i tend to dislike playing covers generally. I get the thing about familiar songs being what the crowd wants to hear, but I also feel like I'm too old to use up my "music time" playing the same songs at the same time every other bar band in the US is playing them. So, I forego the benefits of that approach in favor of playing what I want to play , and if I get to do that for an audience, cool. I'm playing with a band that does about 80% originals. My old friend who fronts the band has a knack for writing good songs that sound familiar. We do a few covers - usually our own versions, and some improvisational stuff mixed in. It seems to go over very well, and the girls do dance. We live in a very small, mostly rural market, so there's not much chance we'll ever make money anyhow. I also just got into a house band gig, where we host an open mic for the first part of the evening, and the second part is a jam featuring musicians from local bands who want to just get up and improvise together, outside of the constraints of their usual repertoire and band dynamics. It's been really awesome - the musicians appreciate it and have a great time, and again, the girls dance. Last time, the entire staff was dancing. Again, very little money - it's every other Monday- but tons of fun, which at my age is the main deal. Edit to add - at the house band gig, we only play music that nobody has heard before, including the musicians.