Indie veteran James Murphy and company, performing at the Eagles Club in Milwaukee, demonstrated the raw power of an energetically executed set. LCD Soundsystem, Murphy’s primary musical project for the past eight years, performed an array of tunes from all three records, with a surprising emphasis on material from LCD’s debut album. Murphy consistently proved to his eager audience that, contrary to what his breakthrough track may say, he has not lost his edge after years in the LCD spotlight.
LCD’s set began with “Dance Yrself Clean”, the opening track from the current record This Is Happening. Murphy was wise to select this tune as the show opener. “Dance Yrself Clean” has a natural build suited well for the start of a much anticipated show. The song begins with the austere sounds of light percussion and a single-note synth before building to an unremitting fever pitch. The anticipation amongst the crowd was palpable as Murphy patiently built the tune one sonic layer at a time.
One of the show’s most memorable moments was a seamless transition between the new “You Wanted a Hit” and “Tribulations”, one of the most popular tracks from LCD Soundsystem’s debut record. Murphy gracefully oscillated between the new favorites and the old standbys in a similar fashion throughout the whole show. A large portion of the concert was surprisingly dedicated to epic renditions of songs from the early LCD catalogue. A 15-minute version of the early single “Yeah” was especially stark in its audacity. The LCD troupe exhibited such energy and subtle musicianship throughout, though, that the band’s jammier moments skirted even a hint of self-indulgence.
Murphy closed the show with “Home”, the final track on This is Happening. Somehow, Murphy’s decision to sandwich his collection of masterworks new and old with the opening and closing tracks of the new record seemed appropriate. Murphy has always been willing to look joyfully forward and backward simultaneously. If his LCD Soundsystem project is soon coming to a close as has been rumored, it is great to know that he is ending this phase of his musical career on such a high note.
LCD Soundsystem’s set was preceded by a performance from Hot Chip, the English electropop band. Hot off the release of their most recent effort, One Life Stand, the group brought verve and lively playfulness to their portion of the show. Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem were an impeccable pairing. Both brought incredible energy and superb musicianship to the performance. The members of both groups took on multiple musical roles, often changing quickly from one instrument to the next. The juxtaposition of these two indie electronic powerhouses in the same show highlighted the fact that some of today’s most electrifying music is coming from the DFA label.