Tuesday, October 5, 2010

LCD Soundsystem live at the Tabernacle Mon., Oct. 4

Posted By on Tue, Oct 5, 2010 at 1:46 PM

  • Perry Julien
See more photos of LCD Soundsystem and Sleigh Bells at The Tabernacle.

James Murphy shuffled across the stage at The Tabernacle last night like a man who had just woken up and rolled off the couch to answer the phone. While he fumbled with his belt buckle and lazily stretched one arm over his head to limber up while the band pounded out the rhythms of what would become "Dance Yrself Clean," the opening number from LCD Soundsystem's latest, and supposedly last record, This Is Happening.

A few songs in he apologized for his lethargy, blaming it on the abundance of BBQ he'd been eating since they arrived in Atlanta. But no one was complaining...

Murphy's sluggish movements were actually kind of an endearing touch, and a sharp contrast to the noisy, post-industrial pep rally pop-dirge blasted out by opening duo, Sleigh Bells. It's hard to believe that the brains behind this group, Derek Miller is one of the guys responsible for that crappy, circa Y2K Florida hardcore band Poison the Well, but it doesn't behoove anyone to drag that out any longer. Really, he's come a long way with Sleigh Bells' brash and scraping guitar assaults that cry out like air raid sirens over bombastic beats and distortion. Singer Alexis Krauss' performance was breathy and guttural as she danced around the stage, chanting and headbanging in a tussle of thrashing hair and sparkly hot pants.

The sound was massive, sultry and driven by future-primitive drum machine beats and tasteful aggression. Who knew that a couple of Brooklynite hipster types could churn-out such seductive and damaging crunk jams?

  • Perry Julien

It was a good set up for LCD Soundsystem's minimal approach. A wall of flood lights sparkled, blasted and faded throughout the set as Murphy gripped the microphone with a stoic posture not unlike Isabella Rossellini singing her heart out circa Blue Velvet. Was he stoic or just really full?

Part of LCD Soundsystem's winning formula is Murphy's ability to synthesize an encyclopedia of minute things that make our brains and ears react, and make them his own: A wild inflection in Robert Smith's voice from the Cure's "Caterpillar," a bass line from Michael Jackson's "Billy Jean," or a melody and guitar tone from David Bowie's "Heroes." We hear these secret artifacts hiding in the songs and react to them in a subconscious level.

Murphy's mind and musical palette work like a sampler in subtle ways, but that's not discounting his natural strengths as a songwriter on display in a set that included everything from "Get Innocuous," "All My Friends" and "Someone Great" from Sound of Silver to "Drunk Girls;" the latter of which felt like an obligation. It's the song that everyone loves to hate, and sings along with anyway. Still, they got it out of the way right off the bat before delving deeper into the LCD Soundsystem archives.

"Loosing My Edge" would have made an excellent finale, but alas it was the second to the last song, bested only by "Home." It felt like a celebration, and it felt like closure.

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LCD Soundsystem and Sleigh Bells

LCD Soundsystem and Sleigh Bells

LCD Soundsystem and Sleigh Bells played the Tabernacle Oct. 4. (Photos by Perry Julien)

By Perry Julien

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