And Finally Artist News Beef Of The Week

CMU Beef Of The Week #169: Bands whose names begin with D v Live performance

By | Published on Friday 9 August 2013

Daft Punk

Many bands out there will tell you that the thing they love the most is touring and playing live. But that’s just because they haven’t yet discovered the thrill of booking the shows and then not playing them. Sure, you might not get paid, and people might smash up your stuff, but you can’t deny that it’s a lot easier.

That’s what Death Grips would seemingly have you believe, anyway. Last week, the band were due to play at the Lollapalooza festival, but, according to organisers, “chose not to arrive in Chicago”. The non-arrival extended to a Lollapalooza afterparty at which they were also booked to perform. Instead, the band’s music was played in recorded form while their equipment sat unused in front of a backdrop displaying the supposed suicide note of a fan.

In response, the audience eventually grew tired of waiting and just destroyed the equipment on the stage. And as further planned shows were cancelled, people speculated as to what had caused the no-shows. Speculation was rife, but then it emerged that the non-performance was, in fact, the performance, and everyone sighed a little.

Erin O’Neal, Marketing Director of the Bottom Lounge, the venue where the suicide note ‘performance’ took place, told DNAinfo: “[We were repeatedly told the band were] on their way, only to be told by the same tour manager that the stage set up and the Death Grips album being played ‘was the show’. It appears to us that despite having a signed contract, they never intended on performing last night and instead wanted to leave a room of disappointed fans”.

In fact, according to reports, prior to the cancellation of the other gigs they were due to play this week, it had been the band’s intention to ‘perform’ the same ‘show’ several times. But once this became apparent (post the Chicago debacle), the venues they were booked to appear at for some reason decided that people might not enjoy such a ‘performance’ and pulled the plug.

So that’s fun. And it got people talking. Talking’s nice, isn’t it? Not turning up for things isn’t though. And while Death Grips might have disappointed a few hundred fans, Daft Punk pulled a stunt this week that disappointed millions of television viewers and some celebrities. So, who are the real evil people? Hmm?

The Daft Punks had been booked to make a rare TV appearance on US talk show ‘The Colbert Report’ on Comedy Central. But then it turned out that they’d also been booked to perform at MTV’s Video Music Awards on 25 Aug, and it was decided that there could only be one televised performance this month. MTV emerged the winner from that contest.

“We booked Click and Clack over here about a month ago”, said host Stephen Colbert on the show. “Apparently, Daft Punk are going to make a surprise appearance on the MTV Video Music Awards [instead]. Don’t tell anyone, because fun fact: No one told me until two hours ago”.

Aw, that’s no good, is it? Especially when Daft Punk’s last minute replacement was Robin Thicke. No one wants that (apart from all the people who seem to like his music, but I’m very suspicious of all of them). Though Colbert did also get a variety of celebrities, including Hugh Laurie, Bryan Cranston, Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges, Jimmy Fallon, Jon Stewart and, er, Henry Kissinger, to appear in a video of him dancing to ‘Get Lucky’. So that’s alright.

But what’s with all these musicians not honouring prior bookings? Well, there is a theory that, like Death Grips, Daft Punk never had any intention of playing. In fact, it’s quite possible that Daft Punk were never even booked to play Colbert’s show in the first place.

Pitchfork was the first to raise questions, wondering how Thicke was able to arrange quite an elaborate performance at just two hours notice. Perhaps, the website suggested, it was all a stunt to promote the MTV show – a possibility as Comedy Central and MTV are both owned by Viacom.

On Wednesday evening’s show, Colbert addressed this, saying: “Well I’ve got one thing to say to Pitchfork: Busted! Ya got me! They’re good. These guys are good. We thought we’d tricked you by flying in the disco decepticons from Paris in a sophisticated pantomime to fool everyone, even myself, so committed was I that Daft Punk was coming, all just to help someone else’s show on another network a month from now. But we can’t put one past you, Pitchfork. Oh, what a load off, the guilt was killing me. And now that I’ve come clean, I can just do what I love… promote the VMAs”.

Then yesterday sources told Billboard that Thicke’s performance was in fact pre-recorded on 31 Jul. So, there you go, mystery over. It was really just a stock performance hastily shoved on screen at the last minute. Though it does seem a little odd that Thicke would reference Daft Punk’s no-show in his performance. Maybe that’s just something Robin Thicke does whenever he performs anywhere, just in case.

Oh well, until we get absolute confirmation I’ll just pencil it in to my list of Daft Punk marketing tactics in 2013 that were really fucking tedious. It’s quite a long list.