OnlineRock Blog

30 April 2011

Leftfield at Coachella, Sunday April 17, 2011

By Cody Goodfellow

How good would an obscure UK dance act have to be to remain a legend a decade and change after putting out only two albums? They'd have to be as good as Leftfield. Tucked away in the geezers' tent late on Sunday night, Leftfield got little respect, but they quickly became the unknown distraction that pulled people away from the other slim pickings on offer after 9:00. Leftfield came out as a trio rocking vintage component gear and a live drum kit. Swinging into "Song Of Life," a syrupy dub epic from Leftism, they proceeded through a kickass set that was equal parts trance and Tangerine Dream, and demonstrated chops that are still being ripped off today, however badly. Compared to the ear-raping car alarm demo next door in the Sahara tent, Leftfield still sounds like the future, but sadly, they still didn't command half the crowd they deserved. Most of their audience was composed of trainspotting gear-geeks and gangs of guys with whistles and pacifiers, which was really sad. A dazzling female vocalist rolled out to sing on "Swords" and a guy who looked like Afrika Bambaataa shredded the mix on a Theramin, but didn't stick around for "Afrika Shox."

Nothing new came close to touching their classics, but they still know what they're doing, and they can still do it… So why didn't they record more than two albums? Why did they fade into the background and let hacks like Paul Oakenfold and Chase & Status define electronic dance music for the last decade? If this show was any kind of omen, Leftfield could finally be ready to reclaim the crown they forged.

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