Tag: LCD Soundsystem
Last night was the premiere/farewell showing of the documentary following LCD Soundsystem‘s final show last April at Madison Square Garden. I attended the 3-set, 4-hour marathon performance last year and still get goose-bumps recalling the dance party, the bittersweet pleasure permeating the arena, and the magical sense of knowing I was taking part in a piece of modern musical history. What a bummer that this movie didn’t resurrect those sensations for me – yep, on a scale of 1-10, ranking it with other great concert films, I give it a 5.8.
First off, the concert footage is amazing. The elevated camera angles, the close-ups, and the shared glimpses of momentary wonder from band members are amazing. As is the sound mix. But the emotion is so blatant pouring off of everyone on the stage that the rest of the movie’s non-stage shots fail to live up to its level of compassion. Surely once the full concert is released on DVD along with this doc, the actual concert film will receive exponentially more viewings than its art-house sibling.
It seems like all the right footage is there – following James Murphy around the day before and after the show, and having crucial interview questions from the amazing Chuck Klosterman interspersed defines the whole movie. The thing is that Murphy doesn’t really have the magical, self-defining answers himself to put the whole thing into the necessary perspective we’re all looking for. The dichotomous existence between his rock-star self and the normal dude he strives to be is questioned but never really understood. And what sucks is that it seems if presented from the right perspective all those answers and the clear storyline are there. But instead, the movie tries to crawl into James Murphy’s brain, which at the time of filming was incredibly confused and lost. Thus the film itself tends to get jumbled in obscure transitions from the stage to Murphy’s apartment. The result is that you begin to feel just as uncertain about what’s actually happening as Murphy is, and while it’s a great act of imposing empathy on the viewer, I think it would have been a lot more interesting to really try to define the story from an outsider’s perspective. Essentially, they should have just let Klosterman produce the film.
The most compelling part of the film comes when Klosterman asks Murphy what he believes his greatest failure to be, as Klosterman claims it is an act’s greatest failure that truly defines them. Murphy is quick to reply that potentially quitting will be his biggest failure, while Chuck quickly jumps back at him saying, “No, I think your ability to stop being self-conscious of yourself is your biggest failure.” And he’s exactly right…music, and rock music, and dance music is all about existing in the moment. Sure, some fabulous things have happened from some incredibly intelligent rock stars making some brash decisions about their existence, but real passionate music comes from a place where you don’t give a fuck how history and the media sees you. It’s almost like James Murphy was so concerned about doing things the ‘right’ and the ‘righteous’ way that the very act of concern stopped being the ‘right’ and ‘righteous’ thing to do. I think the movie could have benefited hugely by including a couple brief fan interviews and quotes. For a band that was always about the intertwined unity and experience of itself and its fans, the movie is far too strictly presented from the top down. So it gives you a great sense of the sorrow and confusion ripping through Murphy, but it give little sense of the all-out wonder which the concert itself was. Perhaps the music so speaks for itself that we’ll have to wait for the full concert release for that wonder to be seen. Literally at times you want to scream “Shut Up and Play the Hits” at the screen, but unfortunately that’s not what the film is about. I suppose it is a great portrait of one man’s inability to live in the present, and his obsession with how the future will look back at him. However, a good concert film it is not. Still, it should be required viewing for anyone and everyone even slightly involved with the music business today, but wait until the full concert is released before you schedule any martini fueled dance-party viewing sessions.
Here’s the link to my full review of the concert from last year:
Here’s the preview:
I’m not sure if you caught the last Rolling Stone where James Murphy basically claimed he’d be totally open to bringing back LCD Soundsystem, despite their highly lauded and publicized farewell show at MSG last year…
“Oh, I mean, the idea wasn’t really to end being LCD in any form. Like, my friend’s making a film, and there’s a particular cover song that he wants us to get together and play. We’ll call it LCD Soundsystem. Who cares?”
With comments as straight-forwardly bold as that, your initial instinct is that the farewell show was a total gimmick – a spot to gain some attention, and bring your future legend closer to the present. Or maybe putting an ending on something is a total personal-psychological trick these bands play on themselves so that they can totally let go of their past and ignite into an un-restrained tomorrow.
Think about this though, what’s the number one thing anybody talks about with The Band? The Last Waltz – The most famous thing about them is how they quit being a band. What was far and away Jay-Z‘s greatest album? The Black Album – The one where he announced his fake retirement as he slowly faded to black. And right now, you’ll never get into a conversation with anyone about LCD Soundsystem without the ubiquitous question arising of whether you were at the last show. It’s become their legend.
So the question then arises if one should be angry at the band if they just suddenly started playing gigs again and acted like their giant farewell gig never happened. I’m sure many will claim that the sanctity of it is ruined, and that it just seems too suspicious that it was all a money-making gimmick. And I myself am a constant flip-flopper when it comes to reunions, usually because of those same issues of taking away from the magic of the past. But hell, the sun is shining right now…Phish is playing some of the best concerts they’ve played in a decade after quitting for 5 years…I’ve decided I’d gladly see The Talking Heads at Giants Stadium if that was my only option…so I’m gonna say fuck it James Murphy, bring the band back already and reclaim the dance floor from the evil wobble of the dub-step empire. I’ll still gladly go cry at the premiere of your farewell film in 2 weeks. If you’re not already uber-hyped for the film, the Creators Project has just released the 1st of a 4 part series basically based around the film. Mini-docs about a documentary if you will. But this one is all about how the band became the definitive NYC group, and features a few folks pledging their love to the boroughs and the band. It really makes this Portland fella miss his beloved East Coast.
So April 2nd marks the one year anniversary of the final LCD Soundsystem show at Madison Square Garden – a seminal event in modern music history – proof that you can still arise, own hearts and change other people’s lives, then say goodbye all within a decade. It’s honestly a sign that longevity has nothing to do with passion and to what degree you can really affect people. It only ever needs to be one song, or one moment – music has that phenomenal ability to completely change your entire view or self and reality in one instant. And that shit happens all the time. Anyway, it was one of the top 5 shows of my life and I’m dying to see this fucking movie. The anniversary seems like as good a time as any to drop it, but as yet – nothing. They did just release the clip above though, which only increased my salivation. Here’s the trailer below. And here’s my full review of the gig at State of Mind.
So with all my chatter on the beauty of a band like LCD Soundsystem walking away in their prime, before they fuck up their legacy, it’s led me to ponder some other notable retirements or lack thereof. Here’s the 5 that come to mind:
Talking Heads - In my head, the most obvious comparison when it comes to LCD, the T Heads are the most genuine walk-away ever. They were huge, they were successful, they were full of ideas. But Byrne shut that shit down just when people were fiending for more eternally, and even though they’re all still alive, it would be a disgrace to try to conjure up some of the magic that blossomed on those sweat filled stages of the early 80′s. End result: The Heads are one of the most beloved and pined for bands of all time, and their history is not construed with any bullshit.
The Police – I had always wanted to see the Police. They were one of the bands that I wished I had been ten years older so I could have raged them in my teens. When they first announced their reunion run a couple years ago, I was initially excited – until show reviews began to trickle in. Horrendous show reviews about the lack of cohesion between anyone in the band. Then I pictured myself trying to smoke a joint while a 45 year-old couple complained to me about lingering asthma or something – just a vision, but enough so that I knew there was no way I could ruin my childhood dreams by seeing this band butcher their history. Let that one pass by.
Led Zeppelin – When they did the one-off show to remember Ahmet 4 years ago, I said to myself: “Go now, or never see anything close to seeing this band.” And God, it must have been glorious just to have JPJ back in the rotation. But Jason Bonham is no John, not by a longshot – so obviously it would have never been the same. And as much as I would have hit a string of U.S. shows if they played them, I have nothing but huge respect for Robert Plant moving on with his life and succeeding in other musical endeavours. Hell, he wouldn’t have been able to hit most of those notes anyway.
Phish – When Trey first announced they were breaking up, I thought it was a beautiful thing. The band had fallen out of its’ groove, drugs ran rampant, and I thouroughly agreed with Anasatasio when he said, “Nobody loves Phish more than me, and I’d hate us to turn into characterizations of ourselves like some bands I truly admire.” And yes, he was speaking directly to you Bob Weir and Phil Lesh. But 5 years later, sober and raging, I can’t really argue with the Bad Lieutenant for getting the team back together. Shit is still uber-radical. Almost always.
Jane’s Addiction - Ahhhh, the ideal example. In the early 90′s Jane’s was fuckin’ nasty. Nothing’s Shocking and Ritual de lo Habitual are 2 of the greatest rock records ever made. They’ll sound innovative for another hundred years. They were big, powerful, psychedelic – everything rock and roll was meant to be. And they just made those albums, crushed Palooza, and stopped before they could fuck up their musical history. And then in 2003, Farell gets some sort of the band together to make this horrible comeback album. Unfortunately, Dave Navarros’s botox injections had weaseled down into his musical soul, and it was just another album of new millennium post-poprock garbage. Why Jane’s? Why? Their bassist, Eric Avery, was smart enough to stay away. He only returned for a bit in 2008, when they received a lifetime achievement award, and Avery felt a few shows would be to “honor the band’s legacy, rather than recreate it.” Unfortunately, they wanted to keep going and make new tunes, and he subsequently left again. And now Jane’s is touring again…and I’ve never seen them…and God I fucking want to…but I know it’s not the same, and I know it will create resentment in my heart, and I know I shouldn’t go…but I still might. Even though I know it’s gonna rub my soul the wrong way. Hell, at least I know the audience behind me won’t tell me to sit down like they told my best-friend at the Montreal Police reunion show. Here’s some Jane’s back from when the world was a better place.
Here’s the link to my drool-puddling raving rant over how ridiculous the LCD farewell show at MSG was: http://www.stateofmindmusic.com/entry/1219/LCD-Soundsystem/
“On countless nights MSG has risen to the center of the city that is the center of the universe‚ and it was gonna take a lot more than a bunch of drunk scenesters from Brooklyn throwing a farewell dance-party to be able to find a place in the Garden’s books. That is‚ unless they were LCD Soundsystem and they just so would happen to throw down one of the most legendary room shakers in the building’s history.”
Here’s a view from the pit of my favorite part of the night – the insane outro of “Yeah” into “Somone Great” – Not the best video, but if you weren’t there, no video can emulate the emotion in that room anyway.
Over-hyped and overpriced. Those are the two words most people will use to validate themselves for not being inside of Madison Square Garden last Saturday April 2. Those of us with the pleasure to have gone through the Garden doors that night, walked out at 1:30 in the morning with the honorable satisfaction of attending one of the greatest dance parties of all time. The 2nd set transcended anything that LCD Soundsystem has ever done before – and the continual groove that shook MSG was as breath-taking as it was raging. Two days later, I’m just waking up – full review to follow.
With less than a fortnight to go before the uber-epic LCD Soundsystem farewell show at MSG, my thoughts turn to the obscure opening band James Murphy has thrown on the bill, and most importantly: Would my time be better served continuing pre-show alcohol consumption around the block?
Now even though I consider myself somewhat of a learned music geek, I’m sure Mr. Murphy could name at least 50 bands he admires that I have never even heard of. Case in point: Liquid Liquid. When LCD first released a press release about the MSG show stating that their friends in L.L. would be opening up, I assumed it was some 22 year-old kids from Brooklyn playing Moogs underwater or something. But alas, I should have gone the other route of likely assumption and realized it was a pioneering post-punk, new-wave act from 1981 that only existed for 3 years. Damn – circle takes the square!
Turns out the band essentially existed from 1979 to 1983, and only just reunited in 2008. Why? Because that’s what bands do these days, they fucking reunite. Accept it. Ok, so I can understand how these orginators of monotonous beat production are obviously a heavy influence on LCD, but having these guys warm up the crowd is kinda like having your Commadore Vic-20 open up for HAL-9000. Shit is kind of a drag, and it seems like most people remember them solely as the guys who Sugarhill Records seriously fucked over when they payed out no royalties after stealing Liquid Liquid’s “Cavern” and turning into “White Lines”. Like, seriously fucked over – it’s not like they sampled it or anything, they just took that shit.
So Liquid Liquid, while I honor your gifts unto the world of music, and applaud you on what is probably the biggest gig of your life, I do believe I’ll be having another 3 Jack and Gingers across the street from the Garden while you take in your moment. God Speed to you, once torch-bearers of a post-disco NYC dance scene – may the Internet have mercy on your soul. Here’s a reunited “Cavern.”
So if you’ve completely flaked on the Valentine’s day front, and your loved one is a most hip cat, then the off-beat Brooklynites of Yeasayer have got you in control. Today the band released a new video for the track “I Remember” off of last year’s brilliant Odd Blood LP, as well as a three-track EP of the songs with some different remixes. You can go to the band’s website today, and they have a link where you can send the EP to a loved one in the form of a digital valentine – pretty fly, but believe me the girl still wants flowers. Check the link at www.yeasayer.net or watch the video below.
In other most lovable V-Day news: LCD Soundsystem will appear on The Colbert Report tonight – Radiohead‘s new album The King of Limbs will magically appear on Saturday – and I’ve included my favorite love song of all time below the Yeasayer video just in case their neo-psychedelic seizure-inducing video makes your head feel as funny as mine did after viewing.
So 4 months ago, LCD Soundsystem came nowhere near close to selling out Memorial Auditorium here in Burlington, Vermont. I think their total tickets sales were around 2800 if I heard correctly. Thus, fans and the band alike were ridiculously surprised when their April 2 farewell show at MSG sold out in mere milliseconds the other day. Not to be put down by scalpers who have for some reason taken their last show as to be the first show they’d ever pay attention to, James Murphy wrote a brilliant post on the band’s site that is totally worth checking out: http://lcdsoundsystem.com/main/
To sum it up, they’re playing a few shows at Terminal 5 leading up to the MSG to make sure everybody gets to see at least one sans scalp, and Murphy’s honest concern for the whole debacle only confirm his position as one of my honest-to-goodness living heroes. His ending comments:
i just want to give people who actually want to see us a chance to see us. for a reasonable ticket price. and i want to drop the price of the msg tickets being sold by piece of shit scalpers.
oh—and a small thing to scalpers: “it’s legal” is what people say when they don’t have ethics. the law is there to set the limit of what is punishable (aka where the state needs to intervene) but we are supposed to have ethics, and that should be the primary guiding force in our actions, you fucking fuck.
and to everyone else: thank you. you rule. don’t let the shitbags win.
i feel like conan o’brien.
The biggest musical news this past weekend other than 2 billion people witnessing how ridiculously awful the Black Eyed Peas have become, is that James Murphy and LCD Soundsystem have officially announced their last show. With Murphy last Spring stating that 2010′s This is Happening would be the final album under the LCD moniker, many hip cats like myself made concentrated efforts to catch the last of the live fire of an LCD show. My cross-nation track to Coachella was far more handsomely rewarded by other bands there than LCD and their lackluster drunken performance. My daunting escapade into all thing I fear at Camp Bisco was far more worth the trouble. The band throwing down in Burlington, Vermont at Memorial Auditorium was an uber-epic-pantsdrop evening.
Yet one last show by no means makes me regret the effort I put into last year’s voyages – rather, I can’t wait to have one of the musical nights of my life April 2 at Madison Square Garden. Announced on the band’s website, they mention 3 hours of friends, covers, and never-before-played songs, and most importantly state: “If it’s a funeral, let’s have the best funeral ever!!!” Nuff’ said. If you leave within a 500 mile radius of New York City, the words “be there or be square” have never held more truth.