Special Disco Version: James Murphy and Pat Mahoney
Smart Bar; Thu 14
As much as Brooklyn-based dance-rock juggernaut/studio project LCD Soundsystem has turned many a rocker on to dance rhythms with raw sonics, and as exhilarating as it can be seeing the band bash through its disco-punk tunes live, it’s got nothing on a night on the dance floor when James Murphy and Pat Mahoney, as Special Disco Version this week, are on the turntables. That might be an apples-and-oranges comparison between the Murphy who made cowbell hip and the Murphy who spins never-ending Rare Earth drum solos and Josh Wink rave classics in his DJ sets. But there’s an argument to be made that we need more of James Murphy’s influence on the dance floor—where he’s heading—than in the rock clubs—where he cut his teeth.
Murphy’s DJ gigs in Chicago, even a sparsely attended Sound-Bar show a couple of years back, have been revelatory experiences. Murphy takes a musician’s approach to dance music in which records from the early ’70s are just as valid as nu-disco of his young peers in Brooklyn. With Mahoney, the LCD (and former Les Savy Fav) drummer who keeps a foot in New York’s nu-disco scene with appearances at places like 205—Murphy issued a Fabriclive mix in 2007 that favored disco over punk. Murphy says he loves disco’s optimism, but he tends to stay away from the most euphoric stuff.
The duo sticks to tracks that are rhythmically contagious—Chic’s “I Feel Your Love Coming On” or the mutant disco of early Was (Not Was) and remixes of its own brand of stripped-down dance. Slightly silly stuff by Punkin’ Machine and producer Jerry Cucuzzella and Donald Byrd’s “Love Has Come Around” still count, the duo indicates, now more than ever.