A visit to a jeans store in the heart of Times Square is normally something I wouldn’t subject myself to even if my Spanish cousins had begged me to take them there during the height of their denim-mania in the early ’90s. But when Levi’s throws an opening party for its new flagship and promises performances by Lauryn Hill, De La Soul, Raekwon, and Chic, plus DJ sets from Questlove and Justine D, you’re going to make the trip come hell or high water. (And by high water I mean some nasty slush puddles).
I wasn’t the only one who made it out to the new 16,902-square-foot store at 1535 Broadway last night: Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs was among those who heard Lauryn Hill belt out Fugees classics like “Killing Me Softly” and “Ready or Not,” and Ansel Elgort, Hailey Baldwin, and Dylan Sprouse also passed through. Hell, Jake Dell, the owner of Katz’s, was even there as everyone binged on free deli meat and bourbon.
While the night leaned toward ’90s hip-hop, indie-rock fans got a treat when Julian Casablancas hit the stage. After telling the crowd that he was just an actor playing Lou Reed, the Strokes frontman slipped into a cover of “Walk on the Wild Side.” (Watch the video at the top of this post.) As the song’s iconic bass line continued, Casablancas passed the mic to Q-Tip, who segued into Tribe Called Quest’s “Can I Kick It.” Here’s that:
After introducing Nile Rodgers and Chic, Q-Tip stayed on to accompany them in what sounded like a very off-the-cuff cover of “Let’s Dance,” the hit Rodgers wrote with the David Bowie. (Put on your red shoes and dance the wha now?) Later on, Princess Nokia joined in on one of Chic’s many disco hits, “Le Freak.” Check out the Bowie cover below and decide whether The Abstract can kick it like the Thin White Duke.