In town for a concert in Boston, the Strokes visited the Lamppon Castle yesterday. While the band did not sing for the hundreds of gathered fans, they did defeat a 'Poonster in an unexpected go-kart race.
It wasn’t the Indy 500, but for several hundred people who packed Bow Street yesterday expecting a concert by one of the country’s hottest touring bands, a go-kart race was all they were going to get.
The spirited race around the Lampoon Castle pitted a ’Poonster against two of the famed rockers from the Strokes, who were in town for a concert in Boston last night.
The Strokes took the checkered flag—and they took home their prize: a giant carnival giraffe.
For the festivities members of the semi-secret Sorrento Square social organization which used to occasionally publish a so-called humor magazine dressed in full tuxedos, bedecked with medals. They ambled about in front of their castle, crushing extinguished Budweiser cans and handing out Oreos to passersby.
Around 6 p.m., when the ceremonies were scheduled to begin, they shouted sarcastic quips through bullhorns to a crowd growing larger and more restless.
Lampoon President Benjamin F. Dougan ’03 explained that the Strokes were about to emerge but that plans for the evening did not include a concert.
Just in time, two shiny go-karts—brand new and equipped with roll cages—burst past the crowds and stopped abruptly in the street, which the city had closed off.
Their engines could not be heard above the roar of the crowd as lead Strokes singer Julian Casablancas held up a Green Bay Packers helmet and led his entourage of band mates and roadies towards the center of a ring of fans that was gathering around them.
Then the ’Poonsters announced their “Mystery Challenger,” supposedly a member of an indie rock band called the Hives.
He had been chosen by the Strokes, Dougan said, “just as Gozer from Ghost Busters let Venkman, Egon and Stantz choose the form of their destructor.”
The two carts sped off, running a loose circuit around the Castle that cut within inches of the crowd. When the race was over, the Strokes got their giraffe and the spectators drifted away.
This isn’t the first time the ’Poon has publicized an appearance by pop culture luminaries.
Last year, they made good on their pledge to bring Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood. During a rowdy ceremony in a campus lecture hall, Wood won a chicken-wing-eating contest and took home the Lampoon’s “Best Actor of All Time” award.
But in 2000 their well-hyped guest the Rock, a World Wrestling Federation (WWF) hero, never showed up.
As usual by ’Poon standards, yesterday’s appearance by the Strokes offered a short public spectacle followed by exclusive partying with the visiting big-shots.
The race ended more than an hour before the Strokes’ bus was scheduled to head off to the Fleet Center for their performance.
The best part about partying with the ’Poonsters is “all the free beer and the go-kart racing,” said Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr.
And drummer Fabrizio Moretti said he was happy to be lionized in Cambridge.
“I applied to come to Harvard and they didn’t accept me,” he said.