RSVP HERE: Bethlehem Steel Play Trans Pecos + More

Welcome to our weekly show recommendation column RSVP HERE – your source for the best NYC shows and interviews with some of our favorite local live bands.

Bethlehem Steel released their sophomore self-titled record on Exploding in Sound Records September 13th and have been on tour since. They are set to return to Brooklyn this Sunday 11/24 with a show at Trans Pecos with Ben Seretan, Sinai Vessel, and Lightning Bug. Bethlehem Steel formed in 2012 as a trio consisting of Becca Ryskalczyk on guitar/vocals, Jon Gernhart on drums, and Zephyr Prusinski on bass. Their second record features singer/guitarist Christina Puerto, who toured with Bethlehem Steel around their debut record Party Naked Forever. She was asked to join the band full time and contributed to the songwriting process of their latest release, resulting in a more empowering record that lyrically grapples with “being taken advantage of, or abandoned or fucked over.” We chatted with Bethlehem Steel about their favorite tour stories, the challenges of long haul touring and why you need to watch out for pizza prices in California…


AF: You’re finishing a super long tour supporting your self titled record out now on Exploding in Sound. What was your best show, favorite city, and favorite animal you’ve met on the road?

BS: Our best show was in Seattle. It was good to cross paths with Pile mid-tour and we had a great time playing with them at Chop Suey. Favorite city would have to be Austin because we got to swim in a lake under the stars at our friend’s house after the show. Our favorite animal(s) we met on tour were Brody and Griz. Griz is a big friendly cat and Brody is a little blind chihuahua and they both live with our good friends Brian and Brenda in Minneapolis.

AF: What are the challenges and advantages of a seven week tour?

BS: Not getting sick is definitely a challenge, as is dealing with the very long drives, and being so far away from home for so long. But playing this many shows in a row is a really good opportunity to work on the live performance aspect of things, and visiting friends and making new ones all across the country is always a wonderful thing.

AF: What is your favorite thing to do on your days of? What do you listen to in the car?

BS: We usually end up going to a thrift store to look for nutcrackers. We also like to do movie scene re-enactments, and will almost always try to find any type body of water to swim in. As far as car listening, Pat puts on this playlist he made called “Pat the 80’s” a lot.

AF: When you get a flat tire, who’s the first person to try to fix it? When your van breaks down, who cries the most?

BS: We have a Tacoma and it does us good.

AF: Any other crazy stories?

BS: We each payed $9 for a slice of pizza in Sacramento. We didn’t see the prices until it was too late.

RSVP HERE for Bethlehem Steel with Ben Seretan, Sinai Vessel, and Lightning Bug @ Trans Pecos Sunday 11/24! ALL AGES / $10

More great shows this week:

11/22 Eaters (Armonica Set) with Greg Fox, David Watson, Michael Shea, Kate Mohanty @ Trans Pecos. All Ages / $10 RSVP HERE

11/22 88Palms, HRY FLWR, Safer (single release show) @ The Broadway. 21+ / $12 RSVP HERE

11/22 + 11/23 Crumb, Divino Niño, Shormey @ Music Hall of Williamsburg. 18+ / $26 RSVP HERE

11/23 Fraidycat (Reunion Show), True Dreams (Album Release), Wooing, PowerSnap, @ Alphaville. 21+ / $8-$10

11/23 NY Night Train Soul Clap & Dance Off, Nobunny, Gnarcissists @ Brooklyn Bazaar. All Ages / $15 RSVP HERE

11/25 Nicole Yun (of Eternal Summers), Coltura, Desert Sharks, Queue @ Baby’s All Right. 21+ / $10 RSVP HERE

11/26 Military Genius, P.E., A. Savage (of Parquet Courts), Strange Magic (DJ Set) @ Alphaville. 21+ / $10 RSVP HERE

11/27 M.A.K.U. (Record Release), Salt Cathedral @ Sultan Room. 21+ / $12 RSVP HERE

MORNING AFTER: Breakfast Bowls At Jimmy’s With Fraidycat

“I’m so hungover, I’m dying. You guys, I’m dying for water.” Fraidycat must think I’m tremendously professional right now, my head throbbing, my pores seeping sweat, regret, and hastily applied gardenia rollerball perfume. I’m waiting with the three-piece—made up of Andy Kinsey, Charlotte Kahn, Danny De Juan—for a table at Jimmy’s Diner, and while they’re saddled up with iced coffees I still need to hydrate. It’s the second day of a pre-summer clump, and you know how people get reckless in hot weather. The climate-tolerable friend-of-friend rooftop parties! The tallboys with tall boys! The early morning Uber Pools of Shame from Bedwick-Stuywood!

I’m talking in generalities, of course. On to our guests of honor.

Fraidycat works quickly. After just over a year together they’ve released Other Better Places with Bushwick-based cassette label GP Stripes. Taking a bite out of the lead track “Best Pie” gives you a proper taste of the band’s slop-pop neurosis. In less than a minute and a half Andy and Charlotte rattle off all the fears one has when hearing about an old love’s new S.O. (“Is he in a band and does he smoke the same cigarettes as me?”) Fraidycat is very successful at making your anxieties sound upbeat and fun. So I’m sure this band, this brunch, and the tall glass of water calling my name (“Come over here, Mary Grace, you idiot.”) will distract me properly from this pain in my temples. It’s gonna be a lovely pre-summer day!

The Scene: Jimmy’s was an apparent no-brainer; Charlotte had already eaten there twice that week and the host had warmly welcomed the band when they put their name down for a table. It’s neat, a typical American diner with the excepted Williamsburg-approved touches of hipness: breakfast bowls, retro Christmas lights, fuzzy punk rock and boozy milkshakes (oof, pass).

12:41 “Are you guys excited for your release show? Do you have any special activities planned?” I wonder, water long acquired. “Pin the tail on the donkey, or…?”

“Besides music at the show?” Charlotte asks. Yes. The band starts shooting off ideas: beer pong, cornhole, a glitter station so people can glitter their face, or, as Danny suggests, “that thing in church where you take a moment and turn to your neighbor and say ‘Peace Be With You’.” Sky’s the limit, but Andy isn’t sure any of these ideas will come to life.

“‘I always get ideas and I think, “That’s going to be so cool to do,’ and then the time comes and I’m like, ‘I can’t do that,’” He says. “I went to see Kool Keith once, and in the middle of his show he stopped the music and passed out Handi-Snacks.”

That could work, too.

12:57 “I’m so glad that you called this because I was honestly drawing a blank…” Andy starts.

“On places to go?” Charlotte finishes. “Well, I wasn’t.” Andy asks to try some of her grits and hot sauce and then mentions the band is going on tour soon.

“We’re going to play in Newport, Rhode Island,” He says. “We went to Boston last summer with Thick because Charlotte’s girlfriend is the drummer – you know Kate Black?”

“I know of Kate Black,” I say (like in a several-mutual-friends-on-Facebook way).

“Kate is our mutual friend who introduced us. And when we go up to Rhode Island and Conneticut we’re going with True Dreams, they’re like our new friend-band.”

I perk up at this: “That’s so exciting that when you’re in a band you can become friends with other bands, ’cause it’s like you become little collectives, little entities.”

“Even if one person in one band might hate the other person in the other band, the bands are still friends,” Danny says.

“Right, the bands are still friends, it doesn’t unravel it,” I nod.

“They’re such little sweeties though, aren’t they?” Danny asks.

“There’s nothing I hate about them,” says Charlotte.

1:03 Andy’s an alumni of the band I’ve routinely referred to as “Shark Question Mark” (i.e. Shark?) and he’s talking about how this project works to break away from the typical, “dude band” mold.

“So kind of the rough idea of starting Fraidycat was, as much as possible, I wanted to work with women. Dara from Operator mixed our album.” Which I think is such a cool concept but, “There’s an element of it that makes it a little bit grossed out,” he confesses. Why’s that?

“Like it feels kind of gimmicky, but at the same time I have a daughter and she’s always come with me to recording sessions. And I think about it and I’m like…she’s a little kid, she doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life. But if she can see other women playing drums or see other women recording…You have to create that.”

I’m very endeared by this. “Honestly, I love that. It’s so important to get representation in media or within the workforce because then little girls see it to and they think, ‘Ok, cool, I can be like that.'”

In a shocking reveal, Andy had tried out a girl for guitar before joining forces with Danny, and Charlotte, as previously mentioned, touched base with the two after hearing about them from Kate. Charlotte also plays in Rat’s Mouth, so they showed up at her show wearing leather jackets (everyone laughs at this), having clearly done some light Internet stalking before hand – but possibly not enough.

“One of you went up to my sister and thought it was me and introduced yourselves and she was like, ‘Wrong person.'” Charlotte recounts.

“Close enough” I say. “I mean, maybe not close enough, but close. It was like, ballpark.”

“Genetically it was close,” Charlotte says.

1:12 We’re chatting about the common practice of seducing crowd-goers through Tinder on tour, because what else is there to do in Asheville? Charlotte is issuing a sarcastic example with, “‘Come get this pussy. Just kidding, but don’t fucking talk to me. Come to the show but don’t look at me.'”

“‘Come to the show but I don’t actually want to talk, hang out, or make eye contact at any point.'” I phone in.

“I would always do that but they would always match us like the day after and I’d be like, ‘Oh, you’re so cute, but yeah, I’m in Kentucky.'”

“‘Can you drive here, it’s only seven hours away?'” Charlotte says. And then Andy has a story for us:

“There was one tour with a friend’s band where this guy got stuck in a dungeon.”

“What, like a dungeon-dungeon?” I ask.

“Like a sex dungeon. And they had to go pick him up the next day. They couldn’t find him – he had wandered off and he was like, ‘Yeah, I went on this Tinder date and ended up in this dungeon.’ It’s a pretty awesome story. Like, ‘Come on guys, we gotta pick up Nick, he’s in a basement out in Toledo.'” I asked if he ended up ok, and Andy says he only lost his shoes and his phone.

“Well, he gained a few psychological scars, so there is that,” I say.

“We’ll have to see what the dungeon life is like in New England.”

“Gin and tonic tumblers.”

“They all have extensive heritage.”

“George Washington actually passed through this sex dungeon.”

“He slept here.”

1:20 “I feel like this is a good representation of how I conduct myself in my romantic life,” Andy says of the painting hanging over our table. “I’m always like, ‘Is this…good? Is this how you do this?” I know that feel.

Danny starts telling us a story about something that happened at a work luncheon. “The account manager who was running the event asked beforehand if I had a fun fact she could use to introduce me. So I mentioned the band and that we had our first record coming out. And she gets up there in front of all these IT security professionals and is like, ‘And an interesting thing about Daniel is that he’s in a band called The Fraidy Cats.”

Everyone cracks up at this.

“And then you skipped out like, ‘Hiiii, I’m Daniel,'” says Charlotte.

“Danny and The Fraidy Cats” Andy adds.

“You lost all your credibility before you could fucking speak,” Charlotte says.

1:44 I’ve never watched the Alien series, but Charlotte and Andy are binging each movie and I’m learning that every movie has an android who has “cream of wheat instead of blood” and that Andy pronounces Sigourney Weaver’s name as “Suh-ger-nee” (either way, it’s “not what you name a baby”). But beyond sci-fi movie marathons, the band hopes to fit in some beach hangs once tour is over. Charlotte has it all planned out: “Bring a guitar, write some songs, stress about how bad the songs are, not enjoy the ocean, maybe cry a little bit about how we’re never going to make it as a band. And maybe swim a couple of times.”

“Let the ocean wash the tears away,” Andy concludes. They also have designs on playing an acoustic set (with stand up drums!) and recording a song with all of their own equipment.

It’s clear by now that Fraidycat works fast and frantically, but I assure them they have time. “You can probably pencil it in between now and death.”

Charlotte chokes on her water at this.

Despite nearly killing off 1/3rd of the band, Fraidycat walks me halfway to the BQE before we part ways. My head still hurts, but I feel better – refreshed, and not just because I finally got some goddamn water. In the midst of a million pseudo-serious Brooklyn dude bands, I love groups who can churn out rapid-fire ideas, wisecracking all the way. And like the anxiety-tinged tunes off Other Better Places, Fraidycat has the ability to make any painful moment feel fun, or at the very least funny. And that makes me feel that with the Other Better Places chapter about to start, there’s great things lying ahead for the band… distinguished WASPy sex dungeons notwithstanding.

You can follow Fraidycat on Facebook and check out Other Better Places on Soundcloud.