Dancing at the Zombie Zoo

This weekend, the streets of Limerick will be filled with hundreds of revellers dressed in shabby clothing and wearing badly-applied makeup. What makes this weekend different to others, however, is that everyone’s going to be dressing as zombies on the occasion of the city’s first celebration of these ghoulish spirits. The Outbreak Zombie Festival runs from today until Sunday and will feature a host of events around the city. These include film screenings, band performances, flashmobs and even parades. The festival is a non-profit event and its proceeds will benefit a local charity named the Cliona Ring Foundation. This organisation assists families with children who require long-term treatment for serious illness. The event is bound to attract interest from all over Ireland and you can find more information about the festival at their site

I have to admit that Shaun of the Dead, both an homage to and parody of the genre, is the only zombie flick I’ve actually watched, though I have seen documentaries and movies in a similar vein. Zombie films really took off after George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead was released in 1968, though these kind of characters had been appearing in cinema and fiction long before that. The undead have also been used as a topic in popular music over the last few decades and I’ve managed to dig up a few of these today. An English band formed by Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone in 1961 decided to call themselves The Zombies and had their first hit with She’s Not There three years later. Nick Cave with Neko Case and The Delta Spirit both released versions of the song earlier this year, but I’ve gone for the former below. Also this year, The Foo Fighters released a surprisingly chilled out version of This Will Be Our Year on their Medium Rare compilation. The third Zombies cover is a fine demo version of Time of the Season from 2004. Following on from last week’s R.E.M. covers post is their take on Roky Erickson’s I Walked With a Zombie that appears on the 1990 Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye tribute to the former leader of the 13th Floor Elevators. Erickson’s original can be found on his 1981 solo album, The Evil One, and he took the songs’s title from a 1943 film by Jacques Tourneur that’s well worth checking out

Michael Jackson released his Thriller album in 1982 and its title track was a big hit a couple of years later. The single was accompanied by John Landis’ memorable long form music video that featured a multitude of ghouls, zombies and Michael Jackson. It was a bit of a surprise when Ian Brown of The Stone Roses released a shockingly good version of the song in 2000. Tom Petty closed his 1989 debut solo album Full Moon Fever with an amusing little ditty entitled Zombie Zoo. A guy named Zacherley imbued the track with the spirit of Monster Mash on an album from 2005 called Interment for Two. The Cranberries had their biggest hit in 1994 with a song that will surely get plenty of plays in their hometown this weekend. Their Zombie is musically sound, but its lyric was written by Dolores O’Riordan. It’s almost unrecognisable in this hilarious version by my favourite Finnish polka band, Eläkeläiset. Jeffrey Lewis offers some sage advice on his cut from 2003’s It’s the Ones Who’ve Cracked That the Light Shines Through. A year later, Tilly & the Wall riff on the title of Romero’s underground classic on Wild Like Children. The appropriately named Dead Man’s Bones sing a zombie love song on their 2009 eponymous debut, while Southern Culture on the Skids were Zombified on their album of the same title in 1998. I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone dressed up as members of the undead on the streets of Limerick this weekend, but I’m afraid I won’t be joining them. I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing makeup and a zombie costume

She’s Not There (Zombies cover) – Delta Spirit

This Will Be Our Year (Zombies cover) – Foo Fighters

Time of the Season (Zombies cover) – Snowden

I Walked With A Zombie (Roky Erickson cover) – R.E.M.

Thriller (Michael Jackson cover) – Ian Brown

Zombie Zoo (Tom Petty cover) – Zacherley

Zombie (Cranberries cover) – Eläkeläiset

If you Shoot the Head You Kill the Ghoul – Jeffrey Lewis

Nights of the Living Dead – Tilly & the Wall

My Body’s A Zombie For You – Dead Man’s Bones

Zombified – Southern Culture on the Skids

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