The Hype: James Murphy's the king of Brooklyn, the father of this past decade's dance-punk movement ("movement?") and a pretty genial guy. LCD Soundsystem's latest, This Is Happening, is his slickest and most long-burning yet, but, as always, has racked up raves.
LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy at Coachella 2010.
Andrew Youssef / OC Weekly
Murphy sermonizes at the Fox.
Spencer Kornhaber / OC Weekly
The Show: There's a minority of critics that pick on Murphy for his tossed-off lyrics, ruthless ransacking of rock history and self-aware, fogey-who's-cool pose. Well, fuck them. There's a lot for the brain to enjoy about LCD Soundsystem, but the main attraction has always been the tunes. In Pomona, Murphy and his six band mates proved that.
Seven people: That's a lot of people to have on stage, but it was needed to put out all the sound that LCD wanted to put out. Opener "Us V Them" rode a simple two-note bassline everywhere, with choruses whirling and enmeshing like tie-dye colors. It, like everything that night, was to be danced to and to be shouted along to, the kind of song that teaches the uninitiated how to interact with it.
Because that's all LCD Soundsystem really is: mantras and small talk over a tremendous, humming and thrumming pop machine. Only in concert, though, do you realize the extent to which this is plug-and-play music, each song slapping a different skin pilfered from a different genre to the same framework. Those skins, mind you, are incredible and distinct: "Yeah" turned the room into a laser-light rave, "Movement" became a mosh-pit, "All My Friends" was a sing-along and "New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down" brought out the arena lighters. But for each, the appeal was the same: bass lines that jiggled ear-lobes, lyrical lines wailed en mass, three sources of percussion interlocking into one four-on-the-floor pulse. It got sweaty.
On "New York," Murphy looked out into the audience's aloft cigarette lighters and cell phones and marveled. "This is sweet," he said. "It's fake light and real light mixed together." Switch some words, and he might as well have been describing his own music's brilliant pastiche: Minutes later, in the final moments of the show and of the song, the band launch into a coda cover of Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind."
A great show with no gimmicks. One of the more enjoyable concerts of this reviewer's time in what Murphy repeatedly referred to as "the greater Pomona area."