LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip, Sleigh Bells at Hollywood Bowl

LCD and Hot Chip at Hollywood Bowl were like drinking a triple espresso

No way I was going to miss this one. How often is it that a 3-act live bill will contain two of my top ten 2010 live bands who have recorded two of my top ten 2010 albums? The show took place Friday night at the Hollywood Bowl in front of a nearly sold-out crowd. Capacity is in excess of 18,000.

LCD Soundsystem headlined. Dressed in his trademark whites, leader James Murphy guided a greatest hits tour of their three albums. The band was flawless with drummer Pat Mahoney really killing it. Tempos were mixed, although they stayed away from their softer tunes. Few groups are as adept at elevating a song from mid-level intensity to something that suddenly drives a huge crowd bonkers. Murphy has often said that this would be the final LCD album, although I’ve since read a quote that he might be reconsidering given the tremendous response he’s seen from this release and tour.  He says he wants to go out on top with LCD, but it’s probable this band hasn’t peaked yet.

Hot Chip is a personal fave that I’ve been following from the first stages of their initial release. They were mostly unknown over four years ago when they first played Coachella to a half-empty tent. People were attracted to them, and the place was packed by the time they got to the finale of first single “Over and Over”. Three months earlier, I danced to them at Big Day Out in Melbourne. There might have been 200 watching. Years later, this band is established and continues to excel live. Their crowd reaction at the Bowl was not far from what we saw for LCD, with almost everybody up and dancing. The upbeat and dancy set was just about flawless. We heard their most popular songs but my only regret was that they couldn’t play longer.

Sleigh Bells surprised me with a much louder and harder guitar sound than what we hear on their recordings. The set blended harsh metal and hip-hop. That made them a strange opener for LCD and Hot Chip. Few people made their way to their seats in time for this early set, but reaction was good by the end. It was just the two of them, and singer Alexis Krauss is dynamic up there. This romantic and musical partnership isn’t my glass of scotch, but I respect anyone who can create the decent national buzz they’ve generated.

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