Exposure // Mick Rock + Phantogram // Symmetry Live at W Downtown

Every now and again, the Arcade happens upon a night that is so vibrant, so rich with culture being lived out loud, that all we can do is take in the sounds, setting and scene. This is one of those stories.

Our evening at the W Hotel’s Rocked event began with the artist of the hour himself, Mick Rock—a man who is so rooted in the very fabric of rock ‘n’ roll history that to list all of his subjects here would be long and drawn-out (Bob Marley, Lady Gaga and David Bowie are among them). Meeting the illustrious Mr. Rock was everything you would expect from a British rock ‘n’ roll legend and so much more. Sitting in an upstairs studio in the W Downtown Hotel, we listened to Mick unfurl rock history as he himself lived it, though he insists there are secrets he’ll never tell.

While Mick has built a career shooting icons, the Rocked event is also about celebrating new icons, realized as electro-rock duo Phantogram. Bandmates Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter were the epitome of cool, calm and collected as we talked inspiration, living upstate and the night’s set list. We ended the interviews with the man who made the entire evening possible, Michelangelo L’Acqua, the Global Music Director for W Hotels. L’Acqua had just stepped off the plane from business in Shanghai but somehow was as on-point and charming as ever. L’Acqua is one of those people who makes his job look easy, even though you know he is working around the clock. Anticipating a night where rock lives, both on stage and in legendary images, L’Acqua confessed his hope that the Symmetry Live series of performances will give shine to emerging bands like Phantogram, much like Rock once shot a young East Village singer, fresh from Detroit (yup, we’re talking about a babyfaced Ms. Ciccone).

Finally the stage was set in the tent. The lights were low and a glass of champagne was in every hand. L’Acqua took the mic, introducing Mick and Phantogram. The night was officially in full swing. The rest… is rock ‘n’ roll history.

—Annick Mayer