1/21/09, 1:19 pm EST
The country’s best inauguration party Tuesday night turned out to be in the other Washington: At Seattle’s tiny Tractor Tavern club, the Knitters (the rootsy side band led by X’s John Doe and Exene Cervenka) played a Americana-soaked barnstormer of a show — complete with a guest appearance by Eddie Vedder. “Whenever anyone’s being a cynic and an asshole, saying it’s just gonna be the same old thing, do me a favor and tell ‘em to fuck off,” Doe told the crowd, in one of the evening’s many happy references to the day’s events. Then he invited Vedder onstage to duet with Cervenka on a gleefully frenzied version of X’s 1983 tune “The New World,” with its sardonic lyrics about another election: “It was better before they voted for what’s his name.”
Vedder, who had managed to blend in to the crowd (which also included his Pearl Jam bandmates Jeff Ament and Mike McCready) with his hair tucked into a big black knit cap, was in a mood to celebrate: He pounded out the beat on Doe’s back with his fists, slow-danced with Cervenka, and played air guitar while the Knitters’ Dave Alvin (formerly of the Blasters) finished the song with a lengthy solo that incorporated both Chuck Berry licks and what sounded like part of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” “Thank you, man in the black hat,” Doe said.