I won’t lie. I didn’t secure an invitation to last night’s LCD Soundsystem show at the Raleigh Hotel. Didn’t even know how to go about wheedling my way past the velvet rope. My plan was to go to the Art Loves Music Metric concert on the 22nd Street Beach, then to mosey over to the Raleigh, at which point I hoped luck or sympathy (the bouncer’s) would guide me into the presence of James Murphy and the gang blasting their glorious music into the cool, salty air.
The Metric show ended shortly after 11. The Canadian New Wave act has a decent sound (Twitter tells me they got their first Grammy nomination last night), but the show could not live up to my previous music experience at the same spot — Iggy Pop’s 2007 Art Basel performance, which in my opinion forever hallowed the sand at 22nd Street. Iggy Pop may be an unfair benchmark by which to judge the Toronto-based quartet, but I couldn’t help it. The show was so good the city should erect a statue of Iggy’s taut, ashen body on the spot, and I’m confident anyone who was there would join the petition.
After the Metric show, we walked the four blocks to the Raleigh along the shore. I’d heard competing rumors about the invite-only set and didn’t know whether Murphy was playing alone or spinning or whether the whole band was taking the stage.
But when we got within earshot, it was obvious the full Soundsystem was rocking the Raleigh. There was a small crowd of the uninvited along the boardwalk listening to the music creep through the tree line and over the fence. A few people stood on their toes to try to get a peek at the scene. I approached a side entrance in the hotel’s northern fence and tried to sneak in as a member of the white-clad catering staff pushed a service station into the alleyway. No luck. A young Russian in black uniform pulled the walkie-talkie away from his mouth to tell me the show was private. “I know,” I said. “That’s why I’m trying to sneak in.” He did not appreciate the logic.