LCD Soundsystem at Hollywood Bowl

So, this was the second time in less than a month I’d seen LCD Soundsystem, but last time I only got to catch part of their set headlining VirginFest.  This time I was going to make sure I caught the whole thing.  This was my first time at the famous Hollywood Bowl, so I was excited just to see the stage where everyone from Pavarotti to Jim Morrison has played.  As you can see from the picture to the left, we were up quite high and getting there required several escalator rides.  The distinctive band shell covering the stage is the focal point of the Bowl.  Unfortunately, it was cloudy out so the views of the Hollywood Hills and the HOLLYWOOD sign were obscured.  As the concert progressed, we decided that the cloudy conditions may have been caused not by the weather, but the large amounts of marijuana being smoked throughout the venue.  I am shocked the legalization proposition failed on Tuesday, maybe a bunch of people forgot to vote because they were out jonesing for Cheetos.

Anyway, back tot the music.  We missed the first opener, Sleigh Bells.  Since I saw them at VirginFest, and since they only have about 40 minutes of material to their name, I don’t think I missed anything.  I even think the smaller stage I saw them at was much better suited for them than the cavernous Hollywood Bowl.  The second opener was Hot Chip, who I’ve heard of, but wasn’t really familiar with.  They were actually really good.  They are on my list now (of bands to learn more about).

James Murphy came out clad in all white, prompting memories of David Byrne (which is funny cause I actually hear similarities between the LCD and Talking Heads).  They started out by playing the opener from the new album “Drink Yrself Clean.”  I’d only gotten to listen to the album a few times before the show, but I hadn’t realized how good this song was.  Known for his sharp wit with lyrics (see “Losing My Edge” which he played during the encore), this song has some hilarious lines, none better than his deadpan delivery of “talking like a jerk except you are an actual jerk and living proof that sometimes friends are mean.”  It’s a great opener since it has that slow burn that builds and builds until it explodes.  I’ll have to write more about this song later because I think it’s one of the best song I’ve heard in a long time.

The band kept up the energy throughout the set, bobbing back and forth between older tunes like “Daft Punk Is Playing at My House” (see my Facebook page for a video of part of that performance) and songs from their last two albums.  There was little break between songs, it was almost like they couldn’t wait to get to the next song.  The enthusiasm was palpable, from both the band and the crowd.  The sound was magnificent, for such a large venue I was really impressed with how well the sound traveled to the back where we were.  Towards the end of the show, it started drizzling but it didn’t damper the spirits of the crowd, who kept dancing through the encore.  The concert ended with “Home,” the last song from the new album (which oddly has a similar chorus consisting of a chant-like “aaahaaaah”).  Nice symmetry but it wasn’t really the banging end to the show that would have been if “Losing My Edge” (played immediately before) had been the closer.  A minor quibble though, this was definitely a top 10 concert for me.  And thumbs up to the Hollywood Bowl as a venue too.

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