Hordern Pavilion, July 24
There was some trepidation. There had to be.
Sure, the band has been playing again since last year; sure, the new songs set free earlier this year sounded pretty fine; and, sure, the reports from Splendour were typically effusive. But ….
There’s a bit more riding on this after all, and not just because it’s been more than six years since we last saw them here, not that long before one of the defining bands of the new century split.
Reformations have a mixed record when it comes to wholesale commitment from all parties and James Murphy’s LCD Soundsystem were a full commitment operation back then, for us and them.
Were they still? Were we?
The answer came not during Yr City’s A Sucker, opening the night with its familiar mix of downtown-meets-Africa rhythms and post-Patti Smith declarative prose though that punched holes in the air excitingly. Though the playing was instructive: damn these folks can play.
It wasn’t in the newest songs, such as Call The Police, which could bring a nervy energy that was equal parts nerds on the prowl and cool kids on show, and American Dream, which yielded ground to an almost doo wop feel wrapped around a Bowie-in-Berlin melody.
Or for that matter in the oldest material that throbbed with blacklight sweat and unabashed fondness for daylight tunes, like the perfect melange of No Wave, New Wave, uptown, downtown, Manhattan, Brixton and cheap electro given a good polish.
Nor, strictly speaking, was it the immediate rush of Daft Punk’s Playing At My House where punk dance slapped your arse and told you to keep moving while the world’s biggest disco ball turned like a minor planet above us.
As silly as this may sound, the moment which convinced me came in a sound-within-the-sound of that song, the second of the night: the squawking, almost feral, Devo-before-Eno tone of Nancy Whang’s synth delivering the signature riff like a nasty slice of Aya Stark revenge.
Here it was, a reminder that there were still ways to dirty things up, that even as emotion would come later (and it did), and dancing could be had (and it was), and big rock climaxes would collide and merge with thumping nightclub abandon (and boy, did they), relatively minor details wouldn’t slip by, wouldn’t be secondary to the big signposts of the LCD cavalcade.
Fears allayed. Head, feet, heart engaged. Let’s go.
LCD Soundsystem play Margaret Court Arena on Wednesday July 26.
Picture by Stephen Booth, from Splendour In The Grass 2017