LCD Soundsystem are building up an immense sense of anticipation. Media silence is the most effective way to do this, and it is definitely working. Both fans and the media alike eagerly waiting for a hint of what is to come. A hint of how they are preparing. Just a hint. But we are all left with silence.
But I have managed to break the silence and gather more than just a hint. Despite working twelve-hour days, guitarist Al Doyle has taken time out and offered some hidden backstage secrets: “We’ve been way, way deep into some quite extreme technical aspects of the show preparations, and I have more on my plate than I’ve had for some time. I’m excited, stressed, and nervous all in equal measure, but very keen to get out there and start playing with what has always been a terrific set of musicians. These guys at full tilt can really tear your face off. In fact, I’d forgotten how loud we can get.”
Hot Chip’s Al Doyle frequently speaks of James Murphy’s bid for perfection and how he is still changing and re-changing the tour set design. As midday approaches, the city wakes up and bars and shops begin to open. Williamsburg – similar to the LCD set – is a stage, or perhaps a movie set, coming alive. Once off the subway at Bedford Avenue Station, you’re right in the heart of it.
Doyle was performing at Gorilla in Manchester during the early UK stages of their world tour when I was invited backstage. In a warm meeting, we spoke about my upcoming visit to New York and Al told me all I needed to know about Murphy’s neighbourhood of Williamsburg. One place he recommended was Brooklyn’s Marlow & Sons; he said he’d eaten there more times than any other restaurant in his own London neighbourhood.
So I arrive, gaze down Berry Street and see several training shoes hanging on telephone wires. Dangling boots and training shoes. It reminds me of ‘Huarache Lights’, a recent Hot Chip single – it was the opening song when I saw the band. This was the idea of frontman, Alexis – his favourite training shoes are Huarache Lights by Nike. I then ramble down towards Williamsburg Bridge to eat at Marlow & Sons. The friendly staff there are all fans of Hot Chip. There’s such a laidback lifestyle in this suburb and the staff have high anticipation about seeing Hot Chip live again. Little did they know that a year later LCD Soundsystem would be making their comeback, planning it on their own doorstep.
Murphy no doubt changes his mind a number of times during the long hours of preparation. As a perfectionist, he’s bound to do so. Near the city that never sleeps, the party-goers of Williamsburg work hard into the early hours, then sleep until midday. And another day starts and another set design changes. Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is where to experience the real hard work and culture of local artists. Follow in the footsteps of the likes of James Murphy. Visit his very own wine bar, The Four Horseman, stroll down Bedford Avenue . . . and look for perfection.
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Cover photo by Thomas Helbig