LCD Soundsystem review: On the first day, they rose from the dead
On the first of a three-night residency, James Murphy and co make a triumphant return to the delight of the disco-punk crew
Olympia Theatre, Dublin
LCD Soundsystem gigs are not a place for recrimination. If 30-somethings need a safe space, then this is it: basking in the glory of the band you moved through your 20s with, surrounded by your best friends (assuming they managed to get a ticket, and your best friends always do), with songs that everyone knows the words to.
Few gigs can cope with this level of anticipation, and on the first night of a three-gig residency, their first non-festival show here since Murphy dragged them back from the dead, there will be no handwringing over the resurrection. The pristine, synthy sunshine of LCD’s days will stretch a little longer – this is happening.
If Murphy and co are feeling the pressure, they don’t show it for a second and get straight down to business. There is no fuss on stage:the backdrop is minimal, the lighting straightforward. Gone are the suits and the skinny ties. In keeping with the grit of new album American Dream, James Murphy is in scrappy jeans and T-shirt. Tonight there is work to be done, blood to be sweat and tears to be shed.
On LCD’s older records, the instrumentation can sound thin and brittle. Not here though. The band open with the decade-old Get Innocuous!, which thunders out from the stage, cash in hand and in a blind rush to repay its debt to Blue Monday. Murphy strolls about the stage and unpacks a cowbell beat, a sound that launched a thousand indie bands on to a thousand music shop drum departments, all looking to get their piece of the hip Brooklyn pie.
Two tracks in and Murphy croons “I can change”. A small pocket of people on the first floor are refusing to get out of their seats, but the rest of the broiling Olympia has blood in its veins. The brilliant Call the Police chases down I Used To, already starting to sound as if they come from the back catalogue and are not fresh off the shelf. There is Murphy’s disbelieving screech, the angst and worry worked into the fibre of the tracks. The huge almost mechanical synths sound as if they are buckling up over a sea wall before crashing down on the pit below. It’s angry but with a purpose, music and sounds riveted together and built to last. LCD always felt relevant but here and now they suddenly feel important.
You Wanted a Hit batters away any reservations you may have had about Murphy putting the band back together. They sound smarter, dirtier, angrier. Tracks are retooled ever so slightly. Verses and choruses are reworked to get a little more grunt from their gears. On Yeah, Gavin Rayna Russom folds giant envelopes of sound that rattle the bones of the Olympia, and with one deft wave of her hand Nancy Whang bats the whole thing effortlessly into Someone Great, and all in the space it takes your heart to beat.
From there it’s a tumble down Murphy’s almost Christmassy American Dream, and a short break before an encore when everyone shuffles their favourites in their head and hopes they’ll get a look in. Losing My Edge sets the pace at frantic, while Emotional Haircut is as thrummily satisfying as a four-course dinner. And then, after two hours, there is the disco punk kiss off, when all sins are forgiven and all absences forgotten, as Murphy tells us to Dance Yrself Clean and we surrender to the end surrounded by All My Friends.
The list in your head of all the nights you hoped would never end just got one longer. Welcome back LCD. Let’s never fight again.