ACL Review: LCD Soundsystem II

Electro excitement not at the touch of a button

ACL’s Weekend Two Sunday night capped off LCD Soundsystem’s festival-heavy “revival tour,” which has been raging around the U.S. since March. Leader James Murphy also confirmed something fans have all been hoping, but hasn’t been so expressly stated until last night: The band will be back in three months, touring behind a new album.

More cowbell: James Murphy (Photo by Shelley Hiam)

That tidbit was one of the only major switch-ups from last week’s performance, but it was every bit as electrifying. In a world of digital, LCD Soundsystem provides a heavy dose of analog, all the way down to an actual disco ball rather than a megawatt light fixture. And what DJ ever plays cowbell?!

The double-time synth line that introduced “Home” undulated through the fast movement of fingers, not the press of a button. “Daft Punk Is Playing at My House” bounces to life with a funk guitar line. The dance-punk “Tribulations” roared to life with synth distortion.

All of which is to say you’d be hard pressed to find another act anywhere in the electronic sphere that handles things as organically as LCD Soundsystem, and it certainly shows in the group’s live performances. There’s an energy that begins with frontman Murphy and permeates his octet setup, one that never relents – even on ballads such as “New York I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down.” Hard to capture that when most of the work’s already been done before you step foot onstage.

The electronic world, now dominated by laptop DJs, needs LCD Soundsystem. And LCD Soundsystem needs you to keep showing up for shows that risk being less polished, but far more exciting than anyone else.

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