- Evan McGrew
If you were to ask any of the four members in the pop-punk group You Blew It, they would probably say playing in their hometown, Orlando, is quite a relief after a dirty 40-day East Coast tour.
"It's way comfortable," guitarist Andrew Anaya says. "You're not stressed about, like, where a bathroom is because you've been to the venue a hundred times before. It's just nice to be around friends."
You Blew It recently returned home, after playing to energetic singalong crowds in New York and a sold-out New Year's Eve show in Philadelphia. It was a sign of a highly successful year for the band in 2012, with 88 shows under their belt, two new members – Anaya and bassist Nicholas Inman – added, the release of their first full-length album (Grow Up, Dude on Topshelf Records) and an opening gig for Billboard 200 chart-topper Motion City Soundtrack. The four members could not stop raving about how much of an anomaly last year was for them. "Back when the record was on the cusp of being released, we did a tour over break," Inman says. "They weren't bad shows, but they were typical, small punk shows. And then when we went out on tour for the summer, it was like a huge change. We went from playing normal little punk shows to being asked to play with Motion City. It was a complete 180."
You Blew It's return to Florida comes with a Will's Pub gig on Feb. 25 with Philadelphia-based post-hardcore group Secret Plot to Destroy the Entire Universe. Drummer Timothy Flynn says it is their official 200th show, a fact he realized when updating their tour list the day we spoke.
It will also be a week after the upcoming release of their 7-inch split Florida Doesn't Suck (alongside fellow Florida pop-punkers Fake Problems) due out Feb. 12 on Topshelf Records.
You Blew It lead vocalist Tanner Jones says it was always a mystery that they had never collaborated with Fake Problems before, because they had been longtime friends with the members and even called the band their "scene daddy," or simply mentors, since they first started.
Flynn laughed to himself when he realized the two songs they contributed to the Florida Doesn't Suck split happened to talk about bad experiences on tour outside of Florida.
Every member took his turn explaining why so many American bands give Florida such a bad reputation for touring, as it's a large, hot and humid state to travel through.
"It bums me out when people say Florida sucks, like when bands say, 'Touring Florida sucks,'" Anaya says. "It's hard here, but there are a lot of us that truly love and appreciate music and can't wait for a band to come into town. So, the crowds might be smaller, but they definitely love it just as much."
Flynn reflects on living in Florida: "Every time I go on tour, it's like a piece of me is left here, and I want to come back," he says. "Through going on tour outside of Florida, I've grown to love Florida." Later, he mentioned one simple luxury that some people may take for granted. "It's nice to know you have a warm place to sleep."