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Equal parts joy and sadness: Shut Up and Play the Hits


Full disclosure: I am a huge LCD Soundsystem fan. And I am obsessed with James Murphy. To the point where it might be unhealthy. But whatever.


The film is beautiful, relishing every joyous scene of LCD’s final performance at Madison Square Garden as much as the quietly somber scenes shot both before and after said concert. SUAPTH jumps back and forth between the concert and James Murphy wandering the streets of NYC and doing an insightful interview with Chuck Klosterman. I would watch that interview as its own film.

For those of us that never got to see LCD live, the film does a wonderful job of immersing the audience in the concert. Shots of the band are nicely edited with candid shots of the concertgoers. I could feel the crushing hot, smell the sweat. I found my heart racing when the movie highlighted one of my favorite songs, my breath held in anticipation.
I would have hated being in that, though.
If I had any complaint about the film, which I really don’t, I would have liked to have seen more of James and the band outside of the arena. As much as I loved the concert footage, the stark silence of James waking up in the morning or going over the equipment the day after were disarming.

Throughout SUAPTH, there is as much sadness as there is joy. LCD Soundsystem is no more. Whatever music James Murphy comes out with next will never be LCD. And it’s a hard pill to choke down. But for all the melancholy, SUAPTH is a love letter to the fans.

The final shot of the film is of a kid—sixteen, maybe seventeen—crying. The show is over, the house lights have gone up, a sickening halogen white. We saw this kid earlier in the film during the concert, and he was losing his shit. It was during “All My Friends” and most of the people in the theater laughed at this boy. I did not. I knew exactly how he felt. I’ve had that feeling of reverence for a group. Where their lyrics and music combine to create something that wasn’t written specifically for you, but how could it not be? For instance, I can’t imagine what a total mess I’ll be when I finally get to see PJ Harvey in concert.
It will probably look something like this.
But that was one of the problems with the evening: the unappreciative masses. For the most part, everyone in the theater was considerate. It’s always the few morons who spoil it for the rest. A group of—let’s call them hipsters, even though that might be doing hipsters a disservice, decided to have a dance party near the back of the theater (in fair proximity to me). Although, that wasn’t really the issue; I couldn’t see or hear them for the most part. They would get loud and clap and what have you, like they were at a real concert. Even that didn’t bother me. The film itself lends people to dance and cheer.

No, what really pissed me off is that they’d feel the need to shout callbacks at the screen whenever a quiet moment would occur. This was not an Rifftrax or a Cinematic Titanic event. When I go to a movie, I want to be immersed in the film. I want to be transported somewhere else, as cliche as that sounds. For two hours I want to forget all the bullshit in my life and pretend it’s not happening. And these assholes decide it’s funny? They laugh at the crying boy, like they wouldn’t do the same in his position. But maybe that’s just me? Maybe I’m too empathetic. And you know what, I’d rather be that than someone who laughs at the kid having a profound experience or tells James Murphy he’s wrong to stop making music as LCD Soundsystem. Who the fuck are you to say that?

All ranting aside, I am thrilled I was able to this in the theater. Oh, and James Murphy, I don’t care what you call your next band/project/whatever. I’ll be there in the audience, waiting to jump up on stage and lick your face. 

That is a very lickable face, if I do say so myself.




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