Day one’s theme was clear: dance your face off, and if the person next to you isn’t dancing, dance their face off. The South African trio, Die Antwoord, was up early on the main stage. Surrounded by a growing hype and ballooning fan base, the outfit held their own, rattling off their unmistakable dancehall/rave/hip-hop hits- among them “Enter the Ninja” and “Evil Boy”- while dancing only as their music would allow: 7/8 half-naked continuous gyration, 1/8 booty shakin’. They may as well be putting on an act, but I can only hope their style takes hold in the prevailing counterculture winds and we all wind up dressed (or undressed) as they are for every one of their performances.
After a surprisingly good performance by the New York duo Phantogram (the drummer is the touch the band needed live) on the smaller (Tunnel) stage, the dance-punk/indie-dance/just-dance collective, !!! (Chk Chk Chk), played the main stage. With lead singer (and lead dancer) Nic Offer leading the way, the crowd bounced into a frenzy over a compilation of the band’s dance-heavy numbers, with some songs of their newer album, Strange Weather, Isn’t it?, mixed among the bag.
Deadmau5, the iconic dj/producer, appeared out of the day’s new dark. I’m not especially into house or techno, nor can I tell the difference between the two, but it doesn’t take an electronica expert to see that Deadmau5’s live show is rightfully advertised. The combination of beats (and, thus, the dropping of the beats), LED displays and packed crowd were enough to make even the two-day-ticket-holding-Belle-and-Sebastian-fans get in the mix.
Closing out the night, justly, was LCD Soundsystem. Having already seen them this year at The Fillmore I was looking forward for their hour and twenty minute set as an extended encore, where I could take in the songs I love live a second time, but this time more relaxed. I should have been more prepared. The group, led by frontman/songwriter James Murphy, came out with a completely different (and completely equal) set, one which featured a slew of new songs not played on their last tour leg. They opened with “Dance Yrself Clean”, a electronic-laden dance ballad that proves everyone, even the tall, lanky white guys, have one or two small dance bones in their body. Later, they closed with “Home,” everyone’s other “favorite song” on their new album, This Is Happening. Between the two, the band (which seems to be closing in on the incredibly hard task of mastering the indie/punk-dance sound in the festival setting) rolled through some of their knockouts- “Tribulations,” “Movement,” “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House,” “Yeah” and of course, “All My Friends”- on their way to steamrolling the crowd.