over 130 local bands will perform as cover sets of well-known acts over 12 nights in October and this year, some shows will be all-ages.

“The all-ages nights, I think, is a really fun and exciting element this year that we’ve added to [the event],” says Barney Lopez, booker and promoter at Launchpad. “And so I’m really looking forward to trying to get a bunch of kids to come down to Launchpad and join us for the night. I think that’ll be really fun.”

Night of the Living Cover Bands 2022 | Photo by Peach Onorato

Lopez says the move to add all-ages shows to the lineup came after years of social media requests from under 21 music fans to include them. Every Sunday in October will feature primarily under 21 bands, in some cases, getting their first taste of playing at Launchpad. “It’s super exciting, we’ve got [School of Rock] and there’s also Rock 101 [that] has some kids that have bands they’ve put together for it. And then lately in the DIY Albuquerque scene, there’s been a bunch of really great new, young bands coming up like Thursday Marks Fall and Smoking Dolls, and so it’s nice to get these new bands a place to join us in this very fun thing,” says Lopez.

The first Night of the Living Cover Bands was a single show in 2008 born out of an idea from members of the local band Mechanism of Eve and Launchpad owner Joe Anderson came up with the show’s name. “It started off as a one-night-only event and it was a lot smaller, where it was like six or seven bands that would perform covers for the night and dress up and it was just kind of a one-off thing,” Lopez says. Eventually, the event turned into a two-weekend affair and at one time, incorporated the now-closed venue Low Spirits.

The bands being covered this year include Against Me!, Pixies, and Smashing Pumpkins and, for the first time, two historic local bands are being covered – Scared of Chaka and Stoic Frame. This year’s NOTLCB will also feature a good amount of supergroups made up of local musicians. Local acts Russian Girlfriends and Prairie Dog are joining forces to put on a Queens of the Stone Age set and another supergroup is performing an Oasis set.

Night of the Living Cover Bands 2022 | Photo by Peach Onorato

“My favorite are the ones where it’s like, they do something that you don’t expect them to do because it’s outside of their wheelhouse, and then it kind of forces them to try something different and to experiment,” says Lopez. With that in mind, the local heavy metal band Sorry Guero will be performing as Britney Spears.

NOTLCB is taking place every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night in October with music starting at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door and $8 if bought online ahead of time. A $50 pass that gets you into every show is available as well. A listing of bands playing (and who they’re playing as) is available on the Launchpad website as well as their Instagram page.