Homecoming: LCD Soundsystem at Terminal 5

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Published May 24, 2010

PHOTO BY VINCENT CORNELLI

“Tonight I will go to bed in my bed; tomorrow I will make coffee in my house,” James Murphy announced to Manhattan’s completely packed Terminal 5 on Thursday night. “This is great,” he added. Murphy has always been a New York kind of guy and, in our experience, LCD Soundsystem has always been a New York kind of band. Clearly, Murphy was pleased to return to his position as the tsar of New York indie rock, after recording the band’s new album, This is Happening, in Los Angeles and making a tour of the UK.

For the first night of LCD’s four-night run at Terminal 5, Murphy and Co. stuck mainly to the crowd-pleasers, opening with “Us V. Them” (which drew cheers, especially when a spotlight hit the venue’s giant disco ball) and continuing with “Drunk Girls” and “Get Innocuous!” The gang only played one semi-obscure song—”Yr City’s a Sucker”—and Murphy was semi-apologetic afterwards: “Thanks for being the kind of crowd that can hang with a B-side from a 7-inch,” he said. Ironically, he also stumbled over an amp while singing “Tribulations” (you know, the one with the lyric, “Everybody makes mistakes”).

Predictably enough, “All My Friends” drew the greatest response; Murphy was, after all, singing to his target audience. (We thought we glimpsed Ben Stiller, star of the Murphy-scored Greenberg, leaving the VIP area just after that song was done). But the encore was the high point of the evening—after a solid 90-minute set, LCD returned to play a three-song encore that lasted nearly another half hour. And just when the audience thought the final song, “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down,” was over, a spotlight hit keyboardist Nancy Whang, who started to plink out the melody from “Empire State of Mind, Part 2” before singing a sweet duet with James Murphy just before hundreds of silver balloons descended from the ceiling.

LCD’s opener, DFA labelmates Holy Ghost!, who sound like early Michael Jackson meets New Order at a 1979 disco, are also a joy to see live. (If you missed the Terminal 5 shows, you can catch them at the Bowery Ballroom in July or with Hot Chip and Hercules & Love Affair at Central Park Summerstage in September.) When Murphy acknowledged them during the LCD set, he let slip a surprising bit of trivia: “That was their second show ever,” he said, setting off a murmur of reallys throughout the crowd. He added, in typical Murphy fashion, “Our first show was at Trash in London, and I don’t remember it.” Here’s hoping he remembers this one.