LCD Soundsystem, Lovebox Festival – London: The View From Far Out

Cult electro-rock icons LCD Soundsystem continued their comeback tour of Europe’s largest festivals by closing day two of London’s Lovebox Festival.

James Murphy, a man who, five years ago, decided to call time on the band with an emotional Madison Square Garden show, could not resist the itch of a return this year, and on tonight’s evidence it is clear why.

Quite simply, few acts hypnotise and suspend reality quite like LCD Soundsystem.

Performing in London as part of a jam-packed summer schedule, Lovebox finds the band at its peak. Murphy is in his element, the voice and soul of the party – revealing the group played their first ever show in London, way back in 2002, and he intends to get just a drunk this time around.

If he isn’t sober, it’s difficult to tell, as every element in on point. With instruments and vocals crisp, the beats and synths wash through like a rainbow head-rush; ‘US v Them’ is a pulsing drum beast – entrancing to the core, ‘I Can Change’ an emotional roller-coaster of self-doubt, but all equal crescendos in their own right.LCD Soundsystem LoveboxEven if the years have passed, the effect of the music only gets more potent; electro-epic ‘Get Innocuous’ sees Murphy lose himself, not for the first time, in the swirling synths and Nancy Whang’s vocal. Eight minutes later, everything just about lands, having flown into orbit to some other galaxy.

Groove is key that holds the show together – simple and pure, but, as Murphy sings in on ‘You Wanted A Hit’ “there’s lights and sounds and stories, music’s just a part”. During their penultimate track, ‘Dance Yrself Clean’, he urges the crowd to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to band-mate Pat Mahoney. The guitarist then takes the opportunity to declare “refugees are welcome on this stage, this city, this island”. Celebratory, determined and irrepressible.

‘All My Friends” ends the show in typically emotive fashion, a heart-breaking yet life-affirming ode to age, friendship and life. Oh, there was also a huge disco ball, and a million other things – but you just had to be there.

Losing their edge? No chance.

Alex Taylor. 

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