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Saturday, 01 June 2013 13:32

Concert review: James Murphy turns on 2720 Cherokee, Friday, May 31

Concert review: James Murphy turns on 2720 Cherokee, Friday, May 31
Written by Blair Stiles
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The real question at 2720 Cherokee last night did not concern the tornadoes that stalked St. Louis. A friend put it best: "What happens when shoegazers are placed in a dance environment? Will they dance?" The short answer: Yes. Especially when former LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy is the headliner.

They dance like frogs with toes suctioned to lily pads and like newborn giraffes. Fractions of excited bobs over heel-clicks and wobbles over gyrations hit the floor. IPA-fueled indie cats gather in packs of three to six and twirl like a dolphin pod showing off their latest tricks to one another. Their dances are urged on by things inhaled that smell like a neutered skunk. They become right-brained animals caught in captivity by their own will. Domesticated wild things that pay homage to the feral relics of club scenes' past.

2720's psychedelic interior begets comparisons to LSD dens of yore. The kind of place where kids gather to see stars on the inside of buildings and stay up to watch tree limbs acquire phalanges and wave towards the sunrise. Trek upstairs and there is a gallery of photographs that depict a miniature recreation of the moon landing of 1969. In that moment, it made sense that openers Coreyography and Billy Brown played predominately indie house music that is a fitting soundtrack to the Nintendo 64 version of Super Mario Kart's "Rainbow Road." Set in space, the racetrack consisted of R.O.Y.G.B.I.V. colored tiles that change palettes once tread on by wheels. Coreygraphy and Billy Brown's beats hovered around 120-130 per minute, close to the speed of Soyo Oka's original compositions for the game. The pair threw in high-hat breaks of alternating patterns using what appeared to be Serato dicers. Around 11:05 p.m. Murphy crept onstage and around 11:15 p.m. he drew up behind his Technics 1200 turntables and began.

"If you're looking at me now, this is what it is going to look like all night. You will have more fun dancing with each other," Murphy warned. Although under command to look away, Murphy is a captivating figure for his involvement with LCD Soundsystem. The band may have closed up shop in 2011, but their legacy survives any time a St. Louis band covers "Daft Punk Is Playing at My House."

Murphy's DJ set was demarcated by the methodical placement of tracks that never broke 110 BPM. Middle Eastern flavors leap-frogged over Westernized drum patterns. Tom Tom Club's "Genius of Love" synth line was slowed a half-step down and laid on an sub-woofer courting undercurrent that snaked its way beneath Murphy's sometimes unrecognizable re-edits. The set felt and sounded akin to his "45:33" opus.

Throughout the night those feral beings mentioned at the start remained in groups. With the heat of 2720 rising a to a boiling point, a friend coined the masses "Rock Lobsters." Once Murphy concluded his set, they moved outside. The temperature difference was about fifteen degrees. Rain drizzled from the black, black sky as steam rose from their bare shoulders and the shoegazers headed home.

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