In Real Life: Perverse Pleasure and A Motown Tribute to Nickelback's Live Debut in NYC
On Friday night, a once-viral YouTube clip beamed down from cyberspace, materializing as a musical band of living, breathing humans who graced New York with an entire hour of genre-warped Nickelback singles. In theory, "A Motown Tribute to Nickelback" seems like the most heinous sacrilege, muddling something people generally love (Motown) with something people generally hate (Nickelback). However I challenge you to delete "How You Remind Me" from your brain. Plus, Motown and Nickelback share something in common: both are responsible for selling lots of records. That an off-the-cuff, homemade video of "How You Remind Me" actualized as a real band on a real stage is worth a raised eyebrow in this post "Harlem Shake" climate. YouTube has a thriving subculture of quirky covers people, and earlier this year, Nataly Dawn, singer of the schticky "video-song" duo Pomplamoose, made the great leap into a serious, surprisingly tasteful singer-songwriter album on Nonesuch. But before we let our wild fantasies about Motown Nickelback run wild, let's recap the band's career:
See also: Why Do People Loathe Nickelback So Much? (And Do They Deserve It?)
Back in 2011, Nickelback played the halftime show at the Thanksgiving Day match between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers. The Canadian "post-grunge" bros' appearance incited furious backlash across the nation and the Internet for snaking the Motor City's musical spotlight. At that moment, Nickelback's mainstreamed schlock-rock was easier to shit on than ever, and whatever shred of integrity was left on Chad Kroeger's fuzzy chin seemed guttered.
See also: So... How Was Nickelback's Big Thanksgiving Performance?
Come game-day, NYC piano man Scott Bradlee proffered a laurel branch via YouTube: a Motown Tribute to Nickelback. The timely, light-hearted video went viral, and Bradlee's re-imagining of "How You Remind Me" had some folks second-guessing if Nickelback's soulless, clichéd strummery is completely devoid of artistic value after all.
Since then, someone at Live Nation got such a kick out of Bradlee's cover that the act scored a big-time booking at Squamish, a major-ish music festival in Canada. Bradlee ran with the buzz, and one Kickstarter later, had assembled a set's worth of Motown Nickelback material for the sake of a gig.
To celebrate the iTunes release of its S/T EP, A Motown Tribute to Nickelback played its first hometown gig to about 70 people at the Cutting Room, a fittingly weird venue for the unlikely performance. The big, slick, corporate-feeling room had candle-lit tables with dinner service, plus a $20 per person minimum!? Nevertheless, there were a gaggle of musicians' friends in the crowd, as well as a fair number of middle-aged couples whom must have figured this show to be an amenable alternative to an actual concert by that "cool," "popular" band Nickelback they're always hearing on adult contemporary satellite-radio.