LCD Soundsystem - O2 Academy Leeds - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

LCD Soundsystem - O2 Academy Leeds

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

This is Happening, LCD Soundsystem's soon-come third album is apparently their last. It follows, then, that this will probably be LCD Soundsystem's last UK tour. Of course, we all know how today's bands like to go 'on indefinite hiatus', reforming when solo projects exhaust themselves and public interest swells once more. That seems doubtful in the case of LCD though, which has always been less an actual band than a means for head honcho James Murphy to produce Frankenstein's monster-style reanimations of his favourite bits of pop culture.

So for those of us in the crowd tonight, there's a palpable sense of occasion. This is Happening, indeed. But first we get YACHT, aka Jona Bechtolt, mate of Murphy, formally of The Blow and now DFA signing. Taking the stage in smart eveningwear and accompanied by a lady wearing a pair of leggings through which you can very clearly see her under-crackers, it's clear YACHT aims to put on a show. Unfortunately, the show he and his band put on relies so heavily on pre-recorded synths and beats they might as well be miming. Things aren't really helped by the sheer gusto with which YACHT, his drummer and his bassist attack their instruments. YACHT thrashes at his guitar as if producing a maelstrom of riffs. Yet, audibly this is not the case. And so one electro-pop tune after another passes by, including the very likable 'The Afterlife' and 'Psychic City', while suspicion grows that the band aren't actually contributing anything much to the sound besides vocals. After a while it's a bit annoying, like watching a bunch of Williamsburg hipsters enthusiastically playing a game of Rock Band along to some Scissor Sisters' tracks.

Eventually YACHT, by now sweating profusely and looking shattered, vacates the stage and that palpable sense of expectation builds once more. Thankfully, LCD Soundsystem do not disappoint, hitting the ground running with the immediately identifiable hiss and pop of 'Get Innocuous!' and then storming through 'Us and Them', 'Tribulations', 'Yeah', 'Yr City's a Sucker' and a rejigged electro-popping version of 'Daft Punk is Playing at My House'. New songs 'I Can Change' and 'Pow Pow' also sparkle. Recent single 'Drunk Girls', quite slight-sounding in its recorded form, gets a rambunctious, punky live treatment tonight. The energy coming form the stage is staggering, electrifying. Endearingly, Murphy projects absolutely zero New York cool, instead coming over as a little shy and befuddled about what he's doing in this big hall in front of all these people. With his stocky frame and unmanageable hair, he's like the Charlie Brooker of electro-punk: a determinedly uncool chap on the wrong side of 30 who's somehow cooler and smarter than anyone else in the game.

As well they might, the band save their best moments for the encore, returning to the stage to the gorgeous womb-like throb of 'Someone Great' (which is delivered by a chap stood behind a towering mass of synths who, wonderfully, looks like Charles Manson dressed up like early-70s Brian Eno). The song provides a beautiful moment; the sincerity visibly aching from Murphy's performance. However, it's overshadowed by a full-throttle rendition of 'Losing My Edge' which features Murphy's voice going unfeasibly squeaky as he tells us about the kids who are "really, really, REALLY, REALLY NICE!" It's the undisputed song of the night. And they follow it with a bashed out cover of Bowie's "Heroes". Oh no wait - it's new song 'All I Want'. That slightly less-than-stellar moment aside, this has been the perfect gig. As the band finish with the Lou Reed-in-space balladry of 'New York, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down', you really can't help but wish that, whatever Mr Murphy does next, he returns to our shores soon.

Richard Morris

Photos: Dean Birkett

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