The 2008 MTVU Woodie Awards taped last week, and the night, as usual, was filled with hot talent. Paramore, All-American Rejects, All Time Low and many others were in attendance — but the focus during the show was on the performances, specifically special collaborations between artists that were organized for the event.
And this year's show did not disappoint with its ambitious team-ups: world-pop outfit Vampire Weekend and dance-rock mavens Chromeo; Swedish chanteuse Lykke Li (who's been covering A Tribe Called Quest's "Can I Kick It") with Tribe Called Quest MC Q-Tip; and two rising hip-hop stars (and buds themselves), the Cool Kids and Asher Roth.
We snuck into rehearsals, where Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig told MTV News: "I think we're all excited. This is our first time to play with any other musicians since way back in the day, when we collaborated with John Atkinson of [Brooklyn indie outfit] Aa," apparently forgetting about the show last summer when Andrew W.K. joined the band onstage for a Tom Petty cover.
After the rehearsal, Chromeo's Dave 1 assessed, "It's about 70 percent there. They play with a little different swing than I heard in my head. We still have to work on it — we just put it together now. ... Pete [a.k.a. bandmate P-Thug] and I are going to take our instruments home to practice."
The Cool Kids and Asher Roth had a different approach to rehearsals: The Kids' Chuck Inglish stood onstage and proclaimed, "I don't think we should rehearse it!" while cohort Mikey Rocks added, "Let's just go with it when we get up there — we get the basic premise." The duo met the up-and coming Roth when he came to Chicago to work on some tracks for his upcoming record. "We're the same age and we do dope music," Asher said of what the two artists have in common. "When you do things the way we do, it makes it easy," Inglish added.
But not all of the night's collaborators knew each other ahead of time: the Woodie rehearsals brought together Lykke Li with Q-Tip for the very first time, but Li's covering "Can I Kick It?" during her live sets certainly broke the ice. Q-Tip said he hadn't known who Li was before, but he's "glad it happened and found out who she is — her album is amazing."
All seemed to go well for the pair during the rehearsals, too. "He's like a pro," Li said. "It was real easy — it took one minute to get it all together."
And with rehearsals over and done, the stage was set for the big show.
The 2008 mtvU Woodie Awards will premiere in full on mtvU, mtvU.com and the HD channel Palladia on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET