Sublime though their recordings are, there is no substitute for seeing LCD Soundsystem live. At the end of a year of almost constant touring, James Murphy’s six-piece dance punksters could reasonably sound tired. Instead they sound tightly drilled and better than ever.
The Time Has Come clatters the set to a start under quite the biggest of glitterballs. Drummer Pat Mahoney and guitarist Al Doyle feed off each other’s instantly frenzied and effortlessly accurate rhythm – a tempo faster than on the parent album, this year’s Sound Of Silver.
Bass and percussion join in and, a good few minutes into this, with the audience beginning to shimmy, Nancy Whang and James Murphy take up their places at the front of the stage, the tiny shape of Whang amongst keyboards and the somewhat tubbier shape of Murphy on the mic. As ever, his hair looks like it’s been slept on.
The Time Has Come is swiftly followed by Daft Punk Is Playing At My House, and the pace doesn’t let up. Impressively accurate cowbell whacking from Murphy, who incidentally pronounces “house” as “haus”, mixes perfectly with the frenetic rhythms being pounded out by his onstage colleagues.
It’s Time To Get Away, North American Scum, All My Friends, Get Innocuous, Tribulations, Movement all come and go and by now the whole room is throwing shapes. Then suddenly, after what seems like no time at all, Yeah fires up, and Murphy’s voice is on fire as he roars at Brixton. These songs are long and, when combined to form a set, they can make an evening feel remarkably short.
Encore time begins with the sublime Someone Great, the lynchpin of Sound Of Silver. Originally part of 45:33, a physical release of which is promised for November, it was missing from sets earlier in the tour. But it’s back now and, sans glocks, is more poignant than ever. Joy Division‘s No Love Lost gets covered too – and it’s the first song of the night that the singalong audience don’t know.
Murphy gets his expected Lou Reed moment in at the end. New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down, the last song of the last date of this last tour for a while at least, remains in stark contrast to anything else LCD Soundsystem have done – part torch song, part melodramatic wigout, it possibly points to a future direction that’s less reliant on synths.
But that’s (maybe) in the future. For now, Murphy tells the assembled throng that the Victoria Line’s still running. At the end of this long tour, he can be forgiven for wanting an early night. His audience can be forgiven for never wanting it to end.