Back in February 2012 this was one of my most anticipated documentaries of the year, and last week I finally got to watch the film which documented the build-up to, and aftermath of the last show of one of my favourite bands: LCD Soundsystem.
It was back in February 2010 when James Murphy, the band’s front man announced that the group famous for hits like Daft Punk is Playing at My House, Disco Infiltrator, North American Scum and All My Friends, would be disbanding after over ten years together, but that they would be performing one last gig in New York’s Madison Square Gardens to mark the occasion.
With the tag line, ‘If it’s a funeral… let’s have the best funeral ever’, Shut Up and Play the Hits captures the 48 hour period surrounding this last, eminent finale for the band.
Continuously cutting from the buzz and roar of the 18,000 people packing New York’s largest auditorium, to the comparatively quiet monotony of everyday life in the city, jumping both forwards and backward in time, the film reflects the personal ups and downs of Murphy’s last moments on stage, and his attempts to come to terms with the reality of his decision to prematurely instigate the demise of his world famous dance-punk band.
The film looks and sounds amazing, with epic cinematography (with the help of Spike Jonze) and all the sharp, snappy editing needed to capture the energy and emotion of the gig and its crowd. As a fan who’s experienced a number of mind-blowing LCD live shows, this documentary did not disappoint.
Those fantastic excerpts from the indoor arena are made even more intense when cut against the stark light of the morning after. It’s these moments where James Murphy reflects alone on the decision he has made (with only his adorably amusing French bulldog by his side), and it’s these moments which give the film substance, making it more than just a film of a really good live concert.
Following Murphy into the relative peace of his new life, and with him remembering the good times passed, the memories of ten years on the road, Shut Up and Play the Hits is a beautiful and touching tribute to a band who defined an era of modern electronic dance music. The folks at Oscilloscope should know they’ve done a fantastic job when this live music documentary leaves the audience sniffling, and this reviewer with a lump in her throat.
Watch the trailer for Shut Up and Play the Hits… it still gives me goosebumps every time I see it.