New York hipster-dance band LCD Soundsystem hit the main stage at Coachella Friday night at prime time, performing under a massive disco ball. In a year when dance music was strangely underrepresented at the traditionally electronic-flavored event, LCD stood up for the beat-crazed mass of people that bobbed on the Empire Polo Fields.
After a day in which many customers waited as long as three hours to get into the event, the act, led by James Murphy, was the right band at the right time, revving up a high-redline motor fueled by 1970s nightlife nostalgia. The energy was apropos.
We still take issue with LCD's anti-DJ, bearded-hipster melieu, however. It's strange to see a band whose leader has dissed contemporary dance music as tired but at the same time promotes a strangely retro sound driven by incessant hi-hat tapping and electric bass-lines that belong in a 1978 Dodge van.
Murphy, with a croissant of hair that made him look like a younger Ted Koppel, revels in a vision of 1970s music — groovy, metropolitan, downtown, slightly punk — that rarely actually was. Disco was either mainstream or gay, black and Latino, with little in between. We always wonder how the folks at the Paradise Garage might have reacted to this merry band of cool kids, grooving defiantly to something that was meant to be so inclusive.
LCD's championing of retro sounds in lieu of future-forward electronic is, well, ironic.