Burning Questions: LCD Soundsystem edition

A LCD Soundsystem headlining show is a pretty safe bet. They were great when they got together in New York 14 years ago, great when they got big in indie dance rock circles through the aughts, great when they called it quits five years ago after a Madison Square Garden farewell concert, and great when they reunited for their “revival tour” (as frontman James Murphy put it) this year.

They were great when they closed out the first ACL Festival weekend last week, and, yes, they were great on Sunday, when they closed out Weekend 2.

So the big questions – “Should have I gone?” “Was it good?” “Should I feel ridiculous if LCD Soundsystem played two shows in eight days in my town and I missed both of them?” – are off the table. How about the small questions:

Q: How close would the Texas A&M flag get to the stage? 

Glow sticks fill the sky as LCD Soundsystem close their set with the song "All My Friends" on the final day of the second weekend of the 2016 Austin City Limits Festival at Zilker Park Oct. 9. 10/09/16 Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Glow sticks fill the sky as LCD Soundsystem close their set with the song “All My Friends” on the final day of the second weekend of the 2016 Austin City Limits Festival at Zilker Park Oct. 9. 10/09/16 Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

A: Surprisingly close – up next to the Mexican flag and well in front of the Californians and the Swedes. Good on ya, Aggies.

Q: Would Murphy endorse any other ACL Fest acts?

A: Yes.

Murphy: “Anybody see Willie?”

Audience: “Woooooo!”

Murphy: “Excellent.”

Q: Who had a better time, the people on the lawn or those in the VIP platform to the side of the stage?

A: The amount of dancing on the lawn was staggering. One concert-goer worked himself into such a lather that he needed his own splash zone; another pre-emptively cleared people out of the way just as part of his plans to start dancing during the penultimate “Dance Yourself Clean.” On the platform, people seemed much more reserved. Sorry, big shots – you may be drier, and your toes may be un-bounced-upon, but you still missed out.

Q: Is it a good idea to play “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” in the middle of a wild electro dance rock extravaganza?

A: This is a tough one. On one hand, “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” (NYILYBYBMD for short) is a slow torch song, and a strange one at that, so it can’t help to ground the bouncing to a halt.

However, it is a great tune. The crowd belted it out along with Murphy like the cops did that Pogues song in the Wire (if you’re an LCD Soundsystem fan, you probably get that reference). And when they broke from NYILYBYBMD into “Dance Yourself Clean” for the show’s home stretch, it launched the whole show like a slingshot.

So, on balance, yes. “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” does not bring people down.

Q: What’s the best instrument to air-play during an LCD Soundsystem show?

A: What should win – Guitar. Because air-guitar is cool (relatively speaking), and keeping up with the dance beats while still throwing in enough licks and distortion to remind people of the band members’ distant rock and punk roots is an unusually tough job as guitar gigs go.

What will win – The gentleman who kept seamlessly switching from air-keyboards to air-drums and back.

Q: Did any news break during the concert?

A: Yes. Sunday’s show was the band’s last of the year, but they’ll be back on the road in three months promoting a new record with new songs (Audience: “Woooooo!”).

So good news, straw-man-from-the-introduction who missed the show: LCD Soundsystem might be coming back soon to a town near you.

Check them out. They do not disappoint.

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