What do you do when you're one of the hottest producers in the world and you own your own record label, one that basically invented the genre of punk/funk (or at least gave it an identity and a place to call home)? That's simple. You record an album, release it on your label, get praise from every magazine, blog, and "cool kid" in the universe, get signed by a major record label and then go out on tour with one of the hottest acts in the solar system. In case the headline didn't give it away, I speak of the fabulous James Murphy and his LCD Soundsystem. Last night they came to town for a sold out, co-headlining Metro show with none other than superstar in the making, M.I.A.
M.I.A. was better last night than I had ever seen her and a little bird told me she was going on three hours of sleep. Amazing. But as the capable Drew Hudson is devoting a review to the lovely Sri Lanka-bred hip/hop/dance superstar, I shall let him tackle the intricacies of her performance and move on to LCD. Murphy snuck onto the stage with four compadres a few minutes past 11:15 in the PM and after the 20 minute (or so) down time between his set and M.I.A.'s, people were more than ready to get their asses shaking again. As the lights went on and a slightly robust Murphy took the microphone, the energy from M.I.A.'s set carried over and the place erupted.
About two songs in, I snuck backstage to get some sweet shots of the band's backs (ugh). You see, the Metro didn't have a barricade up, so my photo pass was slightly useless. I managed to get a couple of decent snaps, but watching a few songs from the side of the stage gave a whole different perspective to the show. I've never seen a Metro crowd move as much as they did last night and, looking into the faces of each person in the crowd, I could really feel the excitement. Both M.I.A. and LCD had the people pumping their fists in the air, shaking their ass and hopping up and down in a sweaty mass of bodies.
Murphy and company ran through almost every song off of LCD's self-titled debut. "Beat Connection", "Tribulations", personal fav "Movement", and of course the night wouldn't be complete without "Daft Punk Is Playing At My House". Surprisingly the song that got the biggest reaction from the crowd is the song that really put LCD on the map, the ode to the aging hipster, "Losing My Edge". Apparently these fans had been kicking it to that tune in the clubs for years now and this was their first chance to sink their teeth into it live. Murphy spent most of the night in front of the microphone, sometimes grabbing a tambourine, other times grabbing a towel and wiping buckets of sweat from his brow, but every now and then he'd pick up some drum sticks and go nutz.
The crowd was in it for the long haul last night and many didn't even call it a night after LCD played their encore and the house lights went on. No. More dancing was in the cards, as Diplo was spinning in the dark basement of the Metro, otherwise known as Smart Bar. Those that felt stifled by the massive crowd upstairs came down to shake their asses with plenty of room for leg kicks, the cabbage patch, the roger rabbit, the robot, the worm and all those other super cool dances no one does anymore (except maybe the robot... there's this guy on Michigan Ave. who paints himself all silver and... well, that's getting off the subject). M.I.A. and her crew came down to kick it with their fans, as did James Murphy and his gang. The guys from Keane even showed up to check out the show and you know... that lead singer guy isn't as chubby as I thought. A couple of Life During Wartime DJs, some guys from Caviar, Scott Lucas from Local H and all the other dance-loving Chicago scenesters could be spotted hob knobbing well past the three o'clock hour. Murphy and Diplo tore up the turntables and put together a scorching DJ set that would make your grandma ditch her walker and start doing the fox trot like it was 1943 and her hubby just got back from the war.
Needless to say, it was a late night. A really fun, dance-filled, expensive beer-drinking good late night. And let me lay this one on you... M.I.A. + LCD = best show of the summer. Discuss amongst yourselves.