James Murphy DJing at the Avalon nightclub in Los Angeles in 2009. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles…)
It’s 9 a.m. off Nassau on Tuesday, and a few dozen yellowtail snappers, angelfish and loggerhead turtles are gliding just a few feet below. The water’s brisk, the air is warm and six hours ago I was watching a guy in full-body lemur costume raving his face off to the Gaslamp Killer by the rooftop pool. Never say there’s no wildlife onboard the S.S. Coachella.
Today is shore excursion day, where we finally get a quick breather from the inevitable cabin fever that’s taken hold. Last night went long -- an unexpectedly crisp and clear set from Sleigh Bells, a midnight screening of the awesomely gruesome ocean-liner horror flick “Ghost Ship” with Gregg Gillis of Girl Talk (“The first 10 minutes are tight as heck,” he said. "But I won’t hold it against you if you leave after that") and a DJ set from James Murphy in the main room, where he was practically invisible behind stage-crashing dancers.
The after-hours cool kids lounge seems to be the 15th floor pool bar, where you can post up with a Campari and soda and watch the L.A. music-biz royalty mingle. There’s FYF’s Sean Carlson, there’s the Eastside’s sound-tech czar Jordan Long, and there’s Paul Tollett with his black baseball cap pulled low, surveying his domain.
There are moments of Bro-chella bliss, like watching one guy in a hot tub, who appeared to be 80% bicep, making out with one girl while his other hand wandered toward another zonked-out tub-mate. But there are also moments of delicious self-awareness, as when DJ Z-Trip dropped a ratchet remix of the Lonely Island’s “I’m on a Boat” into his mash-up set. Ironically spinning a joke song about how amazing it is to be sailing, on a boat where everyone is winking and nudging at the classic Midwesterner’s seaborne vacation dream? Only here.
After 48 hours in which it was easier to come by a double-Mount Gay-and-cola than it was a substantial hot meal, the nature break in Nassau was rather lovely. We didn’t see any band members on our trip (though Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor was spotted heading off to the dock on our way back -- we’re hoping he was there for a dolphin swim). After the nonstop reality-suspension of the last two days, it felt good to be in the company of some creatures that came by their soggy, glazed-eyed look because they were fish, and not just drunk by breakfast.
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