Sunday, April 18, 2004

Recap: The Black Dice and LCD Soundsystem at All Tomorrows’ Parties
Camber Sands, United Kingdom.
April 2-4, 2004

Colin James Nagy

Upon entering the off-season summer holiday resort in Rye, located in the southwest of England, things begin to strike you as a bit odd. It’s as if the collective hipsters of London, New York, Stockholm, Berlin and various other cities have overrun a small holiday compound aimed at middle class Britain. With rows and rows of private chalets, multiple stages, and more 50 acts in all, All Tomorrow’s parties is a utopia for the musically inclined—and not just limited to indie rock.

This years’ lineup was curated by Steven Malkmus, Sonic Youth and Foundation on the second, third and fourth days of April. The complete list of bands is far too numerous to mention, but on the electronic tip, LCD soundsystem and the Brooklyn’s Black Dice (both affiliated with DFA records) had exceptionally strong showings.

LCD soundsystem, known for a string of excellent 12’s, namely “Losing My Edge” “Beat Connection” and the recently released “Yeah” managed to translate the studio wizardry of Tim Goldsworthy and James Murphy (who heads the band) into an electric live act. Murphy’s stage presence was absolutely amazing, and to the delight of many enthusiasts of the vinyl releases, the band played some unreleased new material with a distinct punk edge.

The LCD release that could best sum up the vibe of the new songs is “Give it up,” a hybrid of straightforward punk, with synth noodlings and other electronic elements, which augment, but never overshadow. On top of Murphy’s charisma and vocal performance, the most noticeable element propelling the band on their tour was exceptional bass guitar from !!!/ Out Hud’s Nic Offer and drummer Pat Mahoney, a longtime friend of Murphy’s. It was a show-stealing performance on the last night of the event, and a served as an excellent preview of the band's forthcoming LP, rumored to be out sometime summer.

This leads us to the other performance of note: The Black Dice. Without a doubt, they are at their best live. Though Beaches and Canyons (as well as other EP and 12’ releases) illustrate their abstract talent, it is through the sonic bombast of their live performances that their strength and cohesiveness can be clearly seen. Having recently lost their drummer, the band’s setup was comprised of two banks of samplers, effects and guitar. Sadly, the performance, at times resembling the walls of sound created by My Bloody Valentine in their heyday, were a bit too much for the largely indie rock crowd, it was a truly memorable performance-- one that even converted some nonbelievers into Dice devotees.

After all of this, the ride back into London through the lovely English countryside provided the necessary calm to get our collective heads straight and board a plane back to New York and everyday life, leaving behind this temporary musical utopian compound.

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