When James Murphy announced he was splitting LCD Soundystem, it was a dignified, premeditated act that circumvented the usual band implosions. Even the closing gig, recorded at New York’s Madison Square Gardens in April 2011, was ring-fenced by a series of smaller, hastily announced warm-ups designed to get round the baying touts. Murphy simply never wanted to be predictable.
Make no mistake: the gig, which forms the centre of this documentary, seems a heartbreaking event. Edited from a four-hour performance that includes appearances from members of Arcade Fire and Hot Chip, the film flits from beautifully lit and explosively played “hits” (LCD were never exactly chart-botherers) in front of a delirious, gargantuan audience, to Murphy himself at home the morning after, checking into his office, feeding his dog and generally wondering if he’s made the right decision. Such contrast is Shut Up…’s greatest success, and you’re left questioning everything from the aging process to fame and personal achievement.
In one scene Murphy stops by his band’s lock-up to look over old equipment (as his manager puts it: “I thought you might want to see it before it’s sold off to wherever”). After humming a wordless melody for a few seconds he bursts into tears. This says, simply: here’s a guy who cared.