LCD Soundsystem assembled on the Belly Up stage Thursday and Friday nights for two of the most anticipated shows in recent Aspen memory.
While the steep ticket price kept the crowd to a decidedly over-30 demographic, there was a palpable tweenage excitement in the air as signature DFA beats further frothed the crowd. (DFA is the "somewhat renowned" record label that LCD lead man James Murphy co-founded back in '01. Watch this fun 15-minute documentary about their founding here.)
"I have worked at Belly Up for several years and I have never seen people claim their spot on the dance floor this early," a cocktail waitress commented at around 9:30pm. When they took the stage shortly before 11pm the girl next to me blurted, "Oh my god it's happening!"
This may have been a reference to their 2010 album, This is Happening, but I think it was just a genuine exclamation.
James Murphy founded Soundsystem in 2001 and rocketed to international fame to become one of the defining sounds of the aughts.
His music, a masterful melange of post-punk references, swings from angst to ebullient to rage to shoulder bopping delight. His performance is Mozartian in precision and Wagnerian in emotional punch.
Because the sound is so layered and cacophonous (he had approximately six people on stage with him) one tends to forget that what brings it all together is his howling, familiar voice – a nice dad singing the world's coolest music.
One might argue that a younger act would make more sense for the X Games which draws Aspen's youngest crowd of the year. A sizable chunk of the visitors is barely older than the band itself. Murphy (47), who came somewhat late to fame, devotes a great deal of his lyrics to the themes of growing up, growing apart, getting wise, getting bitter. As Hua Hsu writes in the New Yorker "...Murphy mastered...how to convey the sensations and the feelings of aging without sounding tired."
Seeing as one of the defining experiences of being young is getting to feel "old" for the first time, something tells me the generations will be easily bridged when Soundsystem takes the main stage at Buttermilk on Saturday.
Photography by: Michael Goldberg