From the opening ‘Get Innocuous’, drummer Pat Mahoney powers everything, keeping time as precisely and tirelessly as a machine. It’s immensely satisfying dance music that builds and builds, adding layers of rhythms until you find yourself locked into a chugging groove before its all broken down again and the next track starts up. ‘Yr City’s a Sucker’ is one such example. Given Murphy’s love of cowbells and various other members of the band hammering bongos or yet more drums, at times it smacks of the relentless funk that was Go-go.
In a recent interview with The Guardian, Murphy said he succeeds at making ‘dumb body music’ but the biggest cheer of the night went up for the opening bars of ‘Someone Great’. It’s one of the greatest songs ever written about heartbreak and loss, about carrying on with the trivial minutiae of life (‘there’s all the work that needs to be done…songs to be finished’) when you’re dying inside. If any doubt still exists, it proves that dance music can be as much about the heart as the feet. Murphy sings it mockingly at first, as if it doesn’t matter, before the obvious love of the song’s sentiment by the crowd obliges him to put his heart into it. A 4 song encore ends with ‘New York, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down’ which comes over like a cross between a lovely lament from the drunk at the end of the bar and a musical show tune. White balloons then tumble from the ceiling like it’s closing time at Studio 54 and with that, they’re off.