Live Review: LCD Soundsystem @ Margaret Court Arena

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A mature audience adorned in denim jackets poured through the doors of the Margret Court Arena last Wednesday night for LCD Soundsystem’s return to the Melbourne stage.

Fans were geared up and ready to relive all their favourite noughties tracks with the Brooklyn dance/punk outfit, LCD Soundsystem, for the Melbourne leg of their Australian tour. A giant disco ball (similar to the one that features on the cover of their self-titled 2005 album) twinkled above the stage as eight or nine musicians took to their instruments.

Roars erupted as front man, James Murphy, entered in a splotchy white and grey v neck tee, to open with ‘Yr City’s A Sucker’. In tune with Murphy’s t-shirt, the whole band was as equally casual, aside from Nancy Whang, of course. Seemingly native to the stage, they filled the space pretence free, with comfortability and a focused energy.

Nancy stood coolly beside Murphy upfront, bringing a hint of glam to the aesthetic in a greeny-blue velure outfit and gold shoes. Effortlessly cool, she bobbed to the beat, predominately on the keys and vocals.

At any given time, there were upwards of ten musicians onstage. Each instrument was masterfully layered, creating a sound that was both intricate and rich. The powerful sounds were very well suited to an arena setting, filling every space with resonating electro beats.

Pat Mahoney on the drums was set up next to Murphy at the stage front with extra equipment for Murphy to add percussion frills. It was not surprising that this came predominately in the form of the cowbell. Many of their hits (not that they do hits…) such as ‘Daft Punk Is Playing At My House’ and ‘Dance Yrself Clean’ feature strong cowbells.

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Murphy was as charismatic as ever but said little through the show, except a few lines of gratitude and a suggestive ‘thank-you’ for not seeing too many phones up. He gave special thanks to the people who had seats with views obstructed by the enormous side-stage speakers, encouraging them to go stand with their ‘friends’ who had better seats.

Murphy also managed to make the news for his remarks about Margaret Court. The famous Australian tennis player is openly against marriage equality and has expressed homophobic views publicly.

“I’m not the one to get in old people’s faces for being ignorant,” Murphy began, “but when you come after my family, my friends… you can go f*** yourself!”

The crowd offered its support in cheers. He suggested a rename for the arena for when they come back next year to play. This was the second time Murphy hinted the band could be returning soon, leaving LCD lovers hopeful for the possibility of a new album.

The set list featured some newer songs including ‘Call the Police’ and ‘American Dream’. Many people who came for a reunion show used these less familiar songs as a toilet break. Despite these few punters hell bent on the classics, the new songs fit seamlessly into the set, adding a fresh element to the show.

Since the band’s last concert at Madison Square Garden in 2014, fans have been yearning for a solid live show from the outfit, and this tour definitely delivered on that.

The drop for ‘Dance Yrself Clean’ was a highlight of the night, causing the otherwise tame audience to lose their composure for a couple of golden minutes.

The gut wrenching finale began with the iconic, jarring keys of ‘All My Friends’, tugging away on everyone’s heartstrings. The simplistic intro and gradual build-up, accompanied Murphy’s melancholic lyrics, still resonates with audiences. This track is a perfect example of how their music stands the test of time, and was a bittersweet end to the show.

Words by Scarlett Maloney.

Photos taken by Josh Martin.