Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I went to the LCD Soundsystem gig at the Brixton Academy on Friday not realising that this would most likely be LCD Soundsystem's last tour. A little while back, James Murphy went on record as saying This Is Happening, the band's third album, would also be their last. He'd vowed to disband the band when he turned 40, something which happened this February past. Knowing that now, after a stunning gig which was not without its disappointments, makes me want to go catch them at Wireless in July.

To start off, LCD Soundsystem opened with Us vs. Them, not one of my favourite tracks, but definitely one of their most recognisable. As an opener, it was all right. However, James Murphy mentioned something about how one of their instruments - Nancy's keyboard? - wasn't set up properly so the audience couldn't get the full impact. After this was rectified, they did the whole song once more. At first I thought it was cool... then I realised it might have been at the expense of another, better song (as there was a curfew in force) and got a little cheesed off, particularly when, by the end of the night, one of the songs I'd been so sure they'd play hadn't been played.

I was sitting in the upper circle, an area not conducive to standing or dancing. If anyone got up, the ushers were upon them in a flash, shining their torches at them until they sat down. At first, I didn't mind. After all, I was tired, and I'm not terribly tall, so I welcomed the efforts of the ushers to maintain some order and discipline. But when the music really started rocking, and the ushers less strict, I got up to dance for a bit, only to be a little embarrassed, as people behind me were still sitting, so I was blocking their view. So I got up and grooved to Losing My Edge, and then sat down quietly.

Then, when the ever-so-recognisable staccato piano of All My Friends started up, I went bonkers. I stayed seated, just barely, and just danced as best as I could. I just sang my heart out. Truly, at that moment, at this stage of life, all I really wanted was just to see all my friends that night. I still feel that way. I've been feeling that way ever since the full impact of the fact that I'll be turning one big figure older this year hit me.

And, as I've written before, All My Friends is the anthem of the late twenties, early thirty-something individual, someone who's lived and is lost, but wouldn't change a thing about how he or she has lived. And that person is exactly the person that I am right now. I wouldn't trade one stupid decision for another five years of lies.

That isn't to say the gig was a sombre one. No, there's just something so dance-able and punk-rock about James' melodies that bely the seriousness of the subject matter. Also, when James - much, much bigger than he appears in his photos - is bouncing up and down and running around on stage, there's just something about his sheer exuberance which rubs off on everyone.

As the band trooped off the stage after the end of the set, James turned around and said, "don't worry, we're coming back!" And when they came back for their encore - and, man, what an encore - it was fantastic.  They started off with Someone Great, a song I have only recently discovered and is something I could listen to over and over again, because it's just so perfect for anyone who's lost someone, whether it's a relationship they're mourning, or the death of a loved one. James himself told this to the audience, saying that a couple of people had contacted him to ask that he play it at the band's London gig because they had lost someone close and would be at the gig, so this song was going out to them. I don't think anyone couldn't relate to that sentiment.

After that was the crazy loud riotous Daft Punk Is Playing At My House, a song I first heard off The O.C. and was probably my introduction to LCD Soundsystem. I didn't like the song then, and didn't listen to any more of the band's songs until after learning CG had purchased their album and decided to give them a second chance. In any case, the song's okay, but I still don't think it's that great.

For their very last song of the night, I was convinced it would be North American Scum, but, instead, it turned out to be New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down, which was a nice surprise. I don't know how I could forget about this incredible love song to a fantastic city, but, somehow I did. And it was a good way to end the night off, with all of us swaying in our chairs as a shower of balloons fell from the ceiling.

I paid £28 to catch them at Brixton. Given that this is their last tour, I'd be happy to pay the £50+ (inclusive of fees) and go catch them (and Snoop Dogg!!!) at Wireless. And, if you're into indie/alternative music at all, you should definitely go too.

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