This is what I dubbed my NYC trip to see Ryan Star, Gambit, Hesta Prynn and Hot Chelle Rae. Why? Because I existed on such little sleep, I’m actually amazed that I managed to do half of what I did. In a word: adrenaline. Who wants to sleep when they can hit NYC with a great friend and go to see amazing live music by phenomenal artists?
Lila got the details right, so I won’t bore everyone with them again. That said, I’ll add in my thoughts.
My adventure started out incredibly early one morning. I had managed a couple of hours of sleep between getting home from work, finishing packing, my own anticipated excitement and getting my ass to the train to get me to the airport.
Lila summed up nicely the timeline of our day. My take on things goes a little like this:
1. The train from Jersey to Manhattan? Very retro 70s wood panelling. And it smells of strong disinfectant. And it’s hard to sleep. Although I think that has more to do with my happiness in being in NYC and nothing to do with the uncomfortable seats.
2. The NYC subway is crazy. And damp when it rains. Like crazy damp/wet. And dirty. It’s interesting that everything is so old and interesting, but it’s so dirty. And the decay is crazy. And the subway is filled with cops (in some cases, hot cops). And I’m eternally grateful for iPhone apps that help you with the subways because it puts Toronto’s 2-line system to shame. The good thing is neither Lila or I had any moments of panic or anything when we got turned around. It was all very chill and “meh, let’s just backtrack a bit.”
Now all this said, the subway is still impressive, actually. It is this weird mix of history and the present. I don’t want to come off sounding too backwoods. I was in awe that every now and again you would glimpse a snippet of the grandeur that must have existed when the system was originally built. It’s intriguing. And there is no shortage of people to watch. And I never once felt that the decay and dirt impeded how impressive it is. I think it adds to it. Despite being wet and cold.
3. Driving rains and cold temps make for miserable walking. And the people of NYC – their umbrellas always looks kind of like they take a beating. Know why? Because they do. People smack your umbrella with their umbrella, the wind is crazy and you hit scaffolding constantly. My umbrella is now officially looking like a NYC-ified umbrella.
But still, even with the rain, just being there and looking at the shops and wandering around is ultra cool, I have to say. Not once did I think “this is so shitty.” It was more “rain sucks, but let’s wander around.” I jumped over puddles, I watched people, looked at amazing display windows, took in everything and loved it all. How you can go from seeing the super gloss of New York on the street front only to peek around a corner and see a less slick picture. Like what is behind a very pretty mask.
4. Hailing cabs in NYC? Ridiculously easy. There are 625283894 cabs. They’re everywhere. Like Starbucks. Except Starbucks are elusive. They can never be found until you are in the cab and are no longer looking for one. Then they’re all over the place.
5. Madison Ave, Broadway and 5th are all very long avenues. But all very cool. Even in the rain.
6. If you don’t get a good vibe from a restaurant, don’t eat there. Alternatively, if you wait and wander long enough, you happen upon an amazing restaurant find. That’s what happened to us. Attentive wait staff, amazing drinks, nice bathrooms and some of the best Vietnemese I’ve ever had.
7. People look at you funny while you brush your teeth and put on makeup in a Nordstrom’s bathroom. Even in New York.
8. It takes approximately 4 days to get your gloves dry after an entire day of getting them wet.
9. The one Starbucks in the East Village has what I think is the most disgusting bathroom in NYC. It was hideous and scary. Even the decor there was pretty banged up and worn. I was shocked a bit. But it’s busy and interesting and after my first impression, I was far more taken with the atmosphere than how clean it wasn’t. With lots of pretty people to watch.
10. When you are getting ready to go to a concert you’ve been waiting for forever, it doesn’t seem to matter that your clothes that you’ve been dragging around in your backpack all day are damp and cold. But the extra pair of socks you thought to pack? Those are heaven on feet.
11. Webster Hall is uber-hip. As is hanging out waiting to get in for the concert and chatting up random people who happen to know people. I think Lila and I look friendly because people chatted us up easily. Oh, and the bar at the door of Webster Hall charges $1 less for beer than the other bars at the venue. Just so you know.
12. The “It’s $9 beer night” joke from 40 year old virgin movie? I get it now. $9 beer and $12 shots. Crazy.
13. Small venues are the only way I will ever see concerts and this confirms why. High energy, not a ton of people and it feels more intimate.
14. Always bring a ton of cash with you to a concert. I was buying up shit left right and centre. I regret not buying the Ryan Star hoodie.
15. It’s official. I’m a Ryan fan. Maybe not the way Lila is (who could compete?! ), but he is nice. Just straight up a nice guy. And dedicated to his fans in a way most aren’t. He is funny and charming and a hell of a performer live. I actually prefer him live to recorded. His voice quality is stunning.
And he gives a pretty wicked hug.
16. Gambit? What can I say about Lyle et al? Gambit is what got me to NYC in the first place. I rode Lila’s Ryan Star fan coat tail (until I saw him live), but Gambit is why I wanted to go in the first place. And live? They didn’t disappoint whatsoever. Stage energy is always a huge draw for me with any band. And Gambit has it. Meeting Lyle after Gambit’s set was a definite highlight of my evening.
You know the line in “Maybe” that says, “dreaming of a sold out crowd who sang every word he wrote out loud”? That was me. I sang. Loudly.
17. Hesta Prynn. What can I say about her? I was still fairly new to her music when we went and her set confirmed me as a fan. Pepper was, by far, my favourite song of hers. You guys know me. I love a great cover. It’s the one I most often send to people to introduce them to her music when I recommend it. It’s usually followed by sending Seven Sisters. And I have yet to find anyone who doesn’t sit up and take notice. I was transfixed by her set as I often am with strong female artists. My CD was signed “Walk Fast.” A nice counter to Lila’s running comment. Funnily enough, my running has increased and, it seems, Hesta’s music always seems to pop up on a running playlist. Call it inspired.
18. Hot Chelle Rae. I’ll admit to it. I had no idea who they were. But they were cute and fun and light. Again, great live show in a small venue. Funnily enough, months later, I’d hear them on the radio constantly (Tonight Tonight). And I’d smile at the memory. Even better was the day I was watching TV with the oldest “Little Beat” and saw a Mini Pops commercial. What song did they cover? You got it. Tonight Tonight. Leaving me to ponder if having Mini Pops cover one of your songs is a sign of success of the mark of mortification for a band. I still wonder….
19. It’s refreshing to see all bands with such great energy. It makes for a very easy and fun night. Hypnotiq shots don’t hurt either.
20. Ryan Star has a huge teeny-bopper girl following. Some of them are excruciatingly annoying with their bouncy dancing and squealing. At least Lila – as an obsessive fan (ha ha) is cool about it. These girls need to learn subtlety.
21. Hanging out after the show and getting invited to after-parties? Totally worth the cold.
22. I think some people have apartments in NYC and decide to convert them to small bars, because that’s kind of where we were. But it was very kind of dive-bar cool. And it was useful that Lila managed to find outlets for our near-dead cell phones. Impressive, actually, considering the drinks consumed.
24. Cab drivers with bad and smelly gas. make me sleepy. Or I was just bagged. Either way.
25. Some people (*cough* youknowwhoyouare) don’t realize you go under water to get to Jersey. Sorry Lindsay.
26. Airport chairs are super uncomfortable. And homeless poets you meet at McDonald’s know to take advantage of super sleepy girls. But not in a bad way. It was a most interesting encounter.
27. Sometimes you have to buy your karma. Giving the above mentioned homeless poet some money got us home in time (which I had to be, luckily, Lila speeds ).
28. McD’s at 3:30 am tastes delicious. For 5 minutes.
29. Porter’s Meal in a Box is my favourite. I heart it. And coffee. I really enjoyed their coffee. In mass quantities. Oh, and the little Wolfgang Puck express place in the Newark airport waiting lounge? Best lemon ginger muffins ever.
30. Stoney is hilarious. And he shares Tic Tacs, which is nice. Serena was a delight. She kept us entertained on our walk and was incredibly hospitable and warm to two complete Canadian strangers. All our encounters that night were just… nice. It was refreshing. No drama, no insipid bullshit. Just really good people who were a delight to meet and chat with.
31. Security doesn’t like it when you joke with them. Alternatively, if you are so tired you can’t think straight, rehearse your information in your head. Because when the guy asks what time you flew out and you utter one “uh” because you’re trying to remember you actually flew out early, but haven’t slept, so your cylinders aren’t all firing.. you get tagged. Customs people have had their seneses of humour permanently disabled.
32. I think my sarcasm amps up when I’m tired.
33. Lila is an awesome travel partner. Nobody freaked out and nobody cried.
Every moment of sleep deprivation was worth it for this trip. I love remembering it. I said, after re-posting Lila’s 11:59 Part Deux on Facebook the other day that this one whirlwind trip was the catalyst of an amazing year. The driving force behind it.
11:59 Part Goo drops in Erie in about a month. Another trip. This time we hit the road. It will be interesting since Rstar isn’t headlining this, he’s opening for the Goo Goo Dolls. I’m not even a Goo Goo Dolls fan (aside from knowing some classic 90s songs from them…). Debauchery is in the works and Beat & Lyric are looking for trouble… not to mention some great music.
Now, Lila.. give me my damn ticket and stop holding it hostage.