And now, a post from my special correspondent, Bao:
Laura was kind enough to ask me and Mike to report the madness known as the Hennessy Artistry event at Capitale featuring the Strokes, Kanye West, Goldfrapp, and Carl Cox whilst she was away in Iceland seeing bands that play their guitars with a drumstick. Here is my recap:
The red carpet. The red line that separated celebrity from civilization was extremely chaotic. There was rainwater dripping from electric light fixtures, grumpy, wet photographers screaming at celebrities, nearly killing each other for the perfect shot, and a few legitimate music journalists wondering what they were doing there. When the Strokes came up to the red carpet, the first thing I notice is thisâ€¦.
Nikolai’s hair! If this is Nikolai’s attempt to stand out among the other members, he has achieved his goal.
(Alison Goldfrapp, Project Runway’s Malan, Misshapes, Kirsten Dunst and Jason Swatzmann, Kanye West)
All the photos are by Vorrasi, who while caught up in the madness of the red carpet, couldn’t get into the event!
Other celebs seen on the red carpet and inside: Ewan McGregor, Joshua Jackson, Maria Menounos, Diane Kruger, Carmen Electra, Dylan McDermott, Danny Masterson, Shawn Ashmore, Lydia Hearst, Drea de Matteo, Shooter Jennings, and Tracy Morgan.
The line to get in was even worse than the anarchy of the red carpet. People were stuck waiting in the cold rain for at least an hour. At 10 pm, the fire marshal declared the venue was at capacity and that the doors were being closed. My friend was part of a group of friends who were on the Strokes list, and apparently waited 45 minutes to get in. Mind you, this group of friends included Drew Barrymore, so even Fab’s girl had to wait in the rain. I managed to bypass the seemingly endless line by going through the red carpet.
The event. Hennessy projections lit the walls as model-type waitresses passed around free drinks and hor d’oeurves. Unfortunately, I missed Goldfrapp. Carl Cox was the house DJ and kept the crowd dancing until the Strokes came on. Hennessy went all out for the stage production as the stage was set-up with 5-6 huge projector screens, reminiscent of a U2 concert.
The Strokes went on shortly after 10:40 pm, to a crowd of about 600 people. The front of the crowd looked like they were mostly there waiting for Kanye. Much like the Rolling Stone 1,000 th issue party, there were pockets of dancing in the crowd but nothing crazy. After Ize of the World Julian made a note of this saying the crowd was very “composed” and that free booze should equal more dancing. Among the audience I heard comments describing the crowd as “so lame”. Apparently the crowd needed more time to let the liquor adequately settle into their systems. After awhile it did and the crowd got increasingly rowdy. Comments like “this crowd has really warmed up” were over heard as people jumped up and down for early hits such as Hard to Explain and Someday. Julian messed up on some of the lyrics near the end of Someday but I was probably the only one who noticed. Psuedo-celeb chef Rocco DiSpirito seemed really into their set, bouncing around as he waited at the bar. Is This It came on which I was very surprised (and happy since it is one of my favorites) to hear because I realized that it was the first time I’ve actually seen them perform the song live. They played a few more songs before ending their set with Take It Or Leave It. All in all, a typical Strokes set where you have fun while you’re there but hardly remember it the next day.
I was told that there would be no photography inside so I didn’t bother bringing my camera. Brooklyn Vegan managed to bring his camera in and take some pics though. Luckily, I ran into Diplo who took this photo for me from his Sidekick.
Full Setlist: Reptilia / Ize of the World / Juicebox / Red Light / Heart in a Cage / Hard to Explain / Someday / Is This It? / You Only Live Once / Last Night / Take It Or Leave It
I decided to stick around for Kanye West. I saw him 4 years ago when he was opening for Talib Kweli back when no one knew who he was. He was great back then so I thought it might be fun seeing him ever since he became the self-declared messiah of all music. According to his DJ, A Trak, he was paid a whopping $1,000,000 to perform at this party. He came on around midnight, played his usual hits. The string players played a medley that included Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” (which will soon take the place of Yesterday as the most covered song ever) and the Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony”. Pharrell then joined Kanye for a few songs and by the time it all ended, it was a bit after 1:30 am. As much as I don’t like his ego, I have to admit that he commands the stage and audience quite well for a solo artist.
Aside from the chaos outside and the uncontrollable factor of the rain, I had a great time. Thanks again for Laura for the invite.