I WAS THERE: LCD Soundsystem Try Not To Lose Their Edge With the Kids At Music Hall of Williamsburg

Words and Photos by Andrew Parks

In case you didn’t know, Thursday night marked the longest gap between LCD Soundsystem shows since James Murphy was spinning Can and Chic at APT until 5 a.m. And while the DFA don made sure to remind us of this fact at least 10 times, he didn’t have to. After all, LCD’s loose/loopy set at the Music Hall of Williamsburg was clearly a warm-up gig for bigger and not-quite-better places (playing opposite Jay-Z at Coachella, headlining two nights at Terminal 5). From a giddy “Yr City’s a Sucker” to the final slurred lines of “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down,” the overwhelming sense that we were witnessing a drunken dress rehearsal is exactly why the show worked so well; exactly why the Internet seekers and art-school Brooklynites in little jackets and borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered ’80s couldn’t…stop…dancing for a change. 

Rising profile aside, the thing that’s always made Murphy so appealing is his role as one of the kids–a baby fat-padded, champagne-and-whiskey-pounding dude next door who also happens to write some of today’s most compelling dance/pop tunes. So when Murphy insisted “no really, tonight is not a show,” we thought, “Well, all right then. Go on…” And when he introduced his killer band with, “I’ve got some good news and some bad news: the good news is we showed up, and the bad news is I’m wasted,” we thought, “Well, all right then. Drink more!”

Because nothing gets a room moving like a ridiculously-inebriated James Murphy. That kind of shit is infectious, an inescapable call to uncross our collective arms, touch one another inappropriately, and prove that white men can’t dance, either. Or at the very least, get lost in the head rush hooks of a song like “All My Friends.” That one gave us goose bumps from the second its spiraling keys kicked in. Why? Because it’s one of the greatest singles of the past 10 years, a growing pains extension of “Losing My Edge” that’s our song. Not just LCD’s–ours.

As for whether Murphy gave us a proper preview of LCD’s next LP (This Is Happening, due out 5/18), he didn’t share much because he used to “hate when bands played most of their new record before it came out.” (There he goes with trying to be a “cool guy” rather than a rock star again…) So we got “Drunk Girls,” one of the more forgettable singles in the band’s nearly-flawless canon, and “Change,” a synth-stabbed ballad that suggests “Drunk Girls” is nothing but a rock ‘n’ roll ruse.

Which would make perfect sense. Murphy’s always been a bit of a comedian, offsetting such dead serious, surprisingly melancholic tracks as “Someone Great” and “All My Friends” with spastic party-hard anthems like “Yeah” and “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House.” He’s like a guy at a party that says, “Come over here, man. I’ve got something to tell you.” And then this burly, kinda drunk dude proceeds to tell you how “that girl over there” broke his heart after five years of bullshit. You listen, you nod, and when things start to get a little uncomfortable, he says, “Ah, I’m just fucking with you! Want some tequila?”

Yes, please.

LCD Soundsystem @ Music Hall of Williamsburg, 4.8.10:
Yr City’s A Sucker
Us v Them
Drunk Girls
Losing My Edge
All My Friends

Someone Great
Daft Punk Is Playing At My House
New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down