October 11, 2010
The Fillmore, Miami Beach, FL
“Where are your friends tonight?”
When James Murphy, singer and band leader of LCD Soundsystem, sang this pertinent lyric from All My Friends, a collective chorus of fans sang with him, locking arms and dancing in absolute bliss.
Opening band Sleigh Bells brought their distorted, rock-electro noise concoction complete with dizzying, amplified looped bass that punched you in the larynx every time it thumped. South Florida’s own Derek Miller, the songwriter/creator of Sleigh Bells, released an album that bloggers and critics can’t seem to praise enough. A generalized way to describe their sonic sound would be a hardcore version of M.I.A. Since M.I.A worked with Sleigh Bells and promoted the band, this connection is easy to make. Singer Alexis Kraus’s cadences shifted through every song, from calm, poppy fun to full on hardcore scream mode. I don’t know if teaching 4th graders in the Bronx and a tendency to scream at shows are mutually exclusive to one another, but I can only imagine that having little Billy throwing paper planes (M.I.A pun intended) at her head in class leads to some song inspiration.
Sleigh Bells never let up the intensity, holding onto that frenetic sound they are known for. Derek Miller has created a pop-noise machine that hits hard and loud with layered beats and distorted riffs splattered together, forming something wild and new. With only one album, Sleigh Bells definitely doesn’t have enough material to headline their own show at The Fillmore and at times the same basic rhythms drone on without interruption from song to song. Hopefully, this duo is not a one-shot gimmick of hardcore boy meets soft girl. It may seem like the ubiquitous indie band set up, but Sleigh Bells might have enough creativity and originality to not succumb to a been-there-done-that tale.
The night’s headliner LCD Soundsystem is already drawing to the end of their tale, and in a short period of time have become almost legendary in their musical realm. LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy previously stated that LCD would be defunct after the current tour, ending with a small, but great discography. Quality over quantity applies here.
LCD made their way to the Fillmore and provided one last hurrah for every South Florida fan, hipster and music elitist that couldn’t help but be enthralled to even be in the same room as the band – it was well worth the $50 to be a part of this party.
“LCD Soundystem is, justifiably, a full-fledged rock band in every sense of the word.”
When it comes to most acts that infuse electronic doodads and multi-layered components to their live acts, it’s mostly preprogrammed MPCs and some synths. LCD Soundystem is, justifiably, a full-fledged rock band in every sense of the word. They came to The Fillmore with keyboards, percussions, vocals, guitars and a myriad of other instruments, creating a full-on rich cacophony of sound that felt raw. Each separate piece added an extra surge to the live performance, something you don’t expect to achieve with just loops. LCD Soundsystem goes out of their way to create such a visceral experience for their fans that not one of the many components feels superfluous. You won’t hear or see a better show then this. When “Dance Yourself Clean” opened the set, lights positioned in the rafters at the back of the stage lit up, signaling a musical explosion. Bros and hipsters united, singing along to “All My Friends,” and jumping in unison during “Drunk Girls.” Complete and utter frenetic frenzy erupted across the dance floor during “Tribulations.”
These were all the pieces of an LCD Soundsystem show that, in a span of just 15 songs, provided so many great elements of funk, dance and rock that even the most vitriolic of music aficionados couldn’t help but move to the groove. It’s what LCD Soundsystem is: an all-encompassing act of different genres, influenced by decades of music, ranging from the ’70s to the present, delivered at such a high velocity that it seems to cease. The Fillmore was the only the place you’d want to be with your friends that night.
Review by Mike Hernandez
Photos by Liana Minassian