Click the photo for a slideshow of the concert.
Date: May 2, 2007
Venue: The Showbox
Punk-rock show -- sweat, stench,>"/>
Date: May 2, 2007
Venue: The Showbox
Punk-rock show -- sweat, stench, fury, volume, intensity, a surging throng pinning bodies against the stage, crowd-surfing, roiling pit, honorable souls obeying the code and assholes violating it, fervor that finds the middle ground between religion and violence ...
Warehouse rave -- hypnotic pulse, closed-eyed euphoria, passed-out bodies carried to safety, masses laying hands and heads on strangers' shoulders and no one minding a bit, glowing faces coated with perspiration and running makeup, carefree souls dancing as one, hands in the air reaching for God or other worlds or the sounds streaming from the speakers ...
Mash all of that together and you have LCD Soundsystem's unbelievably energizing, explosive, and quite often beatific (and beat-terrific) performance last night at the Showbox.
I definitely picked the best place to stand for the festivities -- directly in front of phenom drummer Pat Mahoney (lanky, bearded, and clad in marathoner's shorts, he looked like an extra from Prefontaine) whose kit was pushed right to the edge of the stage, and just a few feet to the right of shaggy, famously schlumpy LCD main man James Murphy, who chanted, screamed, thrashed around, and stumbled around the gear-cluttered stage as he led the five-piece group (occasionally bumped to six, when a tech guy sat in on percussion) through 13 songs drawn from their new Sound of Silver and 2005's self-titled debut.
Frontloaded with the band's most recognizable tunes, the set launched with double-time versions of "Us v Them" and "Daft Punk is Playing at My House," soon followed by rowdy sing-along burner "North American Scum." Packing a year's worth of groove into every number, Murphy and company turned every instrument -- drums, vintage synths, guitar, bass, electronic doodads of every sort imaginable, and cowbell (it wasn't just "more cowbell," this show sported the most cowbell) into relentless rhythm machines, all of it converging, like multiple lasers locked on a single target, into one mesmerizing, thrilling throb that pushed the heat and humidity inside the Showbox to East Coast summer levels and whipped the crowd into a frantic lather.
Maybe too much so -- at one point, noticing the handful of dipshit dudes who'd pushed their way to the front, flailing limbs and shoving to the point where several females in the crowd were being crushed (one girl a few steps to my left got wobbly and fortunately had friends pull her out of the mob to safety before she passed out), Murphy came close to pulling an Ian MacKaye as he admonished folks for getting too out of hand, even though he said he "understood the excitement." Through "Tribulations," "Get Innocuous!," and a sinister "Watch the Tapes," LCD hardly eased up on the throttle to try to calm down the crowd, but Murphy became noticeably crabby, at one point leaving the stage for a couple of minutes as the band maintained one of their epic grooves and appearing to have a brief, animated exchange with one of the Showbox's security people.
Still, toward the end of the night -- following an insane version of "Yeah" and amid an encore that included a cover of Joy Division's "No Love Lost" and Silver's closing lament, "New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down" (which Murphy crooned in darkness, save for the Showbox's illuminated disco ball) -- he told the cheering crowd that it was the best audience LCD Soundsystem has ever played for, and it sounded truly sincere, not the kind of hooey a performer says at every tour stop. Hopefully, that'll mean the band will come back to Seattle soon for anyone who might have missed one of the more amazing shows in recent memory.