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Review: LCD Soundsystem & Hot Chip

Posted by CeefaxOfLife from Cardiff - Published on 13/11/2010 at 15:51
0 comments » - Tagged as Music

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So this is an end of an era in one regard and the start of another, though nowhere near the same scale of importance and magnitude. This is purported to be LCD Soundsystem’s last ever tour, as James Murphy has stated that this project in now over. And this was my first gig in the CIA. I’ve reached that age. I even sat down on the comfy seats at the back for a bit, witnessing a band’s farewell. I’m slowing turning into my Dad. I still felt youngish though due to the incredulous number of old people present. Maybe Murphy has realised that LCD was losing its edge.

One thing definitely missing an edge was Hot Chip, the co-headliners of this tour. They’ve been swapping the order around each date and thank Christ Cardiff got Hot Chip first. Bathed in purple and cyan, they played tracks from all four albums, which echoed around the half-full arena. They seemed to play within themselves, never threatening to let loose, except for a brief second during Hold On, when they almost hit top gear.

Indeed some of the transitions in the songs were pretty ropey at times and frontman Alexis Taylor (a curious brew of Mark Mothersbaugh, Sussudio-era Phil Collins and Kip from Napoleon Dynamite) struggled to fill the arena as a lead guy should. He got a lesson during their final number when they were joined on stage by Murphy and Nancy Whang for a cover of a track called Seabird by The Alessi Brothers (me neither). It was the first they had performed it and should probably be the last time as well.

Mainly though Hot Chip were let down by the sound, the kick echoing and bass failing to rattle my innards. The echo I can understand, the huge space and the lack of bodies to absorb sound amplifies the potential for echo, but the lack of bassquake was unforgivable. I fretted during the interval (they turned the houselights up!) that my final taste of LCD would be compromised, this being my first CIA gig and not knowing any different.

I needn’t have bothered worrying. Whether it was because there were more people in to see LCD or because they slipped the sound guy a tenner, LCD Soundsystem sounded brilliant. Kicking off with tracks from This Is Happening, they dropped All My Friends mid-set. I was gobsmacked, this paean to dawn and separating ways is ideal from the emotional farewell. It was credit to Murphy and co that they eschewed such an obvious ploy and instead finished with an ecstatic elongated version of dancefloor destroyer Yeah set to the lurid pulse of green lights. This merged into Home with the backdrop shifting from the burnt orange of sunset to the rich purple of late twilight. It was an evident visual metaphor for the passing of this band but it still made me feel funny inside. I later learned that this is called an emotion.

So farewell to LCD Soundsytem, who rocked it and bye for now to Hot Chip who didn’t. I’d like to say a permanent goodbye to the CIA (£3.80 for a can of Bow, the cheek of it!) but I’m back there next month for Arcade Fire.

Here’s hoping LCD Soundsystem do a Take That/Blur/Pulp and reform before too long. Music will be poorer without them.


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