Green Day broke into the mainstream with "Dookie." Weezer appeared with "Weezer," Elliott Smith with "Roman Candle." Blur had "Park Life" and Beck had "Mellow Gold." Surely there were dozens, if not hundreds, of other notables in the the Alt-Rock/Rock 'n Roll/Singer-Songwriter categories, and then, of course, there were the punk bands.
NOFX had "Punk in Drublic," The Clash B-sides album, "Super Black Market Clash," showed up. Rancid had "Let's Go." In the light of these releases, in the sphere of 1994, three Canadian fuck-ups puked out a 16-page newspaper about punk and drugs and being fuck-ups in Canada, aptly named VICE.
Now, ten years later, they've infiltrated half a dozen countries, made shit-loads of money, and managed to keep from being branded sell-outs by keeping true to their roots of getting piss-ass drunk, playing music really loudly, and being impressively consistent in their self-deprecation and misogyny.
Saturday night, VICE celebrated their decade of debauchery in as fitting a form as could be imagined or expected: by throwing a completely ridiculous, music-ridden, sweaty liquor-fest. They managed to discover the most flat, sprawling representation of their native Canada in the expansive club, Skylight, way over to the west, on Hudson St. With tables dedicated to all the various liquor sponsors, a prospective drunk could stumble down the avenue of Skylight's primary hallway, falling into each wing of the club to land upon a table of friendly drink dispensers, ready to hand over another free cup of social lubricant. The Pabst table gave those with alternative preferences directions to the Sparks table, the Sparks table-workers pointed patrons to the Bacardi table, and so on.
Celebrating music and alcohol and the sprawling nature of VICE's influence on the world was best done with their showcasing of one band from each of the countries where the magazine's impact is most celebrated, and one by one, the bands took the stage:
- BORIS, Vice Japan,
- DEATH FROM ABOVE, Vice Canada,
- The OTHERS, Vice UK,
- DUNGEN, Vice Scandinavia,
- MEAN REDS, Vice US, and
- BIRD BLOBS, Vice Australia.
Titled "THE WORST PARTY EVER," partygoers were clearly not fooled by the irony of the party's name (presumably, VICE's primary audience famously embraces irony), as they overtook each room of the club and left behind a consistent and massive gathering of cohorts pressed up against the velvet ropes outside, hoping to be let in from the desolate west side's winter weather.
Inside, digital projection machines illuminated pages of VICE's tenth anniversary issue on the walls. A DJ room projected images from the floor upwards, as hands and heads of the dancing attendees cast shadows on the ceiling. Sexual acts were lining the hallways, inspired, we presume, by the alcohol, the inherent sense of iniquity and the sparse clothing. We never saw the midget-tossing that was advertised in the invitation, but some little people did rush by us, beers in hand, and everyone, big and little, black, white, asian, hispanic, older, younger, overdone or wallflowered, seemed to be brought together, pressed together, as though by a vice, and by VICE, and by the celebrating all of their vices.