New York City is not just the greatest city on earth, but has also produced some of the greatest bands too. The Dolls, Blondie, The Heartbreakers, Talking Heads, Sonic Youth, I could go on. The turn of the millennium saw the simultaneous rise of bands like The Strokes, Interpol and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs who alongside others would form a sort of new new wave for the next decade. It was in the words of LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy …like a movement/Without the bother of the meaning.
It was this ‘musical rebirth’, these bands and the electric, ceaseless city that begat them that formed the subject matter of Lizzy Goodman’s 2017 oral history of the same title.
This film then, from directors Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace (Shut Up and Play the Hits) might be regarded as a second draft of history. Like the book there is no overarching authorial voice and little attempt at structure. I guess when you’re trying to describe the feeling of capturing lightening in a bottle, of bearing witness to cacophonous creation, that makes sense. The film rattles and lurches like the L Train, pausing to peer into moments in the musical lives of its subjects, only the horror of the 9/11 attacks halts the propulsive feel. That dark day, when presented, feels like an attack on the very things that make Rock and roll possible.
The decade passes in a blur of infectious jittery jump-cuts and frequently stupendous live footage until before you know it it’s 2011 and uncool people are moving to Williamsburg, doubtless attracted by the precipitously rising rents and fermentation opportunities.
Meet Me in the Bathroom might not be a great music documentary but it’s a great night out. Get loaded, bring your buddies and don’t regret the passing of things.
Words: Conor Stevens
Meet Me In the Bathroom
Release Date: March 10th