This time two years ago I would not have believed that I would ever have the chance to see LCD Soundsystem live. The New York based electronic-rock outfit that made waves in indie music throughout the 2000’s had supposedly ended their career in 2011 when they played their last show at Madison Square Garden. It was not until last Christmas that the band had returned with a new track. This track came tacked with a note from frontman James Murphy who promised the band’s return in 2016. 2016 saw them return as headliners to festivals across the world including Coachella, Primavera Sound, Bonnaroo and many more. The Back From The Dead Tour is what I like to call their greatest hits tour, since they played throughout their well known hit-worthy three album discography.
Finally we end up in 2017 and their long-awaited return to the record store is finally here. We have the masterpiece that is american dream – an eleven-track compilation of tracks that ride the grit and edge of their previous work while introducing new types of song structures, sound design, and lyricism complimenting our modern day and age. Seeing as LCD Soundsystem had yet to perform a show in LA since 2011 we assumed that they would end up headlining a huge arena like the Forum, but instead they took the high road and decided to book this 5 night residency at the Hollywood Palladium, a more intimate approach that ended up accommodating just as many fans as a single arena would have. The string of shows immediately sold out and with that we were ready to experience the american dream.
The entrance to the Hollywood Palladium was decked out in cloud textured banners, the same as american dream’s album cover. We could feel the excitement in the air. The crowd was older, maybe mid 20’s to mid 30’s. These people had gone through times in their life with the music of LCD by their side. Whether it be teenage angst in high school or a serious breakup in college, LCD Soundsystem held a unique place in everyone’s memories which made for high excitement. Nostalgia was a huge factor in being able to sell out 5 nights in a row of $100 tickets. Indeed this was an extremely rare type of showcase but nonetheless everyone trusted that it would be well worth it.
They began with the opening track from their record ‘oh baby’, a synth-pop ballad that opened the clouds to the sunlight that would be this show. For the first time I was able to hear the majority of tracks from american dream live and it was beyond anything I could have expected. These tracks fit so perfectly with their past discography. Something about tracks like ‘change yr mind’ were so full of energy that it was hard not to dance like a lunatic. It was familiar but at the same time all too refreshing to hear these new songs.
The best part about this show was the amount of intimacy we felt with the band. After having seen them among massive crowds during Outside Lands and FYF Fest, seeing them here at the Palladium allowed us to pay more attention to each artist and what they were doing on stage. It was way better than a mainstage festival slot or a giant arena performance. It was powerful. It was raw. It was everything we could have imagined it to be.
One of the best things about seeing this band is the way they take time to craft interludes between tracks. Whether that be with experimental feedback and noise or through some funky disco percussion. These guys love to jam more than anything and it adds to the personal feel of their show.
My favorite track of the night had to have been ‘tonite’, a surreal electro-disco anthem that plays on the elements of 80’s new wave. The analog bass line was ridiculously heavy and kept me moving the entire time as the band created a mysterious world within their overlying chord changes and James’s freaky narration-style singing.
When the disco ball came down and we heard the words “take me home” during their performance of ‘Home’, we really did feel like we made it home. Home to that nostalgia that their music carries heavy in our hearts. Home like the feeling of seeing a band that we thought was just a memory never to reunite again. Home like coming back to the Palladium where many of us had seen other groups, but never this one and probably never again. The idea of having the feeling of home through the music of LCD Soundystem was here with all of us in spirit and was carried out by the wall of lights and sounds that presented itself to entertain us for 2 hours of the night. LCD Soundsystem is pure magic. Something that cannot be recreated in any other form. We could not have wanted it any other way. With that we say thank you for sharing this experience with us and the rest of the nights of their residency.