The Strokes played a special benefit show last night at The Wiltern in Los Angeles, marking the band’s first performance in two years. The event was for City of Angels, raising money to help the homeless in LA.
In typical Strokes fashion, the guys used the occasion to get loose and do something completely unexpected: a cover version of synth-pop legends Erasure’s 1988 hit, “A Little Respect.” It’s a jaunty and self-affirming track that highlights the vocals of singer Andy Bell. Bell is more than just a good singer—the guy boasts operatic pipes that have taken him from concert halls to theater stages and television shows.
So when when reports came in from that Casablancas and company attempted to cover the tune, we cued up the video and hoped for the best.
The singer puts his signature lilt on the opening verse over a simple keyboard melody, and it seems they just might be able to pull it off. But right when it starts to get good, Casablancas admits they didn’t practice the song, and it all falls apart. There’s a brief attempt at Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” before they launch back into the Erasure cover. It’s all one big, lovable mess, much like the Strokes themselves. Watch the slow-motion train-wreck below.