Can you imagine Fall Out Boy going by any other name? Well, they did, and they certainly weren’t alone. Check out nine bands who have performed under a different name at a secret show, festivals and more.
1. Arctic Monkeys – The Death Ramps
Indie chart-stormers the Arctic Monkeys use the alias the Death Ramps to record and play B-sides with other like-minded musicians. It comes from the childhood days of Alex Turner and co., who would ride their BMX bikes through the hilly woods near their homes and try to conquer steep and uneven land with trepidation. Each member of the group has a Death Ramps ring, which were created especially for them by alternative jewelry company the Great Frog.
2. Biffy Clyro – Jaggy Snake
Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro once presented themselves as Jaggy Snake for some festival warmups. The name is taken from one of the tracks off of their Infinity Land record, “There’s No Such Thing As A Jaggy Snake.”
3. Fall Out Boy – Saved Latin
Emo popsters Fall Out Boy have performed several secret shows under the name Saved Latin. It comes from a line in the Wes Anderson movie Rushmore, where Jason Schwartzman’s character says, “I saved Latin, what did you ever do?” However, one of their standout sets was at the Knitting Factory in 2006. The show included Skyriter and Valencia opening who played to a crowd containing Gabe Saporta and Mikey Way.
4. Foo Fighters – The Holy Shits
Rock bands don’t get much bigger than the Foo Fighters. In promotion of their eighth studio offering, Sonic Highways, the guys moonlighted under the name the Holy Shits in the U.S. at Firefly Festival, three intimate U.K. gigs and more. For the latter, fans quickly became aware of this and went into a complete meltdown attempting to get tickets.
5. Green Day – Foxboro Hot Tubs
Politically-outspoken punks Green Day have appeared as Foxboro Hot Tubs. Foxboro is a housing development in California that the trio used to sneak into when they were younger. Billie Joe Armstrong also morphs into his alter ego, Reverend Strychnine Twist, when they occasionally get together.
6. Metallica – The Lemmys
Two decades ago, metal giants Metallica posed as the Lemmys at Lemmy Kilmister’s 50th birthday party and covered an entire set of Motörhead songs at the Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles. The whole band even dressed as the Motörhead frontman, sporting long black wigs, fake moustaches and drawn-on tattoos.
7. Motörhead – Iron Fist And The Hordes From Hell
Back in the late ’70s, Motörhead decided to play under the name Iron Fist And The Hordes From Hell, due to contractual issues. Their next studio LP, Iron Fist, derived its name from the band several years later.
8. Radiohead – Special Guests
Avant-garde shoegazers Radiohead were simply called Special Guests when they were booked for a surprise set at Glastonbury Festival a few years ago. Although it might have been the worst kept secret of the weekend, punters were delighted for a chance to see a collection of artists who seldom perform.
9. Them Crooked Vultures – Very Special Guests
Arguably the most exciting super-group in recent times, Them Crooked Vultures were cryptically billed as Very Special Guests to open an Arctic Monkeys concert in London. On the cusp of releasing a debut album, Josh Homme, Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones had no live dates confirmed. They then went on to do a secret set at both the Reading and Leeds festivals a few days later, without being announced at all; the promoters just cunningly left a large time gap between two artists on the line-up.
10. All Time Low – Young Renegades
Back in 2017, All Time Low gave a shout-out to their “friends in the Young Renegades,” suggesting fans check out their upcoming London gig. Given the band were in the midst of promoting their last full-length, Last Young Renegade, many grew suspicious. As expected, the band hit the stage as the made-up band for a tiny secret show, and the results were awesome.
11. Midtown — Merman (or Brotown)
Midtown disbanded in 2005, making way for frontman Gabe Saporta to take the throne as one of the leaders of the 2000s neon-pop era with Cobra Starship. Midtown announced their reunion nine years after breaking up for Skate And Surf Festival 2014. However, it wasn’t that festival slot wouldn’t mark their return. Three days prior, the band hit the stage as Merman (or Brotown depending on who you asked) at the Knitting Factory.
12. Don Broco – the Prettyboys
One of the most exciting parts of Reading & Leeds is the regular appearance of a secret set. In 2017, Don Broco joined the lineup as the Prettyboys. The band even printed shirts and later used footage from the set in their “Stay Ignorant” video.
13. A Day To Remember – Band Of Birds
A Day To Remember set the bar high for the best hometown show in 2015 when they played a 200-capacity secret show at O’Malleys Alley. The band pulled off the Ocala homecoming under the name Band Of Birds.
14. Bring Me The Horizon — An Invitation To Salvation
— Reading & Leeds Fest (@OfficialRandL) August 24, 2018
Just like Don Broco, Bring Me The Horizon were one of Reading & Leeds’ secret acts. Last year, many began speculating who would be playing, listing off theories for BMTH, Liam and Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes. BMTH ended up being the surprise act, marking their big return.