LCD Soundsystem, Le Tigre and more highlights – San Bernardino Sun

This is how it ends: LCD Soundsystem on stage at This Ain’t No Picnic Festival, racing through a set packed with almost all its best-loved songs to beat the 11 p.m. curfew on Saturday in Pasadena.

“Where are your friends tonight?” James Murphy sings in “All My Friends,” the last of 10 songs in the dance-funk rock band’s hour and 15 minute set. “If I could see all my friends tonight.”

Suddenly bright lights erase the darkness of the field, illuminating thousands of fans dancing, jumping, waving hands over heads.

It’s an indelible scene, and on the first day of This Ain’t No Picnic at Brookside at the Rose Bowl, the perfect ending to a day both hot — August in Pasadena, yo — and cool, with all the terrific music played on three stages throughout the day.

Here, from the end of the day to our mid-afternoon arrival, are the things we loved most about This Ain’t No Picnic.

The irresistible LCD Soundsystem

LCD Soundsystem celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, and it shows in the tight musicianship and polished show this New York City outfit always delivers.

Singer James Murphy said he wasn’t going to talk much because the band wanted to get through as many songs as it could during its headlining spot, which is tough given how much LCD loves to establish a groove and build up to a cathartic, explosive finish.

“Yr City’s a Sucker” and “I Can Change” opened the set in just that fashion. Highlights midway through included the always beautiful “Someone Great” and the lyrical journey of “Losing My Edge.” And by the final pair of songs, “Dance Yrself Clean” and “All My Friends,” very few in the crowd weren’t singing loudly, dancing wildly, or both.

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Bonjour, Le Tigre

After LCD Soundsystem’s first song, Murphy told the crowd he hoped they’d caught Le Tigre. The dance-punk trio played just before his band and he noted that he used to do their sound.

He’s right, too: You really missed out if you skipped this rare reunion appearance by Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill, a Pasadena resident these days, Johanna Fateman and J.D. Samson.

This was the first full set by Le Tigre since 2007, but other than a quick restart of their opening song, “The The Empty,” there were no signs of rust as the band raced through 16 songs in an hour.

Le Tigre was always a leftist, feminist, activist band, as Hanna wryly shared how the issues that inspired the group to form — right-wing politics, white supremacy, misogyny and racism among them — are still issues 23 years after Le Tigre started. But they always tried to tackle them from an upbeat, positive place.

“You can only (bleepin’) fight as hard as you can celebrate,” she said.

Highlights included such raucous romps as “TKO,” “Hot Topic,” “What’s Yr Take on Cassavettes” and set-closer ,”Deceptacon,” the most joyous, dancey song of their show.

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