LCD Soundsystem’s Live Show Is Not About a Comeback Narrative
It turns out having LCD Soundsystem back isn’t so bad, but the beginning of their 2017 didn’t inspire all that much confidence. Their first comeback shows at the recently opened Brooklyn Steel were savaged by ticket scalpers, while their guitar-blazing comeback single “Call the Police” would have felt anthemic for most rock bands, except the one named LCD Soundsystem. That song is an incandescent stadium number that leans into the political zeitgeist (“Well there’s a full-blown rebellion but you’re easy to confuse”), a pose that isn’t convincing for an act whose aggressive self-awareness comes with chuckling at what’s en vogue. It seemed like LCD’s full-blown comeback—not just reunion shows, but a new album—would be good at best, a misfortune for a band that carefully constructed its sacrosanct legacy (yes, this is the obligatory reference to their final concert at Madison Square Garden).
But things fell into place right before autumn. The snide disco burner “Tonite” more closely aligned with what would be American Dream’s acidic tone, and by then, they’d announced 10 more shows at in New York again at Brooklyn Steel, this time free from ignominy of ticket bots. The first of those took place on Monday, the night of a botched terror attack that left New Yorkers more aggravated than concerned.
James Murphy had to start out the set working through his own aggravation, too. He was sick, and it took him until the set’s third song (“Call the Police”) to yell out the coarseness. The kaleidoscopic dance party commenced from there.
The career-spanning setlist sprinkled infused songs from their breakthrough full-length Sound of Silver and on with the punk abrasiveness of their debut. The synths that start “Get Innocuous!” abraded instead of faded in, climaxing with a dissonant yet cathartic outro embellished by the hovering disco ball’s rays of light. It’s worth noting that the lighting worked as an essential accoutrement, giving LCD’s wizzes and kerrangs the appeal of synesthesia, rapidly flashing along to Pat Mahoney’s inhuman drum patterns.
The narratives and skepticism surrounding LCD’s comeback were a clear afterthought throughout night, too, as the packed-to-the-doors venue raved on cue. They sung along to This Is Happening’s closer “Home” as if to evoke the ride into the sunset it once was. During “Dance Yrself Clean,” a pair of silhouetted arms raised their palms upward in a reverence that was technically sacrilegious. At least a quarter of the crowed aww’d on cue for The Long Goodbye closer “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down.” Perhaps some fans already knew they couldn’t leave without playing “All My Friends.”
Instead, “All My Friends” was the closer. The beach pink lighting backdrop matched the jubilation as the band sped toward the song’s climax. Then it ended. James Murphy said his thank you and briskly walked off the stage, not really sharing in the residual ecstasy.