Last October, Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman and new mother Karen O told Rolling Stone she was in "babyland at the moment" and focusing more on her personal life than professional endeavors. "It's just waiting to see how everything works out with starting a family and seizing the moment when it strikes," she said of the band, who hadn't performed in public since December 2014. "I'm in the full-time job of [motherhood] at the moment."
The moment struck the group Friday night at New York's Dream Hotel at a party celebrating legendary rock photographer Mick Rock, whose documentary Shot! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock premiered earlier that night at the Tribeca Film Festival. Barnaby Clay, Karen O's husband, directed the film.
Rock's images adorn the covers of some of rock & roll's most celebrated albums, including Lou Reed's Transformer, the Stooges' Raw Power and Queen's Queen II. He's also earned renown as a video director, helming iconic clips for David Bowie that include "Life on Mars?" "Space Oddity" and "The Jean Genie."
So it was no surprise that for the film's afterparty, a rotating cavalcade of rock vocalists performed a raw, nearly all-covers set of songs by Reed, Bowie, the Ramones, Prince, Velvet Underground, Roxy Music and the Stooges.
The reunited group, which included guitarist Nick Zinner, drummer Brian Chase, TV on the Radio bassist Jaleel Bunton and keyboardist Money Mark, kicked off the show, presented by Nur Khan, with takes on Bowie's "Moonage Daydream" and Reed's "Perfect Day" before ceding vocal duties to TVOTR's Tunde Adebimpe.
Marky Ramone replaced Chase on drums for the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated" and "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker." In the film, Rock candidly describes a cocaine addiction that nearly killed him in the Nineties, noting that "I Wanna Be Sedated" quickly became one of his favorite, most personal songs.
Sky Ferreira mellowed the room with somber covers of Bowie's "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide" and Velvet Underground's "I'll Be Your Mirror," while Kristin Kontrol (aka Dee Dee from Dum Dum Girls) glammed up Blondie's "One Way or Another" and Roxy Music's "Love Is the Drug."
The makeshift group brought Adebimpe back to pay homage to Prince with a reverent cover of "When You Were Mine" before Karen O returned for "Date With the Night," the band's 2003 hit and only original song of the night.
But it was Gogol Bordello's Eugene Hutz who upstaged everyone. Bounding around the stage with a frenzied, manic energy more befitting feral dogs than humans, Hutz method-covered the Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog" and "Search and Destroy," straddling equipment, beating his chest with his microphone and growling and bellowing his vocals with Iggy Pop-levels of intensity.
Shot! will receive its first public screening Sunday evening in New York.
1. "Moonage Daydream" (David Bowie cover; Vocals: Karen O)
2. "Perfect Day" (Lou Reed cover; Vocals: Karen O)
3. "Walk on the Wild Side" (Lou Reed cover; Vocals: Tunde Adebimpe)
4. "Rebel Rebel" (David Bowie cover; Vocals: Tunde Adebimpe)
5. "I Wanna Be Sedated" (The Ramones cover; Vocals: Tunde Adebimpe)
6. "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker" (The Ramones cover; Vocals: Karen O)
7. "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide" (David Bowie cover; Vocals: Sky Ferreira)
8. "I'll Be Your Mirror" (Velvet Underground cover; Vocals: Sky Ferreira)
9. "One Way or Another" (Blondie cover; Vocals: Kristin Kontrol)
10. "Love Is the Drug" (Roxy Music cover; Vocals: Kristin Kontrol)
11. "When You Were Mine" (Prince cover; Vocals: Tunde Adebimpe)
12. "Date With the Night"
13. "I Wanna Be Your Dog" (The Stooges cover; Vocals: Eugene Hutz)
14. "Search and Destroy" (The Stooges cover; Vocals: Eugene Hutz)