James Murphy at It'll Do, 4/24/14
Thursday night in a disco club in East Dallas, the DJ spun one record into another, floating the desperate lyrics of Ace's "How Long" over a slick beat that bumped right into sexy European saxophones. As the music washed over the crowd, hundreds of people dusted off their souls and danced with a tribal vigor you don't often see in Dallas. Elbows clinked, girls with red lipstick kissed the cheeks of strangers, and sweat dripped as the disco ball twinkled over head.
It was beautiful mayhem. It was the It'll Do Club. And oh, it was all courtesy of James Murphy -- not just your average DJ.
Although LCD Soundsystem is gone for good (and Murphy is actually the sort of guy to stick to his word in a situation like this), the New Yorker has taken up an international tour. He's stopping at clubs in handpicked cities -- up next he visits the glamorous environs of Miami and Nice, France -- charging up to 40 bucks a cover and spinning records late into the night. Thursday marked his second appearance in six months at East Dallas' decidedly unglamorous It'll Do Club, an oversized dance joint pulled straight into the modern world from the '70s. The disco tiles still light up, the boogie space holds nearly 600 people, and the owners never kick guests out at 2 a.m.
Only about 250 people took the bait to see Murphy for the steep price tag, but those who spent the weekday night (it was almost Friday, right?) on the dance floor surely got their money's worth. With the dance floor under his direction, the music was an eclectic mix of jazz, hip hop, Motown, and throwback pop, all laid over beats that contained the signature traces of LCD Soundsystem and its DFA counterparts. Murphy's mere presence at the front of the room gave the night a theatrical quality: when the dance moves ran dry, you could stop for a moment and watch a master at work.
All the same, on a night overflowing with music options, it's little wonder that just a few hundred people showed up to a club that was stuffed to capacity during his last visit. But when it cost less than $15 to see Future Islands, $40 seems a steep cost of admission to see a man behind the turntables. Famous, yes. But you're still there to dance.
The plus side of that equation is that crowd who showed up were a high-quality one, intent on enjoying the night and helping create a memorable and infectious energy. If the beats didn't draw you back in to dance, the sheer joy of the crowd certainly would. Before anyone knew an hour had passed, a quick glance at the watch showed it to be 2 a.m. The hours swept away as we danced ourselves clean.