An Ode To Goodgod
Good god it's finally over?
Header photo credit: Hoboincognito
You’re heading out to a party you’ve been dying to go to, you’re with a close friend but he’s throwing up around the corner from the actual club. It was the night of Astral People’s third birthday party at Goodgod Small Club and having just come back from the UK I thought some duty-free Irish whiskey could kick-start the night. As I sat next to my friend vomiting between two cars a couple of things came to me. First, “Fuck I have vomit on my shoes,” and second, “This isn’t the first time I’ve been here,” and then it hit me, I fucking loved Goodgod.
Above: Half of Cosmo's Midnight and Wave Racer at Astral People's Third Birthday Party at Goodgod Small Club, Photo Credit: Al Kalyk
Founded back in 2008 by Jimmy Sing and Hana Shimada, Goodgod Small Club, better known as Goodgod, kicked off properly in 2010 as a Spanish styled restaurant meet club. While I was still crying every time my parents went away on holiday Goodgod was quickly becoming a confluence point between what was cool in Sydney and commercially successful. Indeed, now you’re about as likely to hear Trap Queen by Fetty Wap as you are Archangel by Burial. And no Facebook event was ever not graced with the inevitable gag of, “Good god, it’s such a small club how will everyone fit in?!”
My relationship with Goodgod started brewing around NYE 2012 when I was 17. I was sitting in a friend’s garden holding up someone else’s head while they threw up in the garden, I seem to spend a lot of time around people who vomit, and hating myself. Earlier that day I’d read about Goodgod’s NYE party and I called half a dozen friends only to find it was 18+. And it turned into the definition of eight months of FOMO as Goodgod lined up a surprise DJ set from Thom Yorke, had Diplo play and Flume who supposedly crushed the club following the 2013 Sydney Laneway festival.
Above: Flume at Goodgod Small Club, photo credit: Hoboincognito
The first gig I saw at Goodgod wasn’t till I was slap bang in the middle of my final year 12 exams. So with an exam the following day and tickets at $10 to see the then unknown Movement of Modular Records, my favourite label growing up, I was in. Descending into the club for the first time I was struck by how it wasn’t just a black room with a bunch of chairs and some lights. Which is the standard impression of a club you’re given by movies and TV shows. At Goodgod someone actually gave a shit, they had stuck a restaurant in the place, two bars and created a layout that gave you both privacy and stuck you in the middle of the place. And Movement? I still remember hearing their song Ivory for the first time and I can guarantee I’ll always rave about the beautiful vocals of lead singer Lewis Wade.
As I was leaving the club I remember passing a poster of an artist called MØ and excitably telling my friend we should go. We never did. But two years on MØ, who leant her voice to Lean On by Major Lazer, would end up scoring the most streamed song on Spotify.
And for music fans places like Goodgod Small Club taking a punt on artists who have never toured Australia before, artists who play to their friends and most importantly people who put out good music, are so rare. Venues like these tread a line between profitability and being a cultural landmark. This line has become more and more narrow during the lockouts because taking risks means you’re potentially going to lose money with little chance of getting it back.
Indeed with the news Goodgod was changing hands many were quick to assume it meant the end. It isn’t, it’s now owned by the Esperance Group who named it Plan B Small Club. But it provoked conversations about the worth of Goodgod and made it clear how important it was for young guns starting out. The Rubens played some of their first shows at Goodgod, Nina Las Vegas would drop by every year for her NLV tours alongside so many other acts. Without places like Goodgod you damage the whole scene.
Nina Las Vegas, photo credit: Hoboincognito
Goodgod's final night under that name was last weekend, we can only hope Plan B brings a similar ethos to the venue, and who knows? Maybe we'll see Goodgod pop up somewhere in the future.
While I only got to experience the place for a couple of year's, they've already been some of my most formative going out times, and it's taught me to not just settle when it comes to a local watering hole, but expect excellence, and most of all - a good fucking time.