"There's good news and bad news. The good news is we're here. The bad news is I'm wasted." James Murphy, who claimed to be swilling his "special drink" (champagne and whiskey) all night, kept trying to set the bar low for last night's LCD Soundsystem show at Music Hall of Williamsburg, the first the band has played in three years... a fact that he kept hammering into the crowd. "This is the longest we haven't played in the history of the band. It's not really a 'show,' it's a live rehearsal."
He was right, technically. Not only was it the live debut of new material from LCD's upcoming third album, This Is Happening, but also the first for the new six-piece (at times seven) version of the band, still anchored around the core of Murphy, keyboardist Nancy Whang and drummer Pat Mahoney. All of Murphy's hemming and hawing was for nought. This is contender for show of the year. LCD Soundsystem blew the lid off the joint for almost two hours.
The band mostly ignored the new album. "I made a conscious decision not to play too much of the new stuff in the early part of the tour," Murphy said. "I remember being a kid taking the train two hours just to hear 'This Charming Man' only to get 'Panic." (Of all the things to be jealous of, Murphy also saw the Smiths.) Instead we were treated to a cavalcade of hits including "Your City's a Sucker," "Tribulations," "All My Friends," "Losing My Edge," "Yeah," "Someone Great," and show-closer "New York, I Love You."
Only two new songs were played. The VU-meets-Bowie first single "Drunk Girls" and what will surely be the second single, "I Can Change" that is more Gary Numan or Eurythmics (you can hum "Love is a Stranger" to it). The latter was more successful, though I think "Drunk Girls" is gonna turn into a big summer single once people hear it spun in a club at maximum volume. I wish they'd have played a couple more tunes, especially the Roxy/Eno-ish rocker "All I Want" but we'll get those in time.
Seriously, no complaints at all. The crowd was going mental for the last half of the 90-plus minute set, especially during "Yeah" and "Someone Great." Maybe too mental. After an early attempt at a mosh pit, Murphy and Whang put the kybosh on such behavior. "If you're dancing and not within two people of a girl," Whang explained. "You're doing it wrong." Murphy added, "Dance up and down!" In addition to the crowd, the stage was packed on the side like a hip hop show, including Hot Chip's Al Doyle who was LCD's touring guitarist on previous excursions.
Murphy must've reminded us ten times that this was LCD's first show in ages and they were under-rehearsed. (Though I heard they used MHoW as a practice space all week.) But clearly New York had missed LCD Soundsystem. And they missed playing. Three years was definitely too long. But, thankfully, absolutely, they haven't lost their edge.
Light Asylum were a great opener and sounded booming on the Music Hall sound system. Bill said they're like a goth Yaz. I just wish they would showcase Shannon Funchess's frontwoman abilities more. She used to shine when she was on stage with !!!. She later joined LCD for a bit during "Someone Great", but mostly just in the background. Before she left the stage James gave her a great big bear hug.
Murphy pointed out that he was 40 years old "which means every show I saw had Fishbone opening". That was a nice intentional-or-not intro to "Losing my Edge".
The crowd really was moving all night. The closest thing to a mosh pit came during the punk rock "Movement", and there was a bit of a fight near the stage earlier in the night (I think because someone thought people were being too rowdy).
The lasers all over the walls and ceiling during "Yeah" were the coolest thing I ever saw visually happen at Music Hall.
Though the band took an encore break before "Someone Great", James announced before leaving the stage that it wasn't an "encore" because in NY aka home, we don't have encores. They're for "other places". Nancy moved from her keyboard to a piano for the show-closing "New York I Love You".
Definitely the show of the year (so far).
Stay tuned for the announcement that they're playing another one at Webster Hall on Monday (ANNOUNCED AND ON SALE). You can also catch them twice at Terminal 5 and at other places. More pictures and the full setlist from Music Hall below...
thx NYCgal or the setlist pics!
Tour dates HERE.