Would you be pissed off if you bought pretty expensive tickets to a show and then it got, first, postponed, and then a few days later, cancelled? That happened to me recently. I was in the midst of three shows in three nights (can you keep up with the old man, kiddies?), and BAM, out of the blue comes the email postponing the show. Crap. And then a few days later, the cancellation. Who committed this violation? None other than the former Smiths’ frontman, Morrissey. Rock never dies? Not for us old folks.
The show being cancelled, I took the night off and gathered my strength for the next night’s performance by LCD Soundsystem. When I told some people I was going to LCD S, they were like, “I didn’t know you liked them.” Maybe I have a well-deserved reputation for hitting power-pop and punk shows, but damn, kids, in the BRP era (less than 2 years) I have also seen Dolly Parton, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, and bands that are much closer musically to LCD S, like Joywave, Silversun Pickups, Bleachers and Sleigh Bells. I also like Passion Pit a lot. And if I ever get a chance to see KC and the Sunshine Band, I will step on and over your body to beat you to the front row.
LCD S is a Brooklyn-based electronic/dance band fronted by James Murphy. You might be familiar with them through their Nike commercial soundtrack. Ryan told me about this, and I checked it out, and instantly recognized the music. LCD S put out an album called 45:33 which was made as a workout track for Nike. It’s basically one song, but LCD S subsequently split it up into a number of different songs. That’s kind of different.
LCD S put out three albums then called it quits in 2011. They reformed in 2015, and put out their fourth album, American Dream, in September 2017. They then decided to launch a tour, and came to Philly to play 3 sold out shows at the Fillmore. I was hoping they would play two of my favorites, Daft Punk is Playing at My House and North American Scum, but they chose not to do so. But the show was still most excellent. Here’s a link to the setlist:
A couple of thoughts about this show. First, I now bring to concerts a small Canon 35mm camera (not an SLR, but one of those $150 jobs where you point and shoot) that I use to supplement my iPhone. It’s small, nothing fancy, but has a good zoom lens and allows me to get angles and shots that fail on the iPhone. You have seen plenty from the Canon recently. But they wouldn’t let me bring in the camera to this show on instructions from the band. I made the obvious argument that everyone in the club has a camera with them, and it’s stupid to single out this small, non-professional camera. Were they denying everyone admittance with their phone? The answer was no, but no cameras. There is no arguing with The Law – I fought it and lost - and so I had to go back to my car and put the camera away and then reenter. What a crock of crap. The net result is that all I have are iPhone shots, and the quality is what it is.
Next, you can say all you want about 6 members being in the band, but LCD S is James Murphy. He’s the focal point, the guy who writes all the songs, and the creative genius behind the entire thing. And with all the electronica up on stage, it’s hard to tell who is actually playing anything other than hitting the “play” button.
The band is in love with lighting, particularly strobes. I haven’t been to a show with this many strobes since seeing Sleigh Bells. I don’t know how you fare with strobes, but one woman next to me was struggling mightily, closing her eyes and ultimately leaving her spot. I was never one for spinning rides as a kid, and that sense of disorientation brought on by rapid or spinning movement hasn’t aged well with me. I closed my eyes, looked down, and eventually just powered through, but seriously, strobe lights are something that 7th graders think are really cool. I think it was a detriment.
But the music itself was exactly what you would expect. Heavy dance grooves and good lyrics. The band plowed through about 2 hours of tunes that kept the crowd moving the entire time. They did leave the stage about ¾ of the way through, but it was hard to tell if the return was an encore or not. If it was, it was certainly unconventional as Murphy announced that they would take a break to go pee and grab a drink, and the audience wasn’t compelled to cheer and chant until they came back on stage. It seemed more like a short intermission, ala the Feelies, than a typical encore. The band was smart enough not to come back with a boring ballad (I don’t think that is in their repertoire anyway) and jumped right back into the groove and the crowd chugged on.
I was happy to have attended the show even though I think the setlists from their other Philly nights were superior. I think LCD S is a band whose music will endure for a long time – they are special – and seeing them move about 3000 souls all at once and in time with the music was fun and satisfying. Even the one-percenters up in the rich seats were up and jamming with the band, which begs the question of why pay substantially extra for seats if the point is to stand and dance?
LCD S is the last live show for me for 2017. It’s been an amazing year full of great music. I’ll be back very soon with artistry of a different type, and then other stuff including some musical thoughts. I have a few shows lined up for 2018 already, and I’m already getting the itch to go see some live tunes. I hope you had a great year, too, and that wherever you are, you are making a 2018 resolution to, in the words of P Funk, “get off your ass and jam.” Hahaha, I try not to cuss on BRP, but oh well, sometimes a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. See ya.
My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.