LCD Soundsystem at Roy Wilkins, 10/23/10
October 23, 2010
Roy Wilkins Auditorium, St. Paul
With 10cc's oddly creepy art/soft rock hit "I'm Not In Love" serving as the intro to the set, there was electricity in the air, something not often found in the cavernous confines of Roy Wilkins Auditorium regardless of who might be playing. LCD Soundsystem, as we were about to find out, however, were full of surprises Saturday night, not the least of which was making that song sound oddly appealing.
With a dozen or more balloons bouncing back and forth across the crowd, the band slowly assembled onstage and started with "Dance Yrself Clean." As lead singer/LCD head honcho James Murphy appeared onstage dressed unassumingly (for once) in khaki pants and a dress shirt, the crowd went absolutely ballistic. The song slowly built and as it did, the crowd's energy did as well -- and when the song exploded full tilt with a flash from the stage lights, so did the crowd. LCD Soundsystem were off and running.
LCD Soundsystem has albums full of great, slightly poppy dance songs, but Murphy's greatest trick seems to be the presentation of these songs live. Many of them clock in at six minutes or more, and for the most part they seem like they could -- or should -- be longer. The floor was a roiling mass of bodies for the duration of the set, and the show had the general atmosphere of the coolest party you have ever been to. Even the slightly silly songs in LCD's repertoire -- "Drunk Girls" in particular -- sounded transcendent on Saturday, which was quite a feat given the whipping that song has taken by critics and fans alike.
Murphy's voice is reminiscent of Ian Curtis fronting a Euro-dance band and for a long time this didn't translate well to stage, but maybe it was because he was trying to hard to make LCD Soundsystem something it wasn't. The lyrics don't say much in the way of addressing anything deep or extraordinarily insightful and there is always some sort of backlash or sniping about how dance-type bands aren't important, but record sales (yes, they're not everything, but they are something) and the incredible energy radiating from this crowd would lead most to believe that none of that matters. Electro bands' lyrics have never needed to mean anything; that was never the point in the first place. Compared to others of his ilk (Underworld, for instance, whose nonsensical lyrics are inexplicably hailed as "stream-of-conciousness genius"), Murphy at least seems to be thinking about things a little bit.
By the end of the set, however, it was plainly obvious that Murphy figured out what the strongest points of LCD Soundsystem are and turned the volume way up on those elements for the live show. He's not Neil Young but he has no reason to be. The band isn't overly serious, but nobody has to be convinced that they matter -- they do. As they closed the nearly two-hour set with their first single, "Losing My Edge," and "Home," it seemed as though not even an hour had passed. James Murphy and company brought the best party of the year, and it was two hours of non-stop, unbridled fun.
Critic's Bias: I had heard bad things about LCD Soundsystem's live show and as much as I tried to not carry them with me Saturday, I did, though in the end it didn't matter.
The Crowd: So many guys in skinny jeans...
Overheard In The Crowd: "What part of England are these guys from again?" "No, no, they're from New York." "Oh, really?"
Random Notebook Dump: [I] Don't care what the rest of set is like, "Dance Yrself Clean" is the best live song I've seen this year.
For more photos: See our full concert slideshow with LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip by Erik Hess, and photos of LCD Soundsystem dropping by Too Much Love at First Avenue by Dave Eckblad.
Dance Yrself Clean
Yr City's A Sucker
Daft Punk Is Playing At My House
I Can Change
All My Friends
You Wanted A Hit
Losing My Edge
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