Propelled to a kind of frenzied hype by the novelty of self-isolation, Room 2 Radio’s virtual nightclub experience premiered last Friday on Twitch.tv to an audience of supposedly 11,000 unique viewers. Proudly claiming in their Facebook description to be ‘Sydney’s first online nightclub,’ the event was meant to provide a digital space to relax and socialise with other passionate party-goers in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. Indeed, in such troubled times, what could be better than a spot of dance music?
Yet, it was immediately obvious at around 8:15pm, mere minutes after the virtual doors had opened, that something was very wrong in God’s CDJ kingdom. Marred by technical issues that were never resolved, flooded by one of the most cringeworthy chatrooms I’ve ever been a part of, and topped off by generic setlists that could only rival those of SASS balls, last Friday night congealed all the lamest parts of Sydney club culture into one embarassing and heady cybertrip.
If Room 2 Radio’s goal for the night was to ‘bring the club to you,’ it seems they only succeeded in bringing the left half – throughout the broadcast, audio from the right channel was mysteriously missing, leaving headphoned attendees like myself feeling quite disappointed. The funny bugs didn’t stop there though – the volume of the MCing was bizarrely loud compared to the music, which would have been somewhat tolerable had there not been a shirtless host shouting ‘let’s go’ like a Travis Scott hype-man directly into the microphone every few seconds.
The music selection was also questionable at best. Consisting of what I can only imagine were the top results on Google upon searching ‘best DJ songs,’ the atmosphere evoked by the playlist was not one of tense celebration and release, but rather a Year 6 line dance – featuring underrated, exhilarating classics as… ‘Barbara Streisand’ mixed into ‘Sandstorm’ mixed into ‘Rhythm of the Night.’
But maybe the music isn’t the point. Maybe we don’t go to nightclubs to hear fresh DnB bangers all the time. Sometimes, it’s just fun to go out and meet new people… right? Room 2 Radio proves that the people you meet at the club are only capable of making exactly the same jokes as one another. The Twitch chatroom, scrolling with several messages a second, was full of upcoming comedians claiming they had lost their phones, wanting to order a drink, asking about cover costs, or cracking absolutely hilarious coronavirus puns.
Yet, perhaps most frustratingly of all, Room 2 Radio seems to have totally misunderstood the point of framing their event as a contactless nightclub in response to COVID-19. Their live video feed showed a room crammed full of no less than six or seven at any given time, drinking and talking in close proximity with one another. The impression this gives the viewer is not only that the organisers are a little tone-deaf when it comes to self-isolation, but also that you’re simply looking onto a house party in an expensive inner-west rental property that you – stupid, lonely, stay-at-home loser – were never invited to.
The next time I want to watch mostly white strangers dancing to boring music, I’ll go on the Boiler Room Youtube channel instead.