I got the chance to write a retrospective on LCD Soundsystem for Prefix this week. It’s a piece I put alot of time and energy into, and frankly something I’m really proud of. It’s a bittersweet endeavor to write a eulogy for one of your favorite bands but also a rare opportunity to tell their story from your own perspective. LCD were always a band that meant alot to my friends and I, so I wanted to use this space to recount a few personal memories and experiences that didn’t make it into the finished piece.
LCD Soundsystem first appeared shortly after 9/11, not long past my own arrival in the city, and provided a consistent soundtrack to the marathon track meet that symbolizes basic survival here. While the city was still stuck on The Strokes Is This It and Jay-Z’s The Blueprint (with good reason) DFA (Death From Above) was born. LCD Soundsystem, the label’s anchor, sounded like nothing else and adopted a raw, punk rock, live for the moment, generally pissed off attitude that fit right in with what many of us were feeling at the time. Fueled by an instant tidal wave of buzz, some legendary DJ gigs and an air of mystery NYC ate them up from the word go. At a time when I still had to put up with sneering kids-in-bands to rent a DVD from Kim’s Video and made a pass through my favorite record stores just about every Sunday, “Losing My Edge” was a record I immediately understood.
The first time I saw LCD live was in an airplane hangar (literally) in Barcelona for the 2005 Sonar Festival with my friend Matteo and thousands of sweaty Europeans fueled by chemical enhancements dancing late into the morning. The Sonar sound system is legendary, an actual wall of speakers on either side of the stage, and this was the biggest I’d ever heard a band sound. My mind was blown. Matteo aka Matt Forde left the world far too soon and I still think of him every time I hear the first notes of “Someone Great”.
I also remember pre-gaming at my apartment in LES then piling in cabs across the Williamsburg Bridge to see LCD at Brooklyn’s now shuttered Studio B. We rolled in crew deep and created our own party within the party. The show was a booming blur and we loved every minute of it. It was also one of the first times we had all hung out with E and his cousin Lamar, who disappeared to the front row as soon as we got in the building and returned afterwards minus shirts, dripping sweat. It was a perfect review of the show and a fitting introduction.
I saw them push through a regulated 45 minute set of hits at Chicago’s Lollapalooza in 2007, where in a bizarre twist they ended up opening for Daft Punk. We were in the front row for that one and I remember a classic piece of James Murphy wit when after “Us vs. Them” had turned the crowd into a mosh pit he said, “I see you guys are dancing really hard out there and that’s good, but here’s a little rule of thumb: If you look around and there are no girls dancing anywhere close by, you’re dancing a little too hard.” Sage advice.
There were the finale shows at Terminal 5 which were more fun than you’re supposed to be allowed to have past the age of 30.
There was also my wedding party where the man pictured above, the legendary EMB, heard the first notes of “All My Friends” and decided to grab the mic and give the crowd his own rendition. Obviously celebrating the marriage to my beautiful wife will always be the highlight of my night, but this might be the next thing I remember with a smile. A combination of E’s energy and the song itself (a New York City anthem if there ever was one) packed the entire dance floor and had everyone jumping up and down in our suits and fancy dresses, enjoying a moment of ecstatic bliss that none of us will ever forget.
There was even this final farewell, Shut Up and Play the Hits. A group of us met downtown for happy hour, got drunk, quickly ate some food, then snuck beers into the theater. It just seemed like the right thing to do. The party may be over now but damn, it was a good run.