LCD Soundsystem: Shut Up And Play The Hits (4 stars)

LCD Soundsystem: Shut Up And Play The Hits

Reflective documentary about LCD Soundsystem’s final gig

LCD Soundsystem’s momentous four hour farewell concert will go down in music history as perhaps the most epic conclusion to a band’s life, overdoses aside. Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern’s documentary, which follows frontman James Murphy over a 48 hour period, before and after the legendary 2011 New York concert, seems at odds with the anonymity that Murphy claims he is welcoming through this gig, and indeed questions the motivations behind Murphy’s decision to finish the band at the peak of its success.

What is this anonymity that will replace the cacophony of dance music and noise that LCD so gloriously, haphazardly created? Making coffee, riding the subway, looking after his bulldog... these are the things we watch Murphy do the morning after the gig, the camera steady, controlled, minute in its capture of detail and the things that the 41-year-old claims his freedom for, still not sure at this stage that this was the right thing to do. The film intersperses the mundanity (or beauty) of everyday life with interview clips that attempt to get to the heart of the LCD phenomenon, and shots and songs of the concert itself.

‘If it’s a funeral, let’s have the best funeral ever’ is quoted at the outset of the film, and a bittersweet, intoxicating funeral the concert is, which transmits readily to the documentary (though you wish you’d been one of the live 20,000-strong audience). Analytical, detailed, yet also heady and wistful – the documentary’s qualities reflect LCD’s most prominent characteristics and make it a fitting tribute to a band that has somehow become emblematic of our times.

In selected cinemas for one night only on Tue 4 Sep.


Shut Up and Play the Hits

  • 4 stars
  • 2012
  • UK
  • 1h 48min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Will Lovelace/Dylan Southern
  • UK release: 4 September 2012

Documentary about momentous four-hour 2011 farewell concert of LCD Soundsystem, following frontman James Murphy over the 48 hours before and afterwards, as he reflects on the event. Analytical, detailed yet heady and wistful, the film reflects the best qualities of its subject. A fitting tribute to a great band.