Sweat-moistened bodies push up against each other and dust rises from the stony ground. This vast patch of concrete by the seaside in Barcelona’s Parc Del Forum is about to transform into a giant dancefloor. LCD Soundsystem flirt and tantalise, taking their time as the swarm towards the stage intensifies, and with the shuffling drum sound of opener ‘Us Vs Them’, James Murphy’s band reduce Primavera to one giant rave.
It’s like being in a club
In four hours or so when the sun rises, this place will look like exactly what it is – a grey expanse of land by the water. Now though, it feels smaller, as if there’s a roof overhead, compressing the springy chords of ‘Daft Punk Is Playing At My House’ – which they toss out second – into the ears of the crowd. Everyone’s ecstatic, dancing in that way thousands of people who are experiencing precisely the same feeling do. It’s good to be able to grin at a stranger and not look weird. There are people shuffling around in broken conga lines, others are shouting in vain for their friends or gingerly delivering fresh pints. The air is hot, thick. For a gleeful hour and a half, LCD’s noise and personality change Primavera completely.
Every song is a hit
‘Us Vs Them’, ‘Daft Punk…’ and ‘I Can Change’ come consecutively and the intensity doesn’t waver thereafter. Far from making it feel top-heavy, these three bangers – and it feels unfair to call them anything else – merely set the tone for hit followed by hit followed by hit. There’s something in the precise way they present them too: every drop is crisp and clear, and it always feels like there’s another one right round the corner. ‘Yeah’ arrives midway through, a well-positioned breakwater that allows everyone to repeatedly shout “YEAH!” like a total idiot. You know what’s coming after that, but expecting to hear ‘Losing My Edge’, ‘Home’, ‘New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down’, ‘Dance Yrself Clean’ and ‘All My Friends’ doesn’t make their consecutive sequencing any less of a smack in the face.
James is still James Murphy…
James Murphy is a 46-year-old man with soft, friendly features and a belly that’s starting to strain the buttons on his shirt. To those in front of him tonight, he looks a lot cooler than that sounds. He arrives in a jacket as usual, but that’s soon discarded, there’s not as much slack in the sleeves of a blazer and he needs to thwack a cowbell. He doesn’t say much, but is profusely thankful and has fond memories of playing here in 2003 (when The Streets, Sonic Youth and The White Stripes were on the bill). By the end, you’re convinced that he’s happy, at ease and has been sitting on these songs for all these years desperate to play them again.
…and LCD Soundystem are still untouchable
There’s a good argument for LCD being one of the most ‘Primavera’ bands there is – clever but accessible, slightly aloof and with indieness in spades. At the core of that image is a desire to make it look easy and to always (always, always) leave people wanting more. It’s about restraint. They serve up the hits, which is exactly what their fans want, but they do so in a way that makes it look like they kind of don’t give a shit. Their songs haven’t aged and neither has that attitude.
LCD Soundsystem played:
Us v Them
Daft Punk Is Playing at My House
I Can Change
You Wanted a Hit
Losing My Edge
New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down
Dance Yrself Clean
All My Friends