LCD Soundsystem Brooklyn steel early 2000s New York indie rock band started their 20-show series at Brooklyn Steel on November 18.
I had been conversing with a 6-foot-8-inch, 30-something Brooklynite called Fred for the last 20 minutes, an hour and a half after I arrived. Fred wore a Karen O shirt and had a neckbeard. He had been ranting about how the creation of LCD Soundsystem by a musician from Williamsburg altered music history forever.
The post-9/11 slump, CBGB, and the time when The Strokes were just a group of art school students were all things that Fred remembered from when they were the next great thing. Because of the concert, he was nearly in a trance.
On November 18, LCD Soundsystem kicked off a 20-show run at Brooklyn Steel, a beloved rock venue in East Williamsburg. The band entered a lengthy break following the publication of their album “American Dream” in 2017, which was essentially over when they started their first residency at Brooklyn Steel in 2021.
Now that they’ve performed on Saturday Night Live and contributed to the score of Noah Baumbach’s most recent movie, “White Noise,” the band has a second residency at Brooklyn Steel. For the past five years, their reputation has only gotten better.
I nodded, regretting the passing of a time that he held so dear. I looked around the room to see whether my cousin had cheated on me. Just as the lights started to darken and the nearly 2000-person audience started to shout, I noticed him at the entrance.
The band entered the stage while saluting the audience with wine. There was a strong sense of expectation in the air. The tiniest gap of stillness occurred, creating an open gateway between then and now. When they struck the first chord, all of my sadness for Fred vanished since it seemed as though that time had never ended. Back again was LCD Soundsystem.
The best aspect of LCD Soundsystem’s residency events is the variety of their music, which transcends style and preference. The group resists simple classification. Although they are broadly classified as an American rock band on Wikipedia, it is challenging to categorize LCD Soundsystem. Although their considerable use of drums and synths gives the impression that they are an electronic band, their music clearly has a rock influence.
Some songs are spoken word alone with no music; others are eight-minute masterpieces; still, others are brief three-minute wonders.
A night with LCD Soundsystem is remarkable due to the constant ebb and flow of music and noises. They keep the crowds involved, on their feet, enjoying the show, and eagerly anticipating what they’ll perform next. The second most thrilling feature of the show is this. Listeners are drawn into a musical conversation with the band as they listen, move, and experience the energy of the venue.
The group not only played outstanding music but exhibited a thorough mastery of performance. Anybody can learn an instrument, but not everyone can play it with the effortlessness of LCD Soundsystem’s members. When one first sees the seven-piece band in its whole, the adjective “awesome” immediately comes to mind. Each of them exudes attractiveness in the way they dress, the way they move with assurance, and the way they play as though no one is watching.
James Murphy, the band’s frontman, is possibly the most outstanding of them all. Murphy appeared on stage with a five o’clock shadow and a white T-shirt with dark blue jeans. Before the first song even began, he removed his black jacket. He moved his body to the music while keeping the microphone nearby, never remaining still.
He occasionally yelled a note into the microphone despite the fact that his voice tone was clear. Murphy is famed for being a micromanager, so while he waited for songs to begin, he nodded his head and tapped his foot, occasionally checking in on other band members, changing a guitar pedal, or even writing a note.
But Murphy never loses the carefree demeanor that draws in viewers and compels them to keep looking into whatever he does. Drummer Pat Mahoney glues the ensemble together, never doing too much or too little. Despite having his drum kit directly in front of the stage, he avoids overshadowing the rest of the band. Keyboardist Nancy Whang appears to be living in her own world as she sports green face paint, and a grey outfit, and hardly nods to the crowd.
In the song, Murphy boasts about how, like CBGB, Daft Punk, and renowned NYC nightclub DJ Larry Levan from the mid-80s, he was the first to know something was trendy before anyone else. But he keeps saying, “I’m losing my edge,” undermining himself.
Except for Murphy, the band members were entirely preoccupied with their own instruments and song; none of them even glanced toward the audience. Murphy moves carelessly and displays no stage presence. Whether intentional or not, this approach distinguishes LCD Soundsystem from other modern rock bands.
The event ended after almost two hours of non-stop rocking, with one brief interlude. I ran into Fred as I was leaving, and we talked about the evening. He was speechless and amazed that his favorite college band had come back together. When I questioned him about whether Murphy was in fact losing his edge, he simply shrugged his shoulders. That seemed to be his way of asking whether or not it actually mattered, which it might not.