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You don’t need LSD to make Friends

Around a month ago now I went on a 6 week journey across the USA starting in Austin Texas and finishing in San Francisco. Accompanying me on this trip of a lifetime was my girlfriend and a Toyota Yaris, which between Lauren and myself we managed to rack up over 5000 miles worth of travelling on.

We landed in Austin on the 25th of April with two tickets to Austin Psych Fest to see some of my favourite bands play on their home soil, most notably The Black Angels who curate the festival each year. The weekend closes in and I can hardly contain my excitement that I will get to see Anton Newcomb play some Jonestown classics like Super Sonic, Nailing Honey to the Bee and many more songs while consuming LSD and seeing what happens?

We go for a day out down South Congress, which was not far from the place we were staying. The place is a hub of creative activity, plenty of properly thought out vintage shops, record shops and incredible places to eat.

Lauren has been feeling pretty rough all week, coughing and general flu like symptoms, which we thought would eventually subside. She takes a turn for the worse and the Germs finally get the best of her, I walk her back to the guesthouse we’re staying at and put her to bed. She can hardly muster the energy to move let alone go to see any bands with me, I stay with her for hours but she tells me to go enjoy myself while she gets better.

So I’m a long way from home going to see some of my favourite band’s alone, feeling a massive sense of guilt that she has to stay in bed rather than enjoying them with me. I take a walk down to find the venues for this years Psych fest, I missed a few artists but would be getting there in time to go see Ringo Death Star play. Upon entering the building I get the usual wrist band along with a pretty psychedelic pair of glasses, they make everything look like you’re actually inside a kaleidoscope with fireworks going off around you.

I find the best solution when going to shows alone is usually just drinking copious amounts of alcohol, it tends to take your mind off feeling bored in-between bands. Plus we all know it helps us to forge new friendships in these situations. I go to the bar to grab myself a Lone Star (Austin’s finest Lager) when some hairy dude that kind of looks similar to me puts his arm around my shoulder and buys the beer for me. So I’m thinking this guys either the weirdest guy in the world or the nicest, turns out he’s Long Beach’s Scott Holmes AKA Uncle Scooter the nicest man around.

So within the space of 5 minutes I’ve made a new friend in Scotty, who introduces me to the rest of his Long Beach buddies and lovely Girlfriend Ashley. I don’t know whether I looked like I was in need of company and didn’t want to stand alone nodding my head at all the various bands that night. Alas we all drink until the Black Angels put us to bed with one of the best live sets I’ve ever seen before mesmerized by the new Sitar players incredible finger work.

A week later these guys put us up in Long Beach and make me feel like I’ve known them all of my life, introducing us both to everyone in their friendship circle and trusting us in the same respect. Turns out the guys played in a Shoegaze band called Highlands and we went to see them play with White Hills in Los Angeles. Highlands are Long Beach’s hazy reverb riddled answer to Ride, intelligent and intricate with a mind altering sound that I look forward to hearing more from in the future.

Highlands

Give these guys a like on Facebook and check out the new e.p ‘Singularity’

The point of this post is just to highlight how good it feels when people make an effort to forge friendships and are truly great to each other. The selfless sense of genuine care I felt from these people was one of the best experiences of my holiday. We went to some incredible places but they made my trip what it was and I hope that we all go out of our way to be this nice to people we meet, whenever we can.

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