by Connor Scully
Most of us became familiar with the Winklevoss Twins via 2008’s The Social Network, the film that made them famous for their two main things: fumbling the Facebook bag and being tall. And yet somehow these guys have managed to stay in the public consciousness ever since then. Maybe because Armie Hammer made them look handsome, or at least somewhat cool. After seeing their touring cover band I can promise you they are not the latter.
I was headed to the Delaware shore for my dad’s birthday last weekend – my parents are retiring over there – and so I looked to see if anyone interesting was playing in the area. There it was: Mars Junction Featuring Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. After some quick Googling I confirmed that, yes, these were the famous Facebook twins and that, yes, they really have a band. As best as I could tell they seemed to be a pop-punk touring band of sorts that had only played a few shows. The videos I could find were, let's say... not good.
As a lover of both live performances and extremely bizarre events I knew I had to go. (This is the same logic that once led me to see Frankie Cosmos/Porches play inside an Urban Outfitters).
I took a bus from New York to Dewey, and it dropped me off a five minute walk away from the club. Bottle & Cork is a historic venue that opened in 1936. It's right on the beach and it’s great. There are multiple bars, no roof, and, something more clubs should probably have, an enormous banner featuring a quote from Kiefer Sutherland about how much he loves the place.
I had never been there before, though my parents actually met while waiting in line here in the eighties. There was no line however for the Winklevoss band.
The 8:30 doors opened a half hour late, and the band didn’t go on until close to 9:50. Tyler, on vocals, came out and raised his arm into the air in a Freddy Mercury-esque pose, albeit lacking only the charm, charisma, sexiness, and stage presence that a front person is supposed to give off. Then they opened with the most logical song you'd expect a pair of billionaire crypto guys and their hired gun band to play: a cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in The Name.”
Credit where credit is due, this was an objectively hilarious way to start their set. It also, to no one's surprise, sounded like dogshit.
Highlights of the rest of the evening included a cover of Red Hot Chili Peppers' “Can’t Stop” that devolved into a sort of mumble-scatting through the second verse, an incomprehensible rendition of Harvey Danger’s “Flagpole Sitta” where Tyler was joined by Cameron on vocals, and several extremely strained covers of The Police. It was your standard night out at a karaoke bar, each choice less exciting and of lesser quality than the one that came before it.
Unlike karaoke it didn't get better the drunker everyone got.
The audience was not loving it! The most energetic among them were a group of half a dozen twenty-somethings – obviously there to make fun of the band – and an absolutely wasted groom having the night of his life at his bachelor party. The rest of the crowd moved in and out of the venue, staying for a song or two before realizing their mistake and heading immediately for the exit.
After about 40 minutes, I saw a different concert happening next door through the back window. The other venue looked packed and the crowd looked to be having a blast. I watched the Winklevoss brothers break out into Blink 182’s “What’s My Age Again?” as a jello-shot toting waitresses openly laughed at them and I headed out. I may love a weird event, but I’m not a glutton for misery.
Being in a band is one of the coolest things you can do. Playing music and making art with your friends, even when it’s bad, is an objectively good thing. But when you’re a billionaire asking people to pay money to see your awful art (although the Dewey Beach show was one of the free performances on their ten city tour) you deserve to get laughed at. These guys clearly lacked any sense of self-awareness on the stage. I imagine they think they’re really good at this! But like most rich guys they most likely don't have anyone around them willing to tell them that they actually suck. Or it could be they do and they just never listen. "Killing in the Name" might not have been that woefully inappropriate a song choice come to think of it. Being able to say "Fuck you I won't do what you tell me" is why guys like this want to get rich in the first place.
Connor Scully is a theater producer/director and current MFA student at Columbia University. Always looking out for cool/stupid shit. Find him on Twitter at @sculliosis.