For the second year of the Harry Dean Stanton Fest, founder Lucy Jones had an idea: have a party featuring music from the iconic soundtrack to the 1984 movie Repo Man.
"People told me, 'I don't think you're going to find a band dedicated enough to learn all that music,'" Jones says. "I said, 'I think I already know the band.'"
It was Palisades, a Lexington-based power punk trio with a taste for adventure.
"The bands I love the most are bands like Yo La Tengo, the bands that can do almost anything and have their own sound, but they do all of these different permutations and collaborations," Palisades guitarist Scott Whiddon says. "I think that's what Palisades is like, that we have a sound, but we can take on different tones and different textures, and we like hard work."
Not that it's looking like a lot of work Monday night at Smiley Pete Publications' Tadoo Lounge, where Palisades is working through its last rehearsal for Saturday's Harry Dean Stanton Fest show at The Green Lantern bar. This one is a homage to New York clubs of the late 1970s and '80s like CBGB, where bands from The Ramones to Talking Heads subversively reshaped rock 'n' roll.
Like its previous Stanton shows, the set inspired by Escape From New York (1983) will feature numerous musicians from other area bands, including Dave Cobb of Nativity Singers, Kate Drof and John Ferguson of Big Fresh, and Robby Cosenza of The Fanged Robot.
The big cast of collaborators makes scheduling a challenge, but Whiddon says it is worth it to perform some of the band's favorite music with fellow artists.
"These are our friends, these are our peers," he says. "Some great friendships have been made."
The first year was a fairly straightforward proposition: Repo Man, beginning to end. The second two have been more curatorial affairs. Last year's show was a tribute to the mod era of the early 1960s in honor of The Miniskirt Mob.
"It's easy to romanticize New York at that moment, and maybe some of the literature and journalism help us do that," Whiddon, 40, says. "I knew we needed to play some things that were recognizable: A Talking Heads 'hit,' a Blondie 'hit.' At the same time I wanted to dig a little deeper and share some of the tasty treats."
Putting the show together brought forth the challenge of pairing artists with songs.
"Of course, Robby is going to sing a Ramones song. That just makes sense," Whiddon says. "Other times, it's 'let's try this topping with this ice cream.' ... We mix and match. I'd ask, 'Hey John, how do you feel about singing Talking Heads?' 'Of course, I want to sing Talking Heads.'"
Beyond the bands, the entire project is in honor of a man with whom Whiddon and others feel a kinship.
"Harry's had art parts like Paris, Texas, and he's had parts that may be more middlebrow, like Care Bears or Private Benjamin," Whiddon says. "I like that, we're not dilettantes in Palisades. We're working artists. We're going to take it with a sense of seriousness and a sense of craft, and we're going to be prepared and respect the labor.
"I think Harry does that. He's got like 180 IMDB credits, and I respect that," he says, referring to the Internet Movie Database. "Harry's incredibly inspiring. I like hard work, and I like people that do hard work well."