Meet Me In The Bathroom
The lows far outnumber the highs in this disappointingly rote and dull rockumenary, adapted from Lizzie Goodman’s (reportedly excellent) book, ‘Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001–2011’.
At the turn of the millennium, the documentary argues, US rock music, mostly in thrall to new metal, Limp Bizkit and the like, was stagnating. Then, partially inspired by the success of The Strokes, a disparate group of musicians residing in Brooklyn where the rents were much cheaper, began to set up their own scuzzy DIY scene.
The bands, all interviewed here via archive footage, included raucous new wavers Yeah Yeah Yeahs, none-more-lo-fi oddball duo The Moldy Peaches, the Joy Division-influenced style Gothy Interpol, and dance-rock combo LCD Soundsystem. The documentary also takes in the Y2K bug-inspired hysteria, 9/11, and the advent of Napster, an audio file sharing service which meant bands no longer could rely on record sales as an income.
Other than some illuminating words from indie idol Karen O on the pressures of being a woman in an indie band, the interviews are a bit dull, with a lot of time devoted to ostensible scene figurehead, Strokes singer, Julian Casablancas who, while likeable enough, has little to impart other than mumblingly communicating his discomfort with the whole fame thing. There is an amusing awkward moment though when he is asked by some MTV wag about the exclusive Swiss boarding school where he met bandmate Albert Hammond Jr.
Rather than elevate the scene, the picture diminishes it, rendering it parochial and ersatz, more a testament to the power of hype than any substance– the scene was given a hefty leg-up with hype from the NME and an ecstatic green t-shirts ahoy reception followed. Indeed the UK sequences are the only time in the doc that anyone seems to be enjoying themselves. Otherwise, this is all a bit of a downer with little or no attempt to engage non-believers. Strictly for fans only.
Meet Me in the Bathroom is released on 10th March
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