The New York City area has seen its fair share of James Murphy and LCD Soundsystem in 2010. First they played a “secret show” at the intimate Music Hall of Williamsburg (capacity 550) followed up by a sweaty throwdown a few days later at Webster Hall in April anticipating the band’s May release, “This Is Happening”.
These shows marked the unveiling of LCD Soundsystem as a 7-piece live band, as well as showcasing many new tracks off of their upcoming release; including catchy dance tunes, “Pow Pow” and “Drunk Girls.” These shows also included many of their staples as well as a cover of Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” leading into “New York I Love You.” Clearly that was the case as shortly after this show they announced 4 more shows at New York’s Terminal 5 just one month later, which all subsequently sold out.
After a summer which included heavy touring across 4 different continents and coveted spots at festivals such as Bonnaroo, Coachella, Glastonbury, and Fuji Rock, LCD Soundsystem returned to the New York area to kick off the Fall Tour which Murphy has said may be the last featuring this lineup. Located just 15 miles west of Manhattan; the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair, NJ still retains the feel of a small town venue (as well as avoids the token sea of hipsters). This show was certainly a treat for those who decided to spend their Thursday evening in this 1920’s era theatre.
The opening notes from “Dance Yrself Clean” were a sure indication that we were in store for a great show that night. This was the first time that the opening track from “This Is Happening” had been played in front of an audience and was the first of three previously un-played songs that night. The band demonstrated a great amount of patience with this track, which erupts about half way through encouraging the fans to, well, do just as the song title suggests.
Not a drop of energy was lost as LCD followed up with “Drunk Girls,” an upbeat ode to the Jersey Shore that had everybody in the crowd shouting out the refrain, regardless of sobriety. The setlist was very balanced throwing in hits from the band’s previous two releases; such as “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House” and “Get Innocuous”, as well as less frequently played songs such as “Yr City’s A Sucker”, which saw Murphy running around the stage covering percussive instruments in addition to vocals.
About an hour into the set, the band broke out in two more debuts from “This Is Happening;” “I Can Change” and “You Wanted A Hit,” the latter of which has definitely become one of those songs that continues to grow on listeners; especially after seeing it live. It would have been very difficult to tell that this was the first time this band has played these songs live; the build up for “You Wanted A Hit” came in real tight and worked perfectly with the simple yet powerful grid of lights surrounding the stage. From this point forward the concert turned into one giant electro/funk/dance party as that song segued into “Tribulations” with a full eruption of lights before closing the set with a high energy “Yeah.”
LCD came out shortly after for a 3-song encore which included, “Someone Great,” “Losing My Edge,” and finally “Home.” They certainly felt at home on this night in New Jersey, the birth state of James Murphy (surprisingly it was also their first show played in the state). Earlier in the year, Murphy stated in interviews that this may be the final tour and album of LCD Soundsystem; if this is actually the case they are definitely leaving on a high note. “This Is Happening” just happened to be many’s favorite albums of the year and these new songs – especially the latter batch recently debuted live – have really translated wondrously to the stage.
Articles and photos by Jesse Zryb