MOCA LA Beach Party,
at The Raleigh Hotel, Miami Beach
December 1, 2010
Better than: Getting into a private party during Art Basel. Oh, wait....
It's pretty hard to properly assess what an art crowd's reaction is going to be to a dance-all-night band like LCD Soundsystem, especially when tables and chairs are laid out across the "dance floor." Would the crowd rush to the stage and dance without a care in the world? Would they sit in their chairs and impatiently make small talk until the band was over? We're not gonna lie: We felt a little bad for James Murphy and company.
We arrived at the Raleigh Hotel's side entrance around 9:30 p.m., we feasted on cooked shrimp and paninis as we toasted our plastic glasses to Art Basel, while our compatriots were forced to stand the entire evening, tip-toed and trying to catch glimpses of the oversized disco ball. Yes, there was an oversized disco ball again, much like the one we witnessed at the Fillmore Miami Beach performance two short months ago -- but nothing close to the same, size-wise.
The mob was a bit uneasy when we arrived, and bordered on rioting when one of the side doors opened ever so slightly a little after 10 p.m. People ran to make their way in, and we overheard people comically shouting, "Women and art dealers first!," as they pushed and shoved to make sure they weren't on the "rejects side" with all of the plebeians. We caught Tweets from fellow Miamians complaining of segregation between "poor folk" and "rich folk" at the show. But once we made it through the velvet ropes, we quickly realized how nice it is to be on the other side.
Black cushioned chairs surrounded black dining tables lit with candles -- almost wedding-like, and a bit too formal for our taste. And when setting up they didn't anticipate any room for dancing.
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Sure, Miami's elite's been known to just stand around for shows before, no matter how good the music is. And When LCD Soundsystem took to the stage at 11 p.m., we heard no riotous cheers or fan girl screams. Just mild mannered clapping, almost so quiet that we thought for a split second we were at a golf tournament. The crowd makes a huge difference in all-out dance bands like this, and unfortunately, most didn't measure up to the energy radiating from Murphy and LCD.
LCD frontman James Murphy started the evening with "I hope you got in if you tried to get in," to chuckles all around us, and slight boos from behind the impromptu partitions that were raised up. The sound was a bit off when Murphy began with "Dance Yrself Clean," coming off more Kermit-like than usual, and we silently dreamed of a day when Murphy would cover "The Rainbow Connection," and give it a dancey twist.
The audio issues were quickly remedied though, and we hardly noticed it afterward, probably because of all of the conversation. Murphy was quite chatty last night, and more engaging than usual, offering up that it was quite fitting he played the event, since they "started by playing events." He joked, "Have a drink on me," followed by "Anybody able to sneak in?," and a pleasing, "It's open bar because I said so!" Really? So we had free flowing cocktails because of him? Aww. Thanks, James!
Murphy informed us that LCD was only allowed to play for one hour because of the midnight curfew on South Beach, which granted him a mere nine-song performance (and actually ended up being eight). Booo! This somehow enticed people to get up off their asses and girls climbed on their chairs as people smoked, drank, and danced, and actually started to enjoy themselves.
We managed to sneak toward the front, a few tables behind the stage to catch a glimpse of Murphy in all of his glory. He powered through "I Can Change" and "All My Friends" like nobody's business, and while he seemed more on task for this performance, most of the older set just didn't seem interested.
Murphy was determined to play past curfew, even joking, "This one is for the kids. It's a real hit with the kids, a real sing-along," before jumping into "Tribulations." And when a shorter man jumped on stage at 11:56 p.m. before the last song, Murphy blurted, "That's mine! I bought it!" before the man was lifted off stage by roadies to crowd cheers.
He proceeded to jump into "Movement," equipment unharmed. Later, Murphy teased us that he wanted to play "Home" and "New York, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down," which we admit would've been a perfectly ironic ending to an evening filled with quite a bunch of New Yorkers who didn't show any physical signs of having fun. But that sure as hell didn't stop the party.
Personal Bias: We're such huge fans of James Murphy that though some people told us there was "no chance of us getting in," we tried anyway and got on the list.
The Crowd: Art aficionados, small pockets of hipsters, a lot of people over 35.
Overheard in the Crowd: "I don't care what anyone else says. I'm here to dance myself clean."
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Random Detail: There was a one-man dance party that we noticed midway through "Tribulations." He was dancing like crazy and throwing glitter in the air. We only wished he'd thought to hype up the crowd sooner. (We caught him throwing his glitter in the video above.)
Random Detail #2: A tiny older woman that was 60+ with short, silvery hair was dancing harder than we were. And we love dancing. We dubbed her "hipster granny."
Random Detail #3: We heard that Kim Kardashian, Naomi Campbell, and other assorted celebs were there. But we only spotted Perry and Etty Farrell, lounging and mingling near a hammock.
"Dance Yrself Clean"
"Yr City's A Sucker"
"I Can Change"
"All My Friends"
"You Wanted A Hit"