LCD Soundsystem play the hits for a euphoric Brixton birthday bash

The New York collective celebrated 20 years as a band and proved they are definitely not losing their edge

If you’ve seen the stunning concert film Shut Up And Play The Hits, you’ll already know what LCD Soundsystem are capable of. The sheer euphoria of that cathartic farewell is so overwhelming, so pure – even with the remove of a TV screen – that it’s hard not to feel somewhat aggrieved that the band reformed so soon afterwards. It’s like throwing the biggest going away party for a friend who moves back a month later.

Or at least, that‘s the conflict that exists prior to Saturday night in Brixton. We’re barely moments into the band’s set when it becomes apparent that they trade in that level of euphoria every time they step onto a stage. The O2 Academy Brixton has never looked so full and never felt so much like the best party on earth. If the world had ended at 11:15pm as the last notes of ‘All My Friends’ faded away, it’s likely the sweaty masses would have shrugged, hugged each other and stepped into the abyss.

James Murphy and his ridiculously talented crew are on their fourth show out of a run of five in this venue. You’d forgive them for even slightly going through the motions but they play every song like they’ve just been unleashed from a music-free confinement. Murphy, in particular, seems energised by some greater power, standing on the monitors and crying out to the rafters, leading the party and the band like he’s conducting both with the same wand.

The set flows like it was created by canvassing the crowd for their non-negotiables. An early airing for ‘Daft Punk Is Playing At My House’ raises the roof and it never comes back down again. ‘Dance Yrself Clean’ rises and rises to a crescendo that for a moment makes you feel like you might cry. Indeed, some do. One group seem so overwhelmed that they regularly turn to embrace each other.

Maybe it’s Murphy’s lyrics, letting us know that it’s ok to lose our edge, to grow old and miss our youth and our friends. Maybe many present are returning to a level and a crowd that they didn’t even realise they missed. Or maybe it’s just that this might be the best live band on the planet.

When they return for a transcendent ‘New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down’, the joy in the room is intoxicating. It’s partly the performance and partly because every single person knows what’s coming next. Those pounding piano chords puncture the humidity and Brixton erupts. By the end, 5,000 people are screaming “If I could be with my friends tonight” like they’ve never wanted anything else. When the lights come up, nobody cries out for more, only because everybody knows: you can’t follow that.