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Monday, Oct. 25, 2010

LCD Soundsystem w/ Hot Chip @ The Rave

Oct. 22, 2010

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Ever since LCD Soundsystem's 2002 debut single, "Losing My Edge," James Murphy has been a connoisseur of cool, and, with three consecutive essential records, his ensemble has arguably been the best band of the last eight years. That's why it’s so confounding to see them calling it quits. Murphy, who pledged to step aside when he turned 40, says this is their final tour, although he’s not opposed to releasing singles in the future. The band's latest, This Is Happening, has garnered universal praise and is sure to litter critics' year-end top-10 lists.

For all of Murphy's "too old" talk, it was quite jarring when he removed his watch during set opener "Dance Yrself Clean" Friday night at the Rave, in a move that seemed to regard time as meaningless. Then again, that moment might have been more a comment on the length of their songs than his declining youth. In an hour and 45 minutes, they traversed through just 13 tunes, most peaking past the seven-minute mark. Brevity isn’t LCD Soundsystem’s strong point, to say the least, but the band’s excesses do spark some treasures such as the rave-like trance to close out “Get Innocuous.”

Showing off some trademark coolness whilst sporting a plain oxford dress shirt, Murphy channeled David Byrne la Stop Making Sense on "Yr City's a Sucker," where he played a manic frontman among a white-lit stage. His rendition of "Losing My Edge" was played off as erratic, off-kilter and fresh, as a jumbled narrative should. The night's only dark spot was on "All My Friends," which sounded terribly muddled. Yet it still provided one of the show's highlights: the crowd yelling "Where are your friends tonight?" during the song's apex, a spine-tingling moment to be sure.

The whole night couldn't help but play out like a somber goodbye. Murphy says he’s off for better things—he has his own label, DFA, to run—and that’s a hard point to argue. You have to commend him for his ambition. It’s gotten him to where he is today.

Electric pop outfit and DFA signees Hot Chip offered a raucous opening set. This was no surprise to the swarms of fans that arrived early to sing and groove along to the English group's sophisticated dance-floor tunes.