Vivid Sydney: Shut Up and Play the Hits

I think LCD Soundsystem were one of the greatest bands of the last decade. And by “band” I mean largely the creation of one James Murphy, a guy who decided – in his 30s, after messing around in punk bunds – to record an album of danceable electro-rock that he liked and to eschew the rock star bullshit. He became more successful than he imagined, formed a band to play live, recorded two more critically-acclaimed albums, and toured some more.

And then, at 41, he called it quits. He broke up LCD Soundsystem at the undeniable peak of their powers, choosing not to fade out or become lame. I’m glad I got to see them play live before that happened.

The film I just saw at the Sydney Opera House, and my final Vivid Sydney Festival event, was a documentary, concert film, and memoir of LCD Soundsystem’s last week as the band, their big final show in New York, and the day after. Shut Up and Play the Hits was very good: it gave us a few great songs from that 4-hour finale, some interview probing of James Murphy and his feelings and doubts and thoughts on ageing, and some truly funny frozen moments on the faces of crowd-goers.

The photography was dynamic and immersive. The sound – mixed by Murphy – was dramatic. It was a fitting goodbye to a great thing.

Tonight was the Australian premiere of this film. LCD Soundsystem’s drummer, Pat Mahoney, was in the crowd and had a Q&A with a radio DJ after the film, but the questions were pretty lame.

It will show in US cinemas for one night in July. You’ll probably be able to catch in other ways soon.