I'm sure by now you've heard about Macaulay Culkin's Velvet Underground parody band, "Pizza Underground," or rather the band that's existed for a year and a half and was recently joined by Culkin. The concept is simple: the band takes Velvet Underground songs and changes the lyrics to make them everything pizza. According to an interview with Vulture, vocalist and Nico impersonator Phoebe Kruetz said Culkin, who she refers to simply as, "Mack," was the "extra spice in our sauce that we needed to get going again."
Maybe you listened to the demo a few times already and it made you crave a hot slice of cheese or your bygone adolescence. It seems that many people are just straight up pizza fans, and big Velvet Underground fans (since Lou Reed died anyway) so it was a concept that could easily spawn a decent following. I am one such spawn.
Someone brought to my attention that Pizza Underground was playing a FREE live show with FREE pizza (first come, first serve) in Williamsburg, so over the weekend I went over to Baby's All Right to see them perform, and at the very least settle my curiosity. Secretly I just really wanted to meet Macaulay Culkin and I was deluded enough to think that maybe he would be at the doorway offering me some 'za when I arrived. I admit that was pretty naive, as was my hope that maybe no one would even show up to this thing. It was really cold outside, after all, and a lot of people on the Internet were calling it a stupid publicity stunt. Ultimately that didn't deter anyone; the club was packed. I could hardly move through the crowd, and finding pizza was completely hopeless. A girl more daring than I was weaving through the mob and asking "Is this where the pizza is?" every few feet. I felt a similar sense of urgency and confusion among the majority of the audience, but eventually we self-medicated with some Modelo and idled shoulder to shoulder in anticipation of the weirdest show of 2013.
In truth, it wasn't all that weird. I'm a little disappointed to say that the demo was all they played. The way those songs transition effortlessly from one pizza-themed track to the next was not a fade in or fade out effect unique to the recording you heard online. Their performance is really just one song that's under ten minutes long. Because I looked forward to this so much, I really felt the need to qualify my experience, a sentiment that was echoed around me during the show. Reassuring statements like, "worth it. Worth it," could be heard among the crowd, and "Is this real? Is this really happening right now?"
A few people didn't even wait for the music to start before giving up and heading back toward the exit. I saw Macaulay Culkin, if only through a pinhole created by the heads around me, and even though I'd already heard the demo a few times, I still laughed at the line, "I've had meat lovers/I don't think I'd risk another these days." Nico's Phoebe Kruetz's vocals were spot on, and as predicted, Culkin's kazoo was a big hit. After the band exited the stage there were shouts of, "One more slice! One more slice!" I don't know who started that trend, but I'm really happy they did.