Monday, May 14, 2007
Electro-Clash of the Titans
New Order pioneered it, LCD Soundsystem is taking it to dangerous new levels...sound levels that is. Rock & roll and dance music can co-exist. Their love child is known as "dance-punk," and it appeals to both ends of the music spectrum. To the right of me was the dance raver, to the left of me, the hip, bespectacled indie chick nodding her head, and to the back of me, the rock stoners who kept yelling "play Freebird!" every god damn chance they could. It was a union of varied music tastes that few bands like LCD Soundsystem could only bring together. My ears are shot and I'm tired from elecro-groovin'. Last night's show at Webster Hall was well worth the admission price and so far has been one of the best live shows of the year. "Daft Punk Playing at My House," "Watch the Tapes" and "Movement" were in danger of destroying the venue with LCD's sonic assault causing extreme vibration, and not just the dancing kind. I think I felt everything from the follicles on my head to the nails on my toes vibrate. Even ballads like "Someone Great" which turned up softer on record were performed with a more primal and dissonant execution. "Turn up the bass! I can't hear the bass!" the one rock stoner behind me yelled to his other stoner pal. "What?" the other stoner asked. "I said they need to turn up the bass!" he yelled once more.
Perhaps one the more challenging moments of the night came from the final song for the final show of the tour, according to the band, "New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down." Sounding more like a straight up Broadway number than raucous dance-punk, the song reminds any of the band's detractors that their is still songwriting behind LCD's never ending dance party. James Murphy both celebrates New Yorkers and their sense of entitlement as well as mocking it. I must admit I still don't really care for the song too much, but, I understood it better live and within the context of seeing the show in NYC, it worked. After all, LCD Soundsystem brilliantly melds Lower East Side punk and Manhattan underground beats, two NYC homegrown musical movements.
Word of advice, don't insult LCD Soundsystem's opener, Yacht. My friends and I apparently missed the "visionary genius" that was so carefully layered in Yacht's music which is basically one scraggly haired, Alf t-shirt wearing, cardigan donned lad jumping on stage to pre-recorded beats. Meh. Nothing special, and frankly, very annoying by the third song. Many a heckle were heard, especially when Yacht took time to tell everyone in the crowd that he would be taking questions. "Why are you awful?" one inpatient audience member asked. "What's that? Why am I awesome? 'Cause dude, your positive energy reflects onto me" beamed Yacht turning lemons into lemonade. Soon after Yacht's set, apparently someone called the scene police, or as my friend referred to them, the Gestapo, because before we knew it, two tattooed and tight shirted hooligans from Brooklyn confronted us and proceeded to get in the faces of several of my friends. "He's putting himself out there!" scowled the Ralph Macchio look-a-like. His friend, the bearded Grizzly Adams, was far more aggressive and told my friend that they would be having "problems" if he heard one more jeer coming from us. "You're going to fight me over this?" my friend asked confused. Grizzly Adams sneered, "if it comes to it." True, Yacht was doing "his own thing" and you can give credit for that. But, when you're paying good money to go see a show, it's my right to make glib remarks like, "Yacht's set went over like the Titanic!" wacka wacka! Or, "Yacht's all wet!" Hoo ha! Several insults were traded before the situation was diffused from both sides. No one wanted to throw down and miss a good show. Yacht made us foes, LCD soon made us friends. No doubt, a testament to LCD Soundsystem's mass appeal.
"North American Scum"