The practice of taking original performances by respected artists and turning them into embarrassing self-parody is a YouTube phenomenon known as “shreds” – and it’s hilarious. Even if you’re a fan of the original artist or song you’ll have difficulty holding it together as the crowd goes wild for what is a cringeworthy performance.
Muse – Knights of Cydonia
Taken from their 2006 album Black Holes and Revelations, Knights of Cydonia can only be described as a power-anthem for the youth of the naughties. Showbiz, Origin of Symmetry and Absolution occupied a couple of hundred MB on my old MP3 player in school, but is it me or is post-Black Holes Muse just a little… crap?
Best bits? The hilariously out of time trumpets and Matt’s farewell to the crowd at the end.
Kings of Leon – Sex Is On Fire
Kings of Leon’s fourth studio album Only by the Night was released in 2008, and debut single Sex is on Fire was inescapable. And try to escape I did! The performance above was taken from Reading Festival 2009, which means not only was I on the same field, I was in a neighboring tent listening to Faith No More desperately trying to forget Kings of Leon’s existence.
Footage is taken from the same gig in which the band slammed the crowd both during the gig and afterwards on Twitter for their poor reception, so maybe this video is more relevant than it first seems.
Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Under the Bridge
Surely even a bad rendition of this “where did my youth go?” anthem can’t be that bad? I’m afraid not, in fact for my money this is a “worse” (or better, depending on how you look at it) performance than the previous two. I haven’t seen RHCP for a few years now, but the last time I squinted at Flea and co on a stage circa 2007 I remember it being at least marginally better than this.
The Who – Baba O’Reilly
Why should only the bands of my youth be subject to the shreds treatment? Here we have The Who’s classic Baba O’Reilly absolutely destroyed by modern video editing techniques. This might be my favourite shred of all time for it’s incredibly tight marriage of video and sound. It’s believable… almost.
KISS – I Will Never Go To School
It’s true that KISS never had a song called I Will Never Go To School, but that title isn’t entirely unbelievable given the likes of Love Gun and Psycho Circus. This particular shred combines bad lip reading techniques with subtitles to add another level of hilarity to the performance. There’s even a hint of the Dallas theme tune to be found in there (now if only KISS had covered that).
Celine Dion – My Heart Will Go On
I’m a little concerned that making a shreds video of a Celine Dion song is a bit too easy, but after cracking three ribs from laughing so hard I decided this was too good not to include. If you’re drinking hot liquids I strongly suggest you put them down before clicking play, lest you decorate your screen with a fine mist.
U2 – Vertigo
This iconic Live8 performance was taken from London’s Hyde Park, where Bono and co assembled in an attempt to rid the world of poverty by singing on a stage. I didn’t quite get it myself either, but this particular shred is another work of art. To quote Bono: “YEAH! Yeah! Yeah! Yeaaaaahhh!”
Image credit: Bere Gratis live performance (Sergiu Bacioiu)