Never let it be said that the Museum Of Contemporary Art Los Angeles doesn't know how to throw a party. An hour after Metric played "Art Loves Music" on Collins & 23rd st, MOCA threw a shindig six blocks south at the Raleigh Hotel featuring hipster gods LCD Soundsystem. The Miami/MOCA LA love was in full bloom. Basel may have given us a free show - but MOCA LA threw a "private" show by a near-legendary act who have spent the last seven months claiming they are breaking up for good at the end of this touring cycle - and getting more popular in the process.
When I arrived at the sides entrance around 10:30, there was a crush of people at the gate. I braced for a long wait for everyone to be vetted. But everyone suddenly found themselves herded inside the gate, with no guest list in sight. Huh? Wasn't this the exclusive party of all exclusive parties?
Not quite. While MOCA LA's guests (and their open bar) were protected by a barrier and several security guards who pretended not to know where the guest list table was, the poolside half of the Raleigh patio was packed to the gills to anyone who was in the know / had the good fortune to show up. Considering that those 400 or so people didn't spend 5 figures to fly in LCD Soundsystem, that was extremely generous of both the hotel and MOCA LA.
The only drag was that I did have an invitation, and couldn't find the RSVP table. So when LCD frontman James Murphy took the stage and gave everyone a warm welcome, I accepted my fate on the wrong side of the barrier and hung with a mass of bearded dudes and nicely dressed ladies in designer glasses. Murphy started mellow with the sing-along "Dance Yrself Clean", and then built up to an early crescendo with their Bolan-inspired guitar romp "Drunk Girls."
The crowd on the good side of the barrier were having the time of their lives. I spotted 70 year old arts patrons boogieing down with 20-something hipsters. Alas, some of my fellow barrier watchers became petulant and repeatedly half-threatened to bum rush the barricade.
At that display of ingraciousness, I split, spotted the RSVP table, handed over my invitation and found my way in. Faster than you can say "open bar" I had a vodka tonic in my hand. I quickly negotiated the laughable amount of plastic tables on the fake beach/dance floor and cavorted with the beautiful people with a big smile on my face. The ingrates were right. It was better to be near the stage.
The only drag was how eager Murphy and his uptight road manager were about sticking to Miami Beach's noise ordinance and shutting down exactly at midnight. But even that brought entertaining blessings. First, a happy drunk bro-hugged Murphy halfway through his "I'm responsible" lecture and did things to the word "midnight" that Lenny Bruce would have approved of. Then, Murphy announced they had one song in their catalog that would fit between 11:56 and midnight. "Don't worry," he assured us. "It's a crowd-pleaser."
He wasn't kidding. "Movement" was a postpunk anthem par excellance. The 100 or so enraptured fans in the front banged their fists while Murphy riffed on himself as a "fat guy singing in a t-shirt" over triggered handclaps and then took the whole band to OZ - feedback, hardcore guitar riffs and drum rolls - Oh My!
After LCD Soundsystem repeated the push and pull between disco and hardcore a few times, the show was over. The Audience was frustrated, overjoyed by their good fortune - but sorry to see it end in exactly 60 minutes.
Murphy teased them a little, making a few dozen fans groan when he announced the two songs they didn't get to included the prom-beat ballad "New York, I Love You (But You're Bringing Me Down)."
Given LCD Soundsystem's joyful performance, it's hard to see them hanging up the gloves and calling it a career in a few months. But in case they do, the MOCA LA party was a cool place to say goodbye to Miami - even if it was just two months after they introduced themselves.