Last night, Macaulay Culkin's Velvet Underground cover band, The Pizza Underground, played a free show at Baby's All Right in South Williamsburg. Hundreds of young folk, lured by the promise of free pizza and a rare sighting of the Artist Formerly Known as Kevin McAllister, piled into the sparkling new venue, where they were treated to an 8-minute-show, complimentary pizza slices and a Culkin kazoo solo. Oh, it's good to be a millennial.
Pre-show, mustachioed attendees lined up in the cold, awaiting entry. For many, the combination of Culkin, the late, great Lou Reed, and New York's favorite food made the show a must-see. "I'm a Macaulay Culkin lover. And Lou Reed is one of my favorite artists of all time. So then you add pizza, and it's just all good," Bed-Stuy resident Chelsea Naftelberg told us. Todd Weinstock, who lives in Greenpoint, also touted the Velvet Underground/Culkin/pizza triple threat. "How can I lose?" he said, though he noted he hadn't heard any of the Pizza Underground's music. And the explanation as to why the band simply changed the title of "Sweet Jane" to "Pizza," was finally unmasked. "It has the right number of syllables," Carly Dahl, who lives in Prospect Heights said. "'Sweet Pizza' would have changed the whole song completely. Pizza captures the essence of the phrase 'Sweet Jane.'" MYSTERY SOLVED.
In keeping with rock star tradition, the band hit the stage about 45 minutes late, appropriately clad in their finest Factory black, sunglasses and all. After promising the crowd "the best eight minutes of music you'll ever hear," the quintet performed the entirety of their Bandcamp demo track, an 8:49 medley of Velvet Underground covers where most of the lyrics have been changed to reflect pizza-related matters. Behold:
Highlights included rousing sing-a-long renditions of "I'm Waiting For the Pizza Delivery Man" and "Pizza Day," a spot-on Nico impression during "Pizza Gal," and, naturally, Culkin's long awaited kazoo solo that closed out the show with "Take a Bite of the Wild Slice."
Pizza is not something to be taken lightly in this world, and at this celebration of all things tomato, bread and cheese, there was plenty of it. Free slices were served, courtesy of Williamsburg Pizza; pizza boxes were tossed into the audience and treated to reverent crowd-surfing and bandmember Deenah Vollmer belted out percussion beats on a pizza box of her own. When the band left the stage, the crowd chanted frantically for "one more slice!" For The Pizza Underground and their fans, pizza is not just a food group or a quirky theme. It is a Way Of Life.
Post-show, Pizza Underground skirted off backstage to do as Rock Stars do, and the crowd milled around the venue, eating pizza and jamming to an Andy Warhol wig-wearing crooner belting Velvet Underground songs. Many left, ostensibly to tape up their windows in preparation for Hurricane SantaCon. And as for whether Pizza Underground impressed or merely baffled, fans believe there's still more to come. "It's real. For sure," one crowd member told us. Never doubt the musical power of pizza.