With Sleigh Bells
Fillmore Miami Beach, Miami
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
View a slideshow of the concert here.
Better than: 50 percent of the two Devo shows I've seen.
Many of the best parts of LCD Soundsystem's performance Wednesday reeked of dance-floor nostalgia. Be it a drum break that simultaneously conjures up Prince and Clipse on "Yr City's a Sucker" or somewhere in the middle of the gargantuan blast of "Losing My Edge," feeling like David Byrne (or Killing Joke's Jaz Coleman) was talking to the crowd. At least a couple of us were asking "How did I get here?"
For some, hitting up the Fillmore Miami and first imbibing in Sleigh Bells' fist-in-face approach to live performance (much more on that here) and topping it with the decidedly unchill waves of James Murphy's seven-piece extravanganza was simply to check two Pitchfork darlings off the bucket list in one night. For plenty of others, it was means to dance and get unhinged in sparkly dresses. But there were plenty just
hoping to let the finely tuned throb rub up and down their bodies while a
cloud of expensive kush smoke wafted through the air. The mostly stationary Murphy was
game for all of it.
Never looking disengaged during the two-hour performance, his main contribution for the night was just keeping the square-topped mic at the correct distance from his face and letting his impressively tuned pipes fly. Even his greeting to the audience wasn't much more than an enthusiastic "Hi" and a wave early on. It'd be goofy to imagine the thick-set, spiky-haired Murphy, clad in a
simple dress shirt, leading a complex dance routine with a microphone
clipped to his head anyhow.
After walking out in a purple haze to a soulful version of 10cc's "I'm Not in Love" (possibly by Deni Hines), Murphy got straight to work on "Dance Yrself Clean," the slow-building first track from his latest, This Is Happening. Much of the LCD catalog features some pretty lengthy jams, and the arrangements were completist in nature -- 30 minutes had passed by the time the third song, "Get Innocuous," wrapped.
Even if Murphy and band were mostly focused on keeping the trains on time -- much of this "electronic music" felt organic and present in the room, as a result -- the wall of stadium-sized lights behind them gave the proper visual cues to keep stoking the fire of bodies in front of them. The highlight of these effects: a small planet of a disco ball dropped during "Yeah" while the lights went as green as they were ever gonna go.
There was at least one crowd surfer during "You Wanted a Hit," and shivers of jealousy ran up spines for the rest of us. With that song -- a kiss-off to the record execs and anyone else who can't appreciate LCD Soundsystem's lane in music's continuum -- followed by a churning oldie, "Tribulations," the night reached its semi-ironic, fist-pumping climax. Although just minutes before, Murphy was singing "You wanted the hit/but that's not what we do" and "No, honestly we're never smart/We fake it, fake it all the time," this was the smartest moment of the night for the DJ-turned-performer, and everyone was at his mercy.
Personal bias: Two of my favorite LCD songs are the slowest ("Never as Tired as When I'm Waking Up" and "New York, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down"), and this night wasn't having either of them.
The crowd: A cross section of the hip middle class. People who call each other bro. Some guy in a Toronto Blue Jays hat who couldn't decide whether to wear it backward or forward.
Random Notebook Dump: "This is a Keyser Söze moment filled with THX shit" (during "Yeah" and one of many references to "shit" written in a positive context).
LCD Soundsystem Set List:
Dance Yrself Clean
Yr City's a Sucker
Daft Punk Is Playing at My House
I Can Change
All My Friends
You Wanted a Hit
Losing My Edge