LCD Soundsystem, Astoria, London

Astoria, London

Why James Murphy, creator of LCD Soundsystem, puts himself through the strain of live performance is something only he can explain. Neither a natural singer nor performer, the Brooklyn dance-rock producer is best described as "game": he gets stuck in and sees it through, but ends up a mass of twitches and jerks. It makes for a compelling show.

Backed by four musicians whose brief is to create a relentless, thrumming soundbed, Murphy is hyped-up from the outset. A plastic cup lobbed by a fan bounces off his helmet of stiff hair, presumably expressing someone's delight at the speeded-up versions of Us v Them and Daft Punk Is Playing At My House that open the show. Throwing himself into it, he switches to a staccato yelp for North American Scum, one of several tunes crafted around irresistible choruses. This one impels an English audience to shout the refrain "We're North American scum, we're from North America!" - very much one with Murphy, whose delivery is as ambivalent as the lyric.

Surprisingly, there's no Losing My Edge, the cult 2002 track that drew attention to LCD's then-novel, now-much-imitated hybrid of rock and electronica. But a segue of Yeah and Throw makes a momentous finale, Murphy in a lather of nerves and thrashing a cowbell. Given the toll it takes, no wonder he rarely tours.


Caroline Sullivan

The GuardianTramp

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