Drunk Girl / High Guy Cultural Review: A Popular Teenage Band
How We Decided To Go
Noah: This one is going to take a little bit of back-story. A few weeks ago, I was watching CNN high in the middle of the day as part of a column I recently started inside my head called High Guy / No Job. Among the stories about the Republican Primary candidates, there was a segment about a band of high school students called Radio Silence NYC who were gaining popularity after writing a song about bullying called “New York City Renegade.” Now, “New York City Renegade” is a completely normal name for a song if you are currently 16. If, however, you grew up in the 90’s with a dad who never stopped watching the USA channel, “New York City Renegade” is just going to make you imagine Lorenzo Lamas on vacation.
And that’s fun.
In the segment on CNN, they aired a 5 second clip from the band’s music video where all you saw was a 16 year old with long curly hair exclaiming, “Get out! Get out! Hatred is the enemy!” So, immediately, I was like, “That is fucking awesome. Hatred IS the enemy!” and proceeded to look the band up on YouTube. The first video I found featured Radio Silence NYC playing a cover song at a People Magazine event. The lead singer explained, “We decided to do a cover of one of our favorite bands, one of our favorite songs. This song was actually written before ‘ any of us were alive, so hopefully you guys know it.” They then played Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana, and I lost my mind. I had never before considered the possibility that, in the time since that song came out, there could be a group of people who were conceived, born, and then lived long enough to form a functioning band. In a weird feeling-old/stoned panic, I then watched every single other video of them on YouTube. Despite the fact that their music was not “for” me, I found these kids extremely entertaining. Not in an ironic way, but in a nostalgic way. So, when I found out they were playing at Webster Hall in Manhattan, I demanded that Sarah come with me.
Sarah: I had serious reservations about this one. I was like the opposite of that show with Anthony Bourdain or that movie starring Aaron Eckhart and Catherine Zeta-Jones. I had so many reservations! A few being that I would be wasted at a concert full of high school kids and the last time I did that was probably technically the Black Lips concert this winter, but more explicitly the DMB concert weekend summer of ’98 when I was in high school and getting offered nitrous balloons by super cool college dudes.
Also, as previously mentioned, the kids have an anti-bullying message, and, even though what we would be doing here in this column is certainly not bullying, it also isn’t NOT bullying. Finally, more importantly, and very much tying into my previous point, I dislike their music. So much. Like, Madeline Kahn in Clue “flames on the side of my face,” that much. And the fact that I’m saying that here makes me feel like a creepy older drunk Internet bully because THAT’S WHAT I AM. However, I guess that’s basically the definition of a music critic: an older, most likely drunk person who says (usually) that they hate younger kids music and publishes it on the Internet. Same diff. So, hence forth, I shall refer to myself as a Music Critic. That was easy. LET’S DO THIS!
How Noah Got High
I watched Sarah get drunk at a bar she likes called Pianos before we went back to Sarah’s apartment where I smoked drugs. Sarah really didn’t want to go to the show and tried to talk me out of it. I tried to talk her back into it by showing her the awesome music video for the hit bullying song. One important thing to note about the music video is that everything in it is the most awesome.
What is especially awesome is that the subject of bullying in this video is a teenage lesbian, who is played by a teenage girl, who is clearly not a lesbian and who was very not into it when she had to make out with another girl on camera inside a bathroom.
“See? Awesome!” I said to Sarah, even more pumped than I was before. But somehow, the video had the opposite effect I intended. Sarah now wanted to go even less. She did not take away from the video that HATRED IS THE ENEMY, and she got all hate-y about it because she is apparently a cranky monster who isn’t capable of being charmed by teenagers putting time and effort into creating something for other people’s enjoyment. “This bitch don’t EVEN identify with age-appropriate naivety.” – Me
How Sarah Got Drunk
Noah and I went to Pianos, the only place I feel comfortable getting drunk for these things anymore because my friends work there and just, like, understand me, you know? On the way there a stranger pointed out a rainbow to us and we walked by an Asian teenager who was wearing a t -shirt that said “I <3 Asian girls." I then celebrated seeing those two things with a crazy strong margarita, a shot of coffee tequila, another shot of some tequila concoction, and like a sip of a beer/marg hybrid, which I'm told is called a margeza. The margeza, though made with the best of intentions, was sort of gross. But no grosser than a tequila coffee shot, so maybe I should just relax about the margeza.
Then we went back to my apartment, and while Noah got high, I had another beer. I felt dis-gust-ing. I was also in a terrible mood because I really REALLY didn’t want to see this band. Especially after we watched their music video where it’s all about anti-bullying, but actually just an excuse to show two hot teen girls make out. You know, because they’re lesbians. Yeah, hot lesbians, the main demographic targeted by teen bullying. Way to take a stand, Radio Silence NYC. (FUCK, I feel bad about this already.) Noah pointed out that the girls who played the lesbians in the video “probably got paid in pizza.” LOL because teens love them some ‘zza!
Noah: For the first time in Drunk Girl / High Guy history, Sarah was the one being reluctant about attending our event. And by being reluctant, I mean being a fucking child. Good god. She started tacking “UHHH” on the end of every sentence. “I don’t want to go-UHH!” Then every two blocks she would insist we take a cab even though the place was only ten blocks away. “Let’s just take a cab-UHH!” She then spent ten minutes trying to remember the name of the comedian who books other comedians for Letterman. We both knew it was Eddie something. I actually couldn’t remember his name at the time either, but my guesses were way better than her drunk guesses which included “Eddie Finglebingle” and “Eddie Night Shyamalan.” We later learned it was Eddie Brill.
Sarah: We walked to the concert from my apartment, which wasn’t far, but I felt like my legs were made of lead. It was one of the longest walks of my life. I was basically the surly teen and Noah was the parent being all, “This’ll be fun!” And I was like, “Shut UP, I HATE you! You’re ruining my LIFE!” Ironic, as this should have made me connect with the band more. It didn’t.
Noah: When we arrived at Webster Hall, Radio Silence NYC was already playing. It might be the first music show in history that didn’t start two hours late. It was shocking. But let me tell you something. Those kids were fucking selling it.
The guitarist had on sunglasses, and on more than one occasion threw his pick triumphantly into the audience after finishing a song. The lead singer had his shirt unbuttoned almost all the way and would swing his long hair so that sweat could fly onto the crowd. The bassist head bobbed with ultimate bassist intensity. It was perfect. I was stoned and I was INTO it. Even their teenage-y mistakes were amazing. At one point the singer exclaimed, “This is a brand new song, and when we get to the chorus ‘ I want everybody IN THE AIR!!” completely failing to realize that, if it was a brand new song, the audience would not know which part was the chorus, and, therefore, not know when to be “in the air.” Later in the concert, the singer announced that their next song was called “Crazy Situation,” and then the song immediately began with the lyrics, “It’s a crazy situation!” I was delighted and cracking up. I was also hungry and wanted chips. But, mostly delighted and cracking up.
Sarah: We got to the show, which was at the Studio at Webster Hall and Noah paid easily enough and I fumbled for like 5 minutes with crumpled up dollars. Not because I was drunk, I mean, I was, but I think it was because my motor skills were rebelling against the idea of going. The band was on, and they were great in that they could totally play their instruments and sing on key! And they knew how to be rock stars in that their shirts were unbuttoned too far and the lead guitarist was wearing Ray Bans.
The bassist, however, was 32 years old. We think. I went to walk around looking for their dads who I assumed were older, hot and wealthy. I did not find them. I was too full to even get a beer. It appeared that Noah was having a really genuinely great time. So that was nice to see, despite my deep resentment of him for bringing me there. A wave of fatigue hit me and I stood, arms crossed, hating it and feeling guilty for hating it. Because they’re just kids doing their thing and being totally successful and sincere. They played their hit song, “New York City Renegade,” we sang along (“Hatred is the enemy!”), and then Noah asked if I wanted to stick around for the next band. “Do you want to stick around for Cash Cash?” No, I did not want to stick around for Cash Cash. I insisted that we leave. We didn’t even buy any merch. And I love merch.
Noah: After Radio Silence NYC finished their last song, Sarah and I quickly exited. What we did NOT do quickly, however, was decide where Sarah was willing to eat. As we walked into and then out of a number of different food-selling places, Sarah continued to be a drunk asshole about the concert. We argued about what should and should not be expected of a band made up of sixteen year olds, and after a very long and high filibuster on my part, she finally conceded some of my points.
Sarah: We walked back to my place so Noah could pick up his bag ‘o drugs. This walk took a little less time because we were going away from the concert, as opposed to towards it, despite the fact that I made Noah stop in at least three places to see what I wanted to eat, including a shop owned by a guy I used to date and when I realized where we were I was like, “Gah! Let’s get out of here!” Poor Noah. I really put him through the grumpyfickledrunk (as opposed to the crazysexycool) Sarah wringer. The worst. I’m glad TLC never made that album.
I would like to say, that despite my dislike of Radio Silence NYC’s music, that doesn’t mean that I don’t totally support the fact that they’re in a band and rocking out and being positive, unlike some people (me, London rioters, etc.). So I’d appreciate it if the rabid, Internet-savvy fans of Radio Silence NYC/Radio Silence NYC themselves/their hot dads/protective moms didn’t yell at me, but I understand if you do. After all, HATRED IS THE ENEMY!!111!! Also, I talked to my friend Pat about my guilt about publicly disliking their music and he said, “Radio Silence NYC doesn’t care what you think. They’re effing teenage girls right now. Like, this second.” That is so true. Unless their next single is about teen abstinence 🙁
Sarah on Twitter: @swalks
Noah on Twitter: @noahgarfinkel