LCD Soundsystem at All Points East: A wickedly tight live band whose classic songs had the audience in ecstasy

PUBLISHED: 16:04 26 May 2018 | UPDATED: 23:09 28 May 2018

James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem performing at the band's Friday headline set at All Points East in Victoria Park. Picture: Tom Hancock

James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem performing at the band's Friday headline set at All Points East in Victoria Park. Picture: Tom Hancock


To listen to LCD Soundsystem through their intricately produced studio recordings, it’s easy to miss the musicianship James Murphy and his crew of unwilling rock stars command.

But this powerful 100-minute set was propelled by a tight, well rehearsed band of live performers, including a seemingly tireless drummer in Pat Mahoney, the scrappy but brilliant Murphy, and fans’ favourite Nancy Whang, whose keyboards were just loose enough to make it clear nothing was on tape.

Indeed, one of the highlights came thanks to Whang’s lead vocal on Chic classic I Want Your Love. But the night belonged to Murphy, wailing and whispering his way through the band’s four-album career, all the while looking like he’d slept in his car.

Festival crowds are notoriously casual, often drifting in and out with one eye on the clock and another on tomorrow’s lineup. So opening with You Wanted a Hit from This Is Happening might have been an order to go hard or go home. But All Points East pulled an audience just as rapturous as that of any headline show, with some singing along to every word and others so lost in the beat they were facing away from the stage altogether as they threw shapes at total strangers.

Among the best songs were Get Innocuous, transformed into a rave anthem thanks to its squiggly breakdown, and Dance Yrself Clean – the latter a chance for Murphy’s easily overlooked vocal power to really shine. Live, his alternating baritone and falsetto recalled Sinatra or Ian Curtis as much as any of his contemporaries, and help explain LCD’s success at churning out heartrending ballads alongside the arch floorfillers.

Of the former, the aching Oh Baby didn’t work quite so well here, simply because it was too slow to dance to, leaving the crowd a little unsure what to do. The camerawork beamed to the giant screens was excellent thanks to a vast array of angles, focuses and visual effects, but there wasn’t a huge amount happening on stage for anyone but the front row.

But none of that mattered as the band tore into closing song All My Friends, as perfect now as it was in 2007 – a track whose relentless, desperate ecstasy really did feel like a hymn to the moment we were all sharing, acquaintances and strangers and lovers and ex-partners and everything in between, right here and right now.


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