Tuesday, 27 April 2010

LCD Soundsystem, Brixton Academy, 24th May 2010

If frontman James Murphy follows through on his stated intention to make LCD’s next album the last, the world will be poorer for the loss of a band that works hard at pulling off the best kind of gig: a cross between a party with your best mates and a rave (complete with a fog of dry ice and lasers). It’s Saturday night and it seems everyone’s been invited: 40-somethings mix with 20-somethings and no one feels weird.  Given it’s essentially a farewell tour, what we get is a greatest hits show, from the first single ‘Losing My Edge’ to ‘Daft Punk is Playing at My House’ through to the new single ‘Drunk Girls’.  You can draw a musical evolutionary line back from LCD to two other influential New York bands.   Lyrically they’re close to Talking Heads, musically closer to disco-era Blondie.

From the opening ‘Get Innocuous’, drummer Pat Mahoney powers everything, keeping time as precisely and tirelessly as a machine.  It’s immensely satisfying dance music that builds and builds, adding layers of rhythms until you find yourself locked into a chugging groove before its all broken down again and the next track starts up. ‘Yr City’s a Sucker’ is one such example.  Given Murphy’s love of cowbells and various other members of the band hammering bongos or yet more drums, at times it smacks of the relentless funk that was Go-go.

In a recent interview with The Guardian, Murphy said he succeeds at making ‘dumb body music’ but the biggest cheer of the night went up for the opening bars of  ‘Someone Great’.  It’s one of the greatest songs ever written about heartbreak and loss, about carrying on with the trivial minutiae of life (‘there’s all the work that needs to be done…songs to be finished’) when you’re dying inside.  If any doubt still exists, it proves that dance music can be as much about the heart as the feet.  Murphy sings it mockingly at first, as if it doesn’t matter, before the obvious love of the song’s sentiment by the crowd obliges him to put his heart into it.   A 4 song encore ends with ‘New York, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down’ which comes over like a cross between a lovely lament from the drunk at the end of the bar and a musical show tune.  White balloons then tumble from the ceiling like it’s closing time at Studio 54 and with that, they’re off.

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