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February 12, 2014 11:21 AM   Subscribe

Two Men in a Pizza Place Perform A Great Cover of Toto's "Africa."

Mike Massé and Jeff Hall rock it for an audience of maybe six or seven people in the Pie Pizzeria in Utah. Massé was in the news in 2012 when he recorded a cover of "Let It Be" to raise money to treat his son Noah's brain tumor. Updates on his official Facebook page shows that Noah is doing well. He and Hall have a long history of excellent covers.

Toto'a Africa previously on Metafilter (non-broken links only):

Perpetuum Jazzile
Subsea 7
posted by Joey Michaels (74 comments total) 55 users marked this as a favorite

 
God I love this stupid goddam cornball trainwreck of a song.
posted by cortex at 11:36 AM on February 12 [59 favorites]


Very nice, though they really hit my nostalgic sweet spot with "Linger".
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 11:37 AM on February 12 [3 favorites]


God I love this stupid goddam cornball trainwreck of a song.

A hundred times this. The original is overproduced and relies on stupid shaky rhymes and is thematically a mess and I totally dig it.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:42 AM on February 12 [3 favorites]


Also, the first half dozen words of the first link made me think this might have something to do with Nathan Fillion. Alas.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 11:43 AM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Any time I'm worried about the difficulty of coming up with good, consonant, meaningful lyrics, I remind myself that these guys crammed what might be the most awkward rhyme ever in a top-charting song with "Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti."
posted by chimaera at 11:43 AM on February 12 [10 favorites]


So this has nothing to do with Ryan Reynolds?
posted by grubi at 11:44 AM on February 12 [4 favorites]


God I love this stupid goddam cornball trainwreck of a song.

God I love this stupid goddam cornball trainwreck of a song.

I wanted to type that also.
posted by Zerowensboring at 11:47 AM on February 12 [2 favorites]


This is one of those few songs that manages to convert an ironic resurgence into a popular resurgence just through its pure quality.
posted by Think_Long at 11:48 AM on February 12 [4 favorites]


As an aside, I always thought Jack Black would be perfect as Bobby Kimball in a Toto biopic.
posted by chambers at 11:49 AM on February 12


I have to watch it again. It's just perfect.
posted by Stewriffic at 11:49 AM on February 12


Here - have an a cappella version done by the Obertones (and alumni 'Tones) in 2013.
posted by plinth at 11:49 AM on February 12 [2 favorites]


Am I nuts, or was the Louie CK-lookin' dude also a part of that crowdsourced radiohead cover from a couple years back? Anyone know what I'm talking about? A producer had carefully edited together tracks from dozens of amateur YouTube covers, I think of "creep" or maybe "paranoid android"?
posted by Diablevert at 11:51 AM on February 12


For my money, Hackney Colliery Band has the best Africa cover, at least partly because they don't have to fool around with the terrible lyrics.
posted by Copronymus at 11:51 AM on February 12 [5 favorites]


Diablevert: They do a cover of "Creep." Does that look/sound familiar?
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:52 AM on February 12 [2 favorites]


That Africa cover sounds way, way too good for two shlubby dudes in a pizza place. How did they get just crisp clean audio even? It sounds glorious.
posted by mathowie at 11:59 AM on February 12 [3 favorites]


To only some degree of shame, "Africa" is actually my wife and I's "song". Pretty much purely because of how often it got played on the radio for no good reason when we started dating.

(Turns out, it's also a pretty bad as a "first dance" song.)
posted by kmz at 12:04 PM on February 12


What is with those vocals? Melodyne? For real, how did they get them to sound like that??
posted by capnsue at 12:06 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Listen to these guys cover David Bowie's "Space Oddity". Keep making music guys, because you are terrific!
posted by Vibrissae at 12:14 PM on February 12 [4 favorites]


Joey Michaels: it was paranoid android, actually. Found it again eventually.
posted by Diablevert at 12:18 PM on February 12


Mmm. Fairly strongly suspect that something is not quite what it seems here. I'm a singer (and fairly capable Melodyne user). I think they are playing this live, but those vocals... To my singing ear, listening on a crappy iPad speaker, they are eerily, perfectly in tune - hitting them spot on, and perfectly in tune with each other. It also sounds like something slightly odd is happening on the longer held notes, which is what you get with pitch correction. My theory: I reckon they played live; recorded multi track; pitch corrected the vocals (too hard? But maybe they had issues with sound bleed from the instruments?), then made the video with the corrected audio, Note 1: yes, maybe this is their real voice, some singers can pitch perfectly... not many though, and not typically blokes in pizza restaurants. Note 2: even if my theory is right, it's still a nice performance. They'd be a verrrrrrry long way from the first people to sweeten their tuning a bit after the event.... *ahem*
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 12:26 PM on February 12 [4 favorites]


For my money, Hackney Colliery Band has the best Africa cover

Yeah, I heard that on the Craig Charles funk and soul show and it was great.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:51 PM on February 12


So I just listened to about 10 or 20 of their covers, and they're all good! I like that they didn't drag out Wish You Were Here after the second verse. Very enjoyable all around.
posted by jeffamaphone at 1:00 PM on February 12


I think I actually prefer their version of "Wish You Were Here." There, I said it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:04 PM on February 12


Yeah there's obviously some serious effects on their voices I just can't say that they don't have a soundguy set up there in the pizza place tossing chorus on the, um, chorus.

That said, 2,451,706 views and counting? I mean, good cover and all but...dayam. Did this end up on the front page of reddit or something?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:06 PM on February 12


I first saw it today on a friend's Facebook status. No idea where else it might have been picked up.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:12 PM on February 12


Is it so unthinkable that they are good enough to sing perfectly in tune? There are people all over the world who can do that. As a pizza guy and musician I say give us some motherloving credit, am I right?

I mean it sounds like they have reverb, but that's not cheating.
posted by TheRedArmy at 1:18 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Also previously linked on MetaFilter: instrumental acoustic guitar covers by Andy McKee; Igor Presnyakov (Andy might sound better, but, as usual, Igor's hat is unstoppable.)
posted by straight at 1:28 PM on February 12


As another long time musician, I agree that it does sound like some processing is happening, particularly in the choruses. I still really like this, the guy has a great voice. I was thinking perhaps that he's got one of the many now-available vocal-harmony-ish/effector pedals that you can get, and maybe he (or somebody else) was turning it on just for those spots. I would still have been blown away if I had been sitting there in that pizza place. Unexpectedly super.
posted by bitterkitten at 1:31 PM on February 12


(and crap, I can't think of Andy McKee without stopping to listen again to his world-ruling cover of Everybody Wants To Rule the World)
posted by straight at 1:32 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


"Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti."

OMG. It's not "Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like a lepress above the Serengeti."

Mind. Blown.

Also, that makes a lot more sense.
posted by spindrifter at 1:39 PM on February 12 [5 favorites]


Jon Mitchell's "I guess it rains down in Africa?" might be my favorite misheard lyric ever.
posted by straight at 1:43 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


They'd be a verrrrrrry long way from the first people to sweeten their tuning a bit after the event....

So this might be a small scale version of what Kiss is said to have done on their KISS ALIVE album.
posted by Flexagon at 1:44 PM on February 12


Man, now I want to go to this pizza place on their open mic nights.
posted by mathowie at 1:44 PM on February 12


I thought it was pretty bad. Its just a bad cover of a bad 80s song. I don't get the fuss
posted by mary8nne at 2:08 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Also, that makes a lot more sense.

Makes less sense. Kilimanjaro does not rise like Olympus above the Serengeti. Olympus does not rise above the Serengeti at all, and Kilimanjaro itself can barely be said to rise above the Serengeti. It's a dumb, difficult to sing lyric that makes no sense and I always blow it at karaoke because it scans weird. And I love the stupid song so much.
posted by Cookiebastard at 2:14 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


If I lived in Salt Lake City Utah I would go see these guys all the time.
posted by ephemerista at 2:17 PM on February 12


> God I love this stupid goddam cornball trainwreck of a song.

Yup. Toto was a terrible band and this dumb song doesn't make a lick of sense and yet it's a great song. Hooks and riffs, people, that's what it's all about. And nobody knows when or where the lightning is going to strike.
posted by languagehat at 2:19 PM on February 12 [5 favorites]


Here - have an a cappella version done by the Obertones (and alumni 'Tones) in 2013.

That... that was really good. Wow.
posted by davidjmcgee at 2:21 PM on February 12


Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti

I just heard that lyric for the first time a few weeks ago (meaning it hit my brain, not just my ears), and I was stunned at how absurdly stupid it was. I sat there wondering if it actually counted as a simile or if it was just too stupid.

The mountain rises like a mountain above some place that neither actually rises above.

Ummm, yeah.
posted by Ickster at 2:21 PM on February 12 [4 favorites]


That lyric rises like ironic above Alanis.
posted by davidjmcgee at 2:23 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Oh, and this video was making the rounds a year or so ago, although I don't remember where I saw it back then. I do know it popped up in a couple of different places for me though.
posted by Ickster at 2:25 PM on February 12


To only some degree of shame, "Africa" is actually my wife and I's "song".

Ours is "Come On Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners. It was playing shortly before I drunkenly proposed to Mrs. Example at the backyard party we were attending.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:50 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Goddammit I don't even have to click the link to catch the earworm of this terrible, wonderful song. What's up with that.
posted by rtha at 2:50 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


Effects pedal.

points for the Rush T-shirt, minus points for the Yankees cap.
posted by petebest at 3:07 PM on February 12


Also, holy shit. Two questions:

1.) How am I just now hearing about these guys, and
2.) Why are they not playing sold-out stadiums?
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:14 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


Metafilter Cable Access
posted by Colonel Panic at 3:18 PM on February 12


I just listened to the Crowded House cover and The Church cover on the youtube sidebar and, damn it! Mike Masse is an amazing vocal mimic. He gets the sound of the original vocals really nearly close.
posted by Kerasia at 3:24 PM on February 12


Am I nuts, or was the Louie CK-lookin' dude. . .

Thanks. Thanks a lot.

Sorry Mr. musician, no matter how good you are, you will forever be that "Louie CK-looking dude."
posted by [insert clever name here] at 4:13 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


Perhaps most impressive is their cover of Red Hill Mining Town, a song that U2 has never played live because the chorus vocals are so incredibly high and demanding. He absolutely nails it with utter clarity in his voice.
posted by Old Man McKay at 4:43 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


>Any time I'm worried about the difficulty of coming up with good, consonant, meaningful lyrics....

Or you could just go back to Bob Dylan.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:46 PM on February 12


Ooh, yeah, Red Hill Mining Town! The covers of All I Want Is You and I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For are also fantastic. Mike Massé gets such emotion into his voice.

I wonder if they do originals as well?
posted by Georgina at 5:10 PM on February 12


I wouldn't call myself a huge Toto fan, but "Africa" is just behind "Rosanna" as a Great Song of the '80s.

That said, watching this equally great cover is the first time that I've actually understood the line about Kilimanjaro. So, mountain X rises like mountain Y over a plain? It doesn't rise like a storm cloud or like a giraffe or like a badly digested pepperoni pizza. The famous mountain rises like another famous mountain.

Carry on.
posted by the sobsister at 5:39 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


I could have sworn it was "Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like an empress above the Serengeti". Frankly, I like my version better. :)
posted by spock at 6:02 PM on February 12


I ended up listening through a whole heap of their songs.

This one was a bit surprising. Pretty sure it's NOT Hotel California!
posted by lollusc at 6:03 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


God I love this stupid goddam cornball trainwreck of a song.

It's an amazing example of how sometimes the sum of the parts becomes greater than the whole of the parts. It's lyrically nonsensical, sounds kinda weird, and should be utterly forgettable pop trash...and yet whenever it's on the radio, I'm singing along.
posted by nubs at 7:27 PM on February 12


It doesn't rise like a storm cloud or like a giraffe or like a badly digested pepperoni pizza. The famous mountain rises like another famous mountain.

Carry on.


If you were expecting tremendous poetry from Toto, man, I don't know what to tell you.
posted by nubs at 7:29 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


previously
posted by Arch_Stanton at 7:31 PM on February 12


This is really rather fantastic. I love their interpretation of Red Hill Mining Town and the cost of Africa had my wife and I singing along in the kitchen.
posted by arcticseal at 7:33 PM on February 12



Jon Mitchell's "I guess it rains down in Africa?" might be my favorite misheard lyric ever.


I always thought that's what the lyric was, too. I was super little when it was being played a lot on radio, so I didn't know if people knew much about Africa or what.
posted by sweetkid at 7:41 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Their "Running to Stand Still" video has background noises typical for a pizza joint, I'd say. Some of the other covers not so much. No idea what this means. I like them all, frankly.
posted by nostrada at 7:56 PM on February 12


This song reminds me of being 11 years old. I cannot listen to it.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:58 PM on February 12


Arch_Stanton - argh! I promise I searched!
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:27 PM on February 12


When I was an undergrad, my college had a foreign study program to Kenya. Some friends of mine went on it and they never shut up about it. My senior year I got to see three years' worth of people who had gone on this program dancing in a drunken huddle at a party, singing along to this song, badly I might add, and it was really stupid and touching and beautiful. That's what I think of every time I hear this song. It is a good thing.
posted by A dead Quaker at 8:31 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


You cannot trash talk Toto as Toto is Muad'dib approved.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:49 PM on February 12


Their "Running to Stand Still" video has background noises typical for a pizza joint, I'd say. Some of the other covers not so much. No idea what this means.

I'd guess the difference is tighter micing and less room noise on some of the recordings, basically. It's not that hard to set up a small board and mic your vox and instruments for live recording way above and beyond what's needed (read: just about nothing) to get decent sound in a small venue with no drums or loud-ass electrics involved. You can easily inline effects into the board if you want to get some chorus, reverb, potentially tuning-tightening, etc. into the mix live as well.

Note that this is all talking about what goes into the board, vs. what someone might hear in the room, which, especially if they're not trying to knock people over with loudness, probably involves at most some minimal PA amplification mostly for vox and a bass amp turned down pretty low.

All that said, it's not impossible to retrack stuff after the fact in sync with a video performance, but the effort required to get that juuuust right so it doesn't look visibly dubbed seems like a lot for what's clearly a well-rehearsed and pretty spartan setup. When being solid musicians and micing your few sources well will do, not a ton of incentive to go back and do an overdub fake-out.
posted by cortex at 9:02 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Cortex, you obviously know what you are talking about. Learned something today, mission accomplished :-) Thank You.
posted by nostrada at 9:08 PM on February 12


The last 14 seconds of that video are my favorite part.
posted by clorox at 9:34 PM on February 12


Man… almost makes me regret smoking and drinking. Hell I used to do that Connells number more or less just like that. I'd have to drop it down to make the high notes these days. I like my "Ripple" better though.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:44 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Dude.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:17 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


It's not "Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like a lepress above the Serengeti."

In my heart, that song will always be about women suffering from leprosy.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:19 PM on February 12


Their cover of Mad World is pretty good as well.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:26 AM on February 13


Regarding the audio... from his Facebook page: "There's UA plug-ins all over the audio of our YouTube clips, Daniel. You can't go wrong with them. I've been collecting them over time (more than 10 years at this point, I think). But there's a lot of great emulations to choose from."

He's referring to this interface, and here's a video of what that can do with vocal effects.
posted by FreezBoy at 8:24 AM on February 13 [3 favorites]


Holy cow! Way better than I was expecting from the description on the tin!

It is taking some serious willpower to not piss away the rest of my day watching these guys on YouTube.
posted by bluejayway at 12:57 PM on February 13


It's Friday and all and so I've got my office door shut and their youtube list all lined up and today is gonna be a good day!
posted by rtha at 8:13 AM on February 14


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