We manage to snake through the crowd, settling in a spot I would classify under the heading “Pretty Damn Good.” Our positioning for the glory that is LCD Soundsystem is about five feet away from the stage and directly under some serious speakers. It is clear by the end of the first song if I don’t purchase some protection in the form of bright orange expandable foam, my ears are going to be permanently wrecked within the hour. As much as I would love to listen to this band unfiltered and unadulterated, I still want to be able to hear the coos of my future grandchildren in fifty years.
Boys in plaid tune instruments onstage. All of them are fairly nondescript, Brooklyn dudes. A little round around the edges, hip because they’re not hip at all, that type of thing. After I’m done staring at the man wearing all tan and a perfectly groomed and hallowed, half-visible cheekbones, I turn my attention to people behind me. For the most part, the demographic tonight is predominately male, an observation I find surprising because I never thought of LCD as being the purveyors of theme songs for testosterone.
The lights come down and everyone takes that as their cue to get real enthused. A few of the boys that I thought were roadies are actually in the band. Keeping it real, as it were. The rest of the band comes out in pieces. The petite Asian keyboarder with pretty black hair that gets matted and clumpy by the end of the set, heavy and damp with sweat. The drummer reminds me of someone from the Mamas and the Papas for whatever reason.
When James Murphy, the lead singer, comes out, I am surprised. He has dishwater blonde hair – the thick kind that is hard for boys to figure out what to do with; it’s not thin enough to style, it’s not curly enough to fro-pick it, it’s just…there. His shoots forward, straight past his forehead, pitching out and down like the edge of a cliff. He is a little out of shape and older than I imagined. None of this is distracting or bad or relevant in the slightest. What threw me the most is realizing I didn’t have a preconceived picture in my head for LCD at all before I saw them. There are some bands that so well articulate how you feel at a particular moment in life, whether through a song or, if you’re lucky, through an entire album, that their voice essentially commandeers your own. Your memories are not narrated by your own account of things, but through the lyrics of a song or the thudding of a baseline. Seeing a band in the flesh is like seeing your thoughts personified, the soundtrack of your life physically manifested.
I can’t remember what they perform first. LCD’s songs are long-winded dance epics that are so masterfully crafted they read like three act plays. The entire night becomes this series of seven-minute stories that I can only ride beside, dancing in a sea of people who change colors on the whim of lighting cues. The wood floor beneath us groans with the weight of bouncing bodies and when I stand still I feel like I am on a wooden trampoline.
When the opening beats of “Someone Great” pulses through the speakers, I am immediately hopping up and down even though the song doesn’t call for more than agreeable techno soft shoeing. The lyrics, like most of his lyrics, are simple and repetitive and they simultaneously resonate with both exuberance of youth and the wisdom of old age. I feel like I’m listening to the process of growing up.
Something I’m kind of doing right now.