LCD Soundsystem in the Olympia Theatre, Dublin, 27 September 2017
Few bands can build themselves up to such a perfect moment of payoff as LCD Soundsystem. The band know just how to orchestrate their sound around a slow steady drive which, when the listener can wait no longer, disarmingly unleashes itself in its own good time.
And the audience who’ve packed themselves into the Olympia theatre have waited for this. After a fake-out split that had resolved itself before Shut Up and Play the Hits hade even made it onto Netflix, the band departed from existence and returned with about as much smoothness as the most theatrical of encores. But it’s been some time since they’ve made their way to Dublin.
Sure, they headlined Electric Picnic last year, but this is a real return. If tempers were still bitter about the break up and return shenanigans, then a three-night residency in this gorgeous, intimate venue goes a long way to healing any remaining wounds.
Right from the start, LCD Soundsystem know what they are at.
An amped up version of Get Innocuous! kicks things off in a steady middle gear that the band maintains for much of the early part of the show. Things blaze on through a dreamy I Can Change which, at the moment of release, blasts a sumptuous veil of light reflected though an enormous disco ball out over the sold-out venue.
There’s something very charming about the way LCD Soundsystem can build so much out of a song that – taken by its individual elements – isn’t ostensibly doing very much. LCD cruise their way through a paced build-up of elements that by themselves seem minimalistic – a solid driving beat dusted by a smattering of careful symbol hits, deft repetition, and a few carefully placed notes of distortion.
If you could call this a comeback, the new tracks do a lot to justify their presence. The neat and haunting I Used To unfurls itself as a cool vocal led number, while Tonight bangs as hard as should be expected.
For the most part the set cruises sweetly past, hitting all the right notes and generating a ton of noise. Even when the band do let rip on a barrage of distorted guitars and synths (as they do on You Wanted a Hit, and the massive Yeah) it never seems like some dull heavy rock show concerned only with making a loud noise. There are subtler things at work here.
That real payoff, that’s been building since the first note of the set (and even before, thanks to a great warmup set from the band’s Irish pal Shit Robot) comes in hard in the band’s encore. It comes a couple of songs after James Murphy explains to the audience, at considerable length, the nature of the encore. “Yes,” he says, “we will come back after the break. We’re old, we’ve been drinking, we need to pee.” You couldn’t not like this guy.
Losing My Edge eases the encore in with its slowly unfurling uber-cynical groove, before the new Emotional Haircut proves itself encore worthy. It’s all been building towards the final pairing of Dance Yrself Clean and All My Friends, where LCD Soundsystem allow the clockwork precision displayed up until now to drop away and embrace just enough controlled chaos to deliver that payoff – the hard-hitting cacophonous end to a righteously cool show.
It’d be worth going back and paying closer attention to see how this effect is achieved. Those who have tickets to one or both of the remaining nights have a lot to look forward to.