Goodgod & Good Night: Remembering the Small Club

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Image stolen from Goodgod Facebook

I was 17, freezing to death, still donned in a school uniform, and desperate to go see King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, who were playing one of their first shows in Sydney at Goodgod Small Club, a subdued little bar down the road from where I was pretending to study for my HSC. I wasn’t let in, of course, (it’s really hard to find a fake ID for gingers with rampant acne) but I did get to peer down the stairs, and even at 7pm, the place looked compelling. As I threw my backpack back onto my shoulder, and slunk down Druitt Street, I had no idea that I’d be spending the vast majority of my weekends for the next three years in this place.

My debut attempt at sneaking into a show wasn’t the only ‘first’ experience I had. I put on my first real show there (Community Radio, Devotional, Noire), drank my first cocktail there (some crazy blue shit in a jug), and the first place where I’ve managed to stick around until 5am (cheers to the Astral People 3rd Birthday). Shit, Goodgod remains the first and only place that I’ve busted out the whitest of white boy dance moves to hip-hop (courtesy of Halfway Crooks), and I’m really sorry for anyone who had to witness that. Seriously, I am.

But mostly, Goodgod was the place that I managed to see some of my favourite bands for the first time: Alex Cameron, Total Giovanni, Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys, Scotdrakula, Client Liaison, Holy Fuck, Unity Floors, NO ZU, SURES, Rainbow Chan – the list is endless. In saying that, it’s made me realise the most important factor about Goodgod, and the specific reason why I loved it – the diversity. Look at those names – it’s a fucking smorgasbord, a buffet of A+ talent that has adorned the exact same tiny stage. The sheer wingspan of styles, genres, bodies and lives that have inhabited Goodgod is incredible, with everyone welcomed, and given the chance to prove what they had. The way that Goodgod could shape shift, flitting between atmospheres, from punk rock mosh to R&B orgy to a thrilling anything-goes deep house rave, is beyond trying to describe.

And although Goodgod’s atmosphere could be like a chameleon, there were certain aspects that have always stayed the same. Firstly, despite my initial experience, security, particularly the ever-grinning Tobie, have been probably the friendliest bouncers you could come across. Then, it was a matter of walking down those stairs, dimly lit by the bold Goodgod sign, surrounded on all sides by thick yellow cave walls, and amazing, hand-drawn pictures of rock stars. Descend into the front bar, and the noise hit you immediately – patrons yelling at each other over some delicious servings courtesy of The Dip/Jonkanoo/Belly Bao, and DJ’s like Yo Grito and the Friday Lite crew spinning music to get the heart thumping. A short walk to the Danceteria, a push through the slightly sticky double doors and into that spectacular, low-slung cavern. At last, it was on to enjoy whatever awesome treat the bookers had scheduled for that particular evening, whether that be METZ holding eardrums hostage, being sucked into the pure tornado of serenade that is Andras & Oscar, or one of the millions of other artists who crossed through the club.

The intimacy, friendliness and distinctiveness of Goodgod is not something that should be taken lightly. Although Plan B will take Goodgod’s place and likely make something new and fantastic there, there’s still going to be that hole where only all the crazy shit that went down at Goodgod could have occurred. The unique ability that Goodgod had to turn mundane nights into mornings with crushing hangovers and giddy grins was one that propped this small club into one of the best this city has had to offer punters. To Jimmy, Hana, their amazing puppy who constantly hung around but who I’ve forgotten the name of and the rest of the Goodgod crew – thanks for all the good times! You were all pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good.

Goodgod Small Club has its final nights this week – there’s an insane show happening Wednesday night with Twerps, Straight Arrows & Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys, as well as Star Wars trivia.  Thursday night sees Gordi, Anatole and Alex Lahey hit the stage, and on Friday, there will be a Pelvis party in the Front Bar and Cliques, Kowton, and EK Colective gig going down in the back. Saturday brings with it the biggest and most satisfying finale since The Wire: Milwaukee Banks, followed by a big ol’ dance off. All the details are here! See ya in the gutter!

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