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Coachella 2015: Steely Dan meets EDM — an experiment worth watching

How did Coachella's EDM-mad fans move to Steely Dan? Not well, but they tried

It’s no secret that EDM has long surpassed rock and rap as a major draw at the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio.

Dance tents at the six-day, two weekend festival are the most consistently packed venues while the stages are far less predictable in their drawing power.

But no matter where you traveled on the Empire Polo Grounds on the festival's opening day Friday, revelers were dancing. Beer garden. Ferris wheel line. Parking lot. In their own heads.

FULL COVERAGE: Coachella 2015

The most challenging backdrop for those who like to move, however, was in front of the stage during a set by veteran rock band Steely Dan.

Ever since the lineup was announced months ago, there was a big question mark hanging over why Steely Dan and AC/DC were high on the bill at a festival where Kaskade and The Weeknd reign supreme among the young demographic.

Yet the young crowd surprisingly turned out for these FM radio titans. Many dressed in clothing styles akin to when Steely Dan topped charts in the '70s, they waited for a beat to kick in. But it soon became apparent that moving to The Dan is a markedly different task than throwing it down in the Sahara Tent.

PHOTOS: Coachella 2015: Weekend 1, Day 1

Young women in feathers and fringe and shirtless men with glow sticks tried in earnest to move to the jazzy fluid grooves and saxophone flourishes, jerking back and forth uncomfortably, trying to adjust their steps to a beat that seemed impossibly buried beneath pristine musicianship.

“Reelin’ in the Years,” a song more ubiquitous than air, never sounded so curiously alien.

Still, the crowd gave it an honest try before slowing down, looking around and finally moving on to other dance venues, like the water line.

Steely Dan meets EDM — an experiment worth watching.

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