I seemed to just have been asking friends, “What happened to all the bike-in movies in Bushwick this summer?”. They seemed few and far between. Then, last week, our favorite new Beer Garden, The Well, answered my ponderings and announced a free bike-in showing of the LCD Soundsystem documentary Shut Up and Play the Hits in collaboration with Rooftop Films. The showing was a great warm-up for a Saturday evening- $6 draught, delicous sausages were available at the food truck, and the beer benches were packed.
Like many of us who live in Bushwick, I was (and AM!) a huge LCD Soundsystem fan, having seen the band a handful of times in their local NYC before they really hit it big and became a national name, headling festivals and making radio. LCD performs as a collective band, but is fronted by songwriter James Murphy, who first became famous as an ecclectic DJ called Death From Above before beginning LCD Soundsystem in the early 2000s, immediately gaining a cult following for their innovative “disco-punk” genre association. Their three albums, LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver and This is Happening were highly acclaimed, all representing the band’s fresh fold in dance and electronic music- genre bending, startlingly unique, textural, emotionally and lyrically driven- one that has been highly immitated in the years to follow.
So, when James Murphy decided to call it quits in early 2011, fans, self included, erupted in sadness. There was to be ONE “last show ever” April 2nd at Madison Square Garden. Why exactly did he decide to end an extremely successful band in their heyday of success, popularity, and incredible sound-making? Shut up and Play the Hits is an elaboration of his decision that it was time to “move on” with his life, having reached the ripe-old age of 40. The “documentary” was clearly an incarnation of Murphy’s own vision (he was one of the producers) of how LCD’s ending would be presented.
The film chronicled the 48 hours surrounding the last show ever. It was a touching, dazzling, chill-inspiring experience for fans of LCD, especially those who had been at one of their last shows ever (me!). Most importantly it was a perspective from where to relate to (instead of hate) James Murphy for ending this superb music machine. Plus, the concert footage itself was spectacular, forcing many of us to get emotional, to get inspired, and even to get up and dance.
Thanks for the free movie, The Well and Rooftop Films!