December 1, 2022

SCREEN | Millennial Nostalgia – 'Meet Me in the Bathroom' Sounds Off

"Starting a band in your thirties seemed absurd."
The Strokes | Dylan Southern Will Lovelace | Meet Me in the Bathroom | Utopia Vice Studios
Utopia / XTR
Meet Me in the Bathroom chronicles the rise of influential millennial-era indie rock bands like The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol, LCD Soundsystem, and many others in the very specific time and place of 2000s Brooklyn. Shut Up and Play the Hits directors Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace adapt journalist Lizzy Goodman's juicy 2017 alt-rock oral history of the same name (subtitled Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001–2011) about the transformative post-9/11 music scene in documentary form.

Through narration by the artists featured and some very early personal video footage pieced together, the appealing documentary feels like a visual rock journal updated from the romanticized Almost Famous-type of first-hand account to the not so recent past. Southern and Lovelace capture the Bush-era period of rebellious music of "indie sleaze" so vividly as originally recounted definitively by Goodman in text.

It's interesting to see the origins of multiple major bands crossing paths as misfits in the same location and era of rock and roll while reflecting on one's own relationship to the seminal music in chasing youth. Less thorough or exhaustive than the book, MMITB the documentary feels like an appropriate accompaniment in its investigation of the last rock renaissance.

There's an nostalgic millennial diary quality to Meet Me in the Bathroom that mimics elements of Goodman's original oral history structure. Southern and Lovelace eschew the standard talking head sequencing of typical rock documentaries for an immersive all-archival footage montage approach more fitting of the eclectic music featured. It's both romantic and unsentimental about being a time capsule compilation of artists making music together before gentrification hit hard.

Meet Me in the Bathroom screened at the Rio Theatre and is available to stream on Crave in Canada (and on Showtime in the U.S.).

More | Exclaim / Indiewire / POV

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