Chief Photo Editor
When I first heard Wes Brandt announce his theatrical plan to unite the music and performance aesthetics of LCD Soundsystem and Talking Heads, I about pissed myself with excitement. I couldn’t anticipate a more magical musical mesh, not even in music heaven.
Brandt, after writing a paper about the performance art of David Byrne, frontman of the ‘80s New Wave band Talking Heads, developed the idea of combining elements of the recent LCD Soundsystem final concert documentary, “Shut Up and Play The Hits,” with the 1984 ‘Heads concert film “Stop Making Sense.”
The idea became Saturday evening’s event in Cornerstone, Shut Up and Stop Making Sense.
“We wanted to do a live music event on the scale of one of the PlayHard events,” said Brandt. “On the scale of Llama, almost…considering the event was at capacity with a long line outside the entire time, I’d say we succeeded.” Indeed.
King Duck and The Raisins got the funk machine rolling early in the night, fueled by excellent staging, lighting, and sound made possible by a $5,000 grant from CCGSA. “It was like a funky dance party in outer space,” said Ben “James” Brown of the Raisins. “It was awesome. Radical. High energy. Explosive. Shred City.”
As soon as YouJazz took the stage with “Psycho Killer,” it was evident how much thought had gone into uniting elements of the two legendary bands. I was constantly impressed by the thoughtfulness of the performance: the lamp during “Naïve Melody” and the extensive Dance Workshop choreography for “Life During Wartime.” Brandt positively nailed David Byrne – big suit, dance moves, the lot.
I noticed the spinning lights on the wall and recreated that beautiful disco ball shot from
“Shut Up and Play The Hits” with my own eyes. The crowd rapidly absorbed the energy coming from the stage. I’ve never seen my friends so sweaty. I got punched in the face and dropped on the floor twice while moshing during “North American Scum.”
Thankfully, I was able to catch my breath and marvel as YouJazz slowed down “Someone Great,” a true heartbreaker from LCD.
“Evan Levy took the most gorgeous sax solo,” said Brandt. “He always does. Someone in the front row was crying.”
But the energy was back up to moshing level when the beat dropped, and we danced ourselves clean.
The aesthetic collaboration of the Dance Workshop and a cappella groups, not to mention 600 balloons, made for a spectacular end.
“Those last few songs,” said Brandt. “The energy was completely out of control… It was glorious. It was the product of a bunch of friends doing a big dumb thing together because it would make our night, and hopefully somebody else’s.”
And we waltzed home, sweaty, tired, and “on the road to nowhere.”