Although the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and the King of Pop never met in person, they have a lot in common besides Lisa Marie. Elvis lived at Graceland and was known for his extravagant capes, while Michael Jackson holed up in Neverland and wore fancy gloves. Elvis shook his hips, MJ moonwalked. And neither musician made it past the age of 50.
On Monday, a few dozen Louisville musicians are gathering at Headliners to pay tribute to both icons in what they’re dubbing “A Battle of the Kings.” Presented by Motherlodge and the Musicians Emergency Resource Fund (MERF), the show is a benefit for Strive, a nonprofit that provides affordable arts and wellness programming for Louisville.
The idea was the brainchild of Strive founders and fellow musicians Cheyenne Mize and Nina Rodahaffer, as well as Motherlodge curator Ray Rizzo, who is also a prominent Louisville musician and currently lives in New York City. Last year, they put on a similar tribute show called “Where It’s At” featuring the music of Beck and Justin Timberlake.
The list of participating musicians — from Jacob Duncan and Tyrone Cotton to Jecorey Arthur and Carly Johnson — encompasses various genres and styles, so it should be fascinating seeing how everyone comes together to perform such well-known songs.
Mize tells Insider it was easy getting people on board once they heard the concept.
“It has been great to assemble teams of people who are so excited to play, put together an amazing show and help out Strive in the process,” she says. “We are incredibly grateful for the 40+ people involved this year and only wish we could include more.”
The musicians were broken into two main groups — Team Elvis and Team MJ — and a few will switch out and share roles throughout the sets. Mize says there are about 10 vocalists on each team who will lead a song, and both teams will perform two sets, or “rounds.”
While she wouldn’t give us any hints as to what songs will be performed, she says attendees should come ready to dance. Also, it’s a friendly competition, so there will be no real winner at the end, but … “crowd excitement and participation will certainly help us to boost our game,” says Mize. “And with this cast of characters, I think we can all agree that everyone will be winning that night.”
“A Battle of Kings” starts at 8 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 26. Tickets are $10. Headliners is located at 1386 Lexington Road.
Here’s a closer look at each team:
The Elvis Band
Chris Rodahaffer, William Benton, Wayne Young, A. Scott Mertz, Ethan Buckler, Marvin Maxwell, Alanna Fugate, Brett Holzclaw, Nina Rodahaffer, Jorge Ruiz, Jennie Walker, Ray Rizzo, Amos Hopkins, Jimmy Brown, Tyrone Cotton, Bob Ramsey, Robert McFarland
The Michael Jackson Band
Cheyenne Mize, Mauriece Hamilton, Laura Ellis, Carly Johnson, Yalonda JD Green, Christy O’Connell, Natalie Felker, Jecorey Arthur, Scott Anthony, Derrick Pedolzky, Todd Johnson, Clint Newman, Jeremy Johnson, Brian Cronin, Van Campbell, Asly Toro, Ted Richardson, Parker Hall, Malcolm McLaughlin
The King’s Crown of Horns
Jacob Duncan, Brain Henry Schreck, Elaine Hertweck, Kent Klarer