To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the release of music journalist Michael Azerrad's history of indie rock, Our Band Could Be Your Life, indie musicians of all persuasions gathered at the Bowery Ballroom last night to perform the material of the 13 bands featured in the book. More than just a bunch of de facto cover tunes, the concert was an opportunity for a reinterpretation of enduringly influential music by contemporary ears.
Though comedians Eugene Mirman and Janeane Garofalo hosted the show, Stereogum notes that they "wisely stayed out of the way" in favor of the "furious and fast" rendition of Black Flag by the Dirty Projectors (frontman Dave Longstreth is familiar with the band), and the "smoke-machine psych-freakouts" of Dan Deacon's take on The Butthole Surfers. Ted Leo (sans Pharmacists) was "pitch perfect" in singing Minor Threat and was backed only by "pre-recorded music played on a worn and scuffed music reel."
The only thing last night that wasn't true to the book: Nirvana, the subject of Azerrad's other excellent book, got some airtime, with Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs performing "Lithium" and a score of others belting out the Bleach classic "Negative Creep." Luckily for everyone that foolishly stayed in on a Sunday, NPR has audio of the entire night, and you can check out "Lithium" below: