×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jack Antonoff Shouts Down Lorde Heckler, Covers Cranberries and Carly Rae Jepsen at Ally Coalition Benefit (Watch)

The Ally Coalition, founded by Jack Antonoff and his sister Rachel, is a not-for-profit organization that, according to its mission statement, aims to “end discrimination against LGBTQ people by highlighting systemic inequality and LGBTQ-serving organizations and creating opportunities for fans and entertainers to advocate for equality.” Its fourth annual “Talent Show” benefit, held at New York’s historic Town Hall, featured acoustic performances from Lorde, Jack’s band Bleachers, Kacey Musgraves, The National, Spoon, Andrew Dost and Shamir along with comedians Aparna Nancherla, Phoebe Robinson, Jacquieline Novak and others.

Rachel proudly announced at the top of the show that the event had raised some $193,000 for the organization, and the three-hour-long show had a fun and familial vibe — except for one moment.

During Lorde’s four-song set with Antonoff, after they’d performed a cover of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Run Away With Me,” Lorde said to the crowd, “You’re all so nice. I wish every show this nice.”

A crowdmember shouted out something unintelligible. She asked him to repeat it.

“In Israel it’s nice,” he shouted, a clear dig at Lorde’s apparently conflicted decision to cancel a scheduled concert in the country in protest of its policies toward Palestinians (which even saw her called a “bigot” in a full-page ad in the Washington Post).

Stung, she recoiled, but Antonoff stood up and said “Woah, hang on. We’re here raising a sh—ton of money. F— the negativity.” He briefly said the evening was not about that, then put his arm around Lorde and said, “You know who’s nice? [This person] right here,” to applause.

The two performers bantered a bit trying to regain their momentum — at one point Antonoff quipped, “That motherf—er better donate $10,000!” — until Lorde capped the moment by saying, “I’m sure the Israeli people are very nice and I can’t wait to meet them one day.”

However, they channeled at least some of the emotion into a fiery version of “Green Light” that saw Lorde bounding up from the piano seat she’d shared up until that point with Antonoff to the front of the stage to finish the song.

The rest of the evening was far more benevolent. Antonoff opened the show at the piano and performed “Good Morning” unaccompanied until he was joined briefly at the end by Bleachers saxophonist Evan Smith.

Kacey Musgraves performed two songs from her forthcoming album, which she described as “kind of a new color” and in places shows more of a pop than country influence. She closed with the thematically appropriate “Follow Your Arrow” — a song that, as she said, she’s performed hundreds of times but still managed on this night to forget the lyrics at three different points. “Don’t tell me to stop smoking weed!” she said to a crowdmember. “You’re not my grandma!”

Trans singer Shamir performed two songs — “Straight Boy” and the hilarious “’90s Kids” on acoustic guitar in his trademark high falsetto. Andrew Dost — aka “the other guy from Fun” — played three songs, covers of Nilsson’s “Turn on Your Radio” and Judee Sill’s “Waterfalls,” and a song whose title he did not mentioned from a forthcoming “new project.”

Spoon’s Britt Daniel and Alex Fischel played a cover of John Lennon’s “Isolation” that featured a strikingly accurate impersonation from Daniel, then he picked up a guitar for their own songs. The National performed three songs, all embellished with horns: “Blame It on Me,” “I Need My Girl” and “Fake Empire.”

Lorde, wearing jeans with a billowing white shirt that had wing-like ruffles on the arms, sat at the piano next to Antonoff for a version of “Call the cops” for which they were accompanied by a violist. Although seated, her trademark arm gestures and emphatic vocals were in full flight. Then, they performed a song that “we’ve nivah played before except at soundcheck today” — a cover of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Run Away With Me” that had many audience members enraptured and spawned many envious posts on social media. They also played a cover of the Traveling Wilburys’ “You Got It,” with Antonoff comically deadpanning Roy Orbison’s part on the chorus.

The set segued into a slightly shambolic Bleachers performance that led off with a cover of the Cranberries’ “Dreams,” a tribute singer Dolores O’Riordan, who died of undisclosed causes last week; keyboardist Mikey Hart had toured with the Cranberries. The group then tore through a pair of their own songs, including the new song “Alfie” before, amid many thanks, Antonoff brought nearly all of the evening’s performers onstage for a finale — a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way.”

Popular on Variety

More Music

  • Chambers Brothers

    George Chambers, of 1960s Hit Group the Chambers Brothers, Dies at 88

    George “Pops” Chambers, singer and bassist for the Chambers Brothers, best known for the 1968 hit “Time Has Come Today,” died Saturday at 88. “The best big brother you could ever have,” Willie Chambers wrote on his Facebook page Sunday night. “I am so sad, and at the same time, I’m so glad to have [...]

  • Stock market

    Trading In Music's Futures: How to Cash In on the Industry's Gold Rush (Guest Column)

    The music industry is entering a time of financial prosperity thanks to the widespread use of streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal. According to a recent report by Musicwatch, 77% of all internet users in the U.S. stream music, while Goldman Sachs projects a revenue pot of $34 billion by 2030. Finally, the [...]

  • Vampire Weekend - Brian Robert Jones,

    Vampire Weekend, Mumford & Sons, Rufus du Sol to Headline Okeechobee Festival

    Today, Insomniac Events announced the lineup for the fourth edition of Florida’s Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival. The four-day event will return to Sunshine Grove in Okeechobee, Florida March 5-8, 2020 with a multi-genre lineup led by Vampire Weekend, Mumford & Sons, Rufus du Sol and Bassnectar, along with over 100 other artists across a [...]

  • Member of South Korean Girl Group

    Korean Pop Star Sulli Dies at 25

    Korean pop star Sulli was found dead at her home near Seoul on Monday. She was 25. Her manager found her body and alerted the police. The manager reported that the star, whose real name was Choi Jin-ri, suffered from depression, and police said that they were working on the assumption that she had died [...]

  • Jay Frank

    Jay Frank, UMG Senior VP and Digital Music Veteran, Dies at 47

    Universal Music executive and digital music veteran Jay Frank died Sunday after a battle with cancer. He was 47. UMG chief Lucian Grainge remembered him in a message sent to the company. “Dear Colleagues,” it reads. “I’m deeply saddened to tell you that our colleague and friend Jay Frank has passed after a recurrence of [...]

  • Boomtown Rats Feature Doc Launches From

    Boomtown Rats Feature Doc Launches From New Music Banner BeyondTNC (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bob Geldof and the re-formed Boomtown Rats will talk about their legendary punk band in a new feature doc, “Boomtown.” It is one of the first two films from a new music producer-distributor that has been formed by Beyond Entertainment and TNC Media – BeyondTNC. BeyondTNC will be launching “Boomtown” to international buyers in Cannes, [...]

  • Zedd

    DJ Zedd Banned From China After Liking 'South Park' Tweet

    Zedd has been “permanently banned” from China after the German DJ liked a tweet from the “South Park” Twitter account. Zedd, whose real name is Anton Zaslavski, announced the news via his own Twitter account: “I just got permanently banned from China because I liked a @SouthPark tweet,” he wrote. I just got permanently banned [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content