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Preview: LCD Soundsystem at Ibiza Rocks

American indietronic crashes onto the White Isle



In 2005, Ibiza Rocks had the conviction to push against boundaries and break the mould by bringing live bands to an island that was established as a destination for dance music. Embodying this spirit during its early years, you had Babyshambles, Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian and more importantly - for the very reason we're penning this anticipatory preview - you also had LCD Soundsystem. They were there in 2007 and they were back in 2010, but James Murphy had his band play in Ibiza even before the Ibiza Rocks brand was born - in 2004 for Manumission's 10th birthday. That gig awakened the idea that live music had a home here on the White Isle, and one year later, Andy Mckay - then impresario of Manumission - took a risk and cranked open Ibiza's scene to a different breed of players.

Just months after their 2010 Ibiza appearance, they blazed through one last show in Madison Square Garden. Twenty thousand people packed in for a final, live ear-slam of hits including 'Someone Great', 'Daft Punk Is Playing at My House', 'New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down', 'Get Innocuous', and the rest, because there's plenty of timeless gems across the band's three albums. The gig was so final that at the band's urging, fans adorned black and white threads – basically a funeral awaiting the final drumroll. Others who couldn't make it said their goodbyes during the rolling credits of Shut Up and Play the Hits – the group's farewell documentary.

There were cries for a reunion, but in 2013, it was still a no-go for Murphy, who said they were all cracking on with their own projects and having a good time getting to know each other “in a totally different context to the 'big-ish band getting bigger' way we were a little stuck in.” Fast forward to 2015 and you had Murphy sat with a bank of more material than he'd ever had in his life. “I write songs all the time. Sometimes they're just weird songs I sing while changing a baby, or songs about annoying things that I sing to myself,” was how he set about explaining to fans that the rumours were true earlier this year. He laid down an apology to the diehards who felt misled by his u-turn, fed a little into the excitement from the fans fiercely excited to see them back, and promised that they'd be in the studio making their fourth full-length “as f@#king good” as they could possibly make it.

LCD Soundsystem have already rocked out at Coachella, Primavera and Glastonbury this year, proving they're as relevant today as ever. In a mere matter of days, it'll be us and you lot standing in for a session with the indietronica outfit and here's why you should be at one of this season's most long-awaited gigs.


The Band

The ever self-effacing James Murphy will forever be the face of the band, largely because he can do it all - vocals, drums, bass, percussion, claps, organ, programming, drum machine, synths, guitar, effects, keyboards, piano, clavinet, wurlitzer piano, snaps, omnichord and vocoder. His line-up of musicians over the years has been switched-up with other commitments crossing their paths, but his current incarnation includes vocalist, keyboard player and DJ, Nancy Whang; bassist, Tyler Pope; synth wizard, Gavin Russom - who's released music under various guises including Black Leotard Front, Black Meteoric Star and The Crystal Ark; DJ and multi-instrumental member, Matt Thornley, and guitarist, Al Doyle, who's also one member of Hot Chip. That's some assemblage lying in wait to take to the Rocks stage for some electrifying, noisy disco-punk.


The Classics

While Murphy's lyricism has hit paper at a rapid pace in the last five years since the curtain was drawn, they'll be digging deep into their archives and bringing out the classics that had them labelled as one of the most beloved bands of the '00s. This Is Happening, Sound Of Silver and the self-titled LCD Soundsystem are the three lauded studio albums laden with a diverse range of sounds, packed with a sense of humour and consequently responsible for livening up the electronic music scene. Since bursting back into action in March, they've been playing the same set list (more or less) but as one Coachella reviewer commented, "some of the transitions are just...magical." Exactly what tracks will be blasted, and in what format, is unknown – the loyalists might even get off on hearing some B-sides and remixes chucked in for good measure.


La La Land

Their fourth studio album, La La Land, is the band's first in six years. The inspiration was found in aspects of the underground rock sounds from the Sunset Strip in the late '60s. Murphy enlisted a slate of Los Angeles music royalty to add some local flavor to La La Land. You've got Don Henley (The Eagles), Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Courtney Love (Hole), Kirk Hammett (Metallica), Zack de la Rocha (Rage Against the Machine), Maynard James Keenan (Tool), and the whole Black Hippy crew all appearing on the tracklist, which makes us inclined to think it'll be worth a listen.


Living it Live

You'll hear fans wax lyrical about their infamous live performances - many admit that they didn't really 'get it' until they were profusely sweating below the stage, because LCD Soundsystem are one of those bands that makes it physically impossible to not dance during their show. Murphy as a frontman is magnetic, funny, charming, self-depricating, and teeters between not caring what impression he leaves you with to being completely sincere and gracious. Whether you're already won over, or waiting in line to feel the finesse - this is an opportunity to see a band that had the power to take hundreds of rock purists and implant them into the world of electronica.


Grace and Gratitude

In that apologetic and explanatory message left on the band's page for the fans, Murphy left one final note:

"Thank you to everyone who has been absurdly kind to us over the past 14 (!) years. If you have moved on and don't like us anymore, that's obviously ok, too. But please, if we ever gave you any joy, just find something new and good that blows you away, and post it on our Facebook page or something with, like, 'hey f#ck you guys! this is the real sh#t!' so we can hear new good stuff. That would be the best for all of us."



WORDS | Aimee Lawrence

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