When Jeff Rosenstock set out to plan a release show for his 2015 album We Cool?, he wanted to do things a little differently. So he decided to put his own sanity on the line while simultaneously testing the efficiency of New York’s public transit system. On March 8, he promised an all ages show in each of New York’s five boroughs — the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island — in one day.
How’d it turn out? Check out the video below, paired with the We Cool? track “You, In Weird Cities.”
“I’m a pretty big hip-hop fan and I was really into that movie Style Wars,” Rosenstock tells Billboard of the inspiration for his 17-hours of madness. “It’s about New York City graffiti in the ’80s. I love the concept of going to all cities, spray painting trains and going to all five boroughs.”
Rosenstock started his day at 7:30 a.m., with a bagel and coffee. First up, at 10 a.m., was a show at the Staten Island Artists Building Corporation. After that, he hit Brooklyn’s Rough Trade, Queens’ Trans Pecos, Rodrigue’s Coffee House in the Bronx, and Manhattan’s Babycastles to close out the night. Beyond the bagel, his very New York meals consisted of a falafel sandwich in between Brooklyn and Queens, and pizza in Grand Central Station.
“The Bronx show ended up being my favorite show,” he says. “I assumed nobody would come see us. We got the show about 15 minutes after we were supposed to start playing. The security person at Fordham was saying it was at max capacity and they weren’t going to let the show happen. We just went in and started playing. Everyone there was awesome. It was in this tiny coffee shop with Christmas lights all over the place. Everyone was rockin’; people never play the Bronx, which maybe is a mistake!”
Rosenstock and his band took public transportation the whole way: “We got to take a Metro North train with big, soft seats home. It felt like we were in first class!”
Rosenstock’s solo album We Cool! dropped March 3, following his work with Arrogant Sons of Bitches and Bomb the Music Industry! Although it’s available via SideOneDummy, it’s also available digitally on a pay-what-you-want deal via Rosenberg’s own Quote Unquote imprint. Even so, the album managed to crack three Billboard charts in its debut week — Rock Albums, Heatseekers Albums, and Independent Albums.
The video was made by the same crew (led by Sara Crow) that is currently working on a Bomb the Music Industry! doc.
Tonight (April 9), Rosenstock plays Strummer’s in Fresno, Ca., one of the final dates of a tour with Andrew Jackson Jihad, which wraps April 11 in Los Angeles. Right after that, he starts a U.S. tour with Chumped on April 13 in Phoenix.