Monday, May 9, 2011

New York Travel Story Pt.2

I woke up early Saturday morning and checked on the nerd to see what shows were happening that day.  I knew ahead of time that the Sick Of It All 25th Anniversary show was happening that day, as well as an Urban Waste reunion with a ton of other bands, and the OFF! show in Lower Manhattan.  As I would have assumed, the SOIA show was well sold out by the day of the event, and the Urban Waste show had over 13 bands playing, starting at 1pm.  Attending that show would pretty much be the day right there.  So we decided to check out OFF! show but it didn't start until later in the afternoon.  Kenneth had rented a bad ass V Dub for the weekend, and had a GPS, so we decided to do what most people would think is unthinkable... let's drive over and spend the day in Manhattan.  Lucky for us the traffic on Saturday isn't nearly as bad and there are less people milling about since most business down in the Financial District were closed.  So fuck it, we jumped into the car and drove over there to find something to do for the day.  It was a sunny day, but still cold and windy barely above 30 degrees.  Walking around we saw many of the iconic buildings that are famous worldwide:  The Chrysler building with it's jutting gargoyles, Union Station with it's elevated roadway, and the huge public library with tons of people just chilling on the steps.  After walking around and people watching the tourists we decided to go up to the top of the Empire State Building.  Outside of the famous skyscraper, people work on the street that sell admission tickets to get to the top as well as ferry tickets out to Liberty Island as a group purchase at a discount.  To anyone who has never been to New York as a tourist, take advantage of these kind of tickets.  Because we bought our tickets down on the street, we were able to bypass the ticket window inside the building and go straight to security.  THis had to have saved us well over an hour after seeing that the ticket line was long as fuck.  Less than twenty minutes later we were up on top of the Empire State Building along with the rest of the tourists.  At 86 stories up you have full view of the entire area.  To the North you can see past Central Park into Harlem, the East you can view all of Brooklyn and Queens, to the South, you can see Downtown Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Bridge, all of Lower Manhattan's Financial District, as well as the Statue Of Liberty.  And to the West... dirty ass New Jersey!  Yeah, not too many people over on the west side, but hey, you can see Madison Square Garden down there, and the subway railyard.  Before I left on my trip I promised people that I wouldn't be doing any of the touristy stuff, but after going up to the top of the building I was glad that I did and was looking forward to going out to Liberty Island the following day.  We decided to just walk around midtown Manhattan the rest of the afternoon spotting many of the well known places along Broadway and the Fashion District.  After a quick bite to eat we headed back to Brooklyn to get ready for the OFF! show.  Surprisingly we were able to find a parking spot on the street just around the corner of the venue.  We had to wait outside for what seemed like an hour with maybe only 20 other people.  Once doors open, we were able to get a ticket without any problems and chilled in the venue as people slowly filtered in.  At the time of doors open, there wasn't many people there at all and we though, holy shit! everyone must be at the SOIA show because early on it looked like only a few people were attending this show.  The venue its self was way over the top in the truest rocker venue fashion:  fairly large stage, a very large standing area, a band seating area off to the side way up high, and insanely loud sound system with speakers lined all around the walls, 2 bars (none in which had any non-alcoholic drinks), and smoke and laser machines!  I would later find out that a lot of rave style shows happen at this venue.  Eventually more and more people started to show up.  Here is the show review: 

OFF!  photo courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan
Kenneth and I waited in a small seating area and people watched as show goers eventually found their way inside.  OFF!  features vocalist Keith Morris of Black Flag and Circle Jerks fame, so loads of older people showed up for this one.  I even spotted a few guys walking with canes, it was a pretty interesting sight.  Trash Talk was also playing with OFF! on their current tour, and they brought in a lot of hardcore kids between the ages of 18-21.  SO yeah this was an interesting pairing for for a hardcore show.  Also mixed in was what I would assume would be the rockers who live in the city with their pointy shoes, and patched out jean jackets.  There was also a good variety of super trashy looking girls who looked like they just got off the dancing pole.  It was unreal... lingerie as attire, complete with ass cheeks all hanging out, and tossed hair.  This is the kind of show goer that only New York could offer, and I loved it.  The first band of the night finally played and they were a young local group that although played really loud and fairly tight, had a pretty boring sound style.  They did however have an interesting front man, who was an artsy black guy with a dangly feather ear ring similar to what Mr.T wears.  He was super energetic and jumped down into the audience to slam up front with the young kids who knew of them.  Not bad for an opening act.  Trash Talk played second, and by this point in the show it was getting pretty packed up front, and I decided to move up closer to check out the show.  I've seen Trash Talk Three times in the last six months so, I wasn't too excited to see them again, but they are a good live band.  Trash Talk did indeed live up to their reputation on stage playing tightly.  The kids went off hard for these guys with loads of dives everywhere and some rough moshing up front.  Note to stage divers:  dive into a direction where people are.  I had to save some idiot from breaking his neck by catching him... well, more like re-directing him into people.  After this happening a couple more times, I snuck over to the other side of the stage without getting hit somehow.  By the end of Trash Talks set, they were climbing all over the bars, and back merch area.  It was pretty cool set, and the audience cheered in between songs loudly.  OFF! soon later set up quickly and by this point there wasn't much standing room at all, not even in the pit... a packed house.  I have have read on the nerd before the show about how lame OFF! is by having their albums released on VICE records, and etc., some pretty petty shit.  But to all the naysayers out there:  This band can fucking PLAY!  OFF! has managed to take the classic First Four Years-era Black Flag sound adding a few modern twists resulting in powerful mid-paced punk.  Throughout the set, lots of older show goers were stage diving and even a few girls took a leap or two during the set.  It was a sight to be seen with the mix of people up front who had an age difference of more than two decades between them. The pit area was more of a wave that would surge all the though the venue, so I found a good spot to stand next to a support beam where I could watch and still have space while everyone was beating the shit out of each other.  By the end of the set I was very happy we chose to check out this show over the others that night.  It would be safe to say that OFF!  played the best set out of all the bands I saw the entire weekend.  Defiantly check these guys out if you ever get a chance.  After the show we headed back to Brooklyn exhausted and hungry.  We ate leftover Chinese food and listened to HOT97, the legendary rap radio station in New York that didn't live up to my expectations at all by playing top 40 pop rap tunes.  The next and final day of my trip we would check out Liberty Island.

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