by Liz Fedak
Cheese and pizza-inspired lyrics were heard at the Richmond District’s Neck of the Woods bar on March 5 during a performance by the Pizza Underground, an anti-folk band from New York City.
The most widely recognized among the band members is former actor Macaulay Culkin, who joins Matt Colbourn, Phoebe Kruetz, Deenah Vollmer and Austin Kilham to sing pizza-themed covers of music created by the Velvet Underground’s Lou Reed.
The concert was the first of the Pizza Underground’s Fresh to Your Door Tour with Toby Goodshank. To add to the show, Escape from New York Pizza, which has several San Francisco locations, handed out free slices.
There were two performances; an early “happy hour” show was added after the original 9 p.m. show sold out. The venue was casual during an opening performance by local band Windham Flat (Aaron Araki, Robin Moore, Ben Pearce and Nate Brown) as people arrived, allowing Goodshank to watch from the floor without disturbance before preparing for his own part. As the first hour passed, the room filled with people who edged in closer to the stage for a glimpse of the Pizza Underground.
The second set was an acoustical performance by Toby Goodshank. While he played, a sequence by Anchovy Warhol looped.
Finally, Pizza Underground took to the stage donning simple, black attire and sunglasses, arranging themselves in a line across the stage. While Kilham played the guitar and Kreutz the glockenspiel, Vollmer provided percussion beats with a drum stick and a pizza box. Amid the pizza songs, Kurt Cobain’d joined the stage, a wigged Goodshank, to sing Nirvana cover songs sung in the past tense. Culkin played the kazoo during a closing solo cover of “Take a Bite of the Wild Side (slice).”
The audience was entertained throughout the set, which lasted 30 minutes and included songs named “I’m Beginning to Eat the Slice” and “Pizza Gal Takes a Bite of the Wild Slice.”