First of all, let me specify that not all bands featured as answers in this game are actually from New York. They do, however, all in some way relate to a week-long trip my wife and I recently took to the city. (My wife’s name is Brittany. I also have a friend named Melissa who is pretty cool and who I promised a shout out in my blog, so here’s shouting out to her!)
Anyways, the idea is for you to follow the course of our journey in the paragraphs that follow, and to fill in any blanks with the appropriate musical ensemble. The first person to correctly guess them all in the comment section at the bottom will win a shitty prize. Let the game begin!
Our trip to New York began early with a 4am rise, but we vowed not to sleep ‘til Brooklyn in the vein of _____________, a hip hop group with roots as a hardcore punk band. Two flights and 13 hours later we finally got there, but by the time we checked into our Williamsburg apartment rental we were so much spurred by the excitement of a new city that it wasn’t until after whiskeys and grilled cheese at Noorman’s Kil, followed by a round of craft beers and Donkey Kong at the Barcade, that we finally did go to bed.
In the morning we armed ourselves with broken umbrellas against a violent assault of rain, and ventured to the DUMBO flea market and other shopping sites of interest. On a whim I popped into Norman’s Sound and Vision with hopes they might have a vinyl copy of my favourite release by hardcore punk band _____________ (they did!). With Halloween just around the corner it was a fitting addition to my record collection, featuring an homage to Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde with Davey Havok on backup vocals, as well as a wicked cover of 45 Grave. I dropped it off back at our apartment before dinner and cheesecake at Junior’s followed by drinks at the Pine Box Rock Shop, where a back room was crowded with young folks gathered to watch the televised spectacle of Clinton vs. Trump: Round 2.
The next day, after a sunny morning stroll across the Brookyln Bridge, we switched our base location to a cozy apartment in Upper West Side Manhattan. Once settled there, we immediately set out to procure hotdogs from a street vendor and proceeded to have a fast food picnic in Central Park near the castle that shares its name with _____________, a Calgary punk band who reunited in recent years to record their fifth full length album. The rest of the day included weaving through the Columbus Day parade, stumbling upon Times Square, beer and bacon pairings at the aptly named BarBacon, and a multi-block, banana-pudding-motivated sprint to reach Magnolia Bakery before closing time. Dessert accomplished.
Sleep followed, and then breakfast too was accomplished at Absolute Bagels, with plenty of schmear to fuel us for a Manhattan walk to such iconic spots as the New York Public Library and the skating rink at Rockefeller Center, which happened to be celebrating the opening day of its 80th season. That night, we dressed up for a Broadway showing of The Phantom of the Opera. In preparation for the musical I listened to its title song as performed by _____________, a punk supergroup consisting of members from NOFX, Lagwagon, No Use for a Name and Swingin’ Utters. As much as I enjoy their rendition, however, it couldn’t compare to the dramatic sensation of witnessing the Phantom and Christine croon together while descending into foggy candlelit recesses.
Another evening we chanced upon Stand Up NY, where we took in an intimate comedy show during which we were only mildly mocked for having met on MSN Messenger (“What are you, 98?”), while a suavely dressed Dutchman man in the front row took the brunt of the crowd jabs. Afterwards I complemented headliner Dan Sodor on a hilarious set, and he complemented me on my shirt from _____________, who have often been cited as “the only band that matters.” The event fittingly topped off a day of amusement that had featured rides at Coney Island and pizza at John’s of Bleecker Street.
That left us with one day left in the city, which we filled with such highlights as a ferry ride to Staten Island past the Statue of Liberty, and thick and juicy smoked meat sandwiches at Katz’s Delicatessen. We also stopped by the former site of CBGB’s, where the alike-named and leather clad _____________ helped establish punk rock back in the 70s. Meanwhile, over in London, _____________ were being credited with the same claim, though their notorious bassist would end up dying of a heroin overdose in New York’s Greenwich Village. Our final evening in the city was spent on a moonlit walking ghost tour of that same neighbourhood, where other such spirits said to haunt the area include Mark Twain and any of several bodies buried under Washington Square Park.
That’s not all. There is plenty else we did and plenty more musical inspiration to draw from, but as I said, Halloween approaches and it requires preparations. So I’ll end the game here with one last blank space—not a punk band, but one that does happen to hail from the state of New York. As a bonus to earn a slightly less shitty prize, I leave you with some borrowed lyrics from _____________’s tribute to October 31st:
Many thanks to you. Many things to do. And the beat goes on.
– Cory Stumpf