Live Review: LCD Soundsystem puts Margaret Court on blast and bring the party to Melbourne

I tell ya what, Margaret Court Arena is going to be going through it over the next few months or at least, until the Melbourne venue is renamed. With Sigur Rós‘ much-anticipated show at the arena taking place this evening, an event that has directly called Margaret Court out herself and has taken steps to actively support Australian Marriage Equality, it will be interesting to see how much longer it takes for the site adopt a different title.

For now though, we’re talking about last night’s events, in which New York’s LCD Soundsystem brought their, what can only be described as ‘ridiculously impressive’, huge live set through after enjoying a killer show in Sydney on Monday night. From the opening notes of “Yr City’s a Sucker”, it was evident that we were going to be doing some partying while these guys were in the building.

As the huge disco ball hung over the band’s heads and shot out glittering lights across the packed out arena floor, LCD Soundsystem were on mighty form. Sure, there was a lot of nostalgia attached to this one for me – but the year LCD played the Big Day Out always stands out as a regret, I can’t remember who I saw instead, but I remember kicking myself immediately after. Last night felt like a brilliant moment of redemption – the iconic cowbell solo that “Daft Punk is Playing At My House” rung out strongly live for the first time since 2011 for many of us; the song itself proving an early highlight.

James Murphy kept banter to a minimum, save for thanking the crowd early on for not being on their phones, introducing the band, and taking time to address the whole Margaret Court fiasco that has clearly permeated through to outlets beyond Australia in the last few months.

“I’m not one to get in old people’s faces for being ignorant,” he paused to comment. “But when you come after my family, my friends – you can go fuck yourself. …This seems like a really nice place to play so let’s have us come back next year and let’s rename this place.”

As you can imagine, the applause that followed was rapturous.

Watching an eight piece band manoeuvre their way through pounding electronics, amped up synths and percussion and guitars that throttled each empty space in the soundscape would have been worth the ticket price alone, had you had no prior knowledge of LCD Soundsystem. The dynamic that exists within this band as a live unit was impressive on its own; Murphy’s watchful eye over Pat Mahoney‘s drum kit, Nancy Whang‘s work on keyboard and synths switching things up between songs as each member would tap in and out of different duties. Exemplary of why LCD Soundsystem were easily one of the most important bands of the 2000s, this show was a masterclass in knowing how to play your instrument and get the best out of each element on stage.

There may not have been “Drunk Girls”, “Yeah” or “One Touch” in the setlist but it didn’t matter; the 15 song strong run we got in Melbourne was strong and didn’t miss a beat. Not many people in the seated areas remained in their seats throughout – “You Wanted a Hit” went in hard, while “Someone Great” brought things back a bit and hypnotised.

Leaving briefly for a pee break, as Murphy openly remarked, the band’s main set wound up with a striking rendition of “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down”. Returning with half an hour still left on the timer situated off to the side of the stage, LCD Soundsystem launched into the powerful one-two punch of “Dance Yrself Clean” and “All My Friends”, the latter bringing the biggest response of the night.

Unsurprising, perhaps, but there was something unifying in the effect of that last track; no doubt, “All My Friends” has been a staple of many 20 something’s playlists for years now and as the song neared its conclusion, you could feel that the crowd did not want it to end. As all good things must though, LCD Soundsystem wrapped things up tightly and with another quick ‘thank you’, that was it.

House lights up, doors open. We were unleashed back into the cold Melbourne night, reminded it was still a weeknight and work still lay ahead in the morning. Utterly worth it.

LCD SOUNDSYSTEM MELBOURNE SET LIST

Yr City’s a Sucker
Daft Punk is Playing at My House
I Can Change
Get Innocuous!
American Dream
You Wanted a Hit
Tribulations
Movement
Call the Police
Someone Great
Tonite
Home
New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down
Dance Yrself Clean
All My Friends

Photo by Andrew Wade, captured at Splendour in the Grass.