Live Review: Witnessing LCD Soundsystem’s return to Sydney was a truly humbling experience

Time helps build a cult of personality; a paradigm in which how you remember things can be altered dramatically from how they actually are. With more than six years since their last visit, plenty of time has passed since LCD Soundsystem had the chance to play to a Sydney crowd. And while the music industry has changed greatly since they said goodbye to the world, based on their show at the Hordern Pavilion, if you remembered the band being great live, you’re pretty bloody spot on with your memory.

In town for a headlining slot on Splendour In The Grass, the New York eight piece strolled onto the Sydney stage just after 9pm and proceeded to appease every taste and just about every wish for the sold out crowd. Opening with “Yr City’s A Sucker”, you sensed that front man James Murphy was ready for a big one when he joked that, ‘It’s always good to start with a B-side to a single no one knows’.

With the vast majority of LCD tracks pushing beyond five minutes in length, the short and punchy “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House” made an early appearance, as the band swiftly moved into “I Can Change”. The dreamy, alt-disco classic was preceeded by Murphy telling the crowd that ‘The human mind has a great ability to recall stuff, so you can probably put your phone away. Watch it in the most HD device possible: your eyes.’ I guess when they initially left the music scene, mobile phones wouldn’t have been as prevalent in a live setting. While said in jest, you could tell Murphy was being passive-aggressive about the whole thing. And frankly, I don’t blame him. I’m definitely guilty of getting a cheeky snap here and there but as a performer, it wouldn’t make for the most intimate of experiences.

The vocally shared “Get Innocuous” was followed by new track “American Dream”, as Murphy introduced all eight members of the band to the crowd. As a new track, “Amercian Dream” didn’t leave much of an impact on the crowd, with many punters taking the chance to head to the toilets or bars. A seemless change into “Tribulations” saw the biggest reaction of the night so far, as the light show came into its own. An abrupt finish to “Movement” caught me a little off guard, as the three-minute rager finally got the mosh moving.

With current single “Call The Police” making an appearance, the crowd was just warming up, as were the band. With the easiest of tracks to sing, “Yeah”, being absolutely crushed, the hypnotic chorus of “Someone Great” soothed the mood of the night. As they’ve been back for more than a year now, it became pretty obvious that they’ve invested a lot time and money in making their live show one that won’t be easily forgotten. From the massive mirror ball to the strobe lighting, a couple Spotify pay cheques may have been spent making the live experience as good as it was.

As they introduced a brand new track, Murphy asked gently but firmly for no one to record the track. With the track possibly commenting on the fake persona people build through their online profiles, it seemed to be a bit of hit with the crowd. As the incredibly danceable “Home” got the juices of the couple next to me flowing, Murphy told the crowd what was to come. Explaining that they’re going to play one more, go for a toilet break, then play two more, if I were a betting man, I’d think James Murphy isn’t a fan of having an encore for the sake of having an encore.

Playing the ballad-esque “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down”, the band obliged with their just announced plans and returned with “Dance Yrself Clean”. If you’ve never seen a crowd lose their shit over such an innocuous drop as the Hordern crowd did during “Dance Yrself Clean”, then you need to get out more, man.

Bringing the night to a close was the epitome of LCD Soundsystem tracks: “All My Friends.” Having seen LCD Soundsystem back at the Big Day Out back in 2011 purely for the sake of saying I’d seen them live, I reflected on how much of a pretentious move that was by 18 year old me. As the hypnotic keys played through the entirety of the track, you quickly realised that “All My Friends” is one of the classics of modern music. The way it brought together the entirety of the crowd; from the people having an absolute rager in the side seating, to the mosh down the front, “All My Friends” will go down as one of the most rewarding moments of live music I’ll experience.

As the house lights came on and the band disappeared for what could be the last time in Sydney, I was thankful for what I’d just witnessed. Irrespective of my shitty photos and great mental memory, the chance to physically see this set was humbling. I’ll remember this set for a while yet; as I’m sure the majority of the crowd will too.

Photo by Andrew Wade taken at Splendour in the Grass.  The gig took place at the Hordern Pavillion in Sydney on 24.07.17.


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