Take Talking Heads, The Fall, New Order, Ministry and an early nineties nightclub. Feed everybody some high grade uppers and throw them all down a long flight of stairs. The resulting noise is somewhere close to how LCD Soundsytem sound tonight - chaotic, loud, thrilling and utterly brilliant
NYC's coolest über-producer James Murphy and his band are having a tough time getting the Scala going though, the glacial air-conditioning sending the crowd into cryo-suspension. But as they hit their stride, heads starts to nod and legs twitch involuntarily, until eventually people are losing control of their limbs, some even pogoing (how uncool?). It's obviously not the ideal venue to see this band in - you imagine both crowd and band would feel much more comfortable kicking out the jams in a steamy, illegal warehouse party deep in the Tenderloin.
But they're making the most of it, throwing everything into the mix, from cowbells and dualing basses to squelching 303's and a live drumkit. The man who drew the electroclash blueprint for guitar bands such as The Rapture and Radio 4, obviously kept a few tricks to himself.
Playing with the crowd, Murphy announces that "We have one more song" after each track, including the first. Wether this is a reference to the two tracks played by support act Juan McLean or just a tease, it's funny either way. They work through about ten songs, including a super fast, heavy, new number that calls to mind Ministry's "Jesus Built My Hotrod", super funky "Give It Up" and the classic "Losing My Edge", the word-perfect string-of-conciousness lyrics of which contain the telling line "I was the first guy playing Daft Punk to the rock kids... I played it at CBGB's... Everyone thought it was crazy... We all know."
We sure do. This is the perfect mix of rock and dance that so many bands have searched for and yet failed to find, and that so many people have been waiting to hear. Final track tonight - the monumental "Yeah" - morphs from a shuffling, bass-propelled funky number into a colosal, stomping techno / rock crossover, an insistent acid bleep pulsing through the feedback and distorted vocals. It's a stunning climax that literally forces you to move.
Returning to the stage Murphy teases us once again - "We don't have an encore, sorry... oh yeah, hang on, we do!" and he runs back offstage to get the band back. But he returns emptyhanded "uh... no we don't." He smiles and leaves. It doesn't matter, they couldn't have played anything that could top that.
Richy [ April 7th, 2004 ]