Could LCD Soundsystem rise from the dead? The gang was all there this past Saturday at a temporary FIAT pop-up gallery in the old Deitch Projects space at 18 Wooster Street.
James Murphy took to the decks with his buddy (and fellow ex-LCDer) Pat Mahoney for a performance as their tag-team disco-spinning alter egos, Special Disco Version. Unlike at those sold-out farewell shows that LCD played at Terminal 5 and Madison Square Garden, which were highly theatrical and crowd-interactive, Murphy kept a low profile here, and the place, while busy, was by no means packed. If you were Soundsystem-ignorant and didn’t read the invite, you probably wouldn’t have even known who the DJs were.
Murphy and Mahoney took turns manning the tables, with a Quaalude-inspired song selection that was souland disco-heavy. A bunch of the duo’s besties came out to the gig, including The Juan MacLean crooners Nancy Whang and John MacLean, who are, you guessed it, LCD alums. Whang, Mahoney and MacLean all also work for Murphy at DFA Records, a label he started in 2001 that The Juan MacLean, as well as Holy Ghost!, Hercules and Love Affairs call home.
Sporting a pair of bitchin’ gold glittery harem pants, I caught Whang right after she received a Bellini slushy from a cart run by fancy snow-conerie People’s Pops. I know they’re all friends and all, but, I wondered, was it weird back in the office now that the label’s most successful band is no more? "It’s pretty much business as usual," Whang told me. "I mean, there’s tons of other bands on the label that are still, you know, working."
The party itself was a fabulous conflation of brands, brand identity and art. It was sponsored by the Italian car company Fiat, which has been throwing daily parties in the space for the past two weeks, including one on the previous night that featured large-format photographs from ubiquitous fashion photog Scott Schuman. There was a Lavazza espresso counter, real live cars that you could pretend to drive in—Peroni in hand, of course—the aforementioned boozy slush cart and some car-related works of art affixed to the wall.
I wasn’t able to grab Murphy and asked him how he got involved with such a random situation, but Whang had a straightforward answer for me: "James is Italian." Really? Murphy sounds like an Irish name to me—and I have a shamrock tattooed on my ass—but if the silver disco fox likes fancy Italian cars, that’s cool. "It’s definitely Italian," Whang insisted.
Also in attendance was the definitively not-Italian comedian Aziz Ansari. I tried to get some background from Ansari on his friendship with Murphy—the two were chatting before I cornered the comic—but he didn’t want to dish. "I just want to hang with my friends," Ansari pleaded. When I told him we’d met before at a party and he had said the same thing, he got defensive. "I’m a nice guy!" Art-world character Hesh Lewis, on the other hand, was more than happy to volunteer information. Like a moth to the flame, I was attracted to the longhaired, debonair fellow due to his choice of dress, or lack thereof. He wore a long overcoat and no shirt, chest hair proudly displayed for the entire world to see. The winning look was accessorized with two blonde Australian girls. "I like the cart," he punned, leaving me bewildered until I remembered all the car art hanging around the room.