This review was originally part of our coverage of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.
dirty: Between the build-up to Day 2000 and the existential horror of 9/11, New York was also home to another seismic change in American culture: a thriving indie-rock scene, with dingy clubs on the Lower East Side playing shows like Interpol, The Strokes, Rotten Peaches, And yes, yes.
This is the deafening, beer-sticking hazy stage that Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace (who previously directed the LCD Soundsystem doc) Shut up and run hit) work for Meet me in the bathroombelow Lizzy Goodman’s 2017 oral history adaptation of the same name from a live companion piece.
Consisting almost entirely of archive footage pieced together by new audio and archival interviews from many interested parties, including Karen O, James Murphy, Paul Banks, and more, Meet me in the bathroom It gives you a behind-the-scenes pass into this remarkable moment in music history.
Is this the: The Gentry gave birth to a new kind of rock star usually endured by the unemployed rich kids and blue-collar bosses of late ’90s Manhattan: creatively ambitious yet socially shy, shining against the spotlight fame gave them even as their stars rose to heavenly heights.
Here Southern and Lovelace catch most of their eyes, Meet me in the bathroom It is mainly concerned with the bands that rose to fame from the dark, isolated incubator that was New York City’s Lower East Side. The Mouldy Peaches blast off songs in their studio apartment; Karen O developed her stage persona into the pop-punk diva she was to become; The Strokes are faced with a meteoric rise that immediately instills the label “The Future of Music” on them, with all the stress that entails.
(Much real estate is devoted to portraying Julian Casablancas, the genius man in The Strokes, shrugging and withdrawing from the weight of stardom: He blushes and shrugs in interviews, reading aloud more as resignation.)
Their stories are pretty much separate, which is a little disappointing in a formal sense. Southern and Lovelace wander from band to band and back again like a drunken extrovert at a house party, making it really hard to feel the blues of a given band’s journey. However, in focusing on how all of these bands successively progressed through the most fertile years of their musical careers (1999-2004), we see not only how they changed pop culture, but how the world around them changed.
Occasionally, the filmmakers step away from the bands to remind us that yes, we all freaked out about the year 2000 and stockpiling Moroccans Abroad waiting for the next apocalypse; Or that the horrors of 9/11 have turned their evil interests into a call to humanity. Most disturbing is the arrival of Napster and the mp3 craze, a phenomenon that mostly rocks Murphy, the man who spent three decades as an audio engineer (along with a controversial but creatively fruitful collaboration with David Holmes) only to see the end of music. He knew her beyond the horizon. He channeled that malaise into the focused disco beats of the LCD Sound System.