Nothing says “we’re sticking around for a bit” like getting your name painted in bold white letters on a venue’s brick exterior. Marking their impressive 10-day residency at Brooklyn Steel, which runs through December 23rd, LCD Soundsystem’s freshly-painted name was like a beacon for fans in the murky winter weather last night. While the entire run was sold out in advance, there was a ticket drop ahead of yesterday’s show, with some still available at the box office by 8pm – so if you didn’t score before, you probably can on any one of these nights. For the merch alone, it’s worth a shot; the tempting selection included a collectible poster for the 10-night takeover, tie-dyed tour shirts, sarcastic buttons, and baby onesies that proclaim, “I might be gay.” In the context of what was coming, even the warning signs taped to the doors were exciting: “Please be advised: strobes will be in use this evening.” No doubt about that.
The roomy industrial venue was filling up rapidly, and the audience’s most noticeable trait was their wide range of ages. When the room dipped into darkness, the young and old fans reacted with the same affectionate cheers until the Brooklyn band took the stage, starting the show at 9:12pm. The snapping pulse of “oh baby” – the first song on this year’s new LP, american dream – put the crowd’s muscles in motion, and when James Murphy tenderly sang the first titular words, several ladies near the front let out unrestrained squeals. But as he and his ensemble tore through that and “I Can Change,” there was a new huskiness in his voice that began to reveal itself. “I don’t think I can play this show without telling you guys, I’m fucking sick as shit,” Murphy laughed. “And I’m going to do my best, I promise.” His fans let out huge, appreciative screams. “We just don’t cancel shows. Because some people travel, and people come in, so I’m going to do everything I can. Sorry if my voice isn’t working the way it normally does. Thank you guys for coming!” Then they banged out “call the police,” after which Murphy announced enthusiastically, “I think I yelled some of the gunk out of my voice!” He actually had, and the group was hitting their stride.
With balloons and fog from the smoke machines soaring overhead, Night 1 fans enjoyed a career-spanning setlist from the long-running dance-punk outfit as they whipped up “Get Innocuous!” “You Wanted A Hit,” “Tribulations,” and “Movement,” even pulling in the “Synths” intro before “Someone Great.” Interestingly, their show was extremely light on visual effects and void of any backlit displays, keeping things simple with well-timed strobes, sudden moments of darkness, and the age-old sparkle of a disco ball. The multi-talented instrumentalists – including Murphy himself – supplied seemingly infinite layers of raging synth, groovy bass, and subdivided percussion, enhanced by Nancy Whang’s elegant backup vocals throughout. As LCD Soundsystem treated Brooklyn to “i used to,” “tonite,” “Home,” a cover of Chic’s “I Want Your Love,” and “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” (a last-minute addition to the setlist before the show started), Murphy sang out strong and maintained an impassioned stance at center stage, grasping the mic as if it was the only thing keeping the earth on its axis. Anyone coming to dance couldn’t have possibly been let down last night, because the show didn’t stop there. The firmly-demanded encore brought out “Yr City’s a Sucker,” “emotional haircut,” “Dance Yrself Clean,” and “All My Friends,” and it was hard to believe the generous performance had been on the brink of cancellation. As Murphy put it toward the end, with admirable self-assurance, “You can say his voice was terrible, but you can’t say it was a short show.”
Article: Olivia Isenhart
Photos: Shayne Hanley