Motel Mozaique, Rotterdam: Part one, Friday night – 15/04/2005

“I have to say that I am left with the feeling of being cheated.  I feel as if I’ve been a music victim of some bullshit hype.”

“I have to say that I am left with the feeling of being cheated.  I feel as if I’ve been a music victim of some bullshit hype.”


MOTEL MOZAIQUE Friday, April 15th 2005 Various Locations, Rotterdam

(Featuring LCD SOUNDSYSTEM, Little Barrie, Lemon Jelly & Anthony and The Johnson’s)


We began the night at TENT on the Witte de Withstraat, a gallery space that housed an excellent collection of historical rock photographs as well as VPRO’s 3voor12 stage.  We arrived at 7, just in time to catch Anthony and The Johnson’s, who serenaded us with his folk-loric music and a dark angelic voice that crossed somewhere between Nina Simone, Boy George and Tiny Tim.  We strolled through out the gallery space, the music echoed and filled the air and we all agreed this was a great beginning to the heavily anticipated night.


What’s wonderful about this festival, is that you can wander around Rotterdam, checking out up-and-coming musical acts or rare arty acts that don’t make it to Holland often enough. This was the case for Mathew Herbert’s full sensory bizarre music/cooking/visual electronic theatre show. Also true for Little Barrie’s rootsy 60’s rock arena styled show. I mean literally, these guys had to have been the understudies for bands like Traffic, Blind Faith or Cream. Guitarist Barrie Cadogan had an hilarious presence and executed textbook rock n’ roll guitar moves with an absolute uniqueness. They ended their set with symbol crashes and “Thank You Rotterdam, we are Little Barrie and Goodnight!” That Rocked.


We also saw three quarters of Lemon Jelly’s bizarre but fun set. Unfortunately, during their third song they encountered some technical difficulty, and the sound in the theatre went completely dead. Within 10 minutes the problems were solved and the two members of Lemon Jelly marched back on stage to continue with their set. Alas for them, it was like starting from scratch all over again. A lot of the standing audience had left the venue and the energy that they had already built was gone.


Headlining Rotterdam’s Motel Mozaique Festival Friday night this year was LCD SOUNDSYSTEM, one of the most talked about live acts out at the moment. They are the Grandaddy of the “punk funk” movement that is coming from the US and particularly from New York City. Mastermind behind the LCD quintet is James Murphy, who is one half of the DFA production duo team, the other half being Tim Goldsworthy, who produced the likes of U.N.K.L.E. and Trans AM. Together they have brought us such brilliance as “Out Of The Races And On To The Tracks” and “House Of Jealous Lovers” from The Rapture, not to mention producing Radio 4’s second release GOTHAM!. With this track record, you can’t blame me for having very high expectations for LCD’s performance later that evening, can you?


We were able to make it into the main hall regardless of the bottle necking that was going on at the wardrobe. Nightown’s layout is not conducive towards larger amounts of people migrating at the same time and we couldn’t help but feel like cattle being herded. The large hall didn’t just fill up with pushing and elbowing bodies. More than that, the pre-show room actually became uncomfortably over crowded. I found myself panicking slightly until I located the nearest exit, at stage left, not more than 5 metres away.


Once the show began, I quickly found myself wondering if something was wrong. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Perhaps I was expecting too much and as the set continued that became very clear. I was completely disappointed with the LCD Soundsystem’s live performance.


The band as a whole, a fully working musical engine, (if you will indulge me this metaphor) had hardly any dynamic energy aside from James Murphy’s Tourette’s Syndrome-like jerking moves. Everyone else seemed more like paid session musicians just playing a gig. Also, the tempo seemed to keep changing throughout their songs. It seemed just a little too rough.  Their roots are in punk, so rough should be a part of it, but this was more rough in the way of seemingly unrehearsed, rather than rough in the way of being punk rock. Maybe they were stoned or perhaps even drunk off the champagne they were communally drinking onstage? They would start out with a lot of energy but somehow lose it and the vibe onstage seemed stale to me. It got a little funky at times, a bit punky, slightly Americana (which I didn’t expect) and somewhat dancey, but hardly ever full on and if it did, it didn’t seem to last very long. And it wasn’t just me, for, looking around during the show, I also noticed many people text messaging, chatting with friends and looking around to see how and if they could make it to the nearest bar.


Other members of the band included Pat Mahoney (drums), Nancy Whang (keyboards, vocals), Tyler Pope (bass) and Phil Mossman (guitar, percussion, keys, bass). Phil was the center of obviously a touring inside-joke. He was the one chosen band member to be introduced that night. Apparently James Murphy introduces one of “his” band members per show and several times again throughout the show. We did, however, also get introduced to Pat, his drummer. Anyway, somehow Murphy’s attempts to be a charming front man came across less cute and more condescending and cynical. This also makes sense from someone whose main idol would appear to be the famously bolshy lead singer of The Fall, Mark E. Smith.


The song highlight of the show was, of course, Tribulations, in which they did get the crowd jumping a bit. The frequent use of cowbells also made me very happy. Finally they indulged us with a ‘scheduled break’, not to be confused with an encore. This was so that James Murphy could, as he said, “take a piss and my drummer could…” then he acted out his drummer scrapping down the sweat which had collected all over his body. Murphy then said, “I love rock music, there is such an honest relationship between band… and audience… so don’t be compelled to clap… we’ll be right back for two more songs.”  Needless to say hardly anyone clapped and the band  returned for the two more promised songs a few minutes later. They closed with “Yeah”, a song that, when I heard it for the first time, I was sure it was a remixed Talking Heads song. 


When they finished I felt relieved that the set was over. I made a quick break to search out the rest of my group who had mysteriously dispersed during the show to get drinks, go to the toilets and also to check out RITON who were playing downstairs at the same time. I have to say that I am left with the feeling of being cheated. I feel as if I’ve been a music victim of some bullshit hype. Unfortunately LCD Soundsystem must go on my “JUST CAN’T,” or rather “DIDN’T BRING IT LIVE” list and that’s a damn shame.


Words : Zoe E. Gottehrer