Fashion Week is a biannual rite in New York, and with it comes another biannual rite — awkward, private late-night performances from bands that are either at the center of the zeitgeist (Kanye West on the bar at the Boom Boom Room last week, say) or beloved, out-of-step favorites of the aging designers and promoters who make this week happen (see: Guns N’ Roses, anything involving John Varvatos). Mostly, the shows are abbreviated, impromptu, or otherwise improvised — artists tend to experiment when they wander this far outside the Bowery Ballroom. Thus 2010’s Fall Fashion Week has already seen Metric covering the Strokes, the Strokes themselves reuniting for Tommy Hilfiger, Courtney Love covering Lady Gaga at the reborn Don Hill’s, and, uh, ZZ Top taking on “Foxy Lady” at Varvatos’ Bowery store. With a couple days left to go, we figured we might as well get some rankings going, so next time your phone blows up at 3 a.m. telling you to come to some hard-to-infiltrate club to see Band X, you’ll know whether or not to answer the call. Without further ado:
1) Kanye West Makes an Unannounced Cameo at the Boom Boom Room
Still this Fashion Week’s gold standard, even if it was neither formally a show nor recorded for posterity beyond the above photo. Nobody is hotter in the world right now than Kanye, and no New York room is harder to crack. If you were there, you beat everyone.
2) The Strokes Play Their First New York Show in Four Years for Tommy Hilfiger
We were fully prepared to be cynical about this one, given the lack of real enthusiasm this band has evinced for reuniting over the last few years. Plus, Tommy Hilfiger? Watching the short clip above served to change our minds. This happened last night at the Metropolitan Opera house in celebration of Hilfiger’s 25th anniversary, and though Neil Patrick Harris, the Gossip Girl cast, and Russell Simmons were there, it wasn’t the surroundings but the band that made this one — “It’s been my dream since I was a little boy to play the Metropolitan Opera,” Julian Casablancas said, after his band took the stage and played a respectable eight songs. “You only live once.”
3) Metric Covers the Strokes’ “The End Has No End” During Fashion’s Night Out
Points subtracted for the fact that this took place in a Juicy Couture store. But this is otherwise sweet and lovely and has exactly the carefree spirit you might hope an artist could conjure in the face of the orgy of lines and bad behavior that was otherwise Friday’s Fashion’s Night Out. [Via]
4) Courtney Love Covers Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” at the Revived Don Hill’s
Kind of punk, actually. Raspy. But punk.
5) John Varvatos’ 10th Anniversary, Featuring ZZ Top and Alice Cooper
Sigh. Full account of this evening, which also featured Perry Farrell, over at Brooklyn Vegan. Suffice it to say that pretty much the only time we mourn the old CBGB is when John Varvatos reminds us that even they wouldn’t have stooped to giving ZZ Top and a decrepit Alice Cooper a venue to play at below 14th Street.