James Murphy wants you to know that LCD Soundsystem’s 22 dates at Brooklyn Steel won’t be special.
The rock has been rolled, the cave left empty, the resurrection of LCD Soundsystem is complete. “they’re just some gigs,” Murphy asserted in one of the band’s standard lowercase Facebook posts, “no more special than any other gigs.”
But for all the success of the band’s theatrical goodbye, standard issue reunion protocol has been followed, complete with a Coachella announcement, SNL performance and an endless string of festival dates from Alabama to Ireland where old songs are played to new fans. Still, last summer, I saw the group headline the closing night of NYC’s Panorama Festival with a set that married EDM-level ecstatic dance spectacle to the lost art of arena rock catharsis proving LCD more than capable of holding their own in a massive outdoor context.
The setlist tonight is wall-to-wall hits performed remarkably well by the ensemble of eight-odd musicians. Modular synth wires litter the stage and just about every member of the band plays percussion at one point or another as they work through well portioned servings of fan favourites (Daft Punk Is Playing At My House, I Can Change, Dance Yrself Clean), early dance punk filth (Movement, the eternal Yeah [Crass Version]), and soaring emotional peaks (Someone Great, the post-reunion closer All My Friends).
The night is brought to a close with four new American Dream songs performed together. Although Murphy’s croon is loud and true throughout, the previously released title track loses the gentle power and melancholic bounce of its synth line in the wash of a big room.
Two more unreleased songs make appearances: the deliberately repetitive chug of Tonight and Emotional Haircut. While the observational lyrics of Emotional Haircut are more Pow Pow than Losing My Edge, third new track Call The Police has the kind of yearning intro that makes me wonder if this is what U2 sounds like to people who are into that sort of thing. But just as you catch yourself wondering if Call The Police sounds a little like an LCD Soundsystem developed by focus group there’s that tactful crush of Murphy’s words: “and we don’t waste time with love,” “it’s just death from above.”
What was that thing about these gigs not being special?