(alternate title: Home Alone 4: Drunk in New Orleans)
Last night, I had the distinct pleasure of seeing a pizza-themed Velvet Underground cover band featuring Macaulay Culkin. Yes, you read that right.
The night started with a couple of opening bands; I really loved Har Mar Superstar - he (I think it's one dude) had amazing energy, the songs were catchy, and the band had great chemistry. The Ron Jeremy lookalike (Har Mar I guess) fronting the band inexplicably took his shirt off, but upon more Googling this seems to be a thing with him. Macaulay Culkin made a cameo with him, sung a duet, slow-danced, and kissed him on the mouth (from where I stood, it looked like there was tongue involved, but maybe that was just a fantasy on my part).
About 10 minutes before the headliner comes on, about 5 dudes carrying 6 or 7 pizzas each walk in door, and march through the crowd. Finally, the time has come. The band takes the stage, introduces itself and starts passing pizza boxes back. ONLY LIKE THREE PIZZA BOXES. For 200 people. Where had all that pizza gone? I had a feeling about this and had eaten dinner beforehand; my friends had not, and one of them went full-blown pizza rage immediately and I'm fairly certain he couldn't even focus on any of the rest of the show.
They took most of the famous Velvet Underground/Lou Reed songs, and converted the lyrics to being about pizza. "Have a bite of crust" to "Satellite of love," "Who loves the crust" to "Who loves the sun," "Take a bite of the wild slice," to "Take a walk on the wild side," and so many more. Macaulay Culkin has a pretty good set of pipes on him, although I'm not sure he has any musical skill; he stuck to a maraca that looked like was made of a beach ball, and the woman to the right of him pounded on a pizza box. The percussion was not particularly complex, but it kept the beat. To the right of the stage, three (sometimes four) legitimate musicians played the bulk of the music.
Musically, these covers were more about the funny lyrics, so they were not particularly impressive. I mean, the ceiling of potential is already low with a cover band, and if there were not pizza-themed lyrics, the entire performance would have been incredibly boring. It was apparent the crowd was mostly there because of Macaulay Culkin, because they clearly didn't know any Velvet Underground songs, and they also chatted the whole time. I was at least 75% there to see Macaulay Culkin.
In the middle of the set, they announced a couple of projects they had been working on: Pussy Joel (cat-themed Billy Joel songs), and Nirvana covers where all the songs are sung in past tense. The latter sounds like a funny punch line in a stand up set, but what happened next was a huge mistake: a Kurt Cobain impersonator performed a few of these past tense songs, and guess what? They sound a lot like the songs as they are. Also, the unplugged-ness and grunge really brought the mood down (seriously - going from Velvet Underground to Nirvana very accurately describes my PMS). The crowd quickly lost interest and worked hard to talk over the music.
When Pizza Underground resumed, the crowd was distracted. Perhaps pizza rage had set in with more people; we passed an acquaintance who just shouted, "I'M NEVER GIVING UP ON PIZZA" as he walked by. My second companion was starting to succumb to it, and went outside to suck down cigarettes to stave off her hunger. I think she probably ate a few butts but she won't admit it to me. She missed most of the rest of the show, because she was wearing a Nicholas Cage-themed shirt and people wanted to talk to her about it and take pictures (other hungry smokers for sure).
The set ended with all of the musicians from the night singing what Macaulay Culkin called "an exercise in stupidity" called "Juicy Goosey" (or wait, maybe it was "Juicy Lucy?" Oh, who remembers!). It was to the tune of "Louie Louie" and it was really fun. I wish the whole show had been that song for an hour.
Musically, Pizza Underground will fall short of impressing you. Pizza-wise, Pizza Underground might fail miserably. To me, it was worth the money for the gimmick, and for me to stare at Macaulay Culkin and that long blonde mane (which reminds me of how I came of age sexually while listening to Hanson). I was exhausted from a long day at work, but I warned me friends who would be at bars that celebrities sometimes go to: if they saw Macauley Culkin, they were required to wake me up so I could go attempt to sleep with him.
So I give the performance a very confused 8/10.