Vice magazine rang in its 20th birthday earlier this year in Toronto, and on Friday night, about 2,100 people filled the Duggal’s Greenhouse event space at the Brooklyn Navy Yard for the New York version. It was a quickly paced variety show with an open bar and free food from food trucks, offering performances by everyone across the Vice spectrum — from the Iraqi metal band featured in its documentary to Lil Wayne to Jarvis Cocker covering Celine Dion. Here’s an attempted rundown of most of the songs performed at the show, with the help of a backing band that included the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner, and Andrew Wyatt, Pauli PSM, and Jack Lawrence. Not every song is here, of course, but most are included.
Andrew W.K., the night’s emcee (and Village Voice advice columnist) opened the evening with “Party Hard,” adding a piano solo.
Next up was Chromeo, who did “Needy Girl,” followed by Nick Thorburn covering “House of Jealous Lovers” by the Rapture.
Then, the blogged-about metal supergroup took the stage, comprising Acrassicauda (the Iraqi metal band and subjects of Heavy Metal in Baghdad), and Dave Ellefson of Megadeth, Alex Skolnick of Testament, and Tony Foresta of Municipal Waste singing a few covers, including “Seek and Destroy” by Metallica. Budweisers were drunk with enthusiasm by everyone around me.
Next up, Action Bronson walked out to “Evil Ways” by Santana, sparked a Swisher, shouted out Queens and went into his own songs “Easy Rider” and “Give Me One More Reason.”
After that, it was time for the punk supergroup, featuring Damian Abraham of Fucked Up, Steve McDonald of OFF!, Ben Weinman of Dillinger Escape Plan, and Hisham Bharoocha. The band covered” “Wasted” by the Circle Jerks/Black Flag and “Fuck You” by the Subhumans, which Abraham, a Canadian, made sure to announce was a Canadian act.
John Joseph of the Cro-Mags came onstage to do a duet of the Misfits song “We are 138,” and then “We Gotta Know” by the Cro-Mags and, finally, “Police Story” by Black Flag.
“This is a protest song,” Joseph said before “We Gotta Know.”
“Now, I know that everybody is having a good time. There’s a lot of people out there in the rain tonight, protesting against the shit that’s going down in this country, how they are turning the United States of America into a police state.This song right here is for all the people out there that are walking around for the brothers that just lost their life.”
Joseph’s comments were the first of several by musicians during the show about the cases of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.
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Next up: Jonah Hill and Spike Jonze came, and Hill channeled Drake under a thick purple spotlight, doing “Marvin’s Room.”
Then came the Unicorns’ Nick Thornburn to perform “I Was Born a Unicorn.”
That was quickly followed by The-Dream covering “Paper Planes” by M.I.A.
Ghostface Killah hit the stage next, doing “Run.” He was then joined by fellow Wu-Tang member Raekwon and producer Large Professor for “Daytona 500” before he was off for…
…The Black Lips, who quickly performed “Family Tree” and “Bad Kids.”
Then came Meredith Graves of Perfect Pussy, who worked two familiar protest chants into her comments: “Hey, NYPD, the whole world is watching. Black lives matter.” She then went into an inspired cover of “New York City Cops” by the Strokes.
Stephen Malkmus then performed “Range Life,” the 1994 single from his band Pavement, before reminding everyone of another ’90s gem, the Black Crowes’ 1992 hit “Remedy” (really).
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Surprise guest Scarlett Johansson would have dropped jaws, had the pace and variety of the party’s entertainment not primed the room for something ridiculous, like her covering a New Order song. Which she did: Johansson had the room swaying with her rendition of the Manchester band’s 1986 hit, “Bizarre Love Triangle.”
Next up were Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina. To cheers, Alyokhina, in her characteristic heavy Russian accent, soberly and firmly read from notes on her phone: “I might not have the right to talk about American problems, but I think that murder is murder everywhere.”
Pussy Riot member Sasha Klokova then sang Le Tigre’s 1999 electroclash hit, “Deceptacon.”
Next up was Karen O — who was wearing, it should be noted, given her consistently eye-popping fashion choices, the black leather studded jacket from her 2009 video for “Zero.” She sang 2003’s “Maps” by her band the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and finished with another YYY hit, “Art Star.”
Next up came Pulp singer and a man who always seems to be wearing a corduroy blazer, Jarvis Cocker, who made getting a room filled with a few thousand people to sing with you look pretty easy — just do a Celine Dion cover. The well-lubricated crowd sang “The Power of Love” before Cocker turned up the speed with Oi! pub-rocker “If the Kids are United (They Will Never Be Divided)” by Sham 69.
A crush of people moved forward for the next guest — Lil Wayne. The news from his performance was that his tweets about wanting to get off Cash Money Records are true. Wayne said he wanted to get his Carter 5 album out to fans, but “technical difficulties” had kept it at bay. He asked everyone to “put motherfuckin’ their 5’s up for 1-5,” so we’ll have to wait till next year. Still, everyone in the room leaned in for Lil Wayne. When he’s on his game, he is the most captivating rapper to experience live. He did his 2011 song “John (If I Die Today)” and his 2014 song with Drake, “Believe Me.”
Nicki Minaj was set to perform but did not make an appearance, and when Andrew W.K. performed “Anarchy in the U.K.” by the Sex Pistols, it was all but confirmed she wouldn’t go out.
A party like this one would seem to cost just about a zillion dollars, but Joe Coscarelli at the Times reports this morning:
Asked about the total expense of the event, which included an open bar and free falafel, [Hosi Simon, Vice‘s global general manager] demurred. “It’s actually not a whole lot,” he said. For its 15th anniversary, Vice spent $250,000 to put on a Halloween party. Five years later, “It’s more than that,” he said. “But if you look at the lineup, it’s a multimillion dollar lineup.”
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