I Was There – Review of James Murphy at The Sinclair

James Murphy on stage at The Sinclair. (GIF - D.Hixon)

James Murphy on stage at The Sinclair. (GIF – D.Hixon)

James Murphy DJ Set
The Sinclair, Harvard Square, 07/26/13

The ability to walk away from something good before it becomes bad is something most of us don’t have the foresight or control to do. But on April 2nd, 2011 James Murphy did just that in front of a sold out Madison Square Garden crowd – and as the last white balloon careened to the Garden floor, James Murphy and LCD Soundsystem went out on top.

A year earlier I was lucky enough to see them play at the Orpheum Theatre and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to my fair share. I felt like I was seeing The Talking Heads at their peak – and was amazed at how much their records came to life on stage. I was bummed when I heard he was breaking up the band, but was also relieved to know the name wouldn’t be cheapened by sub-par singles or albums.

The crowd reacting to Murphy. (Photo - D.Hixon)

The crowd reacting to Murphy. (Photo – D.Hixon)

James Murphy has come to epitomize cool over the past decade, fashioning himself into the ultimate taste maker. He very well may have been the first guy playing Daft Punk to the rock kids at CBGB’s – and if people found him crazy then, they now just find him crazy good. This was brought to the forefront this past Friday at The Sinclair as a ravenous crowd ate everything he played up, dancing deep into the early morning.

Coralcola opened up for Murphy, representing New England well – spinning an eclectic set that concluded with a rare and all time favorite of mine, Units “High Pressure Days”. This led perfectly into James’ set as he started off to a loud roar that reverberated throughout The Sinclair. He was getting away with playing things most us wouldn’t even dare spin, but James Murphy can do things us mere mortals can’t – such as taking a tribal twist at the halfway point – only to turn everything on it’s head – finishing the set with some gnarly & deep house.

The spirited crowd willfully let James take them wherever he wanted, and I was supremely impressed with how much of a master he is with his taste and choice in music. I also realized that while Murphy left on top with LCD Soundsystem – he’s now just riding on top of a different crest – because apparently this is James Murphy’s world, and we’re just living in it – but thankfully, it sounds pretty damn good.

D. Hixon


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