Daft Punk No-Shows at Hit-Filled Pharrell Show in Brooklyn

Pharrell / Photo by Loren Wohl

Despite being one of the most successful and revered hitmakers of the 21st century, there may be no better time to be Pharrell than right now. This is, of course, because of his starring role on Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”,” the track that has been the official Internet anthem of 2013; it will likely debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week; and it might one day be included in the first sentence of his obituary. In fact, the rumor floating around the HTC One event at House of Vans in Brooklyn (and the internet) on Friday night was that Daft Punk themselves would be showing up in some capacity — but, just like at Coachella, that turned out to be merely a rumor, and there was no robo-surprise. Either way, “Get Lucky” has added a dash of mystery to the Neptune, who has quietly been rebuilding his reputation (critically, at least) with productions for Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, and Usher.

But first, Pharrell reminded the audience how he got here. Wearing a hoodie and orange shorts with orange surfboards on them, he spent 40 minutes running through MP3s of his own hits, be it songs he produced (N.O.R.E.’s “Superthug,” Snoop’s “Drop it Like it’s Hot”) or sang (“Lapdance,” “Frontin'”). Pharrell has heard these songs thousands of times, so he threw himself a little party by bringing girls onstage to dance. And he let them take selfies (Pharrell even said “selfies”) with him in the frame.

He also premiered a new song he produced for Busta Rhymes called “Twerk It,” which features a minimal, alien beat with bewildering tempo changes that recalls both Big Sean’s “Dance (A$$)” and the avant-garde bangers that defined the classic Neps. But the audience was there to hear one song, and Pharrell was there to sing one song. He didn’t do much teasing of “Get Lucky,” saying only that he felt extremely lucky (wink, wink) when “the robots” ask him to be involved with their new project. He then sang the song live for the first time — then performing two more times, half-jokingly telling people to leave if they didn’t want to hear it again.

Singing over a full version of the track, it was far from a spectacular performance, but it put Pharrell in a historical context in real time. Following a string of his own hits, it was easy to see the line from classic Chic songs through mega-popular millennial Neptunes hits like “Hot in Herre” and “I Just Wanna Luv U (Give it 2 Me)” to “Get Lucky,” in which Daft Punk attempts to complete the circle with Chic’s Nile Rodgers in tow. To some, Pharrell seemed like a bizarre choice as a vocalist on Daft Punk’s comeback single — but his set on Friday night suggested it’s what his career was unknowingly building itself up to. JORDAN SARGENT

Pharrell set list
The Clipse – “Grindin'”
N.E.R.D. – “Lapdance”
Pharrell feat. Jay-Z – “Frontin'”
Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrell – “Drop it Like It’s Hot”
Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrell – “Beautiful”
Nelly – “Hot in Herre”
N.E.R.D. – “She Wants to Move”
Jay-Z – “I Just Wanna Luv U (“Give it 2 Me)”
Madonna – “Give it 2 Me”
Busta Rhymes – “Twerk It”
Swedish House Mafia feat. Pharrell – “One (Your Name)”
Robin Thicke feat. Pharrell & Busta Rhymes – “Wanna Love You Girl”
Robin Thicke feat. Pharrell & T.I. – “Blurred Lines”
N.E.R.D. – “Hypnotize U”
Daft Punk feat. Pharrell & Nile Rodgers – “Get Lucky”
Daft Punk feat. Pharrell & Nile Rodgers – “Get Lucky”
Daft Punk feat. Pharrell & Nile Rodgers – “Get Lucky”


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