LCD Soundsystem at Barrowlands, 19/9/17

Unless you live in a cave you’ve probably heard through the grapevine or an endless list of online hype articles that LCD Soundsystem are back, in fact they have been for quite a while now.

Their album latest album American Dream was released a few weeks back to universal critical acclaim, not much of a change for the band who has always been critic darlings.

Critical acclaim is all well and good but it isn’t worth much if you can’t deliver the goods live.

I should say that I’ve never seen LCD live before having narrowly missed out on a few chances prior and always promising myself I’d see them if they ever came around again.

I was aware of the nature of an LCD live show though, having seen the documentary and heard numerous endorsements from friends over the last five years or so.

I’m pleased to say it’s everything I’ve ever imagined it would be, possibly even better.

The set is a delight, with a heavy bed of songs from the band’s previous albums and a sprinkling of up-tempo newer material.

Seeing them in the Barrowlands is a particular treat with Murphy having expressed in previous interviews this is his favourite venue perhaps in the world.

Highlights from the set are incredibly hard to pin point, as nearly every song is a crowd pleaser.

‘I Can Change’, ‘Someone Great’, ‘Home’, ‘Movement’, ‘Tonite’ and ‘New York I Love You’ hit a particular nerve with the crowd though.

The beginning of ‘Movement’ shows of the bands excruciatingly on point party music vibe before ‘New York’ (the last song before the encore) drives a few members of the crowd to tears.

The evening is choreographed perfectly, the pacing is optimal, and not one side of LCD’s identity gets a bigger display than the other, however the highlight might be the overblown encore.

The encore opens with a shout out to Optimo, Glasgow local legends and early champions of LCD, who first invited them to the city.

A few ears twig at this, the familiar drum loop beat starts, ‘Losing My Edge’ is a treat to hear live, but unusually there is a perfect display of the split audience LCD attracts.

Young kids no more than 19 or 20 all the way up to people a little older than Murphy, but everyone puts the same level of reverence on this track in particular.

‘Emotional Haircut’ gets an outing and it’s a joy to see it’s included within the encore section of the set, giving a brief reprieve before the two classics about to come.

LCD always had a talent for crafting an album as a whole, usually kicking off with an incredibly memorable opener setting the pace for the album to come.

‘Dance Yrself Clean’ is one of their most powerful, seeing the majesty of the track brought to life is exquisite, from the refrained intro building towards the absolute cacophony of noise towards the end is a memory that will stay with me for a lifetime a true master class in songwriting, pacing and execution within a live setting.

The band is over curfew but Murphy kindly informs us he intends to disregard it, after all you don’t play the Barrowlands every night.

The incessant piano chords start as the band slide into ‘All My Friends’ there’s not much else I can say about this climax, what can you say about a track narrowly beat out for Top 500 tracks of the 2000’s by Pitchfork, whatever level you hold their judgement in it’s still no small feat.

Words aren’t the best medium to use to describe how this track brings a room of like-minded individuals together.

Just go and watch them play it at Madison Square Garden, fall in love with it, talk yourself into believing that you’ll never hear it live, then finally go see it and you’ll have some grasp of the emotions on show that night from a large percentage of the crowd.

Murphy may have lost his edge as a DJ sometime in the mid noughties, but it looks highly unlikely he and his colleagues will ever lose their edge as songwriters and performers.

Words: Phil Allen

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