Denver has been home to many musical acts that perform in costume or under an alias, personas that inform the aesthetic of the songwriting and performance. Sometimes the disguises are meant to take the emphasis off of a specific identity. Sometimes they're used to create a sense of something special and unique to heighten the impact of the music. But whatever the reason, Denver hasn't been short on artists who either completely hide their identity or adopt a persona to make the music more fun for themselves and anyone who happens to be there for a show. Here is a list of active local bands that operate under secret identities. Catch them if you can.
This marching band that performs cover songs, led by a figure wearing a Boba Fett mask covering the entire head, has been an on-again, off-again fixture at local small music venues and at the UMS.
Probably the most well known and bombastic in-costume project with a 32-plus member lineup, Itchy-O developed as a kind of experimental marching band. But the project has since dropped the “Marching Band” from its moniker because the music has moved beyond that, and the act has become an informal tribal phenomenon with a national presence.
Not in disguise so much as in character, Little Fyodor & Babushka is one of the longest-running bands in Denver. Some may see the schtick as pure gimmick, but Fyodor's songwriting weaves together punk, pop and the avant-garde music of his early days as a musician. Completely unique, with hooks for days.
LPC rarely performs live but he does so without costume, even though his identity has been a bit of a secret for decades. He performs not his signature prank phone calls, but the music heard between phone calls on his records.
Once the darling of karaoke-loving hipsters, Magic Cylops has pulled any number of stunts to stay relevant, including doing Kiss covers at a Devo convention, a live performance on American Idol in 2012, winning air-guitar championships, faking his death in 2011, and recently re-emerging in 2016 to perform live.
Read on for five more of Denver's best secret-identity bands.
5. The Nuns of Brixton
Fronted by Jim Yelenik, aka Sputnik Slovenia, this is a Clash cover band in which all the members dress in nun habits. Surprisingly legit. Full disclosure: The band includes Westword writer Jon Solomon on guitar.
4. Slow Magic
This enigmatic, instrumental electronic-pop act is based in Colorado, but is frequently on the road and plays few local dates. Wearing a mask adorned with lights and interpreted frequently as a hyena or a zebra, Slow Magic leaves it up to people who come to see the act to project their imagination on to the image, further reinforcing the idea that it's the music and the experience that matter.
3. Total Ghost
Are these guys based in L.A. now? Hard to say, because this faux-German, confrontational electro-pop act is supposed to be from “Europe.” Chön and Biktor might actually be based loosely on the idea of what would happen if Hans and Franz from SNL's “Pumping Up With Hans and Franz” went the pop-star route à la David Hasselhoff, and enjoyable for its sheer ridiculousness.
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WhiteCatPink is a pop singer/drummer who performs his own kind of French-style pop songs in a full white-cat costume. He even goes out in public and hangs out in costume when going to other shows. As freakish as this may seem to some, WhiteCatPink is very personable and his music very much worth a listen.
This is a zombie Americana band made up of people who look like they crawled out of a graveyard of an old mining camp. They also don't seem to break character on stage or in interviews. Fortunately, the music stands on its own, and the act is not pure gimmick.