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Arts and Entertainment

LCD Soundsystem, Holy Ghost @ The Palladium 6/4/10

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I was just going to leave you with a bunch of pretty photos from a talented photographer called Mick. I was not going to detail anything about the recent show by LCD Soundsystem and Holy Ghost, preferring not to flood the airwaves with words when pictures tell the tale anyway.

I was not going to do any of this until my conscience got the better of me. You see, dear reader, I must tell you about what I saw. It was beautiful chaos, a swarm of drums, guitars, cowbells and pulsating rhythms. There was a disco ball, a flood of streamers, all with an underlying current of pure bliss that was as palpable as the acrid layer of weed smoke.

Before there was LCD, there was Holy Ghost. The opening band, whose lead singer said he'd been anticipating this trip since NYC, heavily relied on LCD Soundsystem for their inspiration (and instruments, using LCD's cowbell and backup singers in support). Their sound was a mashup of Hot Chip and the 1980s. While fun, their music hammered home the point that to imitate LCD Soundsystem is to invariably come up short.

Alas, two hours and twenty minutes after doors opened, LCD took the stage. The ring leader of all this madness, this astoundingly wonderful charade, was James Murphy, the unlikely hero of a mass that hung on every beat, caught each word and responded to each song with outstretched arms.

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That lovable shlub Murphy and his friends opened the evening with "Us v. Them," an upbeat postcard to mayhem. Immediately, 4,000 individuals morphed into one mass of raised fists and shaking hips as dozens of small dance circles broke off from the main throng.

The brooding "Get Innocuous" followed two songs later, which built up a steady crescendo allowing each musician to unveil their true craftsmanship. That is until LCD's sound system couldn't keep up with their master's wishes. The stereo broke and a slight delay was had with Murphy assuring us, "This shit happens...we're just warming up for the big show tomorrow."

The show was going well. Energy was high and a boomerang of adulation swung around the joint. But it wasn't until the set's last three songs (before the encore) that this show went from very good to very great.

During "Tribulations," LCD obliterated all lingering average expectations. With the lights turned slightly up and a shimmying, disco ball in rotation, Murphy sang, "You try making me wait, but it feels alright as long as something's happening..." From the top deck, you could see a mass swaying without care, their Jim Jones on stage wiping away modern worries. Something was happening; Kool aid was swigged and that People's Temple was pure, Guayanan bliss.

Murphy then launched into "Movement," a monument to the gods of heavy metal packed inside three-minutes of high octane energy. The quick beat induced hand claps while bassist Tyler Pope and guitarist David Scott Stone thrashed themselves silly.

By "Yeah," it took only Murphy yelling the song's title over and over to gain complete fealty. We were putty, our hearts having turned to electro-punk pop stone at the hands of his undulating anthems to self deprecation.

After a brief break, the sweet, wonderfully depressing "New York, I Love You..." closed things out. The ballad, which any big city kid can relate to, is nice and lovely and, like many LCD songs, builds upon itself until breaking down like a house of cards.

Unlike their other songs, though, "New York" is a mostly traditional rock song, with traditional guitars and traditional pianos all playing in a traditional time signature. It's nice, but of course LCD Soundsystem is not a traditional rock band. How are they going to genuflect uniqueness on this one? Are those...? Yes, yes, those are streamers popping out of tiny horns latched on the stage in sync with the final beat.

Wringing out every last beat, with Murphy sauntering off stage, his band slowly and individually completed their roles. LCD Soundsystem, whose strength relies on their cohesive sound, deconstructed themselves to show us that even the sum of the parts is as good as the whole.


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Us v. Them
Drunk Girls
Get Innocuous
Yr City's a Sucker
Pow Pow
Daft Punk's Playing in My House
All I Want
All My Friends
I Can Change

Someone Great
Losing My Edge
New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down