real bands, fake gigs: when your favourite musicians played your favourite tv shows

With NIN playing The Roadhouse in Twin Peaks we rummaged through the groove bag of time to reminisce about that time The Flaming Lips played Beverly Hills 90210 and more.

by Russell Dean Stone
07 August 2017, 8:05am

With Twin Peaks back on our screens for a bat-shit-crazy third season, the town's iconic dive bar the Roadhouse (aka The Bang Bang Bar) has suddenly become the hottest fictional venue in the Pacific Northwest. Chromatics, The Cactus Blossoms and Au Revoir Simone have all rocked its stage during the Twin Peaks revival and it's got us thinking about all the other times real bands have turned up to play fictional venues on TV shows.

That time Fall Out Boy played One Tree Hill's Tric
All ages venue Tric sounds like the name of a club from a Gregg Araki movie, which is the kind of movie that none of the characters in One Tree Hill would have ever even heard of let alone seen. Fall Out Boy actually played there twice, once for the Tric halloween masquerade party and then at the breast cancer awareness benefit concert in honour of rebellious cheerleader turned record label boss and Tric co-founder Peyton Sawyer's biological mother. This sounds really heartfelt but Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz does open the show with the douchebag line, "We love your breasts, so make sure you take care of them." Wentz actually shows up in multiple episodes as Peyton's rockstar beau, but the romance fizzles out in an episode with the epic title, "I Slept With Someone In Fall Out Boy And All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me."

That time Michelle Branch played Buffy the Vampire Slayer's The Bronze
Remember when Michelle Branch released her instant classic album (I'm deadly serious on this one, it's wall-to-wall anthems) The Spirit Room back in 2001 and everyone was buzzed because she was signed to Madonna's Maverick Records label? Branch's performance of Goodbye To You at The Bronze nightclub ("the coolest place in Sunnydale" as Willow calls it) is actually a properly horrible rendition of this very good song, but it's the perfect song to soundtrack the totes emosh montage. What you're seeing here is the fallout from a spell that caused witches Tara and Willow to breakup, Buffy's father figure Giles to leave town and kicked off Buffy's secret affair with vampire Spike.

That time NIN played Twin Peaks' Bang Bang Bar
As mentioned -- not quite sure how the Roadhouse slash Bang Bang Bar managed to book Nine Inch Nails but glossing over that for a minute, anyone that's seen episode eight of Twin Peaks: The Return will know that the NIN performance of She's Gone Away is properly menacing (with a sly nod to Bauhaus' performance in The Hunger). This particular Twin Peaks episode, titled 'White Light White Heat', is essentially David Lynch off the chain. It's like a beautiful dream and a terrifying nightmare at the same time, if you were actually having this dream you'd wake up crying and screaming simultaneously. Since Trent Reznor is responsible for scoring Lynch's movie Lost Highway, with Lynch in turn directing NIN's Came Back Haunted music video, it's a no brainer that NIN would make an appearance in the world of Twin Peaks. NIN have just put out a five-track EP, Add Violence, to coincide with their Bang Bang Bar show.

That time The Flaming Lips played Beverly Hills 90210's Peach Pit After Dark
"The cool, the crazy, the fabulous Flaming Lips" is how Valerie Malone introduces the Oklahoma oddballs to the Peach Pit After Dark stage. The venue itself was opened as an add on to The Peach Pit restaurant, there were fashion shows at The After Dark, surprise birthdays and The Cardigans, The Corrs and Luther Vandross all graced the stage. The weirdest booking though has to be The Flaming Lips. The band performed 'She Don't Use Jelly', a typically absurd track that Wayne Coyne explained to Rolling Stone like this: "We used to do these silly experiments: You drink out of a glass of water, then you spit into the water and drink it. There would be this disconnect of, 'Christ, I'm swallowing my own spit!' So I took that a little bit further. A lot of times people will use Vaseline on their lips because they don't have lip balm, but the idea of putting it on food and eating it repels them." After the gig, spoilt rich kid Steve Sanders exclaims, "I've never been a big fan of alternative music, but these guys rocked the house!" -- amen!

That time St. Vincent played Gossip Girl's The Empire
St. Vincent turns up in the Crazy Cupid Love Gossip Girl Valentines special to play Cruel and Cheerleader at a high school days themed party at The Empire, the hot spot owned by teenage hotelier and dandy Chuck Bass. There was never a dull moment in the lives of the Upper East Side's most privileged and the plot summary for this particular episode alone is practically a novella. Basically there's a lot of undercover loving going on between the teen elite. Robyn, Foals Lady Gaga and Sonic Youth all made musical cameos on Gossip Girl, with Thurston Moore going one step further saying he'd love to feature on the show as, "a 51-year-old ex-indie rocker who hangs out in some capacity."

That time Death Cab for Cutie played The O.C.'s The Bait Shop
"Where other than The Bait Shop are the tickets always plentiful and the band never too loud to talk over?" says Summer Roberts the night Death Cab For Cutie headline the beach side Newport club. Seth Cohen, one of the Orange County-based teen drama's core characters, was a die hard DCFC fan with a poster of the band on his bedroom wall and forever remembered for the immortal line, "Do not insult Death Cab." Unfortunately for Seth he misses the band's set because he was caught up in a meeting about his comic book series. All hail Seth Cohen -- what a guy!

That time Sleater-Kinney played The L Word's The Planet
Six months before post-riot-grrrl gang Sleater-Kinney were officially to call it quits (before their triumphant reunion in 2015) they played West Hollywood's finest lesbian cafe and social center of The L Word -- The Planet. The actual location for shooting the cafe slash club was in Vancouver, apparently had free Wi-fi and served badass deserts. Introduced by Pam Grier as "bad to the bone," Sleater-Kinney blast out their track Jumpers while tennis star Dana shares the bad news that her cancer diagnosis is way more serious than originally thought. The track's lyrics "Don't push me, I am not OK" could not be more fitting for the anger/frustration/heartache in the scene that finds the group coming together in the spirit of friendship. Since Sleater-Kinney are back together and there are plans for a new season of the L Word in the works, here's hoping the band show up at The Planet again!

That time Motörhead played at the flat on The Young Ones
This selection is not strictly performed at a venue, though the flatshare that undergrad students Vyvyan Bastard, Neil, Rick and Mike The-Cool-Person occupy is iconic in its own right, plus Motörhead's appearance is one of the best moments in TV land history so what the hell. In this episode of the anarcho comedy the gang appear on the game show University Challenge, the result of which is both calamitous and catastrophic. There's little reason for Motörhead to actually be playing in the scene or the show, but seeing Lemmy resplendent in aviator shades and handlebar moustache is everything.

That time pretty much everyone played on The Simpsons
From The Rolling Stones to Sigur Ros, REM to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sex Pistols to U2 and uh, Coldplay, Springfield has been home to some of the best concerts of all time -- although the best shout out is Michael Jackson's cameo in Season One's Stark Raving Mad, where he sings "Happy Birthday Lisa." Side fact: He also contributed (as producer and backing vocals) to Do the Bartman!


Text Russell Dean Stone

the simpsons
Think Pieces
The O.C.
Twin Peaks
Gossip Girl
one tree hill