LCD Soundsystem graced the Hollywood Palladium for five nights, November 17th to 21st, and I was lucky enough to have attended one of these nights. I went to the show on Sunday November 19th, ready to immerse myself in their unique performance which consists of not only great live music, but also a great stage presence and banter between the band.
I arrived at the venue 30 minutes before the doors opened in order to guarantee that my friends and I would get a spot near the front. When we arrived at the stage, the venue was lit up with blue lights and a disco ball hanging from the ceiling. The majority of the crowd consisted of middle agers. They were even selling a shirt at the merchandise booth that said, “My middle-aged friend went to see LCD Soundsystem and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.” It was great to see older people getting down to music. I assume there were many moms and dads in the audience.
There was an opening DJ, Traxx, who was playing groovy music that had an 80’s vibe. Among some of the songs they played was “Just Dance” by David Bowie and “Once in a Lifetime” by Talking Heads. Everyone in the audience was dancing to the set. The music was great, but by 9:30, everyone was anxious and ready for LCD Soundsystem to come on stage. The stage crew was going around putting boxed waters out for each member of the band. Shortly after, they came out.
The crowd greeted them with loud cheers. I had managed to get near the stage and could see them fairly well from where I stood. They started off with their usual first song, “Us v. Them,” which got the audience pumped up. The disco ball started shining brightly behind them in the middle of the song, getting the audience even more excited.
They had a powerful stage presence as they used different types of light effects to fully set the mood for the songs they were performing. The lights went along with the beat, making for a palpable experience. James Murphy spoke to the audience after “Us v. Them” and told those closest to the stage that it would be a no phone zone. The whole band seemed pretty adamant about this rule and didn’t like to see people on their phones during the performance.
He continued to introduce the rest of the band and went on to the next song. Some of the most exciting songs were the songs from american dream, specifically “call the police” and “american dream,” which they played respectively after “Us v. Them” and “I Can Change.” I was really looking forward to hearing them perform the new album, since I have already seen them perform their old music twice thus far. Their performance of the new album was as full of life as their old songs. Everyone was singing along, really showing that the band’s comeback wasn’t a waste.
The show continued to be uplifting and exciting with great music coupled with great light effects. James Murphy’s stage presence and interactions with the audience also contributed greatly to the performance throughout the whole show. Between sets, James Murphy would throw boxed water into the crowd as fans fought to reach for it, myself included. He’d joke around with us and say, “Don’t worry, it’s just water.” Throughout the performance, he would occasionally dance a little between sets and chat with the other members of the band. He and Pat Mahoney would take brief wine breaks between the performances, with full glasses of white wine ready for them when they wanted some. I thought it added a classiness to the performance.
What really got me the most excited about his conversations between songs was when he stopped his performance to talk about the short people in the crowd. He said, “I’ve been noticing that some of the shorter people in the crowd have been watching the show through their phone screen because they can’t see. If you’re a tall person and you see someone short nearby that can’t see, let them come forward.” This was when my fellow short friend and I were able to make our way all the way to the front. The crowd parted and allowed the shorter people to come towards the front, which I thought was really cool of Murphy to do.
The performance was even greater up from the front. Being able to see everyone in the band up close and personal while they performed some of their classics was truly a great experience. The disco ball was shining brightly above them as they continued into their set playing “Someone Great” and then on to their new song, “tonite.”
They all went off stage after finishing to “I Want Yr Love,” but we all knew that they had more in store. They came back after more cheers and started to perform “oh baby,” the opening track from American Dream. This song was truly a masterpiece live. James Murphy sings with gusto. There is an enthusiasm that is so present in his voice that he doesn’t need to do much more to get the audience engaged in the performance. He stays in the same place, cupping his microphone close to his mouth and closing his eyes as he sings passionately. It’s a simple performance, but it’s a great one that gets the crowd excited because it’s iconic to James Murphy and the band.
They continued with their encore by playing “emotional haircut” and, of course, “Dance Yrself Clean,” the LCD Soundsystem classic that got the whole crowd excited. Right when the beat dropped, colorful lights were projected behind the band and everyone started dancing and jumping. They then finished off their set with “All My Friends,” as the entire audience sang along passionately with them. They thanked us, and left the stage.
This performance was incredible. I have already seen them twice, but this was my first time seeing them up close and hearing them perform their new music. I was even able to somehow get a hold of the set list. It is safe to say that LCD Soundsystem still has it in them, and that this comeback should have a lot in store for both old fans and new. If you listen to LCD Soundsystem, buy tickets to a show immediately. If you don’t listen to LCD Soundsystem, start listening as soon as you finish reading this.
PHOTO BY BILLBOARD
BY SABINE BAJAKIAN, PUBLICATIONS DIRECTOR & DJ
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