I don’t think there’s ever been a band so far removed from underdog status as LCD Soundsystem. Inherent in being under-appreciated, unrecognised or uncool are notions of empathy and benevolence. LCD enjoy the financial benefits of a devoted fanbase and the critical benefits of existing in a genre space somewhere between indie rock and electronic (so if one isn’t particularly interesting, relevant, or popular at any one time, LCD are generally immune from the resulting dip in coverage). I think this has rubbed off on the fans.
The crowd on Wednesday night in the Olympia was up there as one of the most incessant and disruptive I’ve been a part of. As narrow as the demographic present was, there was no sense of the community or tribalism that can make a concert a sermon. So everyone made sure they got their view, everyone made sure they got their recording, everyone made sure it was your drink being spilled and not theirs.
Or maybe the hype surrounding a series of shows that sold out in seconds meant that attendees pressurised themselves to make it memorable. The same could be said of the €55 ticket price.
How conscious were the band themselves then of the contagious internalised pressure they were stepping out into? Very would be my guess. Any group that can manoeuvre through the press like they can must have some sense of self-awareness. A set packed full of hits is also another indication. It’s easy to forget just how prolific LCD were before that hiatus period. So prolific that not even songs with the stature of ‘Daft Punk is Playing at my House’, ‘New York I Love you…’ or ‘North American Scum’ can find their way into a two-hour show.
‘Losing my Edge’ was the highlight for me, not only because it’s a dance song like no other, but because it demonstrated James Murphy’s talismanic frontman abilities. Even through the raised phones and Father John Misty lookalikes, Murphy grabs your attention and only relinquishes control to refill his wine. Nancy Whang’s understated charisma provided the secondary narrative, transforming from commander-in-chief of the synths to picking up the vocals where Murphy’s range falls short.
At Friday’s gig, guitarist Al Doyle took Leo Varadkar to task over our current government’s complacency in doing something about the country’s archaic abortion laws. Doyle labelled our Taoíseach as a ‘tosser’ who apparently walked away when Doyle wore a ‘repeal’ tote bag in front of him.;
The new material received a predictably raucous welcome, despite American Dream’s two best tracks ‘oh baby’ and ‘change yr mind’ being omitted. Hearing the band play ‘tonite’ with such fervour and joy surely cemented the song’s place in shows to come.
With the lyrics to the closer ‘All My Friends’ ringing in my ears as all the Gen Xers bottlenecked at the exit, I began to forgive their brutish, selfish behaviour. They were fighting to revisit the time when ‘Someone Great’ or ‘Dance Yrself Clean’ floored them in the midst of their formative years, to escape from a reality where, according to James Murphy,
You can sleep on the plane or review what you said
When you’re drunk and the kids leave impossible tasks
You think over and over, “hey, I’m finally dead”
Niall O’Shaughnessy – Music Writer