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12,820 Miles

That is the distance we have travelled over the last month. Who would have thought that Penelope Isles would turn out to be such keen cyclists! Nah not really, we were on planes eating loads of crisps and drinking free booze. Praise the Lord for British Airways long haul flight complimentary drinks and food service! Anyway, so all those air miles began with a flight to New York for our first trip to the USA! It was an absolute dream come true for us to be able to travel to the big apple to play, we had been fantasising for months about seeing the huge buildings, the steaming grates on the streets you see in films, hearing someone say “hey I’m walking here!” whilst slapping the bonnet of a yellow taxi (which disappointingly never happened), buying a hotdog from a stand on a street corner; we wanted to live out everything we had seen in the movies. And the city didn’t disappoint, the scale of it was incredible, from the towering skyscrapers to the stupidly large McDonalds drinks you get with your meal (yes, a few maccies did occur, three words: all day breakfast), everything was impressive, and BIG.

Seeing the lights at night at Times Square was a highlight, I wandered round like a child in a sweet shop, getting a sore neck from just constantly looking upwards at it all; it was stunning. Lily got to live out her lifelong dream of visiting Carlo’s Bakery from the series Cake Boss, it was probably the most excited she’s ever been. She told us all to get a Cannoli and it was a good decision, they didn't disappoint. On the right is a picture of her demonstrating exactly how one should be eaten. We visited the Statue of Liberty; I say visited, after some deliberation we decided it was a bit of a ball ache to get the boat out to it, so we just stood at the south of the island and did the classic hold it in your fingers and take a picture trick. We basically went fully tourist mode. And we had a ball doing so.

But as well as all the tourist-ing, the real reason we were there was the play at the New Colossus Festival. It was the festivals first year and we were buzzing to be a part of it all. We played 3 shows in one day, which is a definite record for us. And I don’t know how soon we will be breaking it because it was exhausting! The first was at a venue called Arlenes Grocery in downtown Manhattan, which didn’t look remotely like a grocery, but despite the false advertising, was a really cool, classic, dark and dingy venue. There we met the absolute dudes that are Lio Cerezo and Steven Matrick, who both curate the festival together. Big shout out to them both for having us! They were so lovely and made us feel so welcome. We enjoyed playing there and thankfully, there was no sign of Joey Ramones ghost, who we had been told haunts the venue; perhaps we weren’t quite punk enough for him to leave his plane of existence and visit ours, we’ll have to try harder next time.

The next show was at The Delancy, also in downtown Manhattan, so we loaded ourselves up like donkeys and carried all our gear what we thought was a fairly short distance but ended up feeling like we had walked the entire length of the island. But nonetheless, we made it, and arrived to find fellow Brightonians, Orchards, who played before us and were sounding ace. The show was repped by DIY Magazine, and it was a pleasure to play for those guys and to get a feature in the newspaper and magazine they made for the festival, big up!

After a bubblegum blowing competition, we left for our final gig of the day at Club Berlin. The venue was in the basement in a pretty swanky bar, and we arrived to a Canadian band playing called Walrus who were awesome, check out those guys for sure! The room had a tiny stage in the corner that we all squeezed on to, and with it being a bit later into the night, everyone in the crowd had got a few beers down and were all ready for a party and we had a really fun gig! Thanks to Brooklyn Vegan writing about us and that gig in an article about bands travelling from New Colossus Festival to SXSW in Austin:

Exhausted, but pleased with a successful day of shows, we all fell into a taxi, went back to our apartment and fell into bed. Mission NYC Gigs, COMPLETE!

The next day we took the subway into town and went and checked out the festival more. The lineup was awesome, it had up and coming bands from all different corners of the world; we watched our Danish Bella Union buddies Lowly at Arlenes Grocery; their live set is just incredible, we were all stood watching with our jaws to the floor. We love those guys. Another show we saw that stuck out was by a band called TofLang from Barcelona, who we saw at the venue Pianos, who despite all of our iced mojito induced intoxication, we still managed to have a dance to. They were really quite impressive.

Our NY trip was short and sweet but that is probably a good thing because had we been there any longer, we probably would’ve ended up eating our body weight in pastrami after having discovered one of the most amazing sandwiches in the world at Katz’s Deli. And we would be fully broke as one sandwich cost the grand total of $26.50. It was so jam packed, I’m surprised it didn’t give any of us a heart attack to be honest. But there was to be a lot a lot more where that came from when we arrived at our next US destination AUSTIN TEXAS! That’s where the real meaty fun happened. What a strange sentence that was. Anyway, that will all be revealed in our next blog post, but for now thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed hearing about our American shenanigans!

Over and out!

(Jack) Sowy xxx

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