We got to Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom not long after they opened the doors for the second of three sold-out shows for LCD Soundsystem. We were hungry and hoped to grab a bite before the show. I asked a bouncer outside when LCDSS would start their set. “Nine, I think,” he said. “There’s a DJ opening, I think.” We went to a nearby Thai restaurant, had a nice meal, and then headed to the show to line up around the corner of the building and nearby some vendors selling street tacos that smelled delicious. We got in without trouble, although one bouncer thought my earplugs were pills for a moment, and went upstairs to the main floor. The DJ was spinning a remix of the Police‘s “Voices Inside My Head” as we moved up toward front stage left.
The DJ, it turns out, was Derrick Carter – one of Chicago’s most legendary DJ’s and a pioneer of Chicago house music. He’s spun all over the world and was putting down a solid set that no one in our area seemed to notice. The bouncer outside and the Aragon Ballroom massively undersold this. Carter’s name should’ve been on the marquis under LCDSS. It was a wonderful surprise and we would’ve come up extra early to catch his whole set if we’d known he was going to be on the bill.
LCDSS shot out of the gate at almost exactly nine o’clock with “Get Innocuous.” The whole place was jumping and then went positively nuts when light bounced off LCDSS’ massive disco ball above the stage.
Not ones to rest soon, they followed it with their mega-hit “Daft Punk Is Playing at My House” and the electro classic “I Can Change.” The band was cooking with gas for the whole set, and were obviously healthier than when I saw them at Pitchfork Music Festival earlier this year when lead singer James Murphy openly spoke about getting over a cold and keyboardist Nancy Whang having “a bum knee.”
“Trials and Tribulations” was another crowd favorite and is one of those songs that sounds even better live. The crowd disappointed me when no mosh pit broke out during “Movement” (as it rightfully did at Pitchfork). In fact, the crowd was a bit subdued compared to the Pitchfork crowd. I don’t know if the outdoor venue and nice weather of Pitchfork made everyone a bit looser, but many around us at the Aragon weren’t even dancing. “Tonite,” one of the best singles of 2017, was another sharp cut and I was happy to hear it live for the first time.
After taking a break “to go pee,” as Murphy put it (“It’s hard. A two-hour show. You know, you get older, you have to pee,” he announced before they played a great rendition of “New York I Love You, but You’re Bringing Me Down.”), they came back onstage to play “Oh Baby,” the lead cut from their excellent new record, American Dream. They followed it with another track off the new record and one that should’ve inspired the second mosh pit of the night – “Emotional Haircut.”
“Dance Yrself Clean” still ranks among the greatest of their hits and is easily one of the best parts of their live performances. They closed with “All My Friends” and Murphy wished everyone a safe trip home.
It was good to see them again and good to see them all healthy. LCDSS have become one of those bands I will see at any opportunity, as should you.
Keep your mind open.