I have seen the future of rock and roll, and it is delicious. Stepping into Williamsburg’s Baby’s All Right, I was hit with the intoxicating perfume of freshly baked dough and I knew I was in the right place. They were a young band, not too many shows down so far, with all the songs about pizza. I never touched the stuff myself, but apparently these kids were packing an exciting new sound. Macaulay Culkin had joined this group, now the better part of 20 years away from his Home Alone days. The Pizza Underground were bringing to the table Velvet Underground songs transformed into passionate odes to the greasy treat.
We waited for them to begin, longer and longer, numbing the impatience with more cheesy sustenance. Finally they stepped out, in all black and sunglasses as an Andy Warhol lookalike stood in the shadows on the side. And what flowed from that acoustic guitar, that pizza box drum, and those five angelic voices was nothing short of revelatory. The intensity of their delivery grew greater with each new transition in their sweeping medley. They played future hits “I’m Waiting For The Delivery Man” and “Take A Bite Of The Wild Slice.” Some audience members laughed, an act only a madman could dream of when facing such unmitigated musicality. Yeezus? Fuck that, meet Cheezus.
Sure, they came on 45 minutes late, but did anyone rush the Pyramids or the Great Wall? The set was only eight minutes long. But since when should we judge the quality of something based on the quantity. The Mona Lisa is rather small, and this performance made that look like a pile of garbage regardless. Near the final moments of the set Macaulay Culkin blew into his kazoo, providing a swan song for the evening and an elegy for all music that has come before them.
I finally slumped at a table, legs weak from the various saucy numbers the band spun off with the simple grace of a homily. In front of me was a slice of pizza. A perfect triangle of cheese, sauce, and bread the new symbol for the high-water mark of what music could be. It was also, like, a metaphor for life and stuff. Sinking my teeth into a slice, baptized in the crispy and gooey nourishment, a gift from these eternal music gods, we understood that music would forever be a disappointment going forward. Simply an endless slog of bands waiting to embarrass themselves in the post-Pizza afterglow. Like taking a pizza cutter through music as we know it and dividing it into two generous halves, demarcated simply by “pre” and “post.” But that’s the gift, and the curse, of witnessing perfection, and soon the eight minutes were up. The band did explain that they actually only knew about eight minutes of material, but we could all see through their ruse. They must have known their audience would not be able to handle much beyond that, it would be too overwhelming, dangerous even. So they bowed and took their leave despite screams for “just one more slice.” It was a pizza party for the ages, and one that time will never forget.
10 out of 10 pizzas.