RE:SET, the traveling summer music festival hit Forest Hills in Queens this weekend and kicked off with a killer set of dance-punk from Idles, Jamie xx, and a headlining hometown set from LCD Soundsystem.
After rain dampened most of Friday afternoon, the skies cleared just in time for some excellent music to take over Forest Hills Stadium in Queens. Regretfully, I missed the opening set from L'Rain which I believe kicked off simultaneously as the doors to the venue opened, but by the time Idles took to the stage, the majority of the crowd had filled the floor seats and the bands seething post-punk got the crowd going with a heated presence that set the tone for the rest of the night. The band was hyped-up and full of energy as they shamed the crown and pledged their dis-allegiance to the monarchy in typical punk fashion. Thanking the crowd for welcoming them to the country with open arms, the band spoke to their anti-fascist beliefs and got the circle pits forming with pure adrenaline and absolute fury. Their jagged guitars ripped through the early evening vibes and helped bring about some fired-up energy which the crowd would use to propel the remainder of the evening.
Jamie xx dropped the largest mirrorball known to man and as he dropped in with the start of his classic tune "Good Times," he had the crowd in the palm of his hands and ready to dance the night away. Rolling and scratching with impeccable vibes, he powered through a remix heavy set of brilliant techno that was unfortunately a bit out of place in the day light that still basked the stadium, but nevertheless, he brought the big beats and played as if it were a tent at 2am during a sickening rave. Chopping and screwing heavy snares and pulsing synths, he got people moving and swaying to his steady rhythms and got the crowd to groove along with his boisterous vibes. As he began to close out his set with the massive sounding "Oh My Gosh," the audience ate it up, flowing with a bit of delayed dance that still brought forth the ultimate chill vibes while distant sirens swooped in to revive the beat. It was a beautiful moment and compelling end to his set that helped transition and give the crowd a bit of a break from the band mentalities while still making sure the grooves remained at an all time high.
In the blink of an eye, the many members of LCD Soundsystem flocked to the stage amidst their mountain of gear and almost without warning began their set with the steady build up of "Get Innocuous." By the time the crowd had realized the headliners had taken to the stage, the band was already deep into their groove and welcoming everyone to the party and as they began to call out "don't it make you feel alive," it was a phenomenal moment that seemed to crystalize for the 13,000 in attendance all at once and the euphoria that started to course through the crowd, remained in full until the stadium lights came on to escort us out of the building. The dazzling "I Can Change" sparked things up with a twinkling sensation that seemed to coincide wonderfully with the setting sun as brought the natural house lights to a dimmer setting and helped get the party going with full force. "You Wanted a Hit" amped things up with its metallic guitar solo and emphasized breakdown that always gets the lights to start spinning in new ways which the crowd can never resist and always brings out the earliest cheers of the night. Immediately segueing into the hard hitting "Tribulations," this was the moment of the night that fully kicked into gear and brought everything to a new level of excitement. By now, the earliest LCD songs are nearly twenty years old and to still hear the industrial beats meet the disco-punk style electronics remains a supreme moment and incredible reminder of the influence the band would have over the following decades. "new body rhumba," a song from last year's Noah Baumbach film, is the newest addition to the LCD catalogue and a great benefit to their setlists with its nostalgic tones and proof that no matter what James Murphy still has up his sleeve, it's probably something you're going to want to hear and dance along to just like all of his other classics. As the pulsating beat of the iconic "Someone Great" began to ring out over the amphitheater, a sunrise appeared on their back screen to illuminate a Stonehenge like figure (something I have to believe James is doing to honor the classic film Spinal Tap) as the band descended into their most personal and moving songs. Giving the crowd a moment of respite, the song's gelatinous buzz always brings out the deepest part of the night and as everyone sings out "when someone great is gone," it consistently feels like a communal moratorium for the things we've all collectively lost which never ceases to be an incredible moment. "Losing My Edge" isn't the best known and celebrated song in the band's discography, but as the first single, it set the tone for the entire idea of what the band would come to represent and over the past few years, Murphy has embraced it with even more passion and given it a new sense of tribute to his past as he incorporates his direct influences into the performance. Interpolating Suicide, Daft Punk, and Yaz into the track as he calls out their significance to the scene and his songwriting only heightens the number and the crowd's reaction to "Da Funk" getting thrown in the mix was an absolute highlight of the evening. Continuing with that theme, their cover of Joy Division's "No Love Lost" hit hard with increased volume and slashing guitar, proving their love for punk is just as strong as their dance influences and brought out a visceral side to the group that never gets exposed through their own material. As expected, the final three songs of the night always signify the remarkable influence and overall brilliance of the band and will undoubtably forever be a top tier one-two-three punch to end a show. "New York, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down" had the crowd lighting up their phones to create a lovely glow around the stadium as everyone swayed together in ultimate bliss before the extraordinary "Dance Yrself Clean" brought the house down. There really is nothing quite like being in the crowd when the beat drops and to be a bit elevated to watch the floor bounce when the moment hit was truly magical. No matter the setting, whether it be a small club, a stadium, or a festival, the LCD experience never disappoints and brings out the best in what live music has to offer. Nothing makes it more clear than when they finish with the timeless "All My Friends" and to hear that song come to life is something that never gets old and feels just as life affirming the tenth or twentieth time as it did the first go around and to actually be surrounded by those you love while it rings out over thousands of screaming fans is a reason all on its own to see James Murphy and friends, but to have it come at the end of mesmerizing set is triumphant and total proof that their reputation and following are what they are and pure justification to see the band at every possible opportunity.
LCD Soundsystem set list:
01 "Get Innocuous!"
02 "I Can Change"
03 "You Wanted a Hit"
07 "new body rhumba"
08 "Someone Great"
09 "Losing My Edge"
11 "No Love Lost" [Joy Division cover]
12 "New York, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down"
13 "Dance Yrself Clean"
14 "All My Friends"