So the Beasties aren’t playing All Points West, and in their place Jay-Z is playing All Points West, and if that’s not an even trade, musically speaking, then who knows what an even trade is, really. But parotid cancer is a grim diagnosis, and the Beastie Boys are the home team, and so it seems like the very least Friday’s APW line-up can do is take a moment or two out to pay homage. Ben Greenman, at the New Yorker, has a modest proposal: “what if the other rap acts not only step in for the Beastie Boys, but agree to perform one of their songs as a tribute to the act and as a get-well message for Yauch?” Which we wholeheartedly second. Greenman suggests “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” for Jay, as both artists have worked with Rick Rubin, and because “99 Problems” was half an homage to the song anyway. Plus, Brooklyn. So alright, what else?
Q-Tip, who plays right before Jay-Z, has an even easier decision: he’s one of the few rappers ever to actually jump on a Beastie Boys song. “Get It Together” it is.
There’s probably a direct line from the opening riff of “Sabotage” down to the bridge of Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Maps,” both songs peaked around the third or fourth year of their respective decades, and subsequently became veritable albatrosses around both bands’ necks. Plus Karen O’s the only one out there Friday with even a prayer of pulling this one off.
How about Vampire Weekend? Actually, this one turns about to be hilariously easy. When was the exact moment the Beasties owned up to their upper-middle class backgrounds, their vision of a world united by a woefully incomplete understanding of the music, philosophy, and theology of another continent, their passion for comfortable shoes and flowing things draped around the neck? “Bodhisattva Vow”! Bonus points for the specific homage to MCA here.
Organized Konfusion seems like they should’ve had some sort of overlap with the Beasties in the early ’90s, but what would it have been? (Help?) So for lack of a better idea, let’s go with the Large Professor remix to “Sure Shot,” since, uh, Paul C. was an early mentor to both Large Pro and OK?
Pharcyde: “Drop.” Easy.
If Fleet Foxes don’t sing “Girls” in three-part a cappella harmony we’re lighting the Blue Comet stage on fire.
Alright. We’ll leave the National et al to you. What other some other appropriate Beastie covers we can organize in advance of Friday?