Words By: Ivana Markotic
Photos By: Marko Djurdjic
A heat alert was in effect in Toronto on May 25th and the best way to escape the hot mess was at the Kool Haus for the LCD Soundsystem show. So I thought. Returning to Toronto with their third album, This Is Happening, LCD Soundsystem played for over an hour and a half resulting in sweat to drip off the ceiling at the Kool Haus.
A claustrophobic stage of instruments, including multiple drum sets was pushed to the front of the stage. The setting itself is an ironic surrounding for singer James Murphy, who never intended to have a touring band. As the producer and founder of Death From Above Records (DFA), LCD Soundsystem was started as a music project but evolved into a touring band with three records and hit songs including “Daft Punk is Playing at My House.”
With an illumination of white lights, the second song performed was the newest single “Drunk Girls.” Even with Murphy’s lyrics of “Drunk girls can be just as insane” the song was far too early in the set to spur incoherent dancing from the buzzed girls.
As the buzz rose to intoxication the intro to “Daft Punk is Playing at My House” finally resulted in the audience loosening up and dancing to the dance-punk band, that included Murphy on the cowbell. By the time “All My Friends” rolled around and built up to the lyrics “Where are your friends tonight?” it was the best moment to make friends dancing with the drunk boys and girls next to you.
The night took a heartrending pace with “I Can Change” supported by Murphy’s endless pleas over synthesizers. Continuing the streak of simple lyrics but an oh-so-effective delivery, Murphy finished the set with LCD Soundsystem’s “Yeah” that visually felt more like Usher’s club version with the fog machine and green lasers.
A quick return on stage for the encore, 40 year-old Murphy sang “Losing My Edge” only to stop mid song to announce someone was hurt. Making small talk to the audience, Murphy compares the incident to the fateful night at Altamont when the Rolling Stones paused their show and Mick Jagger pleaded “Who’s fighting and what for?” when a brawl erupted between audience members and the Hell’s Angels (hired security for the concert). Quickly, the show resumed and LCD Soundsystem serenaded the little brother to the big city with “New York I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down” finished with keyboardist Nancy Whang and Murphy singing the chorus to Jay-Z and Alicia Key’s “Empire State of Mind.”
As noted earlier in the show, Murphy and drummer Pat Mahoney had a special DJ set at Wrongbar. Many left the concert in a sweaty mess for the afterparty, with a warning from Murphy to not request any LCD Soundsystem songs, even if this may be their rumoured last album and last time in Toronto.