Within the first couple scenes of “Meet Me in the Bathroom,” The Moldy Peaches bandmates Adam Green and Kimya Dawson are filmed in a small apartment in Brooklyn, messing around with an acoustic guitar and a drum. There is an enchantingly youthful energy about the two as Green opens the door and calls out into the hallway, asking if the neighbors want to participate in their documentary.
Despite its slow, homey start, the rest of the film’s 105-minute runtime feels like a rapid sprint through the twists and turns of a cutthroat music scene.
“Meet Me in the Bathroom,” based on Elizabeth Goodman’s book of the same name, is an entrancing documentary directed by Will Lovelace, Dylan Southern, and Andrew Cross, covering the New York music scene of the early 2000s.
On Nov. 13, Seattle International Film Festival’s Cinema Egyptian theater hosted “Meet Me in the Bathroom with The Moldy Peaches,” an event which not only provided a showing of the aforementioned documentary, but also an exclusive performance by The Moldy Peaches.
The documentary’s strength comes from the humanity hidden behind the glamor of the personas that each individually featured band created for themselves. The simplicity of Julian Casablancas, lead vocalist for The Strokes, sitting uncomfortably in a chair has incredible impact because of the context. His moment of silence as his band preps for rehearsal is deeply powerful, because of the singer’s developing arc as he grapples with a fear of failure.
Similarly, Karen O, lead singer of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, has a personal moment of emotional exhaustion during a performance of “Maps” that is simply devastating to watch.
The documentary presents the music industry in a realistic light, placing emphasis upon the crippling pressure placed on artists within the industry and highlighting how difficult it is to create music within that environment.
Following the screening of “Meet Me in the Bathroom,” KEXP DJ and host of the event Marco Collins introduced The Moldy Peaches.
“This is their second live performance together in 15 years,” Collins said in his introduction.
The band officially went on hiatus in 2004, directly after their first headlining tour, and have performed only a few sets since.
To see the band’s founding two performers singing side by side, after seeing them sing the same songs in the documentary 20 years prior in a small Brooklyn apartment, brought a complicated weight to their seamless performance.
I could see their glazed-over expressions as they sang the words they so tirelessly crafted together, and I felt the magnitude and finality of the moment. The thing that had brought them and held them together for so long was no longer significant, but for that brief set, it once again had meaning.
In the back of the auditorium, a young fan belted out notes in unison with the group. There was no surprise or acknowledgement from the band, as they continued to sing in harmony with the fan. It felt complete, to hear this fractured group combined with the appreciative voice of acknowledgment that they may never see. They are still The Moldy Peaches, and they may never be again.
The Moldy Peaches’ music can be found on major streaming platforms as well as their website. “Meet Me in the Bathroom” can be seen in theaters and will be on streaming platforms in the future. More information on tickets can be found on the film’s website.
Reach contributing writer Preston Rowley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @prestonrowley_D
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