Monday, May 2, 2011

New York Travel Story Pt.1

Tear It Up have been one of my favorite hardcore bands all-time yet alone for the early 2000's when the band was active.  Unfortunately, the band broke up during a period in my life when I didn't have the funds nor a reliable car to travel to see them play when they toured within 500 miles of Omaha.  For the longest time, I figured that Tear It Up would be solidified in the long column of:  "Could have see them, but wasn't able to" list, along with other great punk bands that never toured to Nebraska during the late 90's/early 2000's.  Now fast forward eight years later to 2011.  Six Feet Under Records announced after some talks, a re-release of Tear It Up's classic lp Nothing To Nothing.  To "celebrate" the re-release of this record Tear It Up announced two reunion shows in New York and New Jersey at the end of March.  Tickets went for sale online in early January, and figuring that I rarely get second chances to see a band I loved, I decided to scoop up a couple of tickets and travel out to see the show.  Here's the story...

Andrew is a former band mate of mine who currently lives in Brooklyn.  So I emailed him asking if I bought him a ticket to the Tear It Up show, I could stay at his place for the weekend.  He agreed, and I soon bought my plane ticket and got everything ready to go.  After a wait of nearly 3 months, the day was approaching to when I was about to fly out to New York, a city I've only driven through briefly in the past.  That being said, I had no idea what to expect of the city.  A couple days before I was to leave, Andrew wrote me an email telling me how sketchy his neighborhood is and etc., so I was feeling the anxiety.  I was smart enough to take a direct flight from Omaha, to La Guardia and only within a few hours I was landing in New York.  It was going to be a chilly weekend and there was some snow on the ground still from that morning.  Getting a cab, I told the driver to go to Bed-Stuy, the neighborhood I was saying in.  Not many people must be taking cabs from La Guardia to Bed-Stuy, because the cabbie ad no idea how to get there.  Lucky for me, I knew the exact address and we eventually found were I had to go via GPS.  On the way there, I received a text from my friend saying that he though I would be flying in at 11pm instead of am, and he wasn't going to be home.  Luckily for me he had hidden a key outside for me to get into his apartment.  After surprisingly only a 20 minute drive, I was dropped off outside my friends apartment only having to pay a small cab fare.  The particular street Andrew lives on is like those you see on TV with the brownstone style row houses.  After finding the key, I let myself in to find out that my friend has a nice studio apartment with plenty of space.  The show wasn't until the next evening, so I had most of the day to take a nap and read a bit until Andrew would come home from his bands rehearsal.  I would soon get a text saying that he would be spending the night at his girlfriends instead, so I spent the rest of the night scrounging for what little food I could find, and entertained myself by reading some coffee table books about Factory Records.  I have moved quite a bit in the last five years, so sleeping in new and weird places is a non-issue for me.  The next morning, I drank some coffee and waiting for Andrew to get home so we could venture out into The City and check things out.  By 10am Andrew would get home, and it would be the first time I've seen him since 2004.  Quite a bit has happened between the both of us since then:  Me, moving back and fourth from Minneapolis, and he graduating from art school and living in New York.  Although it had been a good while since I've seen him, nothing seemed awkward at all.  We decided to take a train over to Manhattan and walk up from the Lower East Side all the way way up 5th Ave/Broadway till Central Park.  This was a damn far walk, but I had my running shoes on, and the conversation the entire way made the distance go by unnoticed.  We were able to catch up with things in life, and to chew the fat on the current state of punk and hardcore in general, good shit ya know?  I had no idea how far we walked until we took the hour long train ride from Central Park down to Brooklyn.  Along the way I saw a rat, welcome to New York.  I would later come to find that Andrew wasn't going to able to attend the show due to a birthday party he promised to attend, and I was going to go to the show alone.  I had a secondary plan and texted someone I knew who was driving up for the show from Reading, PA and asked him if I could hook me up with a ride.  Within an hour, Kenneth was outside ready to head out for a night of loud guitars and mosh pits.  Kenneth lived in Omaha last year, and I got to know him pretty well from hardcore shows, and we remained friends after he moved.  Anyway, we went to the show up in Williamsburg blasting the hood with Bathory's Blood Fire Death the whole way.  Here is the show review:

Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan
We arrived to the venue at least an hour late, but typical to most hardcore shows, it had yet to start.  The venue was more of a bar primarily with a stage on the other end.  Although the stage was a bit tall, there was plenty of standing room, and the venue had good sound.  Playing the supporting roles for Tear It Up that night were Cell Mates from Maryland, and a reunion show of Western Mass rippers Last In Line.  The first band, Cell Mates played more of a '77 styled punk rock instead of hardcore while most of the audience stayed on the bar side.  They played well and even did a cover of Born To Kill by The Dammed that went over everyone's head.  Not a bad start but I could tell that everyone there wanted to hear fast hardcore.  Last In Line played second, and they brought quite a few fans with them.  Last In Line was another great early 2000's hardcore band that broke up before I could see them, so it was nice I got a chance to check them out live.  I have a handful of Last In Line's records, but like a noob I couldn't remember any of their songs.  I watched from the edge of the pit while their fans moshed most of the onlookers.  They played a good set, but maybe a tad bit too long.  While Tear It Up was setting up I decided that I would move up front for the show.  Within a few minutes Tear It Up was ready and surprising they opened the set with a cover of Black Flag's My War.  The place was packed at this point and the whole front of the stage erupted into a sing-a-long.  The remainder of the hour long set would cover nearly all of Tear It Up's songs with the front screaming along and stage diving the entire time.  The band themselves sounded super tight and vocalist Dave had the energy of five people, displaying some of the highest leaps I've ever seen.  Tear It Up would play songs from every release and finished their set with the Nothing To Nothing closer This Is The End with nearly everyone climbing on stage at this point to take a dive.  I was smashed up against the stage the whole show, but it was worth it. I could have flown back to Omaha that night and would have had a great trip.  At the show it was announced that another hardcore show was happening later that night at someones apartment.  Knowing that I more than likely wont be in New York in any time soon, Kenneth and I decided to check out that show, so we bounced out and headed to second show.  This particular apartment was formally a warehouse of some sort and was super raw with exposed concrete.  The place was quite large and would soon be filled with over 100 kids, some of which I just saw at the show just an hour before.  The modern New York hardcore scene is quite different in Brooklyn compared to what most people are familiar as NYHC with bands like Madball and Merauder, etc., but instead more of the lines of art students.  Let's just say that I've never seen so many dudes wearing black girl jeans in my life.  Playing this show were locals Creem, Hoax and Waste Management from MA, and another set by Last In Line.  Creem feature members of some of my current NY hardcore bands and they didn't let me down one bit playing a tried and true style of 80's hardcore.  Hoax played next with a slightly down tuned and more ugly style with a super intense vocalist who at one time attacked someone in the audience.  It was pretty bad ass, and most of the kids up front were slamming pretty hard for both bands.  No one was safe up front with the maniacs slamming, not even the girls.  Waste Management would play next and damn, this band is gooood.  I have most of their records but this band utterly kills it live.  Super intense and fast, perfect.  It was getting late by the time Last In Line was setting up and we were starving so we beat the fuck out of there and picked up some Chinese food on the way back to Andrew's place.  While eating we decided to check out the OFF! show that was playing in Manhattan the next day.

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