3 Brief Notes x 3 LCD Soundsystem Shows
Prime Nocte: June 10
I was tired as hell. It was a Sunday night and the El Rey was full and becoming more full as the time got closer. But, I barely noticed the throngs as I was tired as hell. After just three hours of sleep Saturday night, my eyelids felt heavier than a Kundera novel. Still, I was excited. LCD Soundsystem, I know from experience, put on a great show and Sounds of Silver is bound to make it on a few top-10 lists. Out of the gates, James Murphy and his System stated their intention to tear the El Rey a new one with Us. vs Them. From there they followed with Daft Punk and Time to Get Away. However, the party really got started with North American Scum. The heaviness started to fade in my lids and I started to feel a lightness you can only get from great, live shows.
As a capacity crowd jumped, yelled and clapped to the rhythm, LCD’s set turned from good to unforgettable. Dudes delivered an all out blistering set that challenged the very tenets of what a rock show should be and how music should be played. It was an auditory experienced aided by the ADD lights that never got tired of showing off, that indelible disco ball and, of course, Murphy, whose low-key personality seems to work like a puzzle piece with the high strung tenor of LCD’s sound.
They finished with New York, I Love You. Though the song lasts a mere 5:35 on the album, it seemed to go on longer than a Joanna Newsome album. It was 12:30 a.m. and a buzzed crowed spilled onto Wilshire. Fuck you Murphy for fucking up my Monday. But, shit, come back any time.
Bear with me on this one. You have to look at this three-day stand as a movie trilogy, and I’m watching movie #2. The question is whether I am watching The Empire Strikes Back, or Back to the Future Part 2. Or Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Or The Karate Kid, Part Two. Or The Godfather: Part Two. Or The Two Towers. What the hell fool trilogy should this LCD Soundsystem three-day binge be compared to?
I can tell you that the night I am here at The El Rey, this guy James Murphy and this band are collectively going off. I then ask myself the five questions I always ask when comparing the middle of three somethings to the middle of an epic trilogy:
1) Did someone or some thing Strike Back and/or ’Float Away With The Rest Of The Garbage’?
2) Is the sum whole overly complicated, a la BTTFP2?
3) Is Kate Capshaw involved?
4) Are tiny handheld drums involved in some capacity?
5) Did Al Pacino kiss his brother and have him offed?
6) Did Legolas do something awesome?
I’m going with my first choice -The Empire Strikes Back. Jeremy got Star Wars, I got Empire, Victor got Jedi. HA! You got the goddam ewoks Victor. By my account and the majority of fan accounts, Empire is the best of the series whereas by George Lucas’ account, it’s the shittiest. So now the question remains: Does James Murphy consider the middle night the shittiest of the three gigs? That would seal it. Let’s ask.
There were hands in the air, but, in this rare case, those in attendance actually did care. This caring, this awareness, this humanity, is probably one of the more distinguishing factors of LCD’s music and lyrics and it is something that one senses extends to their fans. Rarely rarely have synth LFO tweaks felt so expressive than on “Someone Great.” Rarely do frontmen appear as plainly human as James Murphy when taking a hit of his asthma inhaler on stage, midsong. This is not just dance music, but danceable music. A slight quibble, but this stuff transcends the reductive term.
*I had this bit about how the dancing occurs at the fringes of the crowd because the main floor is too packed and compared that to how artistic expressions tend to occur at the fringes of any given population, and a description of of this one gal’s intensity of dancing is unsurprisingly in direct proportion to the amount of beer consumed but I can’t find my USB drive right now. Check back later as I might add it.