“I have good news and bad news,” James Murphy said as LCD Soundsystem took the stage for the first time in over two years last night in Brooklyn. “The good news is, we’re here. The bad news is, I’m wasted.” No no, dude — that’s the great news. The New York punk-funk heavyweights have an early single-of-the-year contender with the irresistible rock anthem “Drunk Girls,” but it’s a totally different song when several hundred drunk girls are there screaming along. Though Murphy kept cautioning the sweat-drenched crowd at Music Hall of Williamsburg that this triumphant hometown gig was more a rehearsal than a show (“This is you trusting us and us trying to work out being a band again”), the seven-piece band didn’t sound rusty at all — they attacked each electro-funk workout like a pit bull on a porkchop. In 2007, LCD Soundsystem were the planet’s most ferocious live band — yet in the past three years they’ve just gotten better. Lord help us all.
Singer/producer/tai chi madman James Murphy was coasting on adrenaline all night — plus, as he admitted, his signature tipple of champagne and whiskey. The band did only two songs from their upcoming and even-awesomer-than-everyone-hoped This Is Happening, which comes out on May 18th: “Drunk Girls” (“Drunk boys like to steal from the cupboards / Drunk girls like to file complaints” — true that) and “I Can Change,” which sounds like Brian Eno taking Ecstasy on the beach with Morrissey and Depeche Mode. Drummer Pat Mahoney and bassist Tyler Pope were on fire, while synth wizard Nancy Whang had some choice words for the dudes trying to slamdance into people: “Look at the two people on either side of you. If one of them is not a girl, you are dancing incorrectly.”
LCD Soundsystem revisited club classics like “Daft Punk Is Playing at My House,” “Yr City’s A Sucker” (“my city’s a freak”), “Someone Great” and the epic “All My Friends,” a song that always turns any room into a boozy Irish wake. But the sentimental highlight was the 2002 single “Losing My Edge,” which Murphy said the band hadn’t played in five years. “I’m 40 now,” he explained. “That means every band I saw had Fishbone opening up.” The band vamped as Murphy ran through his sardonic bitter-hipster rant, updating the lyrics to make fun of bands with Macbooks. The whole crowd chanted along when he yelled the namecheck for Seventies jazz-funk poet Gil-Scott Heron. It was as funny as ever, but also bittersweet, because (as we all now know), around the time Murphy wrote the song, Heron was a prisoner in Rikers Island on cocaine charges. In 2010, not only is Heron a free man — he’s making indie rock records. In other words, the whole freaking world is turning into an LCD Soundsystem song. Which is great news for the drunk girl in all of us.
“Yr City’s a Sucker”
“Us V. Them”
“Losing My Edge”
“All My Friends”
“I Can Change”
“Daft Punk Is Playing At My House”
“New York I Love You”
• James Murphy Opens Up About “Crazy” May LCD Soundsystem LP
• LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy on Scoring His First Soundtrack for Greenberg
• LCD Soundsystem Reveal Cover for May 18th LP This Is Happening